Congratulations to our Supreme Award Winner, Helen Robinson, and to all category winners of the 2016 Women of Influence Awards!
Helen’s achievements go beyond the boardroom, with the judges noting the unique sustainable business model she implemented at Oi also makes it a stand-out social enterprise.
An accomplished director, Helen has played a pivotal role in the development of women across business and has proven to be vested in building the pool of women in management.
In its fourth year, the Women of Influence Programme is designed to identify, recognise and celebrate the 100 most influential women shaping New Zealand across 10 categories: Arts and Culture, Board and Management, Business Enterprise, Community and Not for Profit, Diversity, Global, Science and Innovation, Public Policy and Rural.
With a record number of nominees this year, our panel of experienced judges said selecting the winners and overall winner was a challenging task.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Gaylene Preston has been an extraordinary role model over three decades for women looking to work as film or documentary makers and has been responsible for telling important New Zealand stories on the big and small screen.
She has told stories about New Zealanders in war, captured the life and contribution of significant but unfashionable New Zealanders like Sonja Davies, tracked down how Te Papa came into existence, showed the impact and courage of New Zealand women with breast cancer and the aftermath of the 1967 Strongman mining disaster.
Galyene has tirelessly given her time and guidance to help aspiring young filmmakers and actors, and, through her contribution to the Arts, Gaylene Preston has done more than most to keep the spirit of New Zealand alive.
BOARD AND MANAGEMENT
Outstanding Auckland businesswoman, Helen Robinson’s executive and governance career impressed each and every one of the judges.
The former chief executive of Microsoft New Zealand, currently chairs Valens Group, Cloud M, Mondial Technologies Lt and N4L - which is helping schools become modern learning environments.
Helen is also on the board for Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development and part of the strategic committee for New Zealand Rugby.
Last year Helen launched Organic Initiative (Oi) and it is now one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing companies, with 2 per cent market share.
Lisa King started Eat My Lunch from her family home with very little capital after leaving a high paying corporate job in pursuit of her dream to alleviate poverty in New Zealand.
Using a clever, scalable, sustainable business solution, in just 12 months Lisa and her business partner Michael Meredith have been responsible for delivering 200,000 nutritious lunches to kids in low decile schools.
Based on the simple philosophy of buy one; give one, Eat My Lunch already has an active volunteer base of nearly 1,500 with a waiting list of three months.
It’s incredible that in such a short time, Lisa has built a model that can have a significant impact on the fight against poverty in any city around the world.
COMMUNITY AND NOT FOR PROFIT
For over a decade, Catriona has been one of the country’s strongest advocates for those confined to a wheelchair. She has faced a challenge none of us know how we would respond to and glows positivity, confidence and determination.
She has dedicated herself to helping others, using her leadership skills to connect Spinal Cord Injury Scientists and Researchers in New Zealand and overseas to collaborate and share their findings.
The judges were not only impressed by the millions of dollars Catriona has raised through the Catwalk Trust (which she founded in 2005) but also by her rare traits and characteristics that only a special few in the world possess.
Sue Kedgley has been a catalyst for change since 1971 when she founded the Auckland University Women’s Liberation Group.
Judges noted her long term influence on changing attitudes for women, particularly in the workplace. Since publishing her best seller “Sexist Society,” Sue has worked to raise the status of women in New Zealand and internationally through the United Nations.
She has presented and directed three documentaries on the impact of feminism on New Zealand society and written five books challenging stereotypical attitudes toward women.
Many of the opportunities New Zealand women take for granted today, were initiated by Sue’s vision, courage, tenacity and leadership.
Lyn’s contribution to New Zealand as Auditor General and Former Deputy Commissioner of the New Zealand Police is only part of her story.
Lyn has been hugely driven by a desire to support accountability and transparency around the world. Our accounting and auditing reputation is so strong, because Lyn has gone above and beyond to ensure New Zealand shares our skills and experiences so others can learn from us.
New Zealand is a world leader in the practice of accounting and audit because of her trailblasing attitude and outstanding achievements.
SCIENCE & INNOVATION
Dr Michelle Dickinson
Most of you, and certainly those with children, will best know our Science & Innovation winner as Nano Girl.
Michelle Dickinson’s work and vision has created an interest in science among hundreds of young New Zealand women and helped the careers of scientists and entrepreneurs.
She has become the public face of science in New Zealand by demystifying it for the general public and advocating the field as a viable and exiting career option for young women.
Michelle has also helped make New Zealand a global centre of excellence in the field of nanotechnology.
Naomi Fergusson is a woman of influence among chief executives, government employees and the wider economy.
The Inland Revenue’s first female commissioner, Naomi Ferguson is also the youngest to hold the position – one she’s been in since 2012.
Prior to her role at Inland Revenue, at the age of 32 Naomi was the first female director for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, leading 2500 public servants in a male-dominated revenue department in Northern Ireland.
Throughout her career, Naomi has long been a driving force for diversity and inclusion and creating the Women In Government network for senior public sector women here in New Zealand.
It may be easier to list what Mavis Mullins hasn’t done rather than what she has done to support rural communities in New Zealand.
In 2005 Mavis was the first woman to manage a New Zealand shearing and wool handling team, competing in the World Championships in Australia and bringing home two titles. As well as holding a number of agricultural directorships, Mavis is the patron of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust and a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Mavis also chairs the Aohanga Corporation. Under her guidance, in 2013, the 7,200 hectare Northern Wairarapa sheep and beef farm posted a profit for the very first time.
Alexia is proof that you’re never too young to speak up and persuade people to change the way they think. At just 17, she has mobilised a community of 650 young women in her quest for New Zealanders to out-innovate, out-build and out-educate the rest of the world.
Through Girl BossNZ, Alexia is on her way to realising her vision of 50 percent women in C-suite positions and equal opportunities across the STEM disciplines.
If that isn’t enough, Alexia has also turned her attention to helping families put food on tables and reduce the amount of food that goes to landfill. Her KaiShare app is an online platform that does just that and she’s now working with Goodman Fielder to implement it with merchants across Auckland.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Dame Rosanne Meo
Dame Rosanne was the first female president of the Employers' Federation and in her time as a public director, has chaired Television New Zealand, and sat on the board of Mercury Energy, Sky TV, Ports of Auckland, Forestry Corporation, and Baycorp.