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Two appointments made to Dairy Women’s Network Board

10 December 2012

Two appointments made to Dairy Women’s Network Board

The Dairy Women’s Network has welcomed two new trustees to its Board, Maree Crowley-Hughes from Thornbury and Robyn Judd from Oamaru.

A hands-on farmer and experienced business woman, Maree and husband Peter Hughes own seven farms in Southland and Otago, which collectively milk 5000 cows producing more than two million kilograms of milk solids per year.

Maree is mum to five daughters, and has a grandson with her second grandchild due in February. She is a director of five businesses, and over the years has been heavily involved in the local community. A member of the Dairy Women’s Network since 1998, she says she is a passionate dairy farmer who is very ‘hands-on’ at home and on the farm.

In 2011 Maree won the Dairy Women’s Network Celebrate You award. The award is presented to women active within the Network who demonstrate leadership, overcome challenges and take up training and other opportunities to help them climb their own ladder of success.

Maree relishes a challenge and said the trustee role was the beginning of her own leadership journey into governance. She said she is looking forward to helping the Network continue the healthy growth it has experienced year on year.

“I’m privileged to be involved in creating opportunities for dairying women to develop their business and leadership skills - it’s something that I understand from first-hand experience. I also get to work alongside some pretty inspiring people, who I can continue to learn from.”

Originally from the Waikato, Oamaru farmer Robyn Judd moved south with her husband Ian and three children in 2001 – number four arrived a year later. Robyn and Ian live on their 145 hectare runoff in the Waitaki Valley in North Otago. They 50/50 sharemilk 700 cows for Meridian Energy.

Robyn has been a member of the Dairy Women’s Network since its inception, and says she was hooked from day one. In 2005 she was instrumental in establishing the North Otago/South Canterbury regional group. Today, she is still the regional convenor for the area, although she says she is looking for someone to take over the role.

Amongst other things, Robyn oversees their farming operations in human resources, bookwork and finances, animal health records and calf rearing. In the community she has been involved in committees at all levels in playcentre, schools and sports teams.

Robyn says she is truly grassroots, with a strong belief in the core values of the Dairy Women’s Network and its work.

“When you’re a dairy family moving into a new area leaving your extended family behind, the Network is invaluable because the women you meet know exactly what you’re going through. It’s about the people, getting local advice and sharing knowledge.

“It’s that moment when you’re in the shed in the early hours of the morning, and you see a light on across the valley – you know you’re not alone and there’s someone out there going through the same thing as you.”

Robyn said everyone’s leadership pathway is different, and she is honoured to have a voice on the Network’s Board “for people like me.”

“I’m an everybody – a mother, a volunteer and a dairy farmer who is absolutely passionate about this industry. I’m on the Board to encourage women like myself in their leadership journeys - to help them aim for things like the dairy woman of the year award, to challenge themselves and to be inspired.”

Dairy Women’s Network chair Michelle Wilson said the Board was thrilled to have Maree and Robyn as trustees.

“The Board is focussed on the sustainability of the Network, and succession planning is very important. As farmers and trustees Maree and Robyn bring grassroots knowledge, an empathy for dairying women, and strong business and governance skills.”

She added that part of the Network’s succession planning was the process of bringing new trustees onto the Board alongside experienced trustees.

“By having a Board of with many levels of experience, the Network benefits from having fresh perspectives alongside steady hands. We like to give new trustees time to get up to speed and understand the business alongside their more experienced colleagues, who provide inspiration, knowledge and valuable industry connections.”


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