ABOUT WOMEN IN FORESTRY
Women in Forestry is a grassroots network of women working in the New Zealand forestry industry. We provide knowledge sharing through our e-newsletter and Facebook page, and networking opportunities through events to connect with other like-minded women. We have a focus on supporting female business owners, who are often under immense pressure running their businesses. From time to time there are also opportunities for other women in the industry to be involved, including workers, forestry managers and women working in industry support roles.
General Manager, Women in Forestry
Office Manager, Log Lease / Partner, Frank Communication
Sarah Davidson is a founding member of Women in Forestry and the current general manager. She has worked in logging since leaving school and is currently the Manager of her family business Log Lease, that specialises in leasing and sale of forestry equipment.
She previously worked in her family harvesting businesses R F Davis Logging, building up her knowledge and experience in the industry and learning the ropes from her logging Dad Ross Davis.
Sarah is a strong advocate for the important role women play in running their forestry businesses. She could see there was a need for more female support in the industry, particularly for business owners where they are often the silent achievers keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes.
So, in 2017 she organised the first Women in Forestry event, held in Rotorua with about 30 women in attendance. Since then the Women in Forestry Network has grown and continues to attract more women in the industry.
Sarah runs the Women in Forestry Network through her business Frank Communication, which provides office management and marketing services to clients predominantly based in the Waikato.
Director, Blackburne Group (Taupo)
Sonya is a Director at Blackburne Group Chartered Accountants and a founding member of the Women in Forestry Network. She currently sits on the Women in Forestry Advisory Board bringing extensive forestry accounting and finance experience.
Blackburne Group helps forestry contractors nationwide and has been dealing with contractors for more than 30 years. It’s the perfect fit for Sonya, who not only has a genuine passion for the industry but also understands it so well.
Born-and-bred from Taupo, it’s no surprise that she has paved a career in an industry that supports forestry. She grew up in a forestry family – her father was a contractor and she spent many a weekend in the bush with him while he worked.
A few years back, Sonya had the idea to connect women in the forestry industry through a newsletter. The newsletter grew in popularity, with more and more women in the industry coming forward and giving feedback that there was a need for this kind of support for the women of forestry. This was the beginning of the Women in Forestry Network.
Sonya is also currently on the board of FICA (Forest Industry Contractors Association), representing the contractors’ perspective and keep abreast of changes to the industry.
“The people who are involved in forestry and their great work ethic make it a very special industry to be a part of,” she says, and she is hopeful the future will be even brighter for forestry contractors.
“Hopefully it holds greater recognition and reward for the contractors who work so hard to operate within forestry, managing their crews in what is often a very challenging environment.”
Director, Volcanic Plateau Logging Ltd and Volcanic Plateau Harvesting Ltd (Taupo)
Julie works alongside her husband Steven Yeoman, running their logging businesses Volcanic Plateau Logging and Volcanic Plateau Harvesting. For the past ten years, Julie has been actively involved, running the office and supporting Steven in coordinating their logging operations.
“I am grateful for the flexibility my role has given me, as the primary caregiver for our 3 children and general household organiser,” says Julie.
Previously, Julie established a pizza business in Taupo and prior to that worked in corporate marketing, having completed a law and double major arts degree at Canterbury University.
Julie also has ten years of experience in governance in the education sector and has spent the last 7 years as Board Chair, first at primary then secondary school level.
Joining the Women in Forestry Board, Julie brings professionalism and energy to the role. She is eager to give women a voice in the forestry sector and to provide an environment where women can come together to support one another in their roles.
“It is often the women who are keeping the home fires burning and the back of the business running, while the men work long hours in the bush. Equally, we now have women coming to the forefront of the industry; as business partners, running crews, championing health and safety and operating machinery,” she says.
“We too can contribute to resolving one of the industry’s greatest challenges –the sustainability of the workforce. Forestry is a rewarding industry with outstanding people working in it. I have admired the Dairy Women’s Network and can see a place for our forestry women to grow their own network of support, professional development and importantly celebration.”
Director, Lumberjack Logging (Gisborne)
Erica is a Director of Lumberjack Logging, working with husband Dan out of Gisborne / East Coast. Lumberjack Logging runs one crew with a 70ft tower hauler, and Erica runs the office and takes the lead on Health and Safety.
“I get to work with my husband, have flexibility to do more with the kids than a regular 9-5 job. It’s also awesome watching the gear work and seeing the guys really enjoy what they do,” she says.
Erica says being a part of Women in Forestry has helped her to meet other ladies, who are in the same boat as her.
“Being able to discuss things that men often don't like to discuss has been really valuable. It’s also great to come together and realise how important we are to our businesses,” she says.
“Be prepared to share your husband’s stresses and worries and support him while inwardly stressing yourself! That's why it's really important to have friends in the industry – they are the ones that will help you through the times that are tough.”
“It's great to see more women in Forestry roles, right from Engineering to Skid Workers, it is really a bit of ‘girls can do anything!’".
Erica brings youthful energy and enthusiasm to the Women in Forestry Advisory Board as one of our members.