Our Team

Our friendly and professional management team is based at our office in Eketahuna. We are supported by our team of expert facilitators and advisors based throughout New Zealand.

AWDT graduates feature strongly in our team. Not only do they bring their own expertise, but having completed one or more of our programmes, they understand, first-hand, the power of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded women to provide a rich learning experience.

Meet our team

We’re here to help – read about each of our roles here. Because we all help each other out in our busy office, when you phone us (06 375 8180) any one of us may answer the phone.

  • Lisa Sims
  • Lindy Nelson
  • Anna Medlyn
  • Keri Holmwood
  • Rachel Smith
  • Catherine Sands Wearing
  • Sandra Matthews
  • Lisa Sims - General Manager

    Lisa has played a key role in shaping our vision through her communication and engagement work with AWDT since 2010. Appointed as General Manager in November 2018, she brings 30 years of deep experience in strategic communications, business and community leadership in multiple sectors. As an member of our Escalator Alumni and one of our culture keepers, she values positive, longstanding relationships based on trust and mutual understanding.  Lisa is a partner with her husband in their sheep and beef farming business near where they have raised their four young adult children.


  • Lindy Nelson - Product Development & Quality

    Lindy’s passion and drive to develop and support women in primary industries has seen AWDT and its graduates grow and flourish since 2010. 

    As our Founder, Lindy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience amassed through her personal experience, research and the development of AWDT, its programmes and people. 

    She leads development of the our growing number of programmes and oversees quality of all AWDT programmes.  Lindy is also Programme Director for the Escalator programme.  Lindy’s extensive and ongoing research underpins her ground-breaking work to empower and support women in primary industries reach their potential. 

    Lindy has been farming with her husband for more than 28 years, having moved to the farm from a city background when she faced the challenges that many rural women face today.  


  • Anna Medlyn - Manager UYFB, WMWW & Future Focus

    Anna leads the planning and management of our three RMPP-funded programmes - Understanding Your Farming Business, Wāhine Māia Wāhine Whenua and Future Focus.

    Since joining AWDT in 2016 as Programme Coordinator, Anna has contributed to the growth of these programmes by building strong relationships and knowledge which saw her appointed as Programme Manager in August 2018. 

    With a media and communications degree, a farming background and experience working in Australia and Germany, Anna strives for operational excellence, maintaining a quality product and ensuring customer satisfaction.   


  • Keri Holmwood - Coordinator UYFB, WMWW, Future Focus

    Keri is your first point of contact for enquiries about our RMPP-funded Understanding Your Farming Business, Wāhine Māia Wāhine Whenua and Future Focus programmes delivered across New Zealand.

    Keri joined AWDT in October 2018 to support our Programme Manager and facilitation teams with the successful planning and delivery of the programmes, along with handling all programme logistics and supporting communication.

    With an extensive background in customer service and hospitality, Keri relishes the chance to help ensure that our participants receive quality support and deep satisfaction from their time with us.   


  • Rachel Smith - Finance & Special Projects

    As a longstanding member of our team since 2012, Rachel has worked in a variety of roles and has rich knowledge of our culture, people, systems and processes.

    She is currently our Financial Administrator and Board Secretary, as well as managing our Sustainable Farming Fund research project which aims to provide new groups of women with new development opportunities.

    Rachel has a Bachelor of Business Studies in Communications Management and farms a small herd of bulls with her husband and two children in Bideford near Masterton.


  • Catherine Sands Wearing - Communications

    Catherine joined the AWDT team in January 2019 to provide communications support for our programmes and activities. She works with the team to help keep you informed about AWDT programmes, upcoming events and new initiatives.

    Catherine brings more than 25 years of experience in strategic communications and stakeholder relations that’s been gained from working in a range of industries.

    An avid supporter of AWDT from the start, Catherine is enjoying being more directly involved in the work we do in primary industries and rural communities throughout New Zealand.

    Originally from Hawkes Bay, Catherine has been living in the Wairarapa with her family since 2010.


  • Sandra Matthews - Regional Hubs Coordinator

    A hands-on sheep and beef farmer from Rere, near Gisborne, Sandra coordinates the Regional Hubs formed by AWDT graduates around New Zealand. She is also a Facilitator and Coach.

    Sandra is passionate about enabling isolated farming women to feel connected and supported within their communities, and also within the wider NZ rural community.

    Having completed AWDT’s UYFB, It's all about YOU (First Steps) and Escalator programmes, Sandra is Chairperson & Co-founder of Farming Women Tairawhiti, an educational and supportive group for rural women in the wider Gisborne area.

    Originally from a country town in New South Wales, Sandra manages the financial and administration side of her farming business and has a Diploma in Farm Business Management.

Strategic Partners

Programme Partners