Rise and shine: Instep Young Leaders get a nutrient-fueled boost from Ballance Agri-Nutrients Business Breakfast

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The Instep Young Leaders’ program provides an excellent opportunity for young people to develop their leadership skills and broaden their understanding of different industries. Throughout the year, the program offers a series of Business Breakfasts, where participants can attend presentations and workshops on various topics. The first breakfast of 2023 was hosted by Ballance Agri-Nutrients with the support of Aimee Driscoll, Head of Communications. It proved to be an informative and engaging event. Ballance Agri-Nutrients is one of the largest companies in New Zealand, who are making a real difference to the primary sector and take a main role in sustainable food production. They are a farmer-owned co-operative, investing in continuous improvement and innovation in the agriculture industry.

The morning began with a delicious breakfast catered by Blank Canvas. After the students had their fill, Shane Dufaur, General Manager of Operations and Supply Chain, gave a presentation about Ballance and its history. He explained how Ballance plays an important role in restoring a balanced environment by manufacturing sulfur and GoClear- a diesel exhaust fluid additive and scrubbing agent that reduces nitric oxide (NOX) emissions in modern diesel engines. Ballance is also the country’s only ammonia-urea manufacturing plant, converting atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia and then urea for agricultural use. The students were impressed with the scope and importance of Ballance’s work.

The main purpose of the Business Breakfast was to help the students develop their presentation skills and confidence. The second part of the event was led by Clare Russel, Organisational Capability Leader. Before the event, students were asked what areas they wanted to improve in, and 70% said they wanted to work on public speaking and presentation skills. Clare delivered a workshop on this topic, splitting the students into three groups and facilitating small presentation activities amongst each other.

One of the activities that students engaged in was, “Are you a Wendy Wing It or a Paulie Plan It?” This exercise helped the young leaders understand the pros and cons of both approaches to presentations. They learned how to use emotive, action, and imagery to engage an audience. By the end of the workshop, at least 75% of the students said they felt more confident about their presentation skills.

The final speaker of the day was CEO Mark Wynne, who spoke about employment and pathways within Ballance. He emphasized the importance of wellness and leadership and talked about the values that achieve their purpose- Together, creating the best soil and feed on earth, and what that means for employees.  The business’s success is based on a companywide commitment to investing in its people and culture. Through four pillars they achieve this. Bravery: embrace challenges to create a positive impact. Honesty: Share our views and welcome tough conversations. Connections: Nurture strong and caring relationships and Imagination: Move forward with open minds and fresh perspectives. The students were impressed by Ballance’s focus on its people and the opportunities available for them.

To conclude the morning, the Young Leaders gifted Ballance staff with the Instep Young Leader Waiata as a thank you and blessing for hosting them and for supporting Tauranga Moana’s rangatahi. The Business Breakfast was a great opportunity for students to learn about the agricultural industry and improve their presentation skills. The group left feeling inspired and confident. Thank you to all the team at Ballance for making this event outstanding.

For more information on the Instep Young Leaders’ Programme, connect with our Instep Manager, Vee de Koster: vee@priorityone.co.nz