Rural women have stepped forward to take leadership positions in the last three to four years, says Rebecca Keoghan, 2018 Rural Woman of Influence.
They are dairy farmers Kylie Leonard, from Reporoa in the Central Plateau, and Lorraine Stephenson, from Dannevirke in Manawatu.
The Dairy Community Leadership Awards are a Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) initiative recognising the unsung heroes of rural communities. This year’s award will be presented at an awards ceremony during the Network’s conference in Rotorua, 22-23 March.
Sponsored by ASB and Tompkins Wake, the award recognises the voluntary role dairy farming women have in leading their communities and sharing their time and skills beyond the farm gate.
DWN chief executive Zelda de Villiers says both finalists embody the community-centric values and a willingness to go the hard yards that can often go unrecognised.
“Kylie and Lorraine are those people you can leave a task to and know they’ll get on with it and that it will make a difference to those around them,” says de Villiers.
“They both volunteer an extraordinary amount of time in their communities and place a lot of value on their network and relationships, which is essential for any rural community.
“We’re proud to announce them as finalists for the Dairy Community Leadership Award.”
The recipient of the award is chosen by a panel comprising representatives from DWN, ASB and Tompkins Wake and the recipient will receive a scholarship prize to attend a leadership programme in New Zealand.
Last year’s Dairy Community Leadership Award winner was Southland dairy farmer Katrina Thomas.