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Dairy Women Keen To Add Value To Fonterra

For Immediate Release 1 March 2004

DAIRY WOMEN KEEN TO ADD VALUE TO FONTERRA

Fonterra's Chairman Henry van der Heyden will be asked to explain how a network of women can add value to the giant dairy co-operative, during two conferences in May.

The Network for Women in Dairying is organising the conferences in Invercargill on May 12 and New Plymouth on May 19 with the theme 'Dairy Women Adding Value'.

Network Chair Hilary Webber says the conference theme is in keeping with the network's mission of dairy women adding value to their business and aim to inform, educate, support and mentor women in dairying.

"In the past 18 months the network has grown considerably and we believe it is developing into a significant organisation for the dairy industry.

"We have set ourselves some strong objectives on how we position the network to accommodate our growth and ensure we achieve key milestones - like further developing our regional groups and increasing the participation on our email group.

"We also want to know how the network can assist Fonterra achieve its goals."

Mrs Webber says Fonterra Chairman Henry van der Heyden will open the Invercargill conference and Fonterra Chief Executive Andrew Ferrier will open the New Plymouth conference.

She says 450 women attended the two conferences held in Hamilton and Ashburton last year and a similar number are expected to attend this year's conferences, organised in association with the National Bank.

"The network will have had a strong presence in four of the key dairying regions after this year's conferences, ensuring it will continue to gain members and help women be better able to add value to their dairy business.

"The number of women on our email group jumped from 130 regular participants to 350 after last year's conferences. That's the kind of growth we have had in the last 12 months - we are becoming a national organisation."

The conference closing speaker is Cindy Gibbons, who was a solo mother of two on the benefit for 15 years before starting her own business.

Ms Gibbons is probably best known for being a regular on the television programme 'How's Life?' and for the television documentaries on her life and struggle with weight control. She also has her own retail fashion stores, Precious Vessels.

"She has an interesting story to tell and I am confident she will connect with those attending conference," Mrs Webber says.

Three workshops at the conference cover the topics adding value to the vat, valuing yourself and valuing employer/employee relationships.

The conferences are sponsored by The National Bank, Telecom, RD1, Ballance, Ambreed and Gallagher Group.

Further information on the conferences is available on the Network for Women in Dairying website, www.womenindairying.org.nz . Registrations close on April 30.

ENDS

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