Activating emerging women leaders

Building leadership talent that is curious, authentic, and values-driven.

To help New Zealand be truly successful—commercially, economically and socially—our business leadership needs to reflect the diverse make-up of New Zealand itself. And to make sure there are women who are ready to step-up to these top corporate jobs, we need to create a pipeline of leadership talent.

Our Activation workshops are designed to support emerging women leaders. They help them to build their leadership narrative, empowering them to get into the top jobs—while giving them an increased awareness of the positive impact of diversity and inclusion on the new normal of business.

Staying true to your values

Our final Activation session for 2016 was opened on 18 October by Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh, Pacific poet and co-Chair of the South Pacific Association of Language and Literature.

Selina talked about the importance of understanding and clarifying your core values—finding what’s true for you, and carrying that through your work. She also talked about her experience writing an original poem and reading this to Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey during the 2016 Commonwealth Observance Day celebrations.

Being open to new experiences

We then heard from three influential New Zealand corporate leaders about their personal corporate journeys—Alison Andrew, CEO Transpower, Rangimarie Hunia, CEO Ngati Whatua Orakei, and Simon Tong, Managing Director Fairfax Media.

The common theme of the PechaKucha and Q&A session was the need to grasp opportunities as they come about, and to remain open and curious throughout your entire career. Our three speakers’ candour and honesty—their authenticity—reinforced the need for a ‘whole life’ approach to leadership.


(L-R) Alison Andrew, Rangimarie Hunia, Simon Tong

Turning up—body and mind

Morning tea was followed by a hands-on session with dynamic organisational psychologist Maria Mareroa. We learnt about and then discussed how to build presence, and the importance of noho puku (mindfulness).

During the two hours with Maria, our emerging leaders learning waiata, composed songs and even created physical sculptures—exploring their inner resilience and understanding how to be in the moment.

Highlights of Maria Mareroa session

Highlights of the session with Maria Mareroa

Building a leadership narrative

Our fourth session of the day was lead by social entrepreneur Guy Ryan, founder of Inspiring Stories. Guy talked about what millennials are looking for in work—purpose over paycheque—and the need of to build values driven organisations that reflect this emerging focus.

By talking to fellow Activation participants about the leadership qualities we admired in others and working through a series of probing questions, we were able to begin building our own leadership story—helping us to clearly communicate our core values as both leaders and individuals.

Unlocking leadership potential

In the day’s final session Ruth Richardson, Independent Director, Former NZ Minster of Finance, and Global Women member, spoke about her corporate leadership journey and challenged us to step up as prime movers within our organisations.

Ruth reminded us that culture is the cumulative effect of corporate processes, and urged us to effect change from wherever we’re located within an organisation. She also encouraged us to win small, win early and win often: because confidence builds confidence, and success builds success.

Activation 2017

Next year, we’re taking a brand new approach to Activation. Quarterly one-day sessions will continue to activate, influence and inspire women in senior leadership roles, but the new format will enable one single cohort to get the full benefit of a year-long programme.

With four rather than three events each year, the new format will make it easier for Activation participants to remain accountable to their goals, maintain their momentum and build the intentional connections and networks they need to be part of the significant talent pool growing NZ Inc.

You can find out more about Activation—and register your interest for next year’s session—on our website.


Be part of the conversation on Twitter @NZGlobalWomen and on Facebook at ‘NZ Global Women’.