Sophie Malone’s story begins on a dairy farm in the Manawatu region. A childhood filled with animals, adventures and a many muddy pairs of gumboots.

After finishing school, Sophie went down to study at Lincoln University. She returned home three years later with a Bachelor of Commerce and Management, with a double major in Marketing and International Business.

By this stage, Sophie was fascinated with marketing and wanted to build a career using her skills within the primary sector. NZX Agri was a huge development stage for her. She started out as a project coordinator for a new publication and quickly moved on to become the Auckland/Northland account manager for New Zealand Farmers Weekly, Country-Wide, Dairy Exporter and Young Country magazine.

From here, Sophie was offered the position of data sales and marketing manager for the agri-data side of the business. She really enjoyed learning more about the export side of the sector and meeting traders, market analysts and economists. In 2014 Sophie was approached by an agency in Auckland. The idea of city life wasn’t very appealing to her, but she really respected the owners of the business and believes opportunities arise for a reason.

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Sophie became agency hub for Deep Ltd in Parnell and quickly learnt the ropes of the fast-paced ‘agency land’. It was another huge growth period for Sophie as she worked on key accounts in nutrition, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. It was during this role that Sophie received news that a family member was very unwell and after a tough few months, Sophie decided to move back to the family farm in the Manawatu.

This was time to make lemonade and Sophie worked casually on the farm, reared autumn calves and picked up contract marketing work with a number of rural businesses in the area. She focused on family and powered through a tough time in her life. In 2015 Sophie took up an opportunity with Ovation NZ and moved up to the sunny Hawke’s Bay.

She took on a very diverse role that included domestic sales, export documentation, sales logistics for the pet food side of the business and customer relationship management. She really enjoyed learning about the
complexity of exporting meat from NZ to our markets.

In 2016, Sophie was approached for the product marketer role with CRS Software Ltd in the Wairarapa. This role was more on track with her passion for marketing and included new skills in understanding software development and software as a service (Saas) – plus an opportunity to work with farmers again.

In 2017 Sophie completed the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme and built up the courage to start up her own business - Foster Ideas Ltd was born in Dec 2017. Sophie currently resides Ohingaiti with her partner Patrick on his family sheep and beef finishing property and spends her time delivering fabulous marketing and brand development projects for primary sector businesses.

Sophie, we are excited to see where our ag industry will take you and where you will continue to take our industry. Thank you for your contribution in every unique position you have held along the way. Your path will certainly be an inspiration to others!