Enthusiasm for a digital future is a key asset Auckland based tech enthusiast Sophie Stanley feels she can bring to the Dairy Women's Network as the newest member of its trust board.
“I’ve worked with the Dairy Women’s Network in the past and have always admired what they are doing in the community to support women in the dairy industry,” she said. “I thought it was an organisation I could add a lot of value too and opportunities like this don’t come along that often.”
Stanley, 32, felt her youth and enthusiasm for a digital future was the key asset that she would will bring to the role.
“Having lead an agtech company in the US for the last two years I bring experience from the technology sector with agile and design thinking, and also have international experience working with farmers in the Midwest, USA.”
She said her experience travelling as a scholarship recipient of the prestigious rural leadership programme Nuffield New Zealand where she researched social media in the agricultural sector highlighted the importance of community and good use of technology, but stresses the importance of face to face connections.
“Used well, technology should be leveraged to enhance knowledge, community and connection, but real human interaction remains very important.”
Chair of the Dairy Women’s Network Board of Trustees Cathy Brown said Stanley had a strong understanding of strategy development and execution.
“Her digital knowledge will be an asset as the Dairy Women’s Network tells the story of the amazing women who work in the industry. We look forward to having Sophie on the team,” she said.
Stanley spent a year as an Associate Director on the Rural Leadership Consortium board (Nuffield NZ) following travelling overseas and has worked extensively in the banking and technology sectors.
“I feel excited to join a team who are committed to enabling transformational change in agribusiness, particularly with women,” she said.
“The agricultural sector has long been a passion of mine, and I believe that grassroots organisations such as Dairy Women’s Network provide so much value to its members by providing a community and access to tools and knowledge that can help them thrive.”
With strong rural roots resulting from growing up on a sheep and beef farm in Rangitaiki, in the Bay of Plenty, Stanley has always had a strong passion for agriculture and food production. She graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Science (Agricultural Science) and Bachelor of Business Studies (Economics) and went on to spend five years working as an Agri Manager for ANZ Bank with dairy farmers in Morrinsville.
In 2013 when she won the Nuffield Scholarship to research the impact of social media in agriculture she was one of the youngest scholars to ever be awarded it.
She joined cloud software company Figured in 2014 to build the vision for a cloud based agri accounting software, spending four years helping grow the company that included moving to Omaha, Nebraska to launch the business in the United States.
The call of New Zealand’s beaches and mountains saw her return home earlier this year to take up a role working on building app partner programmes for the global ecosystem at Xero.
An avid reader, podcast listener and traveller who says she loves learning about food systems, politics, economics and climate change, she has found time to run her first 50 kilometre ultramarathon in February and is training for her next ultramarathon in Taupo in October.
Stanley’s first Dairy Women’s Network Trust Board meeting will be in September.