Thank you to Global Women partners, KiwiRail, for sharing these stories with our community. This article was originally published in issue 385 of KiwiRail’s EXPRESS publication.
Engineering Civil Sector Manager Christina Hawk and National Resources Manager Racheal Fenton recently completed the prestigious Global Women – Activate Leadership programme.
This is a course aimed at emerging women leaders from all different industries and backgrounds. They attended four full-day workshops in Auckland over the past four months.
Christina says the course is about stepping up as a leader, what it takes to be a successful senior leader as a woman, the impact of authentic leadership, and how being clear on your personal purpose enhances your leadership impact.
It also covers understanding how to build leadership influence, and determining how to use your ‘Executive Presence’ to enhance your impact to build a cohesive team. She says it was very flattering and exciting for her to be nominated to attend.
“I have really enjoyed meeting other women professionals, and having meaningful, realworld discussions about our challenges and how to successfully work through them,” — Christina Hawk, KiwiRail
“I have really enjoyed meeting other women professionals, and having meaningful, realworld discussions about our challenges and how to successfully work through them.”
Things she has learned range from practical office skills to taking the time to reflect on what leadership means to her, and how she can influence and impact others – “I’ve really learnt a lot.”
When asked how this programme has helped in her work with KiwiRail, Christina says: “For a team to be productive and successful they need to feel like they are in a safe environment. There needs to be a level of trust and understanding, where opinions can be voiced, and constructive arguments are welcome. We are working to have that level of comfort for everyone within the team.”
Racheal says she had a positive experience with the programme and gained valuable leadership skills, insights and tools, and a longterm supportive network of women leaders.
Racheal says she also enjoyed “creating a clear purpose and defining the difference you want to make; learning from leading business leaders and their experiences; and being part of a wider group of women leaders.”
Racheal initially didn’t know about the programme until she received a congratulatory letter from Peter Reidy, informing her that she’d been awarded a place. “I was extremely grateful for the opportunity,” she says.
“I have loved being part of the programme and have taken so many things away that I can add to my ‘toolkit’ – a term they use.”
Some of the benefits from the workshops included being inspired, challenged, and providing her with strategies and a best-practice leadership toolkit that will last a lifetime. Racheal says she also enjoyed “creating a clear purpose and defining the difference you want to make; learning from leading business leaders and their experiences; and being part of a wider group of women leaders.”
She learned more about the incredible power of reflection – a powerful cognitive process that involves purposeful thinking, self-examination, and introspection. “It offers numerous benefits across various aspects of life, including personal development, learning, decision-making and great leadership.”
Racheal also learned that being fiercely optimistic with a great attitude is a mindset that can have a profound impact on your life and the lives of those around you. “It involves maintaining a positive outlook and approaching challenges with enthusiasm and resilience.”
‘When a light comes to your door, don’t blow it out’; ‘Get curious before you get furious’; and ‘There is nothing in nature that blossoms all the time’.”
“Some key quotes from sessions were: ‘When a light comes to your door, don’t blow it out’; ‘Get curious before you get furious’; and ‘There is nothing in nature that blossoms all the time’,” — Racheal Fenton
“Some key quotes from sessions were: ‘When a light comes to your door, don’t blow it out’; ‘Get curious before you get furious’; and ‘There is nothing in nature that blossoms all the time’.”
Racheal says prior to the first session they had prework, and that was to complete an Everything DiSC Agile EQ test.
“This was a real eye-opener for me, not having done anything like this before. What it highlighted was the different mindsets of others, and that learning when and how to adopt each mindset will let us take an agile approach to our interactions with each other. It’s very powerful once you understand where, perhaps, your colleagues may reside within this dynamic cycle.”
Racheal has always been a strong believer that trust is crucial in a team first and foremost, and that open and honest communication is important, as it forms the foundation upon which effective collaboration and great productivity are built.
She is now eager to apply her newfound knowledge and share it with her team and the broader KiwiRail group, highlighting her enthusiasm for the journey ahead.