YFC director enjoying work with younger group

Catherine McMillan is a new independent director with the New Zealand Young Farmers’ board. Photo: Shelley Topp
Catherine McMillan is a new independent director with the New Zealand Young Farmers’ board. Photo: Shelley Topp
Catherine McMillan reckons working with young farmers will keep her young.

The North Canterbury businesswoman and chartered accountant has been appointed as New Zealand Young Farmers’ (NZYF) new independent board director.

‘‘I don’t see myself as a young farmer, but someone approached me and I thought it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

‘‘I have finance and business experience, which is what they were looking for, and I have an interest in working with young people.

‘‘Most of my board roles have been with organisations working with young people and I like to be involved in things that have a long-term perspective.’’

Ms McMillan is a trustee and former chairwoman of Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara Trust, which administers the Tuhaitara Coastal Park near Kaiapoi, a former board member of the Community Wellbeing North Canterbury Trust, and serves on the Christ’s College Board of Governors, the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust and the CORE Education Charitable Trust.

She was impressed with NZYF’s efforts to promote skills, educational and career opportunities across the primary sector.

‘‘We’re getting into the young farmers’ contest regional finals at the moment and I’ve always had an interest in the contest because it gives young people a chance to excel and test their skills.

‘‘They’re also doing a lot of work in the schools around skills and career opportunities across the broader rural sector, and I really like the idea of the club structure which gives young people the opportunity to be connected with like-minded people.’’

Ms McMillan said her background of working with not-for-profit organisations has shown the importance of having a business plan and reliable income streams.

‘‘No matter what the organisation is, it’s got to have money going through. There’s often a disconnect in not-for-profit organisations from where the money comes from.’’

While it was unusual being on a board where most of her colleagues were much younger, Ms McMillan said she had been impressed with the calibre of the board members.

‘‘It’s a really motivated group ... These young people have had a huge amount of responsibility from their teens ... and many of them have moved into quite senior roles at a young age.’’

-By David Hill

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