The New Zealand chapter is chaired by general manager of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ashley Gray.
She was optimistic about what the new chapter can achieve.
“Once I began on this journey, the interactions I had with women working in the supply chain, were for me - revolutionary. Women in our sector are incredibly passionate. They are forward thinkers, conversation starters, game changers, shakers and movers and I believe, collectively, have a huge role to play in shaping how the meat industry is perceived and operates in years to come.
“I can see how a young woman looking to choose her career path could overlook this industry. I almost was that woman eight years ago, but I’ve had some unforgettable experiences and opportunities to create change. I know that if we can develop an environment that attracts talented women into our industry and nurture their development, the whole sector will reap the rewards.”
The main objectives for MBW are to develop the image of the meat industry to attract more female talent, nurture women through the sector and skilfully improve networking.
“If we want a thriving industry, change needs to happen quickly through innovation, cultural shifts, challenging perceptions and a whole new approach to how we think about our sector. Bringing women together to tackle just that – there’s huge opportunity,” added Gray.
The New Zealand launch is the latest chapter of the organisation, started in the UK by Laura Ryan. Earlier this year MBW partnered with the Australian Meat Industry Council to set up a chapter in that country.
“It’s fantastic to see the group go from strength to strength on an international scale. So many of the challenges and opportunities within the sector span the globe and getting the best possible talent pipeline is definitely one of them,” said Ryan.
“Having an international reach will allow global mentoring opportunities and the sharing of best practice. Research shows us that having more gender diverse company boards and workforce facilitates enhanced financial performance and governance. As someone who is passionate about the meat industry, I know we can make a positive impact with Meat Business Women.”