An understanding of risk gives Angela Hogg an appreciation for the challenges of her new position as an independent director of AngusNZ.
Ange has had a close-up look at the organisation in her job with FMG – a key commercial partner with AngusNZ – and had also seen a fair bit of AngusNZ through Federated Farmers, where she’s had staff and executive roles in the past decade.
She expects to put some of that agri-business experience into practice as she joins the AngusNZ board.
“I’m really impressed that even though AngusNZ is a multi-generational, 100-years-old organisation, it’s actually able to adapt to the current-day challenges – and the opportunities that are in front of its members now,” she says.
Ange started out with Central Districts Field Day but really “cut her teeth” at Federated Farmers, working in a number of roles and getting to know most parts of the country.
It gave her a sense of how farmers think and how farms tend to operate – and a grounding in agri-business and some of the politics that goes with it.
Ange says she’s always been one to seek out answers, whether it’s been around farming, as an employee or as a board member. “I’m definitely not shy about challenging the status quo or about digging deeper to understand what’s actually going on – what’s actually behind an opportunity or behind a challenge. My mother used to tell me off because I asked too many questions and now that’s proving to be quite valuable for me in a professional sense.”
As a membership-based organisation, the challenge for AngusNZ is to continually create value, she says. “I think being clear on your purpose is really important. And that’s why I retain my involvement with Federated Farmers as well; it’s really important that membership organisations are having a material impact on their members lives, or their businesses.”
“If I look at my personal Why, it’s very much about helping farmers to do what they do best. I guess I’m lucky in that my training in the last few years with FMG has been very much in the risk space – what are the risks and how do you manage those. I think I can bring that lens to Angus as well.”
Making a difference might mean taking away costs or a particular problem “but it’s also being really clear on ‘what is the role of our organisation?,” she says. “It’s about, where do we sit within the eco-system of farming and the culture of farming. And it’s about identifying, is that risk a farm risk, an organisation risk or is it an industry risk? Then that helps you guide how actually you’ll solve the problem as well. And in the Angus world, it’s about how do we make sure the breed is really well understood by commercial farmers and the stud world as well. And how does a membership organisation that’s focused on the breed help farmers farm better. How does that help them to get better results?”
Ange admits she’s not an expert on animal genetics though she’s “learning how to be a real farmer”, through her partner Will Taylor, who has a small sheep trading and finishing farm near Feilding.
“You know, I’m not a beef farmer and I’m not involved in Angus to be an expert in that area. I’m really keen to learn more about that – and what I can make a commitment to, to the membership, is my unwavering commitment to the organisation.”
Ange’s bio for the AngusNZ directorship gives you a sense of her drive: “For over a decade, I have supported farmers and growers understand their risk inside and outside the farm gate. Joining agriculture by choice and now farming with my partner, I’ve held a range of provincial and national roles with FMG and Federated Farmers. Being energized by building extensive networks and experiences across the industry, I’m a strategic, committed, commercially sound, and well-connected advocate of New Zealand farmers and growers,” she writes.
In terms of personal qualities, she describes herself as a “values driven leader supporting others to achieve; whether that is farmers looking to understand the opportunity and risks to their businesses, helping clients minimise disruption to their lives and livelihoods, seeing communities recover from adverse events, or helping colleagues and associates to thrive.”
Again, she expects to draw on her combination of corporate and non-profit experience. “Being able to understand the needs of our members, support and constructively challenge our activities, and see opportunities for the commercial operation is where my strengths and interests are. I’m excited to be involved and look forward to seeing many of our members at upcoming events.”