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Ballance Supports Rural Leadership

10 September 2012

Ballance Supports Rural Leadership

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is backing a rural leadership programme to foster governance and business capabilities for women in the sector.

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) Escalator programme is designed to build the skills already accumulated by rural women within their businesses and communities.

Ballance supports the Escalator programme through sponsorship of one of 14 places on the 10-month programme.

The recipient of the Ballance-supported spot is Ekatahuna sheep and beef farmer Lisa Sims.

Mrs Sims has a Bachelor of Business Studies in Marketing and Japanese from Massey University and works from home as a strategic communications and marketing consultant.

Ballance General Manager Agro-Science and Marketing Liz Muller says the opportunity to support the AWDT Escalator programme could not be passed up.

“There has never been a better time to help grow business talent in our rural communities,” she says.

“Running a farm business is becoming more complex and there is a need to develop a range of skills across the entire sector to ensure we have the strategic depth to ensure the success of agriculture.

“This isn’t just about becoming better at running a farm; it’s about ensuring we have access to a range of skilled people across the industry.”

Mrs Sims says Escalator is a catalyst for building on governance and leadership skills, largely learned by default during her working life.

“I am interested in exploring areas where I can work to increase communications and collaboration within the agricultural sector and between it and other sectors,” she says.

“The group of women on the programme is amazing. There are going to be some valuable links and opportunities from just within the group.”

Mrs Sims says the Escalator programme offers more than just an up skilling opportunity with continuing support from the Trust, industry leaders, mentors, the other participants and alumni.

“For the past 17 years I have worked from home and I serve on several regional and local boards and have had extensive community involvement through many voluntary positions. These roles, together with raising a young family, have left little time for personal and professional development.”

The Escalator programme involves five Wellington-based learning modules, individualised distance learning and professional development, and support. The programme focuses on leadership, governance, strategy, finance, communications, critical thinking and human resources.


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