It was a full house in Rotorua for the last of 2023’s Women in Leadership Series campfire chats by ANZ, Bay of Plenty and Regional Council. The seating was spilling out the door, and the excitement palpable to hear from the Mayor and the Captain.
Our two inspirational speakers — Tania Tapsell, Mayor of Rotorua and Angela Swann-Cronin, Captain at Air New Zealand — engaged the audience with their wisdom, insights and humility. Individually, their stories were captivating — but together provided a magnetic spirit.
“The Mayor shared experiences as a young school leaver finding her way and the value of service and helping others. Angela told us about her work with WINGS (Women Inspiring the Next Generation)”
Sharing their personal paths to where they are now in life, we heard stories of perseverance and determination. Angela and Tania’s passion for engagement, connection, empowerment, giving to others and positively influencing the world around them shone brightly through the entire kōrero.
For example, the Mayor shared experiences as a young school leaver finding her way and the value of service and helping others. Angela told us about her work with WINGS (Women Inspiring the Next Generation,) the network of female pilots and engineers who are passionate about building a better future for women in aviation. Considering Angela was the first and remains the only Māori wahine pilot to graduate from the New Zealand Air Force, her wisdom was profound.
“They reflected deeply on questions from the rangatahi (from four local high schools) who engaged instantly and with vulnerability at question time.”
In line with their community-fostering values, they reflected deeply on questions from the rangatahi (from four local high schools) who engaged instantly and with vulnerability at question time. “It was a special and humbling experience,” notes ANZ’s Sue Lund, one of the wāhine that helped make this event happen.
Themes of listening, observing, empathy, trusting teams and paving the way for others in leadership roles. were explored. As for the qualities the speakers admired in others? Courage, kindness and a spirit shone through.
Ruby Tui leading the charge in mental health and love, and Qiane Matata-Sipu, the author of “Nuku – Stories of 100 indigenous women”, leading change by telling the stories of 100 indigenous wahine.
“It’s not about being the loudest voice in the room. It’s about being the voice that resonates and connects with everyone and enables solutions for everyone to act on.”
Of course, equity was a key talking point. “Putting the ladder down to pull other women up with you and getting another woman in the jump seat,” was mused on, in the spirit of recognition that sometimes people need more support than others.
“Sometimes courage is the courage to say I’ll try again tomorrow,” was another notable quote, when speaking to the power of hope. “Things that make you different are your strengths,” provided a point for inward reflection, alongside the idea that “it’s not about being the loudest voice in the room. It’s about being the voice that resonates and connects with everyone and enables solutions for everyone to act on.”
It was a great pleasure to receive such incredible feedback. Notes like “thank you for hosting, along with ANZ what was an incredibly inspiring evening. I’ve been reflecting on insights all day from the kōrero and was so warmed by how genuinely sincere and authentic both speakers were,” and “the only thing I felt last night was missing was a few hundred more sets of ears to hear and help spread the knowledge and wisdom of these wahine toa,” reminded us of the powerful reason we host these hui.
Thank you to Global Women Partners ANZ and Bay of Plenty Regional Council for your generosity in hosting, as well as speakers Tania Tapsell, Angela Swann-Cronin and moderator Cassandra Crowley.