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Helping rural women tap into their potential is crucial for the vitality and productivity of our sector, that’s why Cashmanager RURAL is proud to sponsor the Agri Women’s Development Trust (AWDT).

We know that women are critical business partners and when women are involved in the farming business, it only makes the business stronger.

Cashmanager RURAL decided to get in behind the AWDT, a charitable organisation that provides an enabling environment for all agri-women to realise their potential and grow New Zealand’s agriculture sector.

Agriculture’s greatest asset is its human capital – 50% of which are women. Their skills are often gained by default, not design. AWDT is changing this by providing targeted development to help women meet the needs of farming businesses and communities.

One of those women is Cable Bay farm financial consultant, Georgie McGarry, who is a recent graduate of the First Steps programme.

Previously a rural bank manager, Georgie founded her own company, Forward Financial Rural, three years ago to assist farmers with their financial management and communication. Georgie found the AWDT programme to be an amazing experience.

The environment created by the facilitators was key, she says, encouraging a supportive platform with confidentiality and openness.

“Over a couple of days you suddenly find yourself inside a lot of women’s lives and also share your own life to the extent you never thought you would. It’s a very open forum to get it all out and work out your strengths and weaknesses, and what you have to offer the world.”

Georgie works with many farming families, particularly husband and wife teams. “It’s given me greater focus and the tools to support the female in the farming business – for some reason there’s often a lack of confidence that they know enough to put their hand up and have a say, but their input is incredibly important.”

As well as empowering female clients, Georgie benefited on a personal level. “In my own business I’m a one-man-band somewhat and you can feel very alone. I’ve been rocketing along, making decisions as best I can and there are times when you need to turn to others,” she says.

“There’s a synergy in that with women on farms – you make a lot of decisions on your own and sometimes you just need the support of another to seal the confidence.”

Georgie would highly recommend AWDT First Steps programme to other women. “It’s incredibly encouraging and you come away with a huge level of confidence, like you can take on the world.

“There are so many women in the agri sector who have so much to offer and this is a great way to start bringing that out and lifting the productivity of the industry.”

If you would like to register your interest for First Steps please email inquiries@awdt.org.nz

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