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A changing of the guard for DWN

Media release
For immediate release

20 October 2016

CAPTION: Cathy Brown (left) with Justine Kidd.

A changing of the guard for DWN

Dairy Women’s Network has a new skipper at the helm after today’s AGM, with incumbent chair Justine Kidd stepping down and Cathy Brown of Pahoia being warmly welcomed into the role.

A crowd of about 60 DWN members, staff and sponsors gathered at Wintec in Hamilton today to celebrate another successful year for the 9000-strong not-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to supporting and inspiring women to succeed in the business of dairying.

Brown has been involved with DWN since the late 90s, first hearing about the organisation when she worked at CRV Ambreed. She quickly became a member of what was at that point a largely internet based network and attended the organisation’s first conference in 2001.

She and her husband Peter have two teenage children and run a dairy farm in Galatea, a kiwifruit orchard in Te Puke and an avocado orchard in Pahioa, where they live.

She says she is looking forward to being able to serve the organisation that has given her so much over the years, and that she is so passionate about.

“The Dairy Women’s Network is a great place to belong, and is extremely valuable to dairying women at any stage of their career,” she said.

“It is still nimble enough that it’s able to respond quickly to the needs of its members and the industry, and does a wonderful job at providing relevant training, and is able provide support to its members when things aren’t going well, which happens from time to time.”

Kidd echoes Brown’s sentiments about the valuable place DWN holds in the New Zealand dairy industry as she reflects back on her time as chair.

“DWN really is a unique organisation doing things that make a real difference to real people in New Zealand’s biggest export industry sector.

“It’s a great place to grow, encourage and support talent in our dairy industry and a place to go to get inspired, get that bit of ‘oomph’ back to take on your own next thing, no matter how big, small, challenging or business as usual that is.”

Kidd was appointed chair in 2014 to support specific change and growth that DWN had prioritised.

She says the board and management team have worked really well and that the objectives set have progressed positively.

“The job is never over, but I feel like I have added value and DWN is in a good place to appoint their next chair as originally planned. I’m really thrilled the board is now in a place where internal succession is happening.

“As an organisation, DWN is also ready for the change; it feels like we are at that tipping point of entering the next stage of growth. The timing couldn’t have been better from that point of view. A change now will support and be another catalyst for cementing the progress we have made to date.”

While Kidd will remain a support to the Network, she is also involved in a number of other projects across the primary sector and had some words of encouragement for women in the dairy industry:

“Women really do and can influence change in our homes, our communities and our countries. Being a part of DWN provides an opportunity to be part of something that encourages, nurtures and provides opportunity for our influence to grow.

“What we do every day does matter, it makes a difference, and I’d encourage all women in the primary sector to keep up the great work and value what we do to contribute to the outstanding sector and industry that we are.”


Dairy Women’s Network: The year that was 2015/16

Despite another tough year for the industry, Dairy Women’s Network has continued to grow and thrive with Network chief executive Zelda de Villiers delivering the following highlights at the Network’s AGM today:

• Network membership grew by 28 per cent to 9200, up from 7186 in 2015

• The Network expanded by six regional groups, taking the total number of groups to 37 throughout New Zealand (five of the new groups are South Island-based)

• The number of regional leaders heading the groups grew by 19 to 80

• Partnerships with key players in the industry were strengthened and a new relationship with Deosan was established within the year

• A total of 214 events were held for members throughout the year; and

• The Network made a net surplus of $27,853

Looking ahead, de Villiers said new modules were rolling out in the next few weeks with Succession planning, Farming in the cloud and Udder health partner events first cabs off the rank, and that planning was well underway for the annual conference DWN17 announced this week to be taking place in Queenstown on May 11-12 2017.

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