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4 December 2023
Over the Farm Gate
Market Commentary

Staff Profile - Gabby Swift

Loving being part of a cool team of calm, collected people.

Moving from a government agency into agriculture has been a change for a new member of the PGG Wrightson Livestock team.

Gabby Swift started with the company in July having worked for the previous seven years in government positions, mainly in the health sector, and prior to that in administration roles and office work in real estate.

Growing up in rural Te Awamutu, Gabby had minimal practical involvement in farming, in which case the past four months, since she became King Country livestock support officer/administrator, has been a big learning curve. 

“Although I knew what an electric fence was, that was about it. I didn’t even know what a wethered ram was: why not just call it a ‘no nuts?’” she says.

She describes herself as like a little lamb in the industry. 

“It’s been a big change, though a nice change.

“Because of my experience in administrative roles, learning to adapt to this position has been a lot easier for me and I have been able to implement some of the things I’ve learned in my other roles, such as shifting paper based record filing to cloud based filing.

Gabby’s age is another advantage, helping give her colleagues a valuable edge in communication and marketing.

“I’m seeing how as an office we can use social media more, and helping others in our team to do that: the advantages in the community of putting yourself out there on social media. It’s a different vibe, and as long as you can be yourself, be authentic, then anyone can do it and do it well. 

“While the majority of our team are well known in our community, that has included getting photos of our team for our social media pages, to profile us in a more personable, friendly and inviting way.”

As she adapts to the intricacies of agriculture, coming from working in government agencies Gabby brings a different set of eyes. 

“Working with people in health, the focus is on engagement, particularly with those who have had a bad experience in the past and therefore are reluctant to engage. 

“Here the focus is providing a service people want, which means engaging in a different way.”

She is thoroughly enjoying interactions with colleagues and clients.

“We have cool banter. Everyone is like family. I enjoy being surrounded by a good bunch of people who value family. 

“For example, after a huge Friday cattle sale, where everyone is there, we are working at a fast pace, everyone is cohesive and communicating well, clients are happy, we are happy. Working in a cool team of calm, collected people, looking to achieve the same goal and the same vision: everyone wants each other to do well, and everyone supports each other too, which is the special culture of PGG Wrightson in Te Kuiti. 

“We are all part of the family, and look after each other, which extends from our team through to our clients and the wider region: we are all in this together.”

Outside work, family is also the most prominent thread in Gabby’s life. She and her partner Dean, a qualified chef, are ‘living the dream’ at their home in central Te Kuiti, a short distance from work. Their twin boys Casio and Kage turn five in January and are looking forward to the shift from childcare to primary school. 

“It’s full on, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!” says Gabby.

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