17 Mar A passion for farming & its people
Gayle Newman was born in Dannevirke and spent her childhood holidays on the family farm. Safe to say agriculture is in her blood.
As well as an in-depth knowledge and understanding of farming, Gayle has a natural way with people. A skill she put to good use during her time in the hospitality and tourism industry.
Now as Perrin Ag’s finance and client services manager she is well known for fostering relationships centred around trust – a value that is a cornerstone of the firm’s way of working.
As the self-confessed “farmer’s wife” of the team, Gayle manages the firm’s books and keeps everything running smoothly. She joined Perrin Ag in 2015. Since then, her role has been ever evolving, balancing client services and financial responsibilities, while often acting as the facilitator between farm managers and Perrin Ag’s team of agribusiness advisors.
Gayle believes these interpersonal relationships are important when it comes to supporting farm managers, particularly those who are finding industry change challenging.
“The agriculture industry is experiencing unprecedented challenges and rapid change,” says Gayle. “From labour shortages and environmental compliance to animal welfare and rising input costs. For some, this can all be hugely unsettling. If I can be an ear and help ease that burden, I will.”
Gayle’s colleagues and her clients appreciate her as much as she does them, often calling her for “a chat and a catch up,” knowing that she will be there to listen and provide valuable advice.
“I really enjoy the contact with the farm managers. Over the years, I have built some amazing friendships and working relationships with these fantastic people,” she says.
Empowering others to streamline processes and giving clients the added confidence to utilise new systems has been one of Gayle’s career highlights.
“It’s all the little things that make the difference, even as small as using a spreadsheet to do something, rather than having it handwritten.
“It’s important to keep up with industry happenings and embrace change. The industry is growing and evolving; we have got to adapt and move with it.”
After more seven years navigating the agricultural industry, Gayle feels a shift in what has traditionally been a male dominated industry. She is happy to see more women working in leadership roles.
“Women make great leaders and are very well rounded when it comes to delegation, getting things done, and understanding the intricacies of people,” she says.
“When you’re running a busy farming operation and all the demands that come with it, it can be stressful. You need a strong leader that has got those quality interpersonal skills.
“The power of women lies in multitasking, managing, and in-depth surveillance of the issues that lie below the surface.”
A keen mountain biker, when Gayle isn’t working, she hits the trails. She also bikes 20 kms to and from work – a habit that punctuates her day and does wonders for her mental and physical fitness.
“It’s really nice to be able to ride home through the forest, clear my head and get home relaxed and happy.”
Gayle’s commitment to her local community is evident. She is a member of a local mountain ladies biking group in Rotorua, set up to encourage a broader demographic to get out on Rotorua’s world class trails, and has been a volunteer at Crankworx since its inception.
She is also a board member of Leave No Trace New Zealand (LTNZ), an organisation that seeks to educate Kiwis and tourists about how to interact with the environment. Using seven principles, LNTNZ encourages people to slow down and appreciate everything New Zealand has to offer.
“Community is important. It supports who we are, both as individuals and a collective and is something to be proud of,” says Gayle.
“Through my work at Perrin Ag and within my community, I can put my hand up and say that I have changed a person’s perception of what they can achieve – something that I am sure flows through into other parts of their life.”