The Agri-Women's Development Trust has appointed a new general manager.

Lisa Sims will lead the operations of the charitable trust, taking over from its founder Lindy Nelson, who stepped down as executive director late last year.

Since 2010, the trust has equipped and supported almost 3000 women to generate economic, social and environmental progress in the primary sector and rural communities through its business, leadership and governance programmes.

Nelson will continue in her role as a trustee and as programme director for the trust's flagship programme, Escalator. She will also lead the development of the trust's growing number of programmes for women involved in primary industries, and oversee programme quality.


Trust chairwoman Mavis Mullins said the appointment of a general manager was part of the trust's planned leadership succession following an independent recruitment process that attracted strong national interest.

"Lisa has been an integral part of the trust since day one. She stood beside Lindy and me when we launched the trust at Parliament in 2010 and has since played a key role in shaping our vision through her communication and engagement work with us.

"She brings 30 years of deep experience in strategic communications, business, agriculture and community leadership. As an outstanding member of our Escalator Alumni and one of our culture keepers, she truly lives and breathes our values."

Sims' career to date has spanned international government relations, promoting New Zealand red meat in Japan and leading communications and engagement for her own diverse range of clients in the private and public sectors.

She has served on several regional boards and is a partner with her husband Tom in their farming business near Eketahuna where they have raised their four young adult children.

Sims said she looked forward to working with the trust's board, industry partners, staff and wider team of 40 programme facilitators to build on the trust's success and growth.

"I've been inspired by what Lindy and her team have achieved so far and the impact the trust's programmes have had on people's lives, their businesses, rural communities and the wider primary sector. I look forward to working in service to the AWDT vision."