Future Leaders: Introducing our speakers

Top L-R: Erin Atkinson, Nick Bailey, Richard Hegan. Bottom L-R: Tim van de Molen, Abby Cook, William Robertson


Wednesday 14th March, Orlando Country, 9am-1pm. This event is free to attend, book your spot here.

Future Leaders is a new and exciting half-day event that is designed to address what job attraction and leadership development looks like in the primary industries, moving forward.

We’ve lined up six emerging and established leaders, including farmers, horticulturists, corporate executives and students to give their perspective on how industries, employers and businesses should be working to attract students and people looking for a career change, into their industry.

They’ll each give a short presentation touching on themes from how the primary industries need to collaboratively tell a better story to attract the next generation of workers, through to how the dairy industry needs to explore different employment strategies like flexibility around rosters to offer a better work-life balance for employees.

Other topics include addressing some of the negative stigmas around agriculture and how they can be improved. There will be a Q and A discussion following the presentations for you – the audience – to ask the leaders your questions and be a part of the conversation.

Future Leaders speaker Nick Bailey is dairy farming in Tararua and was named Dairy Trainee of the Year in 2016. Described as a young up-and-coming industry leader, 23-year-old Nick says Kiwi farmers are great at growing grass, but need to work just as hard at growing people.

“It’s the people who will make or break your business so it’s worth investing the time and effort to properly train and nurture staff so they don’t burn out. These guys are the future of our industry. We need to look after them and grow them as well,” he said in an interview with Primary ITO, through which he’s gained several qualifications.

Flexible rosters and helping staff learn new skills are just two of the ways that Nick believes will help employers attract new workers.

Interested in attending?

Book your spot now, and RSVP to [email protected]

Our speakers & topics:

Tim van de Molen is the National MP for Waikato. He has business interests in the agriculture and horticulture sectors, as well as in retail services and online, and has previously worked in rural banking and dairy farming for a number of years.

Richard Hegan leads Rural Banking for ASB, which includes a team of more than 200 rural bankers and roughly 4,500 farming businesses. A key focus for Richard throughout his career has been developing leadership and governance skills to assist him in this role as well as personal farming interests, including being on the board of two private farming companies.

Erin Atkinson won the Horticulture New Zealand Young Grower of the Year competition in 2017, and was the first woman to take out the top spot in its 11 year history. Erin manages the Orchard Management division for Apata Group, a post-harvest service supplier for the kiwifruit and avocado industries.

Nicholas Bailey was named Dairy Trainee of the Year 2016 and is the Vice Chair for the East Coast Young Farmers Region. Nick isn’t from a farming background but discovered a passion for working in the dairy industry at 13 years old when he asked his neighbour if he would show him how to milk cows. Nicholas currently manages a 750 cow dairy farm for Ben and Nicky Allomes in Danniverke and is about to start a Diploma in Agribusiness Management. His goals include 50:50 sharemilking and eventually farm ownership.

William Robertson grew up on a dairy farm in the heart of Waikato and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of AgriCommerce majoring in International Agribusiness at Massey University. He’s passionate about encouraging leadership in agriculture because of the opportunities he’s had through the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Young Farmers Regional Committee and the Hamilton Boys’ High School TeenAg Club.

Abby Cook is a Y13 student at St Peters School Cambridge who grew up on a large-scale dairy farm in Southland and more recently a lifestyle block in Waikato. Abby is chair of the St Peters TeenAg Club and recently completed the Rabobank Agri-Leadership Program. She’s unsure of what she may study after high school and will bring the perspective of “Why primary industries when there are so many other exciting career opportunities?” to the Future Leaders discussion.

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