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International Women's Day: Mandy Bell

International Women's Day: Mandy Bell

Mandy Bell

Deer IndustryNZ Chairperson

1. Why is it so important for women to hold leadership positions in the primary industry?

It’s important that women - irrespective of any sector they’re involved in - feel empowered and encouraged to lead from the front. Having diversity of thought in an organisation or around the Board table is essential for any organisation. Women holding leadership positions means there’s that added layer of depth to discussions, different perspectives, and more opportunities for collaboration across the board.

Having said that, male or female, if you believe you are capable of adding value to an organisation, you should step forward and do it.

2. What obstacles are there for women in agricultural roles, and how can we remove those obstacles?

One common obstacle for anyone can be finding a balance between having the flexibility to manage both their leadership role as well as being there for their families and showing up in their personal lives.

With agricultural roles specifically, women often wear several hats – working on the farm, in management, and in industry roles along with leadership. Travelling to and from the properties/place of work also adds significant time to the week.

In the past, women in the sector have had to break through that glass ceiling to get a seat at the table. Now, we’re seeing more women in leadership roles across different industry bodies. Research has shown that collaboration is key to tackling opportunities and challenges and that women have strengths in these areas.

3. What advice do you have for women who want to rise through the ranks, and advance their career in agriculture?

● Having a real thirst for learning and knowledge that continues throughout your career is crucial.

● Being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

● Connecting and networking with people is important. Be proactive in approaching people for advice. Surround yourself with good people who complement your skills, support your strengths, and push you beyond your comfort zone.

● Do what you love with people that you enjoy being with.