Ms Jordan is stepping down as the North Island Managing Director of Beef + Lamb New Zealand to become the new Managing Director of Fish and Game New Zealand, effective August 1.
She is the first permanent appointment to the position since it was vacated in 2020.
It is an exciting opportunity to be a woman at the helm of an organization like Fish and Game, as she has been through a period of significant change – both for herself and for the country, she said.
Mrs. Jordan grew up mainly in Taranaki and both of her parents were from farming backgrounds.
A lover of animals, especially horses, and the outdoors, she spent most of her time “hanging around the farms” – whether milking the cows or helping with the shearing – “and getting in the way”, she laughed.
After leaving school, she worked in the veterinary industry and eventually ran a specialist veterinary hospital in Sydney.
Eventually, she got tired of seeing “a lot of death” — something that came with the territory, but it could also be a bit soul-destroying, she said.
So she retrained at Massey University, studying genetics, ecology, natural resource management and some notions of economics.
After working on contract for the Department of Conservation, she landed a role at Fish and Game and eventually ran its natural resources arm.
The portfolio was diversified; one day she could be on a river counting trout, the next day on a plane counting the population of birds, and the next day in environmental court.
It was a good mix of hands-on, on-the-ground experience working with people and communities and also playing a key role in helping to shape the future of the country’s natural resource management.
From there, she was “super lucky” to get a job with Beef + Lamb New Zealand, first as North Island Policy Manager, then Environmental Strategy Manager, then finally in her current role as General Manager of the North Island.
It was a key role to be at the heart of an organization as it built its profile around sustainable land use and natural resource management and championed the future of agriculture in New Zealand, through about what that future looked like, she said.
When she first moved from Fish and Game to Beef + Lamb, the comment was made asking if she was the “game warden turned poacher”.
But the farmers wanted a healthy environment; it was about ensuring that there was a healthy environment for humans to enjoy now and in the future.
It was something that resonated with the farmers, who had the land in their blood – it was their livelihood and they wanted to pass it on to the next generations – so she thought the ethos and values were “really well aligned”. .
Fish and Game wanted to continue to build relationships with landowners and take a collaborative approach to problem solving. The best results were those built by communities, she said.
When asked what her priorities would be when starting out, Ms. Jordan said she likes an accountability-type management strategy with teams.
She would ask a lot of questions and listen a lot; understand both where the organization and its employees were.
Then it was about building relationships with regional councils and communities.
She believed there was a huge opportunity to empower community and farmer-led catchment groups.
She was keen to do more work in this space, and already tangible impacts were underway, she said.
While “super excited” about the move, it was also one of the hardest decisions she’s ever had to make due to the “incredible” team of people she worked with at Beef + Lamb.
New Zealand Fish and Game Council chairman Ray Grubb was delighted to see Ms Jordan nominated from a wide range of candidates “at a pivotal time in the organisation’s history”.
“The timing of this appointment is significant as Fish & Game evolves following the recommendations of the ministerial review,” he said.