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Dairying with Resilience: Dairy Women’s Network conference

9 February 2012

Dairying with Resilience: theme of Dairy Women’s Network annual conference

Helping dairying women along their journeys toward developing dairy businesses in the face of challenges is one of the main themes of this year’s Dairy Women’s Network annual conference.

The conference will be held at Rotorua’s Millennium Hotel on 21 and 22 March.

The 2012 conference theme is ‘Dairying with Resilience’ and much of the programme is aimed at inspiring women and giving them the necessary tools to be resilient at home and on the farm.

Kicking off the conference is keynote speaker, Sarah Kennedy, CEO of RD1 – the Network’s new, exclusive sponsor of its Regional Groups. Sarah will talk about her journey into industry leadership and what it takes to achieve positions of influence.

“Many of our speakers and workshops will be focused on giving women tools they need to overcome life’s challenges – and we all know dairying certainly has its ups and downs. Just looking at the last few years, dairying women around the country have had to deal with many events that have had real, negative impacts.

“Our conference speakers will talk about what it takes to get through challenges as they arise,” explains Sarah Speight, CEO of Dairy Women’s Network.

Conference topics not only touch on business challenges faced by dairying women, but also personal challenges often experienced with raising children, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and maintaining good mental health.

Other drawcard speakers include Dame Susan Devoy and psychologist and author Nigel Latta.

A panel discussion on the first day of conference is expected to be a highly impactful session, with various women talking about how they’ve bounced back from events such as their involvement in major environment issues, surviving physical trauma and losing a partner.

“Through this panel discussion, we will be noting how the dairy industry and dairying communities have helped these women get through hard times. We’ll also be looking for gaps in these support systems and what we can do as an industry body to help create resilient businesses and resilient communities,” says Sarah.

In January, the Dairy Women’s Network announced it has teamed up with Fonterra to offer New Zealand’s first, annual ‘Dairy Woman of the Year’ award. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner at the conference.

The winner will be awarded a position on the prestigious Women in Leadership 12 month course run by Global Women, which is valued at $25,000. The scholarship is sponsored by Fonterra Milk Supply.

Dairy Women’s Network CEO, Sarah Speight, says “the purpose of the award is to profile and celebrate women who are making a real difference in the dairy industry, in their dairying businesses and in their communities.”

Nominations are now open for the award and close on 24 February. Due to seating limitations, tickets to the gala dinner are limited to conference registrants.

Women can register for the conference at


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