Rebecca Fisher

Citrus NZ
Tell us about your background.

Grew up on 50ha deer farm in Katikati and went to university in Palmerston North to do a BSC major Hort Science. From there I moved to Wellington and became a regulatory advisor in the ACVM Group of the then Food Safety Authority (now MPI).

What’s the best thing about your role?

I love interacting with growers and helping the CNZ Board implement the new strategy and purpose which is to sustainably maximise grower productivity and profitability. www.citrus.co.nz/our-strategy

Do you travel much for the role ?

Yes I currently travel mostly domestically for the citrus industry – to the main growing regions Gisborne and Northland. I also travel to the Australian technical forum every two years, which tends to be in their growing regions. So far I have visited Mildura and Adelaide.

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

BSc Hort Sci

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

Talk to others in the sector that you are interested in. Everyone I have talked to in the horticulture sector has been passionate and supportive, sharing information or contacts or referring people into jobs or networks. It’s a great sector to be involved in and the demand in our sector for good people with a wide range of skills is strong.

What do you do now?

Joined Market Access Solutions (MAS) (www.solutionz.co.nz) in 2011. MAS holds the contract to provide services to Citrus NZ (CNZ), In 2016 I became Executive Manager of CNZ.

How did you get that role? What was the pathway to that?

I was working for MAS with the citrus growers carrying out projects for them, so when the previous CNZ manager left I was able to step up into this role. Which was great as I’d already worked for a number of years with the growers and Board members.

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?

No children but a busy social life and hobbies. I balance by practising work life integration as opposed to balance and ensuring there is plenty of time for working hard but also playing hard. I ensure I take holidays as much as possible and shut off from the emails / computer. I also make the most of the weekends! I’m lucky to have a very supportive director in the company who leads by example and encourages healthy work life integration.

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

On the job training works best.

Are you on any Boards? If so which ones

Yes, in addition to the current Chair of Women in Horticulture Executive I am

  • A director on the Agcarm Board. Agcarm is the non-profit trade association of companies which manufacture, distribute and sell products that keep animals healthy and crops thriving. www.agcarm.co.nz
  • Executive committee member of The NZ Plant Protection Society which exists to share information and promote plant protection in NZ www.nzpps.org
  • Chair of a property body corp in Wellington.                                            These are all voluntary (non-paid) positions and I would encourage everyone to take Board opportunities whenever they present themselves or apply to be on a Board to see how they work and network with people. Even if at the start they may be unpaid positions – the career development you can gain is invaluable.