Equal but endless measures of courage, thoughtfulness and energy bounded by steel plated good humour is a great recipe for life according to Kate Bickford. Although her busy life has been pretty full she says she is only now gearing up.

Kate has never been afraid to travel outside her comfort zone and to challenge the status quo. Normative values, rules and laws which stifle equity, imagination and innovation have been fair game for Kate since she was a small child.

“I challenged my parents persistently on all things from gender, religion to politics. I was fortunate that my parents encouraged me. I became increasingly aware that many of the world’s problems were political which meant that theoretically they could be fixed. I wanted to understand how and still do.”

Armed with a one-way ticket and an overly heavy suitcase packed predominantly with wholly inappropriate shoes, Kate left Adelaide at 18 for London. She spent the next 5 years travelling and working throughout the UK, Europe, Japan and then tropical Australia before returning to Adelaide to study. Kate’s travels only served to further inspire her desire to better understand the social mechanics of the world.

Kate’s intrepid nature has given her cultural adaptability which she has brought into her professional life. Kate is fluent with difference and core consistencies of people from different places.  As a commercial practitioner Kate has spent the majority of 20 years negotiating agreements for development of resources and energy projects, with stints in South East Asia and remote Australian Aboriginal communities. Kate is now also taking on Australia’s agribusiness and the potential offered to it by Asia.

“Although I have travelled and worked overseas, Adelaide provides a great base as it is no longer so solitary and removed from play. Our State politics and economy remains a little behind the pace but as a community we are pretty dynamic for our variation. We punch well above our weight for local talent. Agribusiness in South Australia exemplifies this and our capacity for further technological innovation is helping to overcome many of the hurdles that have historically held us back.”

Kate has always had a deep love and respect for rural Australia and its people. Deriving from childhood holidays, her early impressions of the majesty and magic of the bush have never left her.

“The consistent themes of my life seem to be converging, working with agribusiness, Asian investment, promoting South Australia and creating partnerships in places I know and care about, it’s my perfect storm skill set. At DW Fox Tucker I am also now in an environment where my work can be supported.”

When asked about the most interesting aspect of her work, Kate confirms it’s the people.

I am fortunate that my clients are determined people with great ideas. For me it is not all about the nature or size of the project but more about the drive of the people behind it.”

Kate views law as a form of social engineering to bring about necessary change. She recognises its many flaws, namely that it is often fatally slow and too narrow in its reach and delivery but holds that it is still the most vital tool we possess for civilized change.

According to Kate the existence of a sophisticated legal system is not, in its own right, reason for us to become complacent about human rights and protection of society’s vulnerable. Law should lead but when it doesn’t it, democracy permits us to challenge it and change it.

There are a number of people and historical figures Kate cites as sources for daily inspiration from Professor Gillian Triggs, Marcia Langton, Yami Lester, Mary McKillop, Elliott Johnston and her fitness coach, Jack Cahill. Kate says these are examples of generous people who have successfully applied courage, thoughtfulness and energy to their lives to contribute to others.

Kate does have a life outside of work although she laughs however when questioned about hobbies. When asked to name her favourite place when she is not working, Kate was quick to respond with “any of the white sandy beaches of the Fleurieu with my kids, dog and partner, Nick”.

As for favourite travel destinations outside of Australia, Kate’s list is long but she cites:

“For timeless elegance washed with absolute serenity, the former royal capital of Laos, Luang Prabang and the tiny yet mighty island of Kastellorizo, Greece for its breathtaking harbour and indigo waters.”

Kate has made great efforts to travel with her young children to ensure that they have an appreciation of the world beyond the privileges of Adelaide.  “Travelling solo with kids through far-flung locations is not for the faint hearted but it is an invaluable way for them to learn perspective, independence, resilience and self-reliance.”

Kate is not a typical suit but this is her strength. She doesn’t equate novelty or difference with difficulty. Her intellectual rigour and creativity give her an enhanced ability to analyse matters and to communicate the best outcomes possible.

Kate shares the Australian Prime Minister’s excitement about the times and believes the opportunities for South Australia are particularly positive. Kate notes,

“It’s the Chinese year of the red fire monkey. It’s time to stop chasing our tails and leap ahead.”

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