New Board member Krysteen McElroy understands the pressures facing grape growers, coming from a multi-generation Padthaway family farming property, which includes vineyards, cropping and livestock.
The McElroy family planted 62 hectares of vines in 1998 and Krysteen is responsible for financial and administration management and overseeing the transition to the next generation as part of their succession plan.
Krysteen is also an experienced conflict management coach and mediator and launched her dispute resolution business, Critical Moments, in 2022, focused on supporting small businesses, including farmers and vignerons in the Limestone Coast, to have those difficult conversations with staff and stakeholders.
“Small businesses are an essential part of any economy, particularly in rural and regional Australia. It is important that we do all we can to protect the welfare of owners, managers and employees. If I can help people to achieve a better balance in life and their workplace, to strengthen relationships and keep businesses on track, then this is a great outcome,” she said.
Krysteen brings years of experience working in large member-based associations, and knowledge and understanding of living and working in regional and rural communities.
She has previously worked with the MacKillop Farm Management Group and the Australian Fertiliser Services Association in executive roles and specialises in working with associations to ensure they are delivering on member and stakeholder needs. This has included governance, change management and growth through strategy development and implementation.
Krysteen is passionate about regional South Australia. “Many of the decisions that are made for people in regional areas in general are being made by people in cities. Instead of sitting here complaining about it, my husband and I discussed looking into applying for Board positions that are relevant to us in regional areas,” she said.
“I applied for a Vinehealth Australia Board position because I want the South Australian grape and wine industry to be successful and sustainable. I hope I can use my regional knowledge to assist with decisions and outcomes.”
Krysteen is particularly interested in improving biosecurity outcomes for vineyard owners in the Limestone Coast.
“We’re so close to the Victorian border here and we are more exposed to people and machinery potentially bringing pests and diseases in with them. We need to protect our future and our kids’ future,” she said.
Community roles have included a board member position on the Veterinary Surgeons Board of SA, a community representative with the Limestone Coast Landscape Board and Krysteen was SA Rural Women’s Award Runner Up for 2012. Krysteen has been an Alumni of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation since 2016 and is currently participating as a mentor in the National Mentoring Program.
Krysteen is Chair of the Padthaway Grapegrowers Association, a committee member of the Limestone Coast Grape and Wine Council and has been involved with the Limestone Coast Wine Show for several years.