Catherine Lewis

Lewis Farms
Tell us about your background.

Born and bred on a drystock farm in the Manawatu.  Studied Environmental Studies and Commerce before embarking on a career in public policy in Wellington.  Then married an asparagus grower and began my journey in Horticulture.

What’s the best thing about your role?

Being fully involved in the strategic direction of the business, connecting directly with our customers through our packhouse shop, while still being able to prioritise time with our children.

Do you travel much for the role ?

No

Did you require any specific education or training for this role?

I am lucky that it’s a family business and so I have steadily been taking on different responsibilities as the business has needed me to, around the children

As a women involved in horticulture is there anything that you would like to see change that would make your life/role better?

A greater presence of women at every level in the industry s

What do you do now?

First and foremost raise my 3 young beautiful children.  Shareholder and director of Lewis Farms – a family business growing asparagus and strawberries as well as dairy and beef farming.  Day to day manage all of the compliance as well as our packhouse shop and our social media presence.  Also executive director of The Horowhenua Taste Trail, a not for profit event that celebrates excellence in food production in the Horowhenua. 

Do you have any qualifications? (if so, what are they?)

Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) and Bachelor of Commerce (Public Policy)

If you have children how do/did you balance your job and family? What are/were the biggest issues? How did you deal with them?

This can be a challenge but for me its important to always put the children first and then manage my business commitments around that. For the busiest 6 months of our season we have an aupair come and live with us so that the children still get the time and focus that they deserve.

Do you have any advice/tips for other women wanting a role like yours?

Don’t undervalue your unique outside perspective when you marry into a family business. Diversity of thought is vital around the board table, especially when all directors are family!

Are you on any Boards? If so which ones

Executive Director, Horowhenua Taste Trail
Trustee, Levin Adventure Park
Director, The Tender Tips Company Ltd
Director, Lewis Dairies Ltd