Dairy Women’s Network chief executive Zelda de Villiers will step down from her role in May.
Source: Rural News Group
The network will look to recruit a new chief executive in February.
De Villiers is leaving to focus on a new business venture in Northland.
The chair of Dairy Women’s Network, Cathy Brown, says de Villiers’ commercial and financial expertise has led the not-for-profit organisation into a strong position.
“On behalf of the Dairy Women’s Network board I’d like to thank Zelda for her leadership over the past four years, and we wish her every success,” Brown says.
“Under her direction, the organisation has solidified its systems, structures and reputation in the industry. We’ve also grown our membership significantly during her tenure.
“Most importantly, Zelda has recruited and developed a strong team of staff and volunteers who will continue to provide the high level of support our members have come to expect from us.”
Brown says it’s also a sensible time to reflect on the network’s success and think about what’s needed in the future.
De Villiers was appointed chief executive in 2014 having spent 20 years in various roles in the agricultural industry, including managing director of DeLaval NZ Ltd and several rural banking and finance roles in South Africa.
De Villiers says her journey as chief executive has been inspiring and humbling, and she expects the network to attract many worthy candidates for the chief executive role.
“It has been a humbling and inspiring journey to lead an organisation that recognises and supports the contribution women make every day to the businesses they work in and rural communities nationwide.”
She says highlights during her leadership of DWN include partnerships with agribusinesses and national farming body DairyNZ, and overseeing the growth in membership from 5000 to more than 10,000.
The network’s 90 volunteer regional leaders have also helped increase DWN’s professionalism and relevance in the industry, she says.
“I’ve enjoyed seeing dairy farmers, volunteer groups and rural communities benefit from DWN’s various partnerships with industry. These have strengthened DWN’s core capabilities.”
Nominations closing soon
Nominations for the Fonterra-sponsored Dairy Woman of the Year award close on Monday, February 5.
This is the seventh year for the prestigious award which celebrates the outstanding leadership of women in the business of dairy.
Jessie Chan-Dorman won the title in 2017 for her wide-ranging contributions to dairy at governance level. She is a Fonterra shareholders councillor, director of the Ashburton Trading Society and a member of the Institute of Directors and New Zealand Asian Leaders.
The 2018 Dairy Woman of the Year will be in good company with the five other previous winners: Rebecca Keoghan, Katie Milne, Charmaine O’Shea, Justine Kidd and Barbara Kuriger.
Keoghan is business manager at Landcorp Farming, Milne is the first female president of Federated Farmers, O’Shea is chair of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust, Kidd is chief executive agribusiness for Milk New Zealand, and Kuriger is National MP for Taranaki-King Country.
Dairy Woman of the Year has been sponsored by Fonterra since it began, with awardees receiving a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 to undertake a professional/business development programme.
Three finalists for the awards will be selected by a judging panel from Dairy Women’s Network, Fonterra, Global Women, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and a previous winner. The title will be announced at Dairy Women’s Networks conference in March.
Visit dwn.co.nz/dwoty to find out more about the awards or to make a nomination.