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HFNZ member Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year 2017 finalist
Wednesday, 12 April 2017

HFNZ member finalist for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year

A Dorie, Canterbury woman who “lives and breathes” farming is one of three finalists vying for the 2017 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

Jessie Chan-Dorman is director of the Ashburton Trading Society and a Fonterra Shareholder Councillor representing farms in Rakaia. She is the dairy section national executive for Federated Farmers, and is on the Holstein Fresian New Zealand External Affairs Committee. She is also a member of the Institute of Directors and New Zealand Asian Leaders.

Described as equally confident at a grass roots level as she is in her governance and leadership roles, Chan-Dorman’s nominator, Fonterra area manager Chris Irvine, says she’s not afraid to stand up for what’s right and has a thoughtful and measured leadership style.

“She has built up her credentials and experience and as a leader is very forthright and not afraid to speak her mind, and because of this her opinion is effective and based on fact,” says Irvine.

“Her ability to work across all aspects of the dairy spectrum makes her a great role model for anyone looking at a career in dairy, because the need to understand what goes on behind and after the farm is vital to all those keen to grow in the sector.”

Chan-Dorman and her husband Hayden milk 950 cows in a self-contained split calving system and are both Fonterra shareholders. She says she is a big believer in New Zealand’s cooperative business approach to dairy and strives to add value to the dairy sector in everything she does.

“The dairy industry in New Zealand is unique in its approach to collaborating as a group not only to our processor, but also in the way we structure our farming businesses to bring the next generation on to the farm - whether that’s through sharemilking, equity partnerships, or some other collaborative arrangement,” says Chan-Dorman.

Chan-Dorman credits her father for instilling in her the leadership values she holds close. “I strive to lead by example and maintain the utmost integrity in all that I do. I was taught by a great leader, my Dad, and his guidance and mentoring has meant that honesty, humility, kindness, patience and commitment have always been behaviours I try to live by and model for others.”

She says if she were to win the title it would help her continue to build a profile towards influencing change in possible future governance roles.

“Receiving the award probably doesn’t fulfil the ‘humility’ part of what I strive for, but it would allow me to continue to be a role model for others.”

The Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year will be named at an awards evening on 11 May during Dairy Women’s Network’s conference in Queenstown. The winner will receive a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 to undertake a professional/business development programme.

The other 2017 finalists are Claire Nicholson, CEO of Sirona Animal Health and director of Paraninihi Ki Waitotara (PKW), and Jolene Germann, an agribusiness consultant from Southland. 

For more about Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, head online: dwn.co.nz/dwoty 

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