Thursday, August 18, 2022

Two to take on AWDT chair

One chair steps down and two step up to head the Agri Women Development Trust (AWDT).

After three years heading the charitable trust, Linda Cooper is moving on. 

As part of its succession planning and maturing governance model, trustees Murray Donald and Keri Johnston have been appointed as co-chairs and they took up their roles on June 1.

Cooper has served the trust since 2019, leading it through further growth and extension of its impact across the primary sector from farms to boardrooms.

Cooper says she is excited for the trust’s future.

“We’ve come through some challenging times with the pandemic over the past couple of years as we committed to investing in our programmes and our women and men to help meet the future needs of the primary sector. 

“I am excited for the trust’s future with the new programmes rolling out, the continued support of our partners, new developing partnerships, and the talent around the board and staff tables.”

She will continue her involvement with AWDT and the primary sector and women it works with through her role as a facilitator and coach on the trust’s Next Level leadership programme.

The appointment of longstanding AWDT trustee, Southland farmer and experienced governor Donald, will ensure continuity on the board as it retains his strong financial and strategic skills.

A farmer, environmental consultant and natural resources engineer, Johnston joined the AWDT board in 2021 bringing deep experience and skills from her roles as chair of Irrigation NZ and vice chair of the Timaru Girls High School board. 

She is a graduate of AWDT’s Escalator leadership and governance programme. 

A working engineer, principal of Irricon Resource Solutions and mother of two, Johnston is used to juggling a variety of roles.

As part of further succession plans and board progression, Jenni Vernon and Fi Dalgety will step down from the AWDT board this year and the trust will recruit one more trustee.

This will reduce the total number of trustees from eight to five, including sitting trustees Anne-Marie Brougton and Poto Davies, an appropriate size board for a small organisation, Cooper said.

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