Skip to content

Meet Bernadette Kelly – Looking after the people of Pāmu

10 July 2024

We often say, ‘everything happens for a reason’, and for Bernadette Kelly, Chief People, Safety and Reputation Officer, that couldn’t be truer. When this role came up, Bernadette was destined for another organisation, however she was convinced to interview for Pāmu. Upon meeting the then CEO and other members of the Executive team, she knew it was the right call to make. 

“As it turns out, it was the best decision I've made work wise, and I haven't regretted it for a moment. I'd had previous roles in the sector and come from a long line of farmers, so it feels a little like coming back to my roots working here.”

Bernadette’s role encompasses a lot, to say the least – the whole people process (from joining to leaving and all that’s in between), health and safety, communications and Government relations. But it’s getting out on farm that Bernadette loves the most. 

“One of the things I love most about my role is getting out on farm and meeting the farm teams. I'm privileged to work with great people who are passionate about the land, our animals and working shoulder to shoulder with each other.”

“I never thought I'd work in farming (I come from a semi-rural background and couldn't wait to live in the city) but I love it. It aligns with my values, and I think it's one of the most important sectors for NZ.”

The way we interpret farming excellence can be different for everyone – for Bernadette it’s about using the right system to get the right result, which is different on each farm. 

“We have different terrain, climate, people and other challenges. Warren, our previous Chair, said it best, it’s about growing as much quality dry matter as possible and converting this to protein. For me, that comes through the support we can provide our on-farm teams, helping them get the right people for the job, developing them and above all keeping them safe.”

It’s developing people that Bernadette really enjoys, therefore the launch of the ‘Nature of Leadership’ programme is certainly a highlight from her time at Pāmu so far. 

“A lot of work went into developing, administrating and launching this internal leadership programme and for it to be a great success (our leadership score in our engagement survey continues to improve year on year) was so satisfying.”

Being in the role that Bernadette is, all of the Pāmu values mean something to her, but if there was one that she can relate to the most, it would be Grounded. “It speaks to the land, who we (and I) are and it shows that we still have lots to learn and reinforces the need for humility in understanding what you don't know.”

The experience that Bernadette brings to Pāmu means our people are in good hands. We know that with her leadership and guidance, the right practices are in place to ensure Pāmu people are safe, challenged and heard. Bernadette has already brought a lot to Pāmu in her four years, and we hope that continues for years to come.