How GW Partners are Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day is back for 2021 and with a theme that’s incredibly topical for today’s Post-Pandemic world: #ChooseToChallenge. Highlighting the notion that a challenged world is an alert world, it provides a solid space to reflect and act on the changes we need to see around us.

Now more than ever, it’s important to interrogate our status quo. We’re proud to see our Partners take IWD in their stride with events (many in the midst of lockdown uncertainty) that hold space for discussions around on how we can bring this into the next chapter of working life — and of course, celebrate the incredible women in their organisations while they’re at it.

From virtual panel discussions to company profiles, here are how our Partners are rallying to #ChooseToChallenge this International Women’s Day:



PwC is joining Global Women as hosts to our #IWD2021 #ChoosetoChallenge event: a panel discussion that interrogates a range of topics impacting the lives of women in 2021 and beyond. Speakers have been handpicked to bring a range of diverse and multi-faceted perspectives on diversity by sharing their experiences. They are: Martin Snedden (New Zealand Cricket Board), Commodore Melissa Ross (of Ngāpuhi, Deputy Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the first woman to serve on a Royal Navy warship on an operational mission), Paula Tesoriero MNZM (Disability Rights Commissioner), and Kirsten Lacy (Director of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki). The panel discussion is open to virtual viewers, so readers are invited to register to take a virtual place here prior to the event.


Air New Zealand

A panel discussion is taking place at Air New Zealand to celebrate International Women’s Day this year. They’re expanding on this year’s theme of ‘Choose to Challenge’ by exploring the additional challenges Covid has brought for working women, how organisations can take steps to improve inclusion in this time, and what support systems and pipelines can be created to better this.

Panellists include our very own CEO, Agnes Naera, join Vanessa Sorenson (Managing Director, Microsoft NZ), Leanne Geraghty (Chief Customer & Sales Office, Air NZ) and Jennifer Sepull (Chief Digital Officer, Air NZ) as well as host Nikki Dines (Chief People Officer, Air NZ) in giving their insights on the matters, plus sharing personal challenges that they’ve faced themselves and the action’s they’ve taken personally to advance this. Employees from Across Air New Zealand will be attending in person — and the messages will be shared far and wide across the organisation through a livestream for staff all over the country and world.




EY is bringing together many topical themes into one insightful panel discussion to celebrate International Women’s Day. Titled “Coming Home – the brain gain of high achieving women returning to New Zealand,” the panel will keep a special focus on the influx of once-international local talent our country is experiencing.

It’ll draw on the wisdom of women from within EY and external organisations to share insights on their careers, the current work climate through to what Aotearoa can learn from other countries. They’ll also be specifically tapping into wisdom from one panellist who was unable to start her OE, with discussions about adapting to the next normal and managing across cultures and timezones.

Charlotte Ward, Chief People Officer at Kiwibank, Katy Ohle (Manager, Consulting, EY) and Emily Mailes (Director, Consulting, EY) will be joined by facilitator Emma Smart (Consultant, PAS) to bring this panel discussion to life for EY’s staff across New Zealand. Further IWD events are being run throughout the week in Wellington, Christchurch and across the wider EY Oceania firm.



Harnessing the mana of women across their organisation, BNZ is celebrating the occasion with an internal panel discussion: International Women’s Day Internal Panel Event – Choose to Challenge. BNZ CEO Angie Mentis along with Hayley Cassidy (Chief General Counsel), Bridgette Dalzell (GM Customer Connection Hubs and Co-Chair of BNZ’s D&I Council) and Niral Patel (Marketing Automation Lead) will be taking to the stage on this virtual event to explore what this years’ theme means to them and answer questions from viewers and expand how they #ChoosetoChallenge this year and into the future.



Many things are happening in SkyCity’s world to celebrate IWD this year. One of the most prominent ways of showing their support to diversity and inclusion will be the illumination of the SkyTower in purple for International Women’s Day itself.

Internally, SkyCity is producing a series of online videos to profile their women leaders — an initiative designed by ‘SkyCity for SkyCity’ as a result of consulting staff on how to best connect everyone during this time. They’ve highlighted women across their Auckland, Hamilton and Adelaide locations for these clips which will be online for staff to view. These videos will not only celebrate the day, but also be available to be accessed anytime, anywhere to become a handy ongoing resource to support women leaders.

On top of these IWDs-specific events, they’ve just announced internally that they’ll be rolling out free sanitary products to all their New Zealand staff from now on.




Celebrating the incredible women in their organisation is how Hays will #choosetochallenge for this year’s event. They’ll be profiling individuals across Hays NZ who will explore how they’re embracing this year’s theme through an internal campaign. It’ll be shared both internally and across social media — so something to keep an eye out for!

Not only that, each office is taking it upon themselves to embrace their own way of celebrating IWD: Christchurch offices will be supporting Girl Guides, and the Wellington team will be taking a specially designed International Women’s Day He Tohu tour where’ they’ll learn about the wahine toa who left their mark on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and as well as the women who created change through the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition.


About Ava Wardecki – Ava channels her love of storytelling into writing and as a director of her company, Sneaky Social Media. With a background in corporate branding, consumer behaviour, communications and a conjoint Marketing and Public Relations degree from AUT and HEC Paris, she’s worked across corporate, fashion, lifestyle and hospitality industries. Paris born, Auckland raised and a keen traveller, she’s passionate about how understanding and creating cultures can inspire and evoke change.