Women Set to Drive Change in New Zealand’s Meat Industry
Woman working in the meat industry have gathered for an inaugural meeting of the New Zealand chapter of Meat Business Women (MBW) in Napier this week, to outline their vision for a positive future for the sector.
Ashley Gray, General Manager of Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Chair of MBW New Zealand has been instrumental in launching the professional networking initiative here in Aotearoa and says there is plenty the group can achieve once underway.
“Once I began on this journey, the interactions I had with women working in the supply chain, were for me - revolutionary. Women in our sector are incredibly passionate. They are forward thinkers, conversation starters, game changers, shakers and movers and I believe, collectively, have a huge role to play in shaping how the meat industry is perceived and operates in years to come.
“I can see how a young woman looking to choose her career path could overlook this industry. I almost was that woman eight years ago, but I’ve had some unforgettable experiences and opportunities to create change. I know that if we can develop an environment that attracts talented women into our industry and nurture their development, the whole sector will reap the rewards.”
Whilst the main objectives for MBW are to develop the image of the meat industry to attract more female talent; to nurture women through the sector and skilfully improve networking, the group in Napier spent some time developing those objectives and setting the direction for the role the group will play in NZ.
“If we want a thriving industry, change needs to happen quickly through innovation, cultural shifts, challenging perceptions and a whole new approach to how we think about our sector. Bringing women together to tackle just that – there’s huge opportunity,” says Ms Gray.
The New Zealand launch is the latest in a rapid expansion of the organisation which was started in the UK by Laura Ryan.
“It’s fantastic to see the group go from strength to strength on an international scale. So many of the challenges and opportunities within the sector span the globe and getting the best possible talent pipeline is definitely one of them,” says Ms Ryan.
“Having an international reach will allow global mentoring opportunities and the sharing of best practice. Research shows us that having more gender diverse company boards and workforce facilitates enhanced financial performance and governance. As someone who is passionate about the meat industry, I know we can make a positive impact with Meat Business Women.”
For more information regarding Meat Business Women, please visit meatbusinesswomen.org.