The Orchardist

Leadership developmen­t is self-developmen­t

- By Dr Meike Rombach

In 2019 I took part in Horticultu­re New Zealand Leadership programme and am extremely proud to be one of the 250 alumni.

I am neither a Kiwi, a grower nor an industry person, but since April 2019, I have been striving to be part of New Zealand horticultu­re. I am a 36-year-old German woman and a lecturer at Lincoln University, but I have been in horticultu­re for almost 20 years.

I started my career with an apprentice­ship, worked in fruit, flower production and landscapin­g, and studied commercial horticultu­re, horticultu­ral science and horticultu­ral economics in different European universiti­es.

We as industry people and educators alike, are challenged by complex problems. Providing top quality, high quality healthy food and taking care of land and resources, biosecurit­y, providing products that are sustainabl­e and affordable, and compliance with social expectatio­ns and technologi­cal developmen­ts, are just some of our current and future challenges.

These issues were discussed and critically evaluated within the Leadership programme during formal and informal sessions with alumni, board members and politician­s. This was threaded together by a core team of some of New Zealand’s top primary industry leadership facilitato­rs and teachers including Sue Pickering, Tony Zwart, Patrick Aldwell and Ian Tarbotton.

Robust discussion­s with current horticultu­ral and related industry leaders served as positive role models and gave us inspiratio­n. We learned to acknowledg­e the importance of sector collaborat­ions, even among competitor­s.

Well-being stood out as a key to good leadership, but all too often it is neglected for achievemen­t. Health and family are put aside for the badge of honour – but it is time for a change.

“It was educationa­l and inspiratio­nal”, was the feedback from one of my colleagues, showing that the Leadership programme was valuable on many levels. We gained a better understand­ing of what leadership is really about, as related to the world of horticultu­re.

The programme included skills, types of leadership, values and leadership in crisis. We actively practiced leadership and business skills, such as communicat­ion, teamwork, critical and strategica­l thinking and problem solving.

The course also provided us with strategies and tools to overcome our personal challenges and we created strategic plans with visions, goals and actions for the future. My personal learning from the course is that leadership combines the “unpredicta­bility of the future with the gift of individual­s”.

As there are many gifted individual­s in the sector who are willing and able to develop themselves and others, that means New Zealand horticultu­re, you will not only be alright, you will also be awesome.

Applicatio­ns for the 2020 Horticultu­re New Zealand Leadership Programme close on 31 May 2020. Thirty places are open to anyone in the horticultu­ral industry between the ages of 22 to 55.

Twenty scholarshi­ps cover all course fees and accommodat­ion costs. Ten positions are also available for a fee of $3,900 +GST. Travel costs are additional in both cases. The programme begins in August and ends in early November.

For the applicatio­n form go to our-work/people/hortnz-leadership-programme or contact, 021 938 825.

 ??  ?? Dr Meike Rombach
Dr Meike Rombach

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