DWN Regional Leader of the Year Finalists Announced

Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) is proud to announce the finalists of the Regional Leader of the Year for 2024. 

The finalists of the Regional Leader of the Year for 2024 are: Leilani Lobb, Rebecca O’Brien, and Laura West.

This award, sponsored by FMG, showcases inspirational women who demonstrate excellence at grass roots, leadership in their local community, and encompassing the DWN values.

“It is so inspiring to see the calibre of women providing leadership in the dairy industry and their communities,” says Jules Benton, DWN CEO.

“Each year the bar gets a little higher. The dairy industry has traditionally been seen as male driven. These women are turning this stereotype on its head. They exemplify the DWN values and are making positive changes in their communities, and in the agriculture sector as a whole.”

The Regional Leader of the Year award will be announced on Thursday 2 May at the Gala dinner of DWN 2024 Conference “Enhance, Elevate, Evolve” in New Plymouth.

“This is a much-coveted award that has often been described as life changing,” says Jules.

The recipient will receive a registration to the Dare to Lead programme based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown.


Photo: Supplied by DWN; (Clockwise from top left) Leilani Lobb, Rebecca O’Brien, Laura West.

For more information contact: 
Sarah van Munster
Insights and Media Manager
Phone: 07 974 4852

About the Finalists

Leilani Lobb
Contract milker and Canterbury DWN Regional Leader Leilani Lobb has made quite an impact on the dairy industry in a short space of time. Having grown up on a dairy farm, Leilani went on to complete a Bachelor of Agriculture at Lincoln University and put her knowledge to work as the assistant manager/2IC on a 180ha, 700-cow farm near Ashburton. At just 22 she was recognised at the 2022 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Industry Awards, winning runner-up in the Dairy Trainee category. She is a strong advocate of female farmers in the dairy industry and is described as solution-focused and passionate about dairy and DWN, putting her “hand up for everything from applying for funding and collateral to coming up with ideas for events and attending everything we do”.

Rebecca O’Brien
Eastern Bay of Plenty DWN Regional Leader Rebecca O’Brien has been instrumental in creating a sense of inclusivity among its members, community clubs, supporting businesses, and the DWN team. In addition to 50/50 sharemilking a busy 900-herd on two dairy farms in Galatea, she mentors staff who are training with PrimaryITO, volunteers in her local community, and is involved in the NZ Dairy Industry Awards. Rebecca and her husband Scott won the Share Farmers of the Year award at the 2022 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards and the same year received the DairyNZ People and Culture Award at the National Level. Her constant presence in the community, word-of-mouth marketing and her ability to network has attributed to an increase in participants at DWN events in the Bay of Plenty.

Laura West
You would be hard pressed to know Taranaki DWN Regional Leader Laura West didn’t grow up in farming. In fact, the UK-ex pat had never been on a farm until she moved to New Zealand and became a sharemilker on her husband’s farm. Stepping out of her comfort zone is something that she is now well used to, and she is dedicated to leading and encouraging other women to attend DWN events and seize opportunities in the dairy sector.

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