DWN Putaruru Business Group
Sian O’Mahony is one of the founding members of the Putaruru DWN Business Group, which has been running for almost five years.
Sian and her husband have been in New Zealand for 11-years and share-milk 730 cows over two farms, where they raise their three-year old boy.
“We came on a working visa and just loved it so much we ended up staying. Although we had a short stint in the South Island, Putaruru is our home”.
Sian started as a Volunteer Regional Leader for DWN; and was a member of the Business Group before she ended up running it and is now the DWN Business Group Leader.
“The Group has been around more than four years, and over that time we’ve kept ten original members. I’m really proud that we’ve stayed pretty stable and consistent over the years”.
Sian reflects that when the chance came to be the Business Group Leader, she took the opportunity to get out of her comfort zone.
“I wanted to push myself as a leader and take on the responsibility to support, lead and inspire the Group. We’re all in the same boat and when we meet every month, it’s important that we all get value from the session, whether business or personal gain. We’ve really focused on personal wellness and wellbeing because, I believe, if you’re functioning well then, your business will function well”.
There are several Business Groups across New Zealand Aotearoa and each reflects the personality of their members and local area.
“Our Group is a bit different from the others, as first and foremost it’s about openness, support, connection, friendship, being able to be vulnerable and share. Our focus is on learning something every meeting that inspires us, adds to our business or to ourselves. It’s the one thing when life is busy that we all make time to go to”, says Sian.
“We’ve all got much better over the years with sharing. At the start none of us really wanted to share what was going on in our lives, but over time we built trust with each other and we’re more open and honest. The wonderful thing about the DWN Business Group is that it’s not just scratching the surface; you can really make a difference”, says Sian.
The DWN Business Group also focuses on learning from others, and that includes visiting other businesses. “We’re pretty grass roots, practical and hands on, as you would expect from a group of farmers, so getting out onto other farms is great.”
They’ve visited sheep farm (converted from dairy), the local chicken and egg place and their annual social is arranged to support local Waikato businesses. They’ve brought in a holistic life coach to focus on nutrition, sleep and stress, holding each other accountable to their goals.
“We had to actually do the things we said we would.”
Depending on what their members need, they bring in experts to discuss that topic. Sian loves the fact she and the Group can reach out to so many cool people, that are happy to share their learnings and expertise.
“It’s important to have balance between business and personal. It’s so easy to get caught up in talking budgets and financials but I think it’s important as women to look after ourselves, between juggling the kids, the farm, our businesses and our partners. There is more to all of us than just farming”.
They start every session with a round table of what’s front of mind; the good, the bad and the ugly.
“Most of us have had a cry at some point. We’re there to support each other as it’s not always plain sailing. Most of the time, after a meeting everyone has a bit of a buzz, and we often go back to our partners and relay what we’ve learned”.
Sian says if anyone is keen to start up a DWN Business Group then they should ‘just go for it’.
“I’d recommend reaching out to different people in the community and taking the opportunity to get other people involved. You’ll be surprised by the confidence boost you get by bringing people together and seeing the value each person brings to the Group. You have nothing to lose!”.
“We’re always open to taking on new members and more Groups are a great idea as we can learn from each other”, says Sian.