Raised on a Manawatu Dairy and Potato Cropping Farm with four younger siblings, Joanna McGregor had a wonderful childhood. Joanna was rocked by the death of her father aged ten, cultivating a strong work ethic, something she is forever grateful for. Ever curious about people and culture, being awarded a scholarship to work and study in Japan was an incredible experience. An insightful experience into a dramatically different life outside the small farming community, highlighting the different path’s we each travel and the impact this has on paradigms and behaviour. Returning to New Zealand, early ambitions to become a bean counter were pursued along with tertiary study in Japanese at Massey University.
Securing a graduate position with PriceWaterhouseCoopers was the beginning of a professional Chartered Accountancy life. Not your usual bean counter, six-minute chargeable units and a strong focus on left brain attributes proved too restrictive for Joanna, a conversationalist at heart.
Passionate about agriculture, Joanna, and her husband Richard, pulled on the gumboots in 2007 to give Dairy Farming a shot. To the dismay of Richard’s parents, a strong sheep and beef farming family in Gisborne. Progressing from Farm Manager to Equity 50/50 Sharemilking and on to 50/50 Sharemilking in Canterbury. Richard and Joanna discovered they were a fantastic team with strengths and expertise in their respective areas. With ambitions to learn and grow, they entered the Dairy Industry Awards, securing runner up in the 2009 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year and were named the 2011 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Share Farmer of the Year and Runner up in the National Dairy Industry Awards. Along the way they received merit awards in Human Resource Management, Health and Safety, Pasture Performance, Business Performance, and Leadership.
Joanna and Richard had the opportunity to encounter incredible demonstrations of leadership, people who focused on possibility and growth, yet others struggled to deal with people in a respectful manner and constantly operated “below the line”. Fortuitously, the poor examples of leadership proved invaluable, digging deep, they learnt a lot about themselves, behaviour and the disparity of the social filter. Little did they know at the time, these difficult experiences were to be a significant turning point, a learning opportunity igniting a passion to understand people and behaviour in the Primary Industry.
Completing the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme in 2017 enabled the completion of a research project entitled “Seismic Shifts in the Primary Sector compel Whole Brain Leadership”. Joanna’s enthusiasm is driven by her passion to cultivate learning environments for people in the Primary Sector to unlock their potential, to learn and grow; to be their best. Success in the sector, she believes is “underpinned by the ability to adopt a whole brain leadership approach, that is build emotional intelligence and lead from the inside out”.
You are such an enthusiastic AgWomen Joanna! You are hardworking and dedicated and it has clearly paid off. Well done and keep on keeping on.