In calling for nominations for this year’s Women of Influence Awards, the organisers ask people to nominate women who can inspire others, “the women who encourage and empower others through their stories and their actions”.
However, Dame Rosanne Meo, Chair of this year’s judging panel, says there’s another group of people for whom the Awards provide valuable inspiration: the participants themselves.
“Success is built on self-belief and confidence without arrogance,” says the woman whose own achievements include directorships at some of New Zealand’s best known businesses, the presidency of the Employers’ Federation, and a track record of successfully applying her commercial nous to support various charitable and public good organisations.
“Winning a Women of Influence Award – even being nominated – is significant and something of which all should be proud,” says Dame Rosanne.
“It validates what you’re doing: it demonstrates that some pretty knowledgeable and respected people think you’re on the right track.”
For that reason, Dame Rosanne says judges are looking at nominees’ potential to achieve as much as their successes to date.
“Personal achievement is still the number one criteria, but we also need to acknowledge promise, to recognise commitment and energy as well as success,” says Dame Rosanne.
“Increasingly, I hear from my daughters and their colleagues that the Awards are driving aspiration in the next generation: that’s a great accolade.”
Dame Rosanne says that to get her vote, nominees’ successes also need to fit within a broader context.
“My view is that economic success is only relevant when it brings with it benefits to our broader society. A strong economy without social cohesion is incomplete. So I am looking to recognise those women who use their influence to promote an awareness of social good, whose success benefits their communities as well as themselves.”
Having been involved in the Women of Influence Awards since they began in 2013, Dame Rosanne is well placed to comment on how they’ve grown, and how they might evolve in the future.
“The Awards night has become rather glamorous, hasn’t it – and the number of men at the Dinner seems to be increasing as well,” she laughs.
“It’s a real celebration, but it still manages to focus on success without being elitist.”
Looking ahead, Dame Rosanne says she hopes the Women of Influence programme continues to push the boundaries.
“I think the organisers have been quite brave over the years. They’ve thought outside the square with some of the categories they’ve included, and with some of the judges they’ve appointed as well.”
And will Dame Rosanne remain part of that “diverse panel” for future Awards?
“Well, I will if they ask me,” she says.
“Every year, I say to them you don’t want me again do you – but as long as they do, I’m very pleased to be involved.”
For more information about the awards, including past winners, how to nominate and purchase tickets to the forum and dinner please visit: www.womenofinfluence.co.nz