Beef + Lamb New Zealand hosted the Southern Ladies Long Lunch in Gore last Wednesday. Speakers at the lunch included Silver Fern Farms plant manager Bronwyn Cairns, Rosa and Margo Flanagan and Te Anau Basin farmer Harriet Bremner Pinckney. The Ensign reporter Helen McFelin chatted to some of the speakers and guests.

Rachael Groenewegen enjoyed her first outing since giving birth to Pippa a month ago.

The mother and daughter were among a crowd of more than 300 women who attended the Southern Ladies Long Lunch in Gore.

It started at morning tea time and finished just before afternoon smoko.

Beef + Lamb South Island lead extension manager Hannah Blakely said the event was about sharing rural women’s success stories to inspire women to go for their dreams.

‘‘As rural women, we are really tough on ourselves.

‘‘We need to believe in ourselves, back ourselves and reign in the internal critic,’’ she said.

Two of the guest speakers who have backed themselves were ‘‘Two Raw Sisters’’ Rosa and Margo Flanagan.

The sisters have battled through serious health conditions — Rosa, an eating disorder, Margo, chronic fatigue, to become best-selling cookbook authors.

They promote health through food with vegetables as the centrepiece.

‘‘Neither of us is vegan or vegetarian, we do not promote diets and we do not use expensive food,’’ they said.

The sisters spoke at length about women’s health and the importance of food.

‘‘Let’s address the elephant inthe room — we, in our 20s, are not going through menopause ourselves but who is to say we can’t learn about it.

‘‘It is a topic we encourage menopausal, pre or post› menstrual women to talk about.’’

Also speaking at the conference and sharing her success story was Silver Fern Farms plant manager Bronwyn Cairns.

She started as a quality assurance officer at Waitane in Gore 31 years ago, at ‘‘a tiny little plant in the group where she knew everyone by name’’.

She is now in charge of two meat works, Silver Fern Farms Waitane and Finnegand in Balclutha.

The two plants have more than 1000 employees.

Her message was to keep things simple in leadership.

‘‘A simple name change from supervisor to team leader made a difference — put people first and show vulnerability,’’ she said.