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Setting dairying women on the right path

Setting dairying women on the right path

Two participants of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s (AWDT) new pilot programme say they have been left feeling empowered and confident in the running of their dairy farming businesses.

Hawke’s Bay dairy farmer Zoe Kuriger and Arohena dairy farmer Cathy Prendergast were among the first intake of the Pathways Programme, which is run in two modules – the first held in November last year.

The Pathways Programme is a collaborative venture between Dairy Women’s Network and AWDT and is funded by DairyNZ and Ministry for Primary Industries.

It was designed specifically for women in the business of dairying.

Kuriger, who along with her husband, recently won the 2014 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Sharemilker of the Year and six merit awards, said the most important aspect of the programme for her was that it was professional development she could undertake as an individual.

“One piece of feedback we consistently received from the awards judges was that I had a very involved role in the business and that my husband and I shared responsibility well,” she said.

“So many of the courses available in the dairy industry, especially in the leadership space, are couple-oriented, but I found it an empowering and valuable experience to be able to do the Pathways Programme on my own,” she said.

“The programme brought together an amazing group of women with many different life experiences. The power of the group enhanced a well thought out programme which evolved, building on ideas covered allowing us to enhance our skills.

“Simply taking the time for myself to do something was great and seems to be something that a lot of rural women find hard to do.”

Prendergast agreed and said she found extra benefit from Pathways having already completed AWDT’s First Steps Programme.

“It was the perfect precursor to Pathways, because First Steps made you look at where you were at in life and how got there. While Pathways challenges you to look outside yourself and objectively think about how others might see you, which I found very enlightening,” she said.

“The programme affirmed the value of the role I play in our business and gave me some great tools and ideas to work with.”

Both women said the programme is adaptable across dairy businesses and equips participants with the skills to take on various leadership positions.

In addition to the two modules held six months apart, the Pathways Programme includes three coaching and mentoring sessions in between.

Kuriger said she has kept up with the reading and course work after the November module and is looking forward to the next stages of the programme.


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