Tracey Hodgkins

Chief Executive Officer


M: 0428 579 947

Tracey describes herself as a social entrepreneur and change-maker who has a strong bias for upending stodgy old industries. Her motto in life is “the most reliable way to predict the future is to create it”. 

Tracey’s work in building and enhancing strategy, leadership and innovation capacity is well documented and highly awarded. From universities to corporates throughout Australia through to successful social ventures and small startups she has helped many companies and individuals start and develop profitable business concepts and build high profile careers. 

As well delivering Innovation programs to Universities nationally, Tracey wrote and delivered the prestigious Australia Awards Leadership Program for high level leaders in 96 countries, the Make Me A CEO advocacy and mentoring initiative – a national program designed to promote and support aspiring women into senior leadership positions; managed the Innovation Club of WA for 8 years; designed and delivered Enterprising Australia, a Rotary partnership supporting and funding entrepreneurs and Business Icon – a national young entrepreneurs program; and a range of others that were all awarded on a national and international level. In 2012 Tracey founded the ‘One Day of Positivity’ campaign, a mental health initiative designed to help people and organisations think and act in a positive manner, no matter the circumstances.

In the past she has worked with the senior leadership team at TAFE Queensland to restructure the General Education environment to enable growth and profitability, developed a product design company and now works with Southern Dirt an agricultural group in the South West of Western Australia. Her background in University, TAFE and RTO’s has given her appreciation for the value of good research and education models that really make a difference in the community and beyond. 

Tracey’s past successes include WA Telstra Business Women of the Year and awards such as the Business and Higher Education Round Table Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year, Brownes Everywoman Award for Education, Winner Australian University Teaching Awards, finalist in the Veuve Cliquot awards, winner SIFE World Cup and the winner of the Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship for significant contribution to humanity. She is MBA qualified.

Dr Bronwyn Copestake

Research & Development Manager


M: 0475 399 677

Bronwyn has a broad educational background and extensive practical experience having worked for 13 years in horticultural production nurseries, field trials and wool handling. She has Degrees in Science and Veterinary Medicine and Surgery and Diplomas in Landcare and Horticulture. Bronwyn is a master in the agricultural field.

In addition, she has been raised and worked on the family farm in the wheatbelt of Western Australia and has both experience and knowledge of agriculture within the area.

Bronwyn has a particular interest in breeding and selection and in research and development to improve plant health and productivity under both field and nursery conditions.

Jessica Bantz

Operations Manager


M: 0422 788 586

Jessica Bantz is a dynamic and experienced event coordinator. Over the past 15 years she has had a range of jobs in the education and marketing spheres.

As the national events manager for a leading not-for-project Jessica organised 1000+ person events in several states and has extensive experience leading and managing volunteers.

This years’ TECHSPO event was an industry first for WA and Jessica and enjoyed the challenge of bringing it together. In her spare time she is the mother of 3 beautiful children and is half way through a teaching degree at ECU.

Pip Jacobs

Marketing Manager


M: 0426 103 233

Pip Jacob is a proven strategic leader and management professional with an outcome-driven approach. She has extensive experience in delivering large-scale digital programmes of work and managing teams of people.

Pip has managed digital marketing teams for major FMCG & corporate accounts within an agency environment, and conversely, managed digital marketing and delivery teams in house. She possesses an unwavering commitment to quality and cutting-edge communications.

Pip primarily worked on TECHSPO but will be helping out on Flax Supply Chain project and other commercial campaigns. She is loving working with us at Southern Dirt and is a valuable addition to the team.

Melissa Jardine

Project Officer – Kojonup


M: 0402 494 683

Mel grew up a ‘city kid’ who went to Ag School and then onto Muresk as her love for Agriculture developed. She then went on to working in the Live Export industry and managing holiday parks.  After taking a few years’ break to raise her family, Mel has recently started with Southern Dirt as one of the new Project Officers.  She have a passion for all things farming, with a particular love for technology and livestock.

Sheridan Kowald

Project Officer – Katanning


M: 0455 581 729

Sheridan was born and bred into agriculture. She grew up in Katanning on a small farm with her family surrounded by sheep and cropping practices. Sheridan represented Katanning Senior Highschool as Head Girl in Year 12 and completed ATAR; where she achieved successful results.

She has worked in agriculture for the past three years as a merchandise and sales administrative manager where she had been conducting field work including soil sampling, various cropping trials and events organisation. Sheridan gained interest in this area of agriculture, prompting her to come on board with Southern Dirt to further her knowledge and skills in the sector. Sheridan looks to further her studies in agriculture with Southern Dirt in the very near future.

Sheridan is living locally in Katanning and is the Rotaract President, Senior Basketball Junior President and Umpiring Coordinator. Being a local sporting talent, Sheridan plays basketball and Netball in Katanning and extends her abilities in the Albany league for each.  She is an active community member who constantly volunteers her time. Sheridan has been awarded with a local citizenship award recognising her positive attitude and values.

Hannah Lalor
Project Officer – Peel


M: 0401 398 700

Carla Green



M: 0414 791 109