Jules Benton, CEO of the Dairy Women's Network (DWN), commemorates the 25th anniversary of the organisation, which has grown from a small group of women sharing an email newsletter to a powerful network of 17,000 members in New Zealand's dairy farming sector.
Benton speaks to REX host Dom George about the organisation's origin, which started in 1998 with four women who were in need of knowledge and support specific to their dairy farms.
"Here we are today, 17,000 members supported by just some really incredible people," she proudly remarks.
Benton emphasises the DWN's core philosophy of community and collaboration, stating that the organization doesn't have a "logo ego" and often supports other organisations. She highlights their recent collaboration with Meat the Need, an initiative she describes as "incredible" and one she hopes all of New Zealand will support.
"How could we not support Meat the Need?" she asks.
One exciting future project discussed in the podcast is "Milking It," a 12-month support program for a farming business or couple. The initiative is supported by CMK Chartered Accountants and offers free coaching, mentoring, financial advice, and business advice.
The journey of the recipient will be documented and shared, with Benton describing it as a "truthful, transparent, authentic journey." Benton reflects positively on the past year and anticipates a bright future for the dairy sector.
"It's a brilliant industry to be part of. It's all about the people and as long as we are there to support the people within the sector, to help them be the very best that they can be, then we've got a really bright future."
The episode ends on a high note, with Benton encouraging listeners to embrace challenges and keep celebrating.
"Push through. I saw something the other day, when you're going through tough times, you know, lean into it, go through it, you'll come out the other side," she advises.
She looks forward to more collaborations and initiatives in the new year, affirming the DWN's commitment to community and empowerment in the dairy farming sector.
Listen to the full chat between Jules Benton and Dominic George above.