Meet the Trustees - Roy Dawson
20 December, 2023

We are delighted to introduce Roy Dawson who joined the Board of Trustees in 2022. Roy has extensive experience in the local seafood industry at a senior management level, specifically in the business development and operations executive areas.

He is well networked around the local region and is a well-respected leader with a positive management style, combining strong relationship building and management skills.

How did you come to join the Top of the South Community Foundation Board of Trustees?
Around two years ago, after becoming semi-retired, I began looking for constructive ways to use my time. A work colleague, Tim Saunders was a trustee for TotSCF and I asked him what the foundation did. He invited me to attend a meeting and I became a Trustee.

What attracted you to the foundation and keeps you involved?
I am enthusiastic about the Foundation and its point of difference from other funders. TotSCF is about intergenerational, sustainable giving by donors who choose where the dividends from their gifts go in the community. It’s about long-term giving in a structured way and is a collection of giftees, from smaller to large amounts. Each donor can see, on an annual basis, exactly how their funds benefit the community. Donors have a strong feeling of reward and connection knowing where their money ends up.

Who and what influenced your desire to give back to your community?
I was born in Westport and grew up in the small town of Seddonville about 50 km north of Westport.  My father was a coal miner, and my mother ran the post office. Life was fairly simple in those days, but there was still a need to help some people and families.
Mum did a lot of community work, so I guess that’s where my desire to give back started. I have now been fortunate to be able to create space to allow myself to help the community.

You have a very varied career story – please tell us about that.
I completed a BSc in Geology at Canterbury University in 1983 and started work for the Department of Industrial and Scientific Research before making a career change, working for a landscape company in Christchurch. Philippa and I married then went on a working holiday to Europe, where I worked for a couple of landscape companies in London. That was varied and interesting and the customers ranged from a Jordanian prince to Pete Townsend of the Who. We returned to New Zealand and subsequently bought an industrial take-away food business in Nelson which we operated for about three years before deciding to start a family.
I then took on a temporary role with Sealord, initially for three months, with plans to buy another business. Twenty-two years later I was still there. Sealord gave me the opportunity to develop a career by moving through many roles within the company. The roles ranged from Supply Chain and Logistics Manager to Sales Manager.
Then I joined Wakatū, Kono NZ LP as Seafood Sales Manager for five years. It was an interesting role with customers around the globe, and strong focus on Asia. When Covid arrived in 2020 I decided I needed a change and took on a part-time role with a Norwegian salmon business. 

What future do you see for Top of the South Community Foundation?
When I joined the Foundation, we had just over $1million in managed funds. Through the work of previous EO Gavin Larsen, trustees and the generosity of donors, that grew to $6million in a short space of time, which is a huge achievement.
Our new EO Nettie Stow brings a new style to the role, which includes involving trustees even more, and we will continue to see the foundation grow.
Each of the Trustees brings a different skill set and life experience to the table, and we all have different touch points within the community which is a real strength of the Board.
The Foundation has very strong governance and leadership which will enable it to grow, to five or six times bigger than it is now. I can see the time when the Foundation reaches an aspirational goal of a $30million fund, enabling us to make significant impacts in our region well into the future.
Donors can have confidence in the Foundation, its board and its potential to grow further and do more good within Te Tau Ihu.

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From the EO - Nettie Stow 

Executive Officer Nettie Stow's exciting start to the year being out in the community meeting people has been a real privilege for her.
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Empowering independence through cooking

Bringing people together and empowering them to cook for themselves was exactly what CCS Disability Action Group Nelson recently achieved.
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© Top of the South Community Foundation 2024
Photos from Nelsontasman.nzOnly Marlborough and Unsplash.
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