Meet our Newest Global Women Members

Michele Wilson

Co-founder & CEO, AWWA

Of Tainui, Ngati Paoa descent Michele is the CEO and co-founder of global period brand AWWA, an indigenous Māori company that employs over 20 staff and is sold all over the world. “I work with indigenous women in Āotearoa and overseas in educating about indigenous business and periods,” Michele shares.  She is passionate about creating opportunities for women and for Indigenous women and her company’s staff are 100% women and mostly mothers.

 As a key person in the media when it comes to Māori business and leadership, Michele is also a regular speaker at events regarding both business and te ao Māori — this also includes being instrumental in lobbying the Government to make period products free for all people with periods in schools. 

 

Sarah Lang

Business Director – Government Advisory and Strategic Relationships, Beca

Sarah’s modus operandi is to leave a positive legacy in everything she does. Her recent awards as Nominee for New Zealander of the Year – 2019 , USA Government International Visiting Leadership Program Scholar – 2019 and the Winner Woman of Influence – Diversity Category 2018 attest to this.

She’s a strong advocate for women in the infrastructure and construction sector, and has been key in growing the visibility and voice of women through the establishment of the WIN network, the Emerging Talent Young Leaders network and her ongoing mentoring of young women.

 

Adithi Pandit

Partner, Deloitte

Adithi’s passion is for bringing together individuals and organisations to address ‘wicked problems’ at multiple levels: changing systems to transform outcomes, redesigning services to be simpler and generate better outcomes, and shifting mindsets to focus on growth, innovation and impact.

She is the co-leader of Deloitte’s State of the State reports on Social Investment, Resilience, Family Social Capital, and Inclusive Growth. Adithi established the Social Impact practice as a cross-cutting capability within Deloitte in 2015. She leads the Social Sector firmwide, and is the lead client service partner for MSD, Kāinga Ora and Oranga Tamariki.

 

Ipshita Mandal-Johnson

Founding Partner & CEO, Global Bio Fund

Investing in and scaling women-led bio ventures that address human and planetary health is what underpins Ipshita’s mission as the Founding Partner and CEO of Global Bio Fund: an entity on a mission to deploy 100 million USD over the next 10 years with a gender smart lense, to improve holistic health and wellbeing. She’s an advocate and speaker for bio and women’s leadership, who’s sparked minds and communities around the world — including 600 Leaders of Tomorrow from 72 countries to debate with 300 Leaders of Today from the Global Biotech Revolution/GapSummit, which has also helped build 18 companies.

At the end of the day, she feels her biggest impact is through building communities and leaders within them: “He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata” is what drives Ipshita’s journey to social equality and regeneration in our environment.

 

Justine Smith

Partnerships Director, Department of Internal Affairs

Justine’s approach to leadership means connecting with, and enabling and empowering people around her with a focus on fairness, justice and equity. Acting as a bridge builder across two cultures and across different systems and ‘world views — central government, local government, and Te Ao Māori, her pākeha upbringing and world view, and Māori whakapapa – her work has seen her put this practise into play in a myriad of roles and projects. 

Justine has negotiated Treaty settlements with iwi and hapū, established and run the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, and is currently the Partnerships Director in the Local Government Branch at the Department of Internal Affairs. There, she leads the ‘Enhancing Relationships between Iwi/Hapū and Local Government’ portfolio of work and has convened a group to co-design a leadership programme for women working in the Local Government Branch. Additionally, Justine is involved with Tai Tokerau Wāhine Leadership 2022, a group convened by fellow Global Women Members’ Kahurangi/Dame Jenny Shipley, Jenni Prisk and Karleen Everitt. 

 

Del Hart

Head of External Investments & Partnerships, New Zealand Superannuation Fund

Del, an Alumni of our 2018 Breakthrough Leaders cohort, is passionate about supporting young women in finance and is a strong believer that “you can be what you can see. As a firm believer in sharing stories to navigate situations, she’s passionate about taking every opportunity to candidly share her story and learnings. Corporate diversity is something that Del is passionate about — sharing knowledge with global senior diversity specialists so that  everyone can consider different approaches that may lead to better outcomes in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Heading the External Investments and Partnerships team at the New Zealand Superannuation Fund — a team which selects external managers for funds — Del is committed to broadening the diversity of the team, which now sits at 4 females in a team of 15. Alongside this, Del champions of TupuToa, mentoring young women through Auckland University and within her organisation.

 

Vanessa Sorenson

Managing Director, Microsoft NZ

Driven by what technology can do for all New Zealanders, Vanessa is also a champion of diversity and inclusion across the ICT industry, grounded by the belief that D&I is not optional but essential.

She is an advocate for females to think and grow bigger than they think they can, by sharing her story in the hope it helps others. This comes from committing herself to a lifetime of actively mentoring other businesswomen to become the best they can be. As the Managing Director of Microsoft NZ, this has included setting up #10KWāhine, Microsoft NZ’s initiative to provide 10,000 of women from all stages of life — ranging from school students, tertiary students, career-changers and women returning to the workforce — with free training in digital technologies by the end of 2022. Additionally, Vanessa is proud of the Mutu the Māori Minecraft addition Microsoft launched and having Te Reo become the official 67th language in the Microsoft Translator hub.

 

Sharron Botica 

Chief Customer Officer, AIA NZ

A senior executive with an extensive background in the financial services, Sharron is a passionate supporter of D&I initiatives as a regular speaker on the matter, and involvement as a mentor on the Cherie Blair entrepreneur mentoring program.

Formerly as one of 12 on the Sovereign Executive Team, and the only women, she led the introduction and conversation on the value of D&I and implemented a multi-focal approach which trailblazer the way for 60/40 Executive gender balance at the time of the AIA/Sovereign acquisition. 

Currently the Acting Chief Executive of AIA NZ, Sharron is leading the integration and transformation of AIA NZ with a customer centric focus. 

 

Rebecca Thomas

CEO and Founder, Mint Asset Management

Rebecca is a passionate advocate for shareholder rights, the reform of New Zealand’s financial markets and breaking down the barriers to women participating in the highest echelons of business. As the Founder and Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer of Mint Asset Management, she believes she is doing this by establishing a fund management business which is best of breed — alongside serving as a director of Crown entities, supporting working women in her role as Trustee of the Professionelle Foundation and regularly speaking at forums promoting the business aspirations of women. Inspirationally, Rebecca was also the UK’s youngest female chief executive of a UK publicly-listed company, aged 33 when she was the Chief Executive of UK funds management firm, Johnson Fry Holdings.

 

Bridget Williams

Founder and CEO, Bead and Proceed Limited

Founder and CEO of social enterprise Bead and Proceed Limited, Bridget is on a mission to educate Āotearoa and beyond on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and inspire action towards them through creativity. In doing so, Bridget has inspired over 6,500 people to engage and connect with the goals across many industries — and continues to spark this as a speaker at various panels and conferences. 

My aspirations for women of Āotearoa are to be celebrated and recognised as powerful leaders.” Bridget shares with Global Women. “Whether that leadership is found in nurturing the next generation through motherhood or finding your voice through creativity or managing a team within a corporate firm.”

 

Kat Gee (returning member) 

Entrepreneur & Director,  KAIA & Spanbild

Finalist in Entrepreneur of the Year, the New Zealand Design Ambassador and Deloittes’ Fast 50 company owner, Kat Gree is motivated by design-led thinking, people and culture. She channels this into her sustainably-grown New Zealand Pacific Pearl jewellery label KAIA and role on the Spanlid Board. She’s a successful entrepreneur and Director and through her previous jewellery company, KAGI, was also a strong supporter of numerous charities including the Child Cancer Foundation and the New Zealand Heart Foundation. 

 

Chelsea Winstanley 

Producer, filmmaker, writer, director

Oscar® nominated producer, award-winning filmmaker, producer, writer and director Chelsea Winstanley is passionate about story sovereignty. She believes visibility is where we create impact, knows where the gaps are in the pipeline that create barriers for women having this and is a champion for women — especially women of colour — in storytelling. She feels it is also important to maintain our mana as women within the space of story sovereignty by being visible. Many women have paved the way for her, and she is simply building on the legacy and foundation they laid out for all of us. She believes we can celebrate our resilience by being visible. For Chelsea, leadership is having the intuition to know when to show up for yourself, and when to show up for others. Her incredible and extensive list of directing and producing projects as well as wards and accolades is a testament to this. 

 

Miriama Kamo

Broadcaster, Writer, Speaker, Environmentalist, TV1 & Māori TV

Miriama Kamo is an award winning broadcaster, writer, speaker, and environmentalist: currently host of TV1’s flagship current affairs programme Sunday, and of Māori current affairs programme Marae. 

As a speaker, Miriama is an advocate for women, working to empower women and families to understand and embrace ‘The 4 M’s’; menstruation, miscarriage, motherhood and menopause. Alongside this, Miriama is a board member of Save the Kiwi and The Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi. A passionate advocate for the environment, Miriama spends a lot of time promoting the Zerowaste/Parakore movement, encouraging others to reduce waste and engage with environmental issues. Additionally, in 2019, Miriama founded a charity called Kotahi Rau Pukapuka, an organisation which is working to fill the gap for older readers and learners of te reo, by publishing 100 books into te reo Māori. This was precursored by Miriam publishing her first book, The Stolen Stars of Matariki, in 2018.

 

Sharon Zollner 

Chief Economist, ANZ Bank

A thought leader in real-world macroeconomics, Sharon leads ANZ Bank’s economics as the Chief Economist, in a team of six around New Zealand. Sharon also lends her voice to speak regularly at events about women in business and about her own experiences while mentoring women in ANZ.

Sharon’s aspirations for the women of New Zealand, she shares with us, is: “that through driving change in the demographics and visibility of women in a wide range of influential roles in New Zealand society, gender becomes an unremarkable trait of a leader because of its ordinariness. Yet at the same time women in leadership roles are comfortable being different from the men, as diversity of thought, experience and approaches is critical in avoiding groupthink.” 

“It’s not just about the elite. I would like the women of New Zealand to have the confidence, skills and flexible opportunities to be able to be financially independent, to believe in their self-worth, and to have the emotional and financial support available to be able to leave abusive relationships safely, with New Zealand’s statistics in this area appalling.”

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