Congratulations to Activate Alumni: Beth Wotherspoon

Musing about what the next career chapter has in store was part of the Activate Leaders Programme experience for Beth Wotherspoon. What involved reflecting “on the current stage of my career and where I wanted to head next,” in the programme, sure enough became the precursor to her recent next step in her career: becoming Head of Resources & Stakeholders at Mercury.

In this new role, Beth is responsible for keeping a clear long-term strategy that ensures Mercury’s access to fuels is maintained and enhanced — not to mention, leading the establishment of creating a long-term pipeline for renewable generation investment across all fuel types.

Being the bridge between leading ‘an incredible team’ who look after the fuels currently used for generating electricity (hydro and geothermal among many) and planning the next generation sites, it’s safe to say that Beth’s hand in choosing energy investments is one that has the potential to strongly shape Aotearoa’s energy landscape. To commemorate the occasion, we joined in kōrero with Beth to talk about inspirations, the next chapter and what’s in store for the women of tomorrow.

What excites you most about this role?

Being able to assist and take a lead in NZ’s decarbonisation journey; also leading a team of incredible leaders and teams who are so skilled in their respective areas and all have a part to play in this purpose.

How does it feel to be playing a part in shaping this next chapter in renewable energy investment?

It’s exciting as this is an important phase for New Zealand, but also because we are doing so much learning as an organisation. I love being in roles that set a new direction, I’m more than happy working in areas of business that are not so clear cut. You have to be open to change your tack when presented with new information, so being part of shaping this new stage of renewable energy investment is really fun.

“You have to be open to change your tack when presented with new information, so being part of shaping this new stage of renewable energy investment is really fun.”

How has your time in the Activate Leadership Programme shaped your approach to your career/self?

This programme was fantastic for stocking up the toolbox of leadership tools to use straight away. Learning alongside such an inspiring group of other female leaders was also really motivating to reflect on the current stage of my career and where I wanted to head next. The most valuable part of the programme was sharing stories and learning from each other’s experiences, and it gave me extra confidence to stretch out of my comfort zone into a significant new personal challenge.

“This programme was fantastic for stocking up the toolbox of leadership tools to use straight away.”

What advice would you give to other women wanting to step up to a similar role?

Just go for it! It can be easy to over-think and talk ourselves out of putting ourselves forward (I should know – I have done this a lot!) The first step is to believe in your abilities and trust yourself; you are more capable than you will give yourself credit for and have plenty to bring to leadership roles. You will always do more learning and growing when you’re in your next role, you don’t have to know it all at the start so be brave, put yourself out there, and bring your genuine true self.

You will always do more learning and growing when you’re in your next role, you don’t have to know it all at the start

What does #BreakTheBias mean to you?

For me it’s about awareness that we all have unconscious biases, acknowledging what our own are, and being conscious of the situations they may arise and how to evaluate on the go whether they are impacting your decisions.

What are your hopes for the women of NZ?

My hope is that we intentionally recognise and celebrate our individual abilities, and build the courage in ourselves to step up and lead. We also need to find our own style and way of working, and be confident in bringing our unique viewpoints out.

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