Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year offer access to life changing leadership opportunities

The Dairy Women’s Network’s Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year Award is now in its 13th year and applications or nominations are closing soon.

Not only does the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year recipient achieve the coveted title, but this year they will also receive a scholarship to the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme.

Jules Benton, DWN Chief Executive said “I encourage our dairy women to put themselves forward for the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award. You can either be nominated or apply yourself. This award, with the Kellogg Rural Leadership opportunity, which includes the programme fee, travel, accommodation, mentoring and access to DWN and Fonterra platforms to share their research, goes a small way to recognising the efforts of our amazing dairy women.” 

Those that have been through the Kellogg’s programme call it life changing.

Vanessa Thomson, recently graduated from the programme, shares her insights. Vanessa is a working mum with young family, who sharemilks with her husband on two farms in the Waikato. She is also an ex-lawyer and is currently the contract manager for DairyNZ.

“I was looking for a new challenge that could develop my networks both professionally and personally across the sector”, said Vanessa.

“The programme has equipped me with a deeper understanding of myself and gave me an amazing range of practical leadership tools. I’m a working mum from rural New Zealand and it’s not an exaggeration to say that it opened my world up again after a period of being in the trenches with a young family, juggling work and farm life”.

Vanessa reflects that through Kellogg, she has made enduring connections with the members of her cohort who hailed from a range of different sectors, and she feels excited to think that her cohort will be part of leading and guiding the sector into a bright future.

Vanessa’s advice to anyone thinking of nominating themselves or being nominated for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, with an opportunity to access the Kellogg Programme, is “to do it, you won’t regret it.”

Donna Cram received the 2023 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year Award and used some of the scholarship to attend the Rural Leaders Value Chain Innovation Programme.

“The programme was incredible, and I’m still buzzing – even months later. I was one of 13 participants who took part in an extensive regional tour, traveling with Professor Hamish Gow and Phil Morrison, exploring four value chains: apple, kiwi fruit, dairy and red meat”, said Donna.

Donna says one of the best elements was connecting with her fellow participants, who are amazing people from diverse backgrounds. “We learnt as much from each other, especially through the deep, insightful and very honest bus and evening meal conversations, as from the rural leaders who welcomed them into their businesses”.

“We witnessed some great management practices and heard about opportunities and challenges facing each industry and how some have survived through adverse events, such as disease, and how they have become more resilient from the experience. I took so much from the programme; the connections, the insights, the fact all our value chains have challenges but also committed passionate people who work tirelessly to look for opportunities for our primary produce. It also gave me great inspiration in my own life; what others are doing locally and direct to market has given me confidence to have a go at new projects”, Donna said.

Applications close 29 February 2024.


More information about the award, click here.

To apply or nominate, click here.

Past recipients include Barbara Kuriger (2012), Justine Kidd (2013), Charmaine O’Shea (2014), Katie Milne (2015), Rebecca Keoghan (2016), Jessie Chan (2017), Loshni Manikam (2018), Trish Rankin (2019), Ash-Leigh Campbell (2020), Belinda Price (2021), Donna Cram (2023).

Photo: Supplied by DWN; Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme graduate Vanessa Thomson and 2023 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, Donna Cram.

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

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