Dawn Sangster is an advocate for rural women developing
their leadership skills.
The Maniototo mother-of-three balances family with a family
sheep and beef farming business and a professional career in
Mrs Sangster has instigated an Agri Women's Development Trust
First Steps course in the Maniototo on March 21 and 22.
First Steps is a two-day programme open to farming women
throughout Otago and Southland who are living rurally with a
community connection and directly related in some way to the
farming sector. It aims to give women greater confidence and
insight into the value of their skills, confirm competencies
and, if necessary, reframe them to open opportunities, and
provide support for the development of an individual plan of
That plan might include study opportunities, developing an
off-farm business idea, a business plan for their farming
enterprise, re-entering the workforce, a leadership role or a
Mrs Sangster said it was ''absolutely fantastic'' the course
was being held in the Maniototo and urged women to consider
''It's never too late to start, either. Sometimes it's just a
matter of confidence and, like most things, making the most
of the opportunity. My favourite saying is, it's not luck,
it's all about hard work and planning,'' she said.
Since graduating from Escalator, a national 10-month
leadership programme run by the Agri Women's Development
Trust, Mrs Sangster had been elected to the Beef and Lamb New
Zealand Central South Island Farmers Council and to the board
of meat company Alliance Group. Last year, she won the
Institute of Directors aspiring director award for the
Otago-Southland branch. She also spoke at the Maniototo
branch of Rural Women New Zealand's annual meeting about her
governance journey and how she came to realise that skills
she had learnt at a community level could be transferable to
higher leadership positions.
The course, which was heavily subsidised by sponsorship
through the agricultural sector, will be facilitated by
Jeanette Long, from Australia, and Agri Women's Development
Trust founder Lindy Nelson, from Eketahuna.
Mrs Nelson said there was a national introduction of the
programme last year and women from Otago and Southland
attended a course in Ashburton. She was delighted to bring it
There was a ''huge benefit'' from women in all sectors of the
industry getting together for the two days ''and really focus
on their needs''.
To register interest in the course, contact Sara Heard on 027
279-7550 or Amie Pont (03) 444-9993.