A St Albans woman has become the first female chief executive of New Zealand Young Farmers.
Tech-savvy businesswoman Lynda Coppersmith, 48, took up the position on October 1 and said her first week was “very busy.”
“I’ve been learning a lot – I’m at brain-saturation point I think, but it’s been great to talk to everybody and understand the business.”
Ms Coppersmith said she had been out of the primary industries for more than six years, and was pleased to be back.
“I really enjoyed my time when I worked in the industry. It’s something that’s in your blood, and you get quite passionate about it,” she said.
“Having grown a few leadership skills in the meantime, I thought this looked like a great opportunity to get back into the industry.”
She said she was “chuffed” to be the first woman to hold the chief executive position at NZ Young Farmers.
“I think every time we see more diversity and women getting more senior roles in organisations, it’s a win. It brings a different perspective to what we do, and I think that’s great.”
She was looking forward to visiting clubs and drumming up interest in farming for young people.
“I’m keen to understand who young farmers are, what’s important to them, what they’re worried about, what they’re excited about and that kind of thing,” she said.
“I think that’s a really important role that we play, and I can see there are opportunities to grow that further, to look at filling that gap and meet the target of getting an extra 50,000 people into the industry.”
Ms Coppersmith was completing a Master of Business Administration through Canterbury University and hoped to graduate in
NZ Young Farmers has a network of almost 80 clubs, runs the iconic FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest and works in schools to get students excited about career opportunities in the primary industries.