International Women’s Day: Inspiring Inclusion with NZBWN and Kea New Zealand

Written by Amy Dunn.

IWD panellists

Our annual International Women’s Day event returned this year, and in fine form as always!

In partnership with Kea New Zealand, and kindly hosted by Killik & Co, NZBWN brought together over 100 Kiwi women to discuss the important topic of ‘Inspiring Inclusion’, this year’s International Women’s Day theme. The idea being that when we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, together we can create a better world.

The evening kicked off with an opportunity for guests to connect and get to know one another over nibbles and of course, Kiwi wine and beer. This was followed by a mihi by Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club, welcoming everyone to the event. Our panel moderator Mary Fenwick then introduced the panellists, Chantelle Nicholson, Kiri Haggart and Lisa Miles-Heal, and we dived into a lively discussion about inspiring inclusion and what this means to them.

We learnt about the panellists’ careers including where they started and their journey to where they are today. A resounding theme across the board in a world where so much is planned, was that of embracing the unknown and relinquishing the sometimes constraining notion of the ‘plan’.

On top of a raft of inspiring (and at times hilarious) stories, the panellists left us with some key takeaways regarding inspiring inclusion:

Lisa Miles-Heal

  • Stay true to your values and don’t accept unacceptable behaviour in the workplace - sometimes this means being brave and taking a leap away from what doesn’t feel right
  • Tech is one of the most inclusive industries - it doesn’t have the baggage of the past and is open to a variety of people with a variety of backgrounds - pivoting to a career in tech may not be as hard as it sounds with a little upskilling and by reaching out to contacts
  • We have to 'see it to believe it' - let's be role models for other women so they can see what is achievable and aim as high as they want to

Kiri Haggart

  • Sometimes you have to just go for it and put yourself in a position where you need to take on responsibility and propel yourself forward - you’ll soon find your horizons pushing further and further forward
  • Others will be open to giving you a chance and bringing you onboard if you put in the effort and demonstrate the right attitude (for example in countries where you don’t speak the language!)
  • The support of other Kiwi women overseas is magic - reach out to others and don’t downplay the power of connection in terms of the positive mental health benefits

Chantelle Nicholson

  • Don’t tolerate an uninclusive environment and speak up for yourself (and for others where necessary)
  • The best things are often unplanned - learn to embrace new opportunities and you never know where you’ll be in years to come (for example at The Savoy after many years of law and business degrees!)
  • Follow your gut - it usually steers you right

The discussions were wrapped up and the raffle was then drawn! Two lucky women left with gifts kindly donated by sponsors Mae Ceramics, Ostens and Hustle + Hush, and our panellists went home with some delicious treats from The Collective.

Ngāti Rānana concluded the evening with a karakia, whereupon our guests had further opportunity to mingle.

It was a sensational evening and we look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s event, and at the many events in between!

Thank you again to our event sponsors for their support:

IWD Sponsors