Samantha (Sammy) Bills, NZYF Member Elected Board Member 2021

Posted by on 26 July 2021 | Comments

Growing up in the Horowhenua region on her parents dairy farm, Sammy experienced first hand what it was like to be part of the Food & Fibre sector. Although she didn’t pursue an agriculture degree at University, her understanding and love for the Food & Fibre sector has seen her law and commerce degree from the University of Otago put to good use. She is now practicing law in Whanganui with one of her focuses being on rural succession/transactions and she’s an active member of the Whanganui Young Farmers club.


So why did she join the club when she moved back to Whanganui?


“Well firstly my Mum suggested it, but growing up in the Shannon region, we were always really aware of Opiki Young Farmers. They had such a good vibe for events and they were all really good friends with each other. I didn’t really know anyone in Whanganui when I moved there, so it was a good chance for me to meet some people”.


Samantha is one busy lady, splitting her time between the law practice and her partner's dairy farm in Taranaki. Taking on a governance role is never easy, so what’s her motivation to put herself forward for nomination now?


Sammy laughs, “Because I’m about to age out. I don’t want to let it go yet!”


“No, but seriously, it is important to me that NZYF is sustainable as an organisation. I believe this sustainability will come from good stable membership, financial prudency and consistent delivery of our strategy and purpose.


“I have received a great deal of value from NZYF over the past 7 years, in particular the development of networks and skills, which have helped launch me into my career, which hasn’t been a super rural focused career - it’s still launched me. I would like to use those skills and invest them back into NZYF to help the organisation have a long standing, better and sustainable future.


“I want to give back and that was my last chance. As someone who can be a leader of the members in the organisation - I wanted to run now, so I have the opportunity to give back in that sense”.


Sammy brings to the board a diverse range of key competencies, including critical thinking and analysis, strategic thinking and previous governance experience.


“My previous governance experience is limited, but I was on the Board for the Whanganui Women’s Network, a local charity, which promotes women’s health, rights, and advocates for women. It was a real eye-opening experience for me being on that Board, learning about the difference between operations, strategy and governance”.


As a Board member she really wants to hone her focus on diversity within the organisation, from sectors, and age through to ethnicities. She acknowledges that the sector is changing and as an organisation NZYF needs to broaden its offering to attract a greater, more diverse number of members.


“I feel very privileged to be elected into this position. That the members trust me in this role because there were some really good candidates up for election. I'm really looking forward to August where I get to crack into it and put my feet under the desk to start!”