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CLIENT NEWS: Impressive line-up for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year 2017

Impressive line-up for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year 2017

Three of New Zealand's emerging dairy industry leaders are finalists in the sixth annual Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.

They are Claire Nicholson from Bay of Plenty, Jessie Chan-Dorman from Canterbury and Jolene Germann from Southland.

Claire Nicholson (Ngāti Ruanui) is a Director of Paraninihi Ki Waitotara (PKW) and Chief Executive of Sirona Animal Health, Jessie Chan-Dorman is a Fonterra Shareholders Councillor and a Director of the Ashburton Trading Society, and Jolene Germann is an Agribusiness Consultants dairy consultant and Chair of Rural Business Network Southland.

One of them will receive the coveted Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year title at an awards evening during the annual Dairy Women's Network conference, this year held in Queenstown, 11-12 May.

Dairy Women's Network Chief Executive Zelda de Villiers says a common theme among this year's finalists is the high extent to which they contribute to the business of dairy in New Zealand.

"We have three outstanding finalists who are making big decisions and contributions that affect the future of dairy in this country," she says.

"They are all recognised as leaders in their networks and communities, are highly influential at a national level and have a real commitment to progressing our dairy industry internationally."

Jo Finer, Fonterra's General Manager NZ Industry Affairs, says Fonterra is proud to have been on board with Dairy Woman of the Year since it began.

"As an organisation we're 100% behind initiatives like this that celebrate high performers in the dairy industry.

"The calibre of the finalists this year is outstanding – every year we see incredibly worthy nominations coming through and I have no doubt each one of them will continue to excel in dairy leadership well into the future."

Nicholson, a qualified veterinarian, has had several leadership roles in the dairy industry including General Manager for Intervet New Zealand and business development and marketing manager for Agrifeeds. She says she's honoured to be among such a strong group of finalists.

"I'm a big advocate for protecting and enhancing our dairy assets for future generations, and being nominated for an award like this signals to me that the work I'm doing is on the right track."

Chan-Dorman has had a wide range of rural professional roles across policy, research and development and sustainable farming.

"I'm really excited about the future of the dairy industry in New Zealand and progressing further into a leadership role that will allow me to make further contributions to the industry."

Germann is a relative new-comer to the dairy industry, milking her first cow just seven years ago. She and her husband own a 570 cow dairy farm in equity partnership in Aparima, Southland, and she has just been offered a partnership role at Agribusiness Consultants. She also volunteers her time as a mentor for DairyNZ Dairy Connect and PrimaryITO.

She says she's surprised to be nominated for the award, "but incredibly humbled at the same time – I'm constantly impressed with the opportunities and passion that is so widespread within the dairy industry."

This year's Dairy Woman of the Year will receive a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 to undertake a professional/business development programme.

Past Dairy Woman of the Year winners are Landcorp business manager Rebecca Keoghan (2016), Westland Milk Products board member Katie Milne (2015), Agri-Women's Development Trust chair Charmaine O'Shea (2014), Milk New Zealand agribusiness chief executive Justine Kidd (2013) and Taranaki-King Country National MP Barbara Kuriger (2012).