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CLIENT NEWS: Dairy Woman of the Year Finalists

Dairy Woman of the Year Finalists

Three finalists for the prestigious Dairy Woman of the Year have been announced by the Dairy Women's Network.

They are Westport based Landcorp business manager Rebecca Keoghan, Central West Coast dairy farmer Renee Rooney and Waihi based LIC farm solution manager Michelle Wilson.

Dairy Women's Network chief executive Zelda de Villiers said judges had a hard time selecting the finalists for the fifth annual awards.

"Our nominees personify all that is good about the many and varied roles women play in the dairy sector up and down the country," de Villiers said.

De Villiers said the awards would not be possible without sponsorship from Fonterra.

Past winners are Barbara Kuriger (2012) Justine Kidd (2013), Charmaine O'Shea (2014) and Katie Milne (2015).

Dairy Woman of the Year Judge Alison Gibb said the finalists were all excellent candidates at varying stages in their leadership journey.

"There are strong leaders coming through. The finalists all indicate a strong willingness to step up and be involved in their local communities and beyond, namely the industry at a national level, all extremely passionate about the issues that face the dairy world, compliance, health and safety and environmental Impact to name a few. These woman are prepared to step outside their farming lives and delve deep into the issues, sort out the key issues and lead others through. They all want the dairy industry to be seen in a positive light."

The winner will be announced at an awards evening and dinner at the Dairy Women's Network annual conference at Claudelands Events Centre, Hamilton, on May 4. She will win a place on the 11 month Global Women Breakthrough Leaders Programme worth $25,000.

Keoghan, who manages five dairy farms, a dairy support block and machinery syndicate, is a Director for Westland Milk Products, while playing trombone and percussion for Westport brass band, was nominated by Farm Manager Jack Raharuhi.

All facets of her personal and professional life were immersed in dairying, she said.

"My absolute passion for mentoring others, driving the success of our sector and being a leadership role model within our industry is extremely important to me. Receiving this award would mean the world in recognising that I have in some small way been successful in inspiring other dairy woman to lead, grow and develop within our industry."

Inchbonnie based Rooney, also co vice president of Federated Farmers West Coast and chairwoman of the Dairy Section, was nominated by fellow farmer Heather McKay.

Rooney said she was incredibly surprised and humbled to receive the nomination.

"I would be receiving this award on behalf of all the other dairy women in NZ that go about their daily life on the farm (while juggling family commitments or community commitments or industry roles) and for just doing what they do," she said.

"Winning the award and participating in the Breakthrough Leaders Programme would be an incredible opportunity to continue with my own personal development and leadership journey, and provide me with more tools to add value to the dairy industry. Being a participant in the programme would also provide a great opportunity to build relationships and engage with those outside of our industry and to share our story."

Wilson was nominated by former Dairy Women's Network chair and board member Robyn Clements.

"Being recognised as Dairy Women of the Year 2016 would be an honour in recognition not only for my contribution to the dairy sector, but for all the women that have walked beside me, encouraged, supported and challenged me in my dairy industry governance career," Wilson said.

"I have a willingness and commitment to step up another level to influence change and lead within the dairy industry. I believe the Global Women Breakthrough Leaders Programme will enhance my leadership skills which will support my aspirations to advance my governance portfolio and leadership opportunities to create change within the dairy industry."

Rebecca Keoghan
Rebecca Keoghan

Michelle Wilson
Michelle Wilson

Renee Rooney
Renee Rooney