Clinton farmer Will Clarke is this year’s recipient of the Institute of Directors’ Otago-Southland branch Emerging Director Award.
Mr Clarke received the award at a function held at the
Otago Daily Times headquarters in Dunedin on Monday, while Rhys Jenkins was named runner-up.
The award was established to foster upcoming talent in governance through mentoring, formal training and access to leading speakers at events across the region.
Mr Clarke will receive $1500 towards IoD development courses, complimentary membership for a year, complimentary attendance at branch events and the opportunity to be mentored by an experienced director for 12 months.
IoD branch committee member Scott Mason, who was also on the selection panel, said this year’s finalists included representatives from not-for-profits, sport, environmental, agriculture, medical, civil construction and digital industries. The calibre was so high that the panel would be happy to have had any of the finalists as the emerging director.
Mr Clarke showed a clear motivation to pursue a career in governance, he had a desire to be curious within a commercial sense and had high professional standards, Mr Mason said.
Mr Clarke studied accounting and management at the University of Otago and practised as an accountant in Dunedin for five years.
After heading overseas for a year, he returned to New Zealand about 10 years ago and pursued a farming career. He loved farming — working with animals and being outside — and the freedom that it afforded, Mr Clarke said.
There were a lot of opportunities in the agricultural sector at the moment and it was an exciting time to be involved in the industry, he said.
Mr Clarke is deputy chairman of Clutha Development and a trustee of the Clutha Foundation. He also spent 18 months as a board observer on Farmlands, which he found very interesting, he said.
Going forward with his governance career, the challenge was getting the balance with farming and family time, he said.
Last year’s winner, Brad Hurndell, of Queenstown, said the whole process of the awards had been ‘‘really fantastic’’.
His mentor was professional director Anne Urlwin, of Wanaka. He was grateful to have someone with so much experience who gave freely of her time, he said.