West Coast sharemilker’s director skills recognised

Media release
By Institute of Directors
29 Mar 2021
read time
2 min to read
Siobhan O'Malley

Hokitika sharemilker Siobhan O’Malley has received an Emerging Director Award from the Institute of Directors (IoD) Canterbury Branch.  

The IoD presents its Emerging Director Awards annually to people who show leadership, integrity and enterprise in their careers. Along with a year’s complimentary membership of the IoD and funding towards IoD governance development courses, each recipient receives a board internship and mentoring from an experienced director. Siobhan will intern on the board of civil contracting and construction firm Westroads Ltd.  

Siobhan and her husband operate a 400-cow herd-owning sharemilking contract in Kokatahi. They have previously worked on farms in North Canterbury, North Otago, Tasman and Mid Canterbury. In 2017 the couple won the New Zealand Sharefarmer of the Year award at the NZ Dairy Awards.

Siobhan is a minor shareholder and director of Christchurch-based Red Quantity Surveying and REDQS IQ, and a director of natural fibres start-up Hemprino. She is also a parent trustee of Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi School Board of Trustees, and co-founder and chair of Meat the Need Charitable Trust.

Selection panel member and IoD Chartered Fellow Jane Cartwright said the recognition was richly deserved.

“Siobhan demonstrated many of the qualities we were looking for. Her experience with start-up ventures, combined with an enquiring mind and constant drive to keep up to date saw her stand out. Finding this sort of combination in someone relatively new to governance is not at all common, and the panel felt she would soon be making her mark,” she said.

Chair of Westroads and selection panel member Peter Cuff said he looked forward to Siobhan bringing her insights and experience to the Westroads’ board. 

“Governance is a demanding and complex business, but the drive and commitment she exhibited are exactly what is required,” he said.

Despite her busy schedule of directorship roles, Siobhan admits her governance career started by accident.

“When my husband and I became business owners by going sharemilking I had no idea I was going to enjoy the high-level strategy, compliance and ‘helicopter view’ of our business so much.  I didn’t really know what governance was but I took the role seriously and slowly built skills and experience.”

“To help broaden my commercial skills, in late 2018 I bought a minor shareholding in a construction services business serving New Zealand SME builders. I took on the job of defining and executing a marketing strategy for that business. When COVID-19 caused us to review our business model, I realised I could step back into governance for the business and allow the marketing strategy I had developed continue operating without me day-to-day.”

Siobhan and her family have settled on the West Coast and are on the brink of investing in their own farm there.

“I share a belief in the opportunity for the West Coast to develop as a region and to attract business and investment. Growing and increasing the number of businesses on the West Coast will drive regional prosperity and I’m keen to expand my own capability to contribute to the success of the wider region.”

Siobhan was presented with her award at a function in Greymouth on Thursday, March 25.

Media contacts

Siobhan O’Malley
027 238 2747

Vanessa Glennie
IoD Corporate Communications Manager
027 957 0315