Dairying women invited to attend APEC leadership forum
4 November 2013
Dairying women invited to attend APEC leadership forum in Beijing
Two New Zealand dairy farming women have been selected to attend the Asia -Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Women Leadership Forum in Beijing next month. Attendance to the forum is by invitation only and limited to 250 women leaders from the Asia Pacific region.
Dairy Women’s Network executive chair and Southland dairy farm owner Michelle Wilson and DairyNZ Director and Dairy Women’s Network trustee, Taranaki dairy farm owner Barbara Kuriger are among are a delegation of more than 20 New Zealand women who have been invited to the forum.
The forum theme is ‘Championing Innovation through Inclusive Leadership’.
Keynote speakers include former New Zealand Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, with Minister of Justice, ACC and Ethnic Affairs, Judith Collins participating in the annual forum debate. As well as attending the conference, the trip includes a briefing from Fonterra’s Sarah Kennedy, vice president (VP) of International Farming based in Beijing. Sarah will speak to the New Zealand delegation about Fonterra’s business strategy for China.
Mrs Wilson said it was an honour to be invited to the forum and an exceptional opportunity to profile the New Zealand dairy industry and the achievements of the Dairy Women’s Network in promoting the role of women in the business of dairy farming.
She said the rapid growth experienced by the Dairy Women’s Network over the past few years signalled the changing face of the role of women in the industry and the significant contribution they make to its success.
“In reality dairying women are directors, managers and, in many cases, owners of multi-million dollar businesses which need people with sound leadership skills as well as farming, financial and business acumen.”
In her tenure as Board Chair, Mrs Wilson has been instrumental in growing the reputation and influence of the Dairy Women’s Network over the past three years, including securing a $180,000 grant from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund to develop New Zealand’s first leadership programme specifically for dairy farming women. Her attendance at the forum is being sponsored by Fonterra.
Barbara Kuriger was the inaugural recipient of the Dairy Woman of the Year award in 2011, is a director of DairyNZ, chairs the Primary Industry Capability Alliance, and was recently nominated for the Fairfax/Westpac Women of Influence award. She also sits on several agribusiness-related boards around the country. Her attendance at the forum is being sponsored by DairyNZ.
DairyNZ Chair John Luxton said Barbara’s selection is recognition of her long-standing leadership in the industry as one DairyNZ’s longest serving directors.
“It’s also acknowledgement of the growing importance of the work that DairyNZ does to encourage competitive and responsible dairy farming. China is a major market for dairy products, worth $2.6 billion each year. Over the past 10 years, China and other Asian countries have grown from a multi-million to a multi-billion dollar dairy export market. This is a great opportunity for Barbara, who has just been re-elected on to our Board, to represent our farmers amongst a very select group of women from the Asia-Pacific regions.”
Fonterra chairman John Wilson said Michelle Wilson was a natural choice to sponsor for the conference.
“Michelle has proven herself as a leader in dairying, building the Dairy Women’s Network into an outstanding and influential organisation. She is well known as a capable farmer and businesswoman who commits a lot of her time and energy to the community. Her role as a Fonterra networker is a good example and I am confident the Co-op will benefit from her experiences at APEC as much as Michelle will. This will also be an opportunity for Michelle to see first-hand our strategy in action in our largest market.”
The Forum is at the Ritz-Carlton in Beijing China from 14 – 16 November 2013.