Wednesday, 12 June 2024 10:55

DWN trustees to step down

Written by  Staff Reporters
Donna Smit Donna Smit

Two long-serving Dairy Women's Network (DWN) board trustees are stepping down.

Edgecumbe dairy farmer and accountant Donna Smit and Mark Heer, a consultant and former head of rural banking at ASB, will be stepping down at DWN's annual meeting in October. Both have served on the board for nearly 10 years.

DWN board chair Trish Rankin says Heer and Smit have been invaluable on the board.

"Their multiple-terms as trustees have added significant value, insights and thinking to make sure we keep on track and deliver for our members.

"We've just celebrated 25 years of DWN excellence, and we are poised for even greater impact and growth. Mark and Donna have been an important factor in helping us take the next step".

DWN will miss having them around the board table as a dynamic duo, she adds.

"They may approach ideas like chalk and cheese but are fantastic to watch together as they work through how we achieve our purpose and manage our finances and operate as a not-for-profit.

"They have a special balance of personal knowledge and unique abilities that cannot be replicated. Mark is always thinking with an organisational heart and about our people and Donna is amazing at making sure the numbers work, which together with the other trustees have enabled the organisation to be hugely successful," says Rankin.

Heer has 30 years' experience in business across rural and corporate banking, manufacturing, wholesale and retail SMEs. He has also held governance roles across these sectors both as a shareholding director and an independent director.

He reflects that his motivation to initially join the DWN board was to role model to his work colleagues and daughters that championing diversity and being prepared to step forward into the unknown is a worthwhile endeavour and not one to walk away from.

"The opportunity to give back to the dairy industry through an industry good, not for profit organisation, was also a key factor. I have learnt through my life that the only important thing is what you do, actions rather than words are heard the loudest. My nine years have been full of learning and gaining new perspective and insights and it's been a privilege and honour to serve on the board," Heer says.

Smit has significant experience as a chartered accountant as well as having, with husband Corrie, built up a successful family farming business, owning seven farms in Edgecumbe and Oamaru, and investments in kiwifruit.

Mark Heer FBTW

Mark Heer

Smith believes that there is a lot of talent behind the farm gate and DWN is instrumental in making sure New Zealand dairy farmers succeed.

"DWN run professional workshop, conferences and webinars for all at the lowest cost with the greatest reach and this is something I respect immensely," says Smit.

Applications for DWN Trustee positions have opened and DWN are looking for people passionate about championing diversity, empowering individuals, and shaping the future of the dairy industry to join our board of trustees.

Do It!

Both Mark Heer and Donna Smit's advice to someone considering appling to the board is 'do it'.

"Take the opportunity to gain learnings, perspective and insights through an action-orientated organisation. DWN lives actions over words every day and this will be the secret to DWN's ongoing success. As a non-political, action and outcome focused organisation, DWN is increasingly seen as the industry connector to bring people and ideas together to make things happen," says Heer.

Smit adds that it's a great place to develop governance skills.

"The culture is awesome, and you will be energised. Today's dairy farmers are skilled in multiple disciplines and who cope with change at a rapid pace DWN helps connect, build and celebrate our industry's professionalism, and what's exciting is its being noticed by other industries and other countries who want to emulate what we have."

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