Our Stories: Emma Keeling

Written by Nicola Cockroft. Posted in Our Stories.

Ahead of International Women’s Day we caught up with Emma Keeling, who will the MC for our headline event on Monday 8 March.Emma Keeling

Whether it was fighting it out with the boys on the football pitch or fending off nay-sayers as the only woman in the newsroom, Emma Keeling has certainly had her fair share of challenges.

A journalist for 25 years, Emma started in radio and ended up in TV. She worked on a variety of news and current affairs shows in New Zealand before securing the Europe Correspondent role for TVNZ.

“I thought I knew what I was getting myself into but two years of terror attacks and Brexit soon made me realise I didn’t, but I had to just get on with it. Looking back, I feel proud of how I adapted and the stories I told.”

She feels “chuffed” to host the NZBWN International Women’s Day event with this year’s theme ‘Choose to Challenge’. So what has she found most challenging in her life? “To be honest keeping those little voices in my head quiet and getting out of my own way. Although men come a close second,” she says with a grin.

Emma was born in Auckland and grew up in Kerikeri. She wanted to play football but there was no girl’s team, so she played with the boys until her dad pulled her out when she hit puberty. “I was furious, but I ended up on the golf course caddying for him one day when I was bored and that’s when I started playing.”

Our Stories: Libby Gordon

Written by Nicola Cockroft. Posted in Our Stories.

Libby isn’t one to sit still. She bought a one-way ticket to the UK 15 years ago and hasn’t stopped since. An avid runner and cyclist, she also has a string of voluntary roles on the go, including helping run our Business Book Brunch, and has recently hosted a masterclass to impart some sage advice on coping with change.Libby Gordon

Why does she volunteer so much? “I’ve got time to give and I like giving it. I love meeting people and hearing their stories.” It’s something she’s always done, ever since she was a kid. Her parents were part of Forest & Bird and so she was often out litter picking or planting trees. She’s carried that on into her adult life with a long list of charities and community groups that she supports, both in her local area of Tooting and beyond.

When she started to miss her connection with New Zealand a few years ago she joined her first NZBWN Business Book Brunch, which she now volunteers to help run for the network. “They’re a great learning opportunity. I love that it’s not just about listening to someone else, but getting involved in the discussion and helping myself and others think about how to apply the things we learn.”

“I enjoy talking to people who are interested in more than just what’s in front of them.” She thinks it takes a certain type of person to uproot their lives – leaving behind their family, friends and everything they know that’s familiar. Although not every Kiwi that has done that will have the same outlook, she says there’s a common desire to get up and do something different and she’s interested in speaking to others who share that type of attitude.

Our Stories: Fiona MacDonald

Written by Jen Hacker. Posted in Our Stories.

Fiona Macdonald is one of those rare people that knew what she wanted to do from a young age. As an avid outdoor sports fan in her teens, Fiona was keen to promote the beautiful country and landscape and knew that a career in tourism was for her.FionaMcDonald

“People who work in tourism boards tend to be incredibly proud and I was, I still am, an incredibly proud kiwi,” she says. “Working in that industry is a great way to show off how great your country is.”

One of her early career highlights was when former Prime Minister John Key personally chose to give tourism the senior ministerial platform that it so richly deserves. Key was one of the few PMs to choose to become the Minister for Tourism and Fiona, who was working at the Ministry of Tourism at the time, believes that showed the importance of the sector. “It’s really one of the best outcomes that a country’s tourism board can ask for,” she says. “It helped elevate the industry on New Zealand’s radar and it’s now taken very seriously.”

After moving to London in 2011, Fiona now calls both NZ and the UK home so it’s fitting that she’s putting that same sense of national pride into her current role representing Britain. As the Senior Manager for Business Events at VisitBritain - the UK’s national tourist board, Fiona works in attracting international events to the UK as part of the government-wide ‘GREAT Britain’ campaign.