Rakaia dairy farmer one of three Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year finalists
Rakaia dairy farmer Jesse Chan–Dorman is a finalist for the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year title.
Chan-Dorman owns a dairy business with her husband leasing 420 hectares and milking 950 cows.
She is on the Fonterra shareholder council and Federated Farmers national dairy executive and is also a director of the Ashburton Trading Society and a member of New Zealand Asian Leaders.
Chan-Dorman said she was excited about the future of the dairy industry and wanted to progress into a leadership role that would allow her to make further contributions to dairying.
"It's a tough time for the industry - it requires us all as farming businesses and as an industry body to be really clear about our purpose," she said.
"Whatever you're doing in the business, it's about understanding what makes people tick. To make good decisions, you need to work together. That's challenging at times, but if you understand where people are coming from you're more likely to find common ground.
"It is also about integrity. Understand your own core values and stick to them in whatever you do. For me, it is about doing the right thing, not necessarily just the easy thing or the money-making thing."
Chan-Dorman has a first class honours degree in animal science and has worked in various roles across policy, research and development and sustainable farming. In 2014 she received the Canterbury Institute of Directors aspiring directors award.
Being part of the DairyNZ board had helped grow her governance skills and allowed her to contribute some diverse thinking, she said.
"Because I have been in a lot of different roles I have got to the stage where it's okay not to know everything and it's not a weakness to admit it," she said. " It's good to know your weaknesses."
That attitude and knowledge stood her in good stead when she and husband Hayden, who she met via Young Farmers, embarked on their own dairying operation.
"I live and breathe farming," she said. "My husband loves the cows and I love doing the business side, so we make a good team."
Veterinarian Claire Nicholson and dairy consultant Jolene Germann are also finalists for Dairy Woman of the Year.