Finally I get a chance to give you a quick run down on last weeks trip to Wellington!
So I left home at 5am on Wednesday morning, driving like a maniac through the pitch black, heavy rain, and tankers smothering me. Got to my flight on ‘Final Call’ – Delayed for half an hour due to Christchurch’s poor weather conditions. Then flew into Wellington with 100kms winds!
Whirlwind start alright (Don’t even get me started on the Taxi driver/rip off artist)
But I ended up only being the 2nd person out of 8 to arrive, meaning I probably didn’t have to panic as much as I did….
The morning started with and Introducing by our great facilitator, Jasmine, followed by a great talk on ‘Leading a team’ By Conrad Wilkshire from FMG taking us through FMGs Leadership model. He pushed things such as ‘Create an Environment where it is good to have ideas’ and ‘Leaders are courageous – They make the hard decisions’. He also recommended a book called ‘Gung Ho’, by Ken Blanchard which I must try and find. He was a great speaker, easy to understand and gave great examples, followed with easy catch phrases.
After morning tea we were thrust into something most of us hate, stand up and talk to a group of people – but in this case, on a random subject out of a hat – Halleluja, my topic was ‘The pets you have’ and as a vet nurse I couldn’t have asked for anything better!!
After a delish lunch we walked in the drizzle up to parliament. This was surprisingly awesome. We all loved watching questions been bandied about amongst ministers/parties and the heckling that followed. In my personal opinion, it came across as quite catty and uncivilised, but it put on a great show. I was sitting above and directly opposite John Key and loved watching him work.
Bruce Wills, The President of Federated Farmers spoke to us in the afternoon, he welcomed us to the Federation and told us more about what they do. I was impressed by how he spoke and he came across very genuine. He laid out some statistics that may surprise some farmers. Did you know that there are 35,000 farming businesses, we provide 50% of NZs total income, and 70% of total exports, totalling $30 Billion dollars/year —— BUT we only make up 2% of the voting public. This concerns me a little – especially with labours proposed bills if they come in to power!
We were briefed about a assignment we had to present the following day, I paired up with Ben McConnell who turns out actually lives only 30km down the road! Our topic was ‘Establish a Government Authority to fund rural water storage and Irrigation’ (Yeowch) LUCKILY I had the 2014 Fed Fermers, Farmers review which discussed the proposed Hawkes Bay storage dam which gave us a few more facts and figures to work off.
We ended Wednesday with a dinner at Featherston Bar and Grill, in bed at 10 with my alarm set for 6.30am to meet my high school bestie for breakfast!
Thursday: I was a bit sneaky and cornered Bruce Wills in his office and Jeremy Blandford joined us (General Manager Sales and Marketing and a real Fire Cracker!) to talk about Farming Mums! They were both really receptive and supportive of our group – which will hopefully lead on to… something 😉 later on!!!
So at 8.30 am and we started off with Conor English, the CEO of Federated Farmers. WOW! He was extremely straight up, open, honest and at times awesomely blunt. (He has handed in his resignation and finishes up in a couple of months). He answered our questions very thoroughly and thoughtfully.
After morning tea (I know, It seems like we never stopped eating) We have 1.5 hours to work on our assignment to be presented straight after lunch. We then had Sarah Deans from ‘Beef + Lamb’ (People and capability advisor) come to have a chat to us (I will hopefully give you more info if I can grab her power point presentation as it was great)
Presentation time! So at lunch time I was flouncing around the office like I owned the place, chatting to everyone about FMNZ and my upcoming meeting with Rural Women (On that note, everyone who works in the Feds office is so lovely and enthusiastic – Great to be in such a positive environment!) Next Minute we are up first!! – Don’t know how that happened? Anyway, I think we did OK, Ben was better at answering the questions (Plus he stole half of my notes) but I think we pulled it off OK – though If we hadn’t have gone first I would have remembered to introduce ourselves! Especially as we were in front of a ‘Select Committee’
So that was the course is a tight nutshell – Summary – It was great – Valuable networking, meeting like minded people, learning so much about leadership and the big farming organisations out there and being able to ask questions!
Once the course ended at 3pm – I had a meeting with Rural Women about Farming Mums! This had been on the cards for a few weeks so after thinking about it for so long, it was a relief to finally get there. I was quite interested in what they had to offer, or what they may propose. I have to admit that I didn’t expect the 6ft tall blonde model like woman who walked in – But she was great! Kiera Jacobsen was lovely and has offered us any support they can give and hopefully we can work together on projects in the future. As we have similar goals, I think this will be a valuable connection to have!
So just to check who reads this – I would love to know what you all think about 3 monthly dinners/nibbles nights, along with a relevant speaker in each region over the next year and ongoing? I would ideally need a representative for each region but the workload would be very small. Deanne suggested this a few weeks ago and I think it would be a great idea. It will give us a chance to leave the farm, leave the hubby and kids, talk to women in similar situations and then tell hubby it was a chance of a learning experience!
If you have any questions, please let me know! and if you would like more info on the course, follow this link http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/services/Training–Development/FFNZ-Leadership-Programme.asp or contact your local Field Officers.