OPINION: If you are involved in the dairy sector and don't access MediaWorks platforms, then good luck finding out anything about the Dairy Women's Network.
Nominations open on September 11 for the 2018 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year Award.
This is the seventh year of the award contest, which celebrates outstanding leadership by women in dairying.
Jessie Chan-Dorman won the title in 2017 for her wide-ranging contributions at governance level. She is a Fonterra shareholders’ councillor, director of the Ashburton Trading Society and a member of the Institute of Directors and New Zealand Asian Leaders.
The 2018 Dairy Woman of the Year will also be in good company with the five previous winners: Rebecca Keoghan, Katie Milne, Charmaine O’Shea, Justine Kidd and Barbara Kuriger.
Keoghan is business manager at Landcorp Farming, Milne is the first woman president of Federated Farmers, O’Shea is chair of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust, Kidd is chief executive agribusiness for Milk New Zealand, and Kuriger is the National MP for Taranaki-King Country.
DWN chair Cathy Brown says the network has a history of celebrating the success of women in leadership in the industry.
“Often these women are driven by their own perceptions of success and don’t realise what they’re doing is exceptional. These awards are to celebrate that success and give others in the industry something to aspire to.”
Brown says the 2018 winner, who will be announced at the network’s conference in March, will be someone passionate about the industry, who leads by example and contributes at a leadership or governance level.
Dairy Woman of the Year has been sponsored by Fonterra since it began, with winners receiving a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 for professional or business development.
Fonterra’s NZ industry affairs general manager Jo Finer says no other award in NZ recognises and encourages specifically the capability and success of women in the dairy industry.
“As an organisation we are 100% behind initiatives like this.... Each year we see high calibre nominations and I know we will find another outstanding woman for the award in 2018.”
Three finalists will be selected by a judging panel drawn from DWN, Fonterra, Global Women, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and the previous winners.
The 2018 award will mark 20 years since DWN was set up.
“The network started primarily as a way for women in dairy to connect with each other,” says Brown. Our purpose has evolved to match the needs of members, and more than ever we are providing development opportunities to dairy women getting involved in the business side of farming.
“Our core driver is to give dairy women opportunities. As the business of dairy becomes increasingly complex, our members are gaining valuable education and experiences in the sector, and as that experience is built on we see those women being nominated.”
Anyone can nominate a DWN member for the award. Visit dwn.co.nz/dwoty to find out more about the awards or to make a nomination. The closing date is February 9, 2018.