Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillor Jessie Chan-Dorman has been announced as the winner of the 2017 Dairy Woman of the Year award. It’s the sixth year in which the honour, sponsored by Fonterra, is awarded in recognition of the vital role women play in the dairy industry.

Jessie won the coveted title out of a group of three finalists which included CEO of Sirona Animal Health Claire Nicholson and agribusiness consultant Jolene Germann. The awards ceremony was held last night in Queenstown as part of a gala dinner at the Dairy Women’s Network’s annual conference.

Jessie owns a dairy business with her husband, leasing 420ha near Rakaia, milking 950 cows. In addition to being a Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillor, she is director of the Ashburton Trading Society, serves on the Holstein Friesian New Zealand External Affairs Committee and is a member of the Institute of Directors and New Zealand Asian Leaders.

With a career spanning farming through to business and governance, Jessie’s experience stems from her roles in large organisations such as DairyNZ and Environment Canterbury, and volunteer positions with Federated Farmers, the Land Use Futures Board, Land and Water forum and Ballance AgriNutrients as a judge for their farm environment awards.

Dairy Women’s Network CEO Zelda de Villiers said Jessie is a worthy recipient of the title, citing her positive role modelling for others in the rural sector and her ability to work across all aspects of the dairy spectrum.

“Jessie’s career over the past decade has seen her add extraordinary value to the business of dairy in New Zealand,” she said. “It’s clear that across the variety of roles she has had, from volunteering through to business ownership and governance, she has made it a priority to share her expertise and give back where she can."