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Entrepreneur, Advocate, Filmmaker



Leila McDougall is a renowned entrepreneur, filmmaker and influential advocate for women in agriculture, who passionately promotes and celebrates farming life.

Originally from a sheep farm in Walcha, NSW, Leila's career has evolved from fashion designer to rural teacher, and now to a filmmaker, where she is making significant strides.

A decade ago, Leila founded the nonprofit organisation Live Rural, which supports the health and well-being of farmers and their communities via the annual "Mellow in the Yellow” event. Her leadership and advocacy earned her a place on the Young Farmers Advisory Council and the 2014 Emerging Leader in Agriculture award.

Leila's commitment to the agricultural community is further highlighted in her latest venture, the feature film "Just a Farmer,” released nationally in March 2024. This film was produced on her family’s farm in Ararat, Victoria, with a budget exceeding $1.7 million. "Just a Farmer" delves into themes of mental health and the vital contributions of farmers, aiming to shift perceptions and ignite discussions about the realities of rural life. Leila not only conceived and penned the script amidst the challenges of COVID-19 then went on to co-star in the film and being the executive producer. Leila aims to use the film as a medium to shine a light on farming in Australia along with supporting and uplifting rural communities.

Leila continues to be a powerful mentor and role model, championing the cause of mental health in the agricultural sector and encouraging the next generation of female leaders. Her work embodies a deep-rooted passion for her community and a commitment to using her diverse talents to effect real change.

Talking Points

Jill of All Trades: Weaving a farming woman’s versatility into positive change

In a world where adaptability and versatility are paramount, the role of a woman in agriculture extends far beyond traditional boundaries. In her keynote, 'She shaped her paddocks: Leila McDougall highlights the often under valued 'invisible farmers'—women whose contributions are crucial yet frequently overlooked. Drawing from her rich tapestry of experiences in fashion design, filmmaking, and her agricultural roots, Leila showcases how integrating diverse skills can drive substantial change and bring visibility to these vital contributors. This talk will inspire you to recognise and harness your varied talents, leading to projects that not only fulfill your passions but also make a significant impact.

Breaking the Mould: The Power of Unconventional Courage

Embracing uniqueness in a conformist world, Leila McDougall challenges the status quo by advocating for the power of standing out rather than fitting in. With her bold career transitions and pioneering initiatives in the agricultural sector, Leila exemplifies what it means to be a disruptor. She delves into the importance of backing oneself, despite societal pressures to conform and the fear of judgment. This talk will empower you to embrace your unique identity and ideas, encouraging you to lead change rather than shy away from it, and to value innovation over popularity. Leila’s insights are crucial for anyone looking to make a substantial impact in their community or industry by courageously breaking the mould.

Purpose-Driven Success: Infusing Your Why into Your Work

The quest for purpose in our lives and businesses, Leila McDougall explores the essential human need for purpose and how uncovering it can not only transform our lives but also enhance our business practices. Drawing from her varied career across fashion, film, and agriculture, Leila shares her journey and the profound impact of aligning personal values with professional endeavors. This presentation provides practical strategies for attendees to discover their core motivations and integrate this purpose into their business models, giving their ventures depth and a powerful reason to persevere and thrive. Leila’s talk is an inspirational call to action for anyone seeking to use their 'why' as a compass for making meaningful impact and achieving lasting fulfillment in both personal and professional spheres.
Blending passion with purpose, Leila exemplified the indispensable role of women in agriculture. Her advocacy and storytelling was inspiring. I have sat through many forgettable keynotes, this one I left inspired to live out my WHY. StandBy
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