Fiona Lake



Fiona Lake

Photographer & Drone Pilot, Townsville QLD


Fiona Lake


In this episode, our guest Fiona Lake joins us. She is a multi award-winning community digital champion, drone educator and photographer.

Fiona Lake jokes that she has spent forty years training for a job she never knew would exist: drone educator, through the Rural Drone Academy she created in 2018. Fiona grew up on a wheat/sheep farm on the Murray River and started selling photographs at ag college, when undertaking her second attempt at launching into a predictable career with a reliable income. In 1984 she arrived on a remote northern cattle station to take up the job of station book and store keeper, to discover she felt like she had arrived on another planet.

‘It was a part of Australia I knew nothing about, nobody I knew did either, and I absolutely loved it. So here was my purpose – fostering an understanding of remote Australia. To help remote area residents – with benefits for the whole of Australia.’ This was long before mobile phones and the internet, when the only media images of the bush were taken by rushing visitors from large cities.

Carrying a small film camera on the back of borrowed station horses across northern Australian stations was soon joined by cadging lifts in mustering helicopters, starting Fiona’s aerial photography career. At the time, horses and helicopters were the only means of obtaining photographs of mustering in action.  Fiona had started working on a book in 1986 but couldn’t find a publisher during the publishing downturn of the late 80s, but in 2005 she gathered the courage and money to self-publish the first of three.

‘Trial and terror’ is how she describes many of the ventures she has undertaken, including holding exhibitions in Bondi Pavilion and Australia’s Embassy to the US, in Washington DC. And recently, speaking at drone conferences in the US, Netherlands and China. ‘Be fearless’ is often chanted online’, says Fiona.

‘But my motto is find the courage. It is unwise to be fearless. Have a plan, acknowledge the fear and go forth and do it. Although this does not make for a peaceful life, disasters can still befall those who have chosen a path that looks risk-free.’

Running a solo operation that involves commercial photography, drone training and other workshops, books and some farm tour leading, Fiona’s business has turned out to be much like the ‘fingers in many pies’ farm she grew up on. Constant adaption and evolution has been required and Fiona has had to learn a lot of what she describes as ‘survival skills’. ‘I feel like a very slow learner sometimes,’ she says, ‘but I love to share what I’ve learned the hard way, so others can avoid mistakes or at least cut them short. And during these conversations I learn a lot too.’

Fiona’s top well-being tips:

  1. Women – when you’re 80 or 85, what do you want to look back on? Let this drive the decisions that you make daily.
  2. Always have something to look forward to. 
  3. Don’t worry about what you look like. We’re all going to die one day and we didn’t have a swim on a hot day because we worried about how we look. We need to get over it!
  4. It’s okay to be angry but keep your eye on the outcome. Always offer a solution and don’t get bogged down in your anger.
  5. Have courage. Feel the fear and do it anyway.








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Cynthia Mahoney

Cynthia Mahoney

Cynthia is a facilitator, coach, mentor, speaker and author with a passion for personal disruption, neuroscience, positive psychology, courageous conversations, human performance and well-being. Her mantra (taken from the latest neuroscience research) is that “Happier people are higher performing,” and she strives to help leaders and teams achieve this in the workplace

Cynthia is passionate about working with people to develop their life and leadership skills and to increase diversity and participation in decision-making in industry, government and the community. She’s a strong believer in bringing people together to identify issues, exchange ideas and develop solutions that work for them, their business or organisation, their family and community.

Louise Thompson

Louise Thomson

Louise Thomson is a confident, courageous, and enthusiastic women who contributes her experience and wisdom to those who aspire to be better leaders. With three decades in leadership positions within corporate Australia, NFPs, and her own Leadership Development Practice, Louise has experienced most situations faced by leaders.

She was once described as an outstanding ‘blank canvas’ facilitator; enabling groups to learn from each other while providing dedicated support and expertise in leadership development. Louise also mentors’ future business leaders, hosts several leadership programs and enjoys the larger audience to present her ideas about how to make leadership easy.

Cynthia Mahoney

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