Hard work pays off for scholarship winner

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Olivia Ross, of Balfour, knows to get anywhere you have to work hard. Her hard work has paid off, with her being awarded an ANZ Future Leaders Scholarships recently, to the value of $10,000. Miss Ross, who is the chairman of the Balfour Young Farmers, a volunteer fire fighter, third vice-president for the Balfour Lions, and Beef and Lamb New Zealand southern South Island extension manager, said she was thrilled to be awarded the scholarship, which proved all of her hard work paid off. The criteria for entrants was a strong dedication to a career in New Zealand’s primary sector, a desire to lift leadership potential in the primary sector, to demonstrate how their personal development plan will be achieved by a path of study or professional development, and exhibit a true passion for making the primary sector’s success sustainable for future generations. Miss Ross said she had to complete three stages before being awarded the scholarship, which included the initial application.  In the second stage she had to submit a video on what skills she had that would make her a potential leader in the primary sector and, if she could make one change to the sector, what would it be.  Miss Ross said her change was to get primary industry groups together to collaborate more. ‘‘Ultimately to work together to shorten the urban and rural divide.’’ After the video, Miss Ross was selected for the third stage, where she was interviewed on Skype. She was asked questions by the panel including what goals she had for the next five years and how the funding would be used for personal development and her career. ‘‘One of the questions was ‘If money wasn’t an issue what would you do?’ ‘‘My response was being able to travel the world and looking at different farming systems and how they work and what doesn’t work and bring it back and learn from that.’’ Following on from the interview, Miss Ross was informed last month she had been awarded the scholarship. She was thrilled to be awarded the scholarship, and had big plans for her future. She would be attending an Outward Bound Discovery Course, which was designed for those aged 27 to 40 who wanted to discover themselves and get out of their comfort zones. ‘‘I think it’s really crucial to be able to learn to make myself a better leader.’’ She was also in the process of applying for the second intake of the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme, which starts in June next year. Her last plan for development as part of the scholarship is to complete her teaching diploma in Advanced Associate of Speech New Zealand in Teaching Public Speaking and Communication. Miss Ross said it was when she was at university she started out as a public speaking teacher, sitting a Professional Certificate in Communication, which she received high distinction for. Leading on from the diploma she wanted to help take her skills into rural primary schools and give them support, she said. She was looking forward to starting all of her new ventures.