Farah Palmer

Associate Dean (Māori) and Senior Lecturer (School of Management), Massey Business School, Massey University

Dr Farah Palmer combines her lived experience of sport, tertiary education, and diverse identities with her desire to bring about social and cultural change through education, strategic decision-making, and storytelling. She has used her spheres of influence as a Māori and Pākehā woman, an academic and sports person to challenge dominant ideologies and discourses related to Māori, women, gender, and ethnicity. Her attempts to bring about transformation are adapting as she moves from being in the ‘front row’ (reactive leadership) as a member of the NZ women’s rugby team (Black Ferns) for 10 years to the Board room (visionary and strategic leadership). Her profile has provided the ideal platform to challenge perceived limitations and highlight opportunities for girls, women and Māori in and through sport and tertiary study. She is regularly asked to speak at events, conferences and workshops with a focus on diversity, leadership, and transfer of learning from sport into other impactful spheres such as business, and the public sector. Dr Palmer believes we need to challenge the way we perceive success and excellence are achieved, and what ‘effective’ leadership is. Dr Palmer is enjoying the challenge of contributing as a Director of New Zealand Rugby and Sport NZ, and is relishing her newest role as Associate Dean Māori for Massey Business School. She does this while also dealing with the challenges of raising two young children and believes we need to consider agency (our own beliefs, motivation and expectations) plus structural changes (constitutions, targets, organisational culture) to bring about sustainable transformation.