Inside our Women in Leadership Series Whakatāne


What piece of wisdom would you write on a postcard, for a young woman new to your organisation to see? 

This is just one of the questions asked in Global Women’s latest fireside Women in Leadership Series event, in Whakatāne on May 4. 

“Focus on the future and jump.

“Jump. Do it and don’t overthink,””Be the future, be the example you want the world to be,” was mused by our attendees. 

“Don’t take a decade to find your confidence,” was followed by, “SHINE — be yourself fully, loudly and proudly.” “Interview your potential employer too,” came as a reminder. 

“Jump. Do it and don’t overthink”

This moment of reflection echoes the event’s co-host, ANZ New Zealand’s, Watch Wāhine Win Report.

Here, they asked Māori, Asian and Pasifika women this very question as part of an effort to understand how they can better set up Kiwi women to succeed. 

Kirsti Luke, CEO at Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua, and Vicky Robertson, CE & Secretary, Ministry for the Environment 2015-2023, along with expert facilitator Cassandra Crowley, steered an inspiring conversation where no leadership stone was left unturned. 

“Our aim is to strengthen others. If we are holding the trophy at the end we have done it wrong.”

The future was at the centre of the kōrero. 

Long term thinking —and how it is needed now— was a key point, with the idea of “our prosperity can only be measured by what we hand to the next generation.”

This encompassed the issues facing indigenous people, ensuring a smooth entry for hapu into the future, intergenerational leadership leads and guides when times are tough, building capability and finding purpose to bring everyone together.

“If helping another wahine feel that way isn’t leadership I don’t know what is,

The idea that winning as a community happens when everyone is a leader was strong, after all “our aim is to strengthen others.  If we are holding the trophy at the end we have done it wrong.”

“If helping another wahine feel that way isn’t leadership I don’t know what is,” says one attendee as our event wraps up. With feedback that the event left attendees “feeling uplifted and inspired,” we’re proud to have had everyone engaged in this korero and looking forward to hosting more. 

Thank you to ANZ, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and our speakers Kirsti Luke, Vicky Robertson, Cassandra Crowley as well as the audience for your brilliant, bold involvement in this series. 


Feedback from our incredible attendees:

“What an inspiring event. Fantastic to hear from these phenomenal wahine. The audience was full of amazing women leaders too. Any one of them could have been on the panel.”

“Wasn’t it a great evening! Very inspirational and wise words from two fabulous wahine.”

“Thanks so much to Bay of Plenty Regional Council, ANZ, and Global Women for putting these events on. It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the common threads in the very different experiences of Vicky and Kirsti.”

“This was a fabulous evening, hearing the wisdom of two wonderful wahine!”


Mā whero, mā pango ka oti ai te mahi 

With red and black the work will be complete