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Rising star already illuminating a path for others

30 October 2023

Sarah How is a name to watch in the food and fibre industry, who has been recognised as a stand-out young professional focused on nurturing future leaders.


Recognised with the Rising Star Award in the inaugural Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC) Young Alumni Awards, How is celebrated for her unwavering commitment to fostering positive change and leading by example within her community. She is described as perfectly embodying the spirit of the Rising Star Award - a dynamic leader, a proactive changemaker and an inspiration in the community.

Despite starting her career in a technical role, Sarah knew she had a passion for what people contribute to businesses. She feels fortunate to be able to weave her passion with her day job, in an industry that is close to her heart. 

“What I want to contribute to our future is leadership of ideas and people,” she says. “So, I've found myself a part of some arable sector leadership groups, as well as in the deer industry with their Passion2Profit work.”  

With an immense period of change ahead, she says that it is new skills and new ways of thinking that will guide the future of work within the food and fibre sector. Sarah says she feels privileged to have been able to connect with others in various industries within the sector. 

“For a little while now it has been really important to me to give back to younger people coming up in our industry and in our community,” Sarah says. “So, what really motivates me is the prospect of adding real value to the industry and helping other people who are coming up behind me.” 

How is unafraid of putting in hard work to see progress and gain new ideas. Currently working towards a Master of Business Administration at UC, she says her purpose for studying is that the food and fibre sector is facing sustainability challenges and she hopes to meet people from different industries to learn from various perspectives to help find solutions.

She has been part of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Generation Change programme and has developed relationships with other young women within the sector. 

“It's been really satisfying to connect with them and hopefully help them on their journey as well,” How says. “At the end of the day, it’s the connection to people that means more than any accolade on a piece of paper.” 

UC Amokapua | Assistant Vice-Chancellor Engagement Brett Berquist says the Rising Star Award recognises a current UC student who has demonstrated exceptional potential in leadership and community impact. 

“Sarah is immensely deserving of this award, having empowered and inspired others while demonstrating a deep desire to create positive change. I look forward to seeing where she guides the future of the food and fibre sector.” 

How says it’s been humbling to be recognised for an award for leadership potential. “I really hope for that potential to be realised going into the future.

“I know there are other people who have been lined up for the awards, and they are already out there doing it. It’s been a privilege to be recognised alongside them. Now, I feel motivated to get out there and action the things I’m passionate about so I can make a difference too.” 

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