Our Stories: Mary Fenwick

Written by NZBWN.

mary fenwickMary Fenwick has used her background as a journalist to build high-level international relationships. She changes not only individual lives through her writing, coaching and educational fundraising, but her support for women as political leaders is contributing to change in countries in transition to democracy.

Mary’s job titles include business coach, public speaker, journalist, fundraiser, and mother of four children aged 21, 20, 18, and 16 years. This year, an engineering student from New Zealand will have a study placement at McLaren Automotive in the UK as the first step in a $10 million fundraising project, invented by Mary. In her work as Executive Director of the UK Friends of the University of Auckland, Mary has initiated and built a relationship with the global McLaren business. The ultimate aim is to create a permanent legacy to Bruce McLaren, who has unjustly faded from prominence in New Zealand.

Currently, Mary writes a monthly agony aunt column for Psychologies magazine in the UK, a role that she won in competition with household names. Her specialty is distilling academic knowledge into simple language, and in July 2016 she was asked to establish the first agony aunt column for the NZ Listener. In addition to this, Mary is the only woman on the management board of Enterprise and Parliamentary Dialogue International, which advocates for democracy in emerging nations.  This has taken Mary’s coaching skills to the world stage. In February 2016 she was invited to visit Libya as the only female member of a British delegation to that country’s interim government.

Mary’s voluntary contributions to New Zealand include as former UK chair of Kea, a member of the academic council of the New Zealand Studies Association and a founder member of the NZ Business Women’s network in the UK. As a public speaker, Mary received a standing ovation from an audience of 8,000 life insurance professionals in Hong Kong in January 2016. She is a strong believer in being the genuine article and feels that “if you are not pretending, you can’t get found out”. 

These achievements are just some of the reasons why Mary has been named a finalist in the Global category at the Westpac Women of Influence Awards in Auckland on October 10. We wish her and the other finalists from our network the best of luck.

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