New trustees appointed to Dairy Women’s Network board
"My vision is to provide support to women in the dairy industry, in order for them to reach their potential," said Tracy who farms with her husband Wynn at Tiroroa Farms near Matamata.
The Browns milk 700 cows producing 260,000 kgs of milksolids per year.
They were 2010 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards Supreme Winners, leading Tracy to become Regional Coordinator for the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards for the following three years. She is currently Chair of the DairyNZ Dairy Environment Leaders Forum and Chair of the Matamata Intermediate Board of Trustees.
As she joins the trust board she is looking at ways of raising awareness of the network's role of adding value to the dairy industry.
"I thought joining the trust was a good way of giving back to an industry that has been good to me," Tracy said.
"I am also coming in with a fresh set of eyes having only been a member for around 18 months. There are a lot of women not yet connected with the network. And I'd like to see that change."
Tracy came to dairying 20 years ago after a career as Economist at the NZ Meat and Wool Boards Economic Service in Wellington.
She joins the board after completing the 10 month Agri-Women's Development Trust funded leadership and governance programme 'Escalator' in 2015. This involved Institute of Directors modules on governance, finance and strategy.
Tracy has also held positions for Agriculture ITO (now PrimaryITO) and ASB Bank before having four children who are now age 10 to 15 years.
She also has a BAgrSci (Hons) from Massey University, is a Kelloggs Rural Scholar (Lincoln University) and has a postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies (Waikato University).
"It's felt like a natural progression, in a way, to apply for a position on the trust board," said Forlong of her appointment.
She and her husband Maurice farm 350 cows producing 150,000kg of milksolids per year. They have been on the farm for 21 years although she has farmed in Matamata, Ngarua, Tatuanui, Kiwitahi, Arohena and Tokoroa.
"I have been a member of the organisation since 2000. In that time the Dairy Women's Network has always paid it forward.
"I have found it delivers on its purpose of supporting and inspiring women to succeed in not only their businesses but also themselves, it truly is a most 'inclusive' group of women" she said.
"It was there for me when I needed something beyond the boundaries of the farm. It celebrates what women are doing in dairying today. It gives recognition of our involvement in every aspect of Dairying so much more so than was there say 20 years ago. "
Karen has held numerous roles within the Network from 2014 conference chairwoman, to North Island convenor coordinator, supporting 18 regional volunteers who run regional groups, to regional co-convenor for the Rotorua area. She also completed the Agri-Women's Development Trust's Escalator Programme in 2014 and serves as Chair of The Rotorua Vet Club, who have recently formed an alliance with Vet Focus and rebranded as Vetora BoP (Bay of Plenty).
Dairy Women's Network chair Justine Kidd said Tracy and Karen brought new dimensions to the trust board to help navigate it through challenging times in the industry.
"Karen represents a true story of grassroots industry involvement growing her leadership interests and capability through a lot of hard work and taking opportunities. Karen is a product of the network's ethos of 'leadership by doing' and having her willing and ready to join our board is a testament to the success of Dairy Women's Network developing our industry talent and Karen's own work to be a talent that has developed," Justine said.
"Karen will bring a great connection and perspective of our membership and organisation to the board table as well as being a critical and strategic thinker able to see new ways through challenges.
"Tracy has stretched her leadership legs through a variety of community and industry involvements and has a real track record of results with the DairyNZ Dairy Environment Environmental Leaders Forum. Tracy brings not only a grass roots farmer and member perspective but a fabulous ability to connect people, ideas and opportunities together in new ways that can create exciting outcomes."