Rural Women NZ has a strong interest in helping women reach their full leadership potential.
Each year we run a Growing Dynamic Leaders course in Wellington, sponsored by Landcorp, which offers an intensive, stimulating three day programme of speakers, activities, workshops and presentations.
This year, Bobbie Mulgrew, Leona Trimble, Sharron Davie-Martin, Alex Thompson, Bex Warburton, Sue Hendra, Wendy Knight, June Lambeth, Vicky Appleby, Nichola Hine and Debbie Evans took part. They come from all areas of the country.
The course was an opportunity grow their communications skills, build networks and learn about the work of our organisation at a national level. But it turned out to be so much more. Amuri member, Alex Thompson, described the course as ‘intense’, but worth every bit of the three days spent in the capital.
Lindy Nelson, founder of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust and 2013 Next business Woman of the Year, introduced the programme, helping to connect the women and uncover their strengths on day one.
The participants spent half a day at Parliament, watching the machinations of the House in action, and meeting members of both the Labour and National party women’s caucuses.
“It was fascinating, and we got to ask them some tough questions,” says Alex. “We were reminded to lobby our concerns through our MPs; everything the women’s caucuses had to say was very useful.”
Vanisa Dhiru, chief executive of Volunteering New Zealand, shared her insights on how to inspire volunteers, and Ministry of Social Development staff talked to the participants about the It’s OK to Ask for Help and It’s OK to Help campaigns that we are partnering with in 2014, through our letterbox sticker project and distribution of information targetted specifically at rural people.
At a working dinner, the women tackled the issues of mental wellness, farm accidents and moving into a new area.
“The three things go hand in hand,” says Alex. “If someone is suffering stress, there is a higher likelihood of a farm accident happening, likewise moving into a new area can be very stressful, and can precipitate mental illness.”
Presenting their ideas on these topics to Landcorp on the final day of the course, the women explored ways in which the two organisations could work together to try to get rural people to understand that It’s OK to Ask for Help.
“We have brought back so many ideas from the course,” says Alex, “from encouraging local issues, to tips for volunteers in the community. We also want to make people aware of the huge amount of work Rural Women New Zealand does at a national level.”
Building on the national programme, a Growing Southern Leaders course is being held in Mosgiel from Monday 16 June to Wednesday 18 June. Registration form and Programme.