Fairfax names Women of Influence

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Over the road, on the same night in the same city as the Woman of the Year Awards (see previous story), Fairfax Media were unveiling their 2016 Women of Influence Awards. The Supreme Winner was won by Helen Robinson, co-founder/executive director for Organic Initiative (Oi).

“Organic Initiative is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing companies thanks to Helen’s skills in commercialisation and leadership,” the judges said. In a career that has included management and governance roles, Robinson has been ceo of Microsoft NZ, and is currently the chair of N4L, CloudM and Valens Group. She also sits on the boards of ATEED and Aktive Auckland Sport & Recreation.

The Women of Influence Awards are a partnership between Fairfax Media and Westpac, and are judged in 10 categories: Arts and Culture, Board and Management, Business Enterprise, Community and Not for Profit, Diversity, Global, Innovation & Science, Public Policy, Rural, Young Leader. A Lifetime Achievement Award was also made to Dame Rosanne Meo for her groundbreaking business career over the last 30 years.

Fairfax Media managing director Simon Tong, says he was humbled to be in the presence of so many inspiring women.

“This is the fourth year we have run the Women of Influence Awards now, and every time the calibre and volume of entries we receive is phenomenal. These awards are a fantastic opportunity to pay tribute to the outstanding women we work and connect with in our lives, and hearing about their range of incredible achievements makes for an uplifting, inspiring event for everyone.”

Westpac NZ Director Corporate Affairs, Sue Foley, says the awards identify and celebrate women across all walks of life who are contributing to the success of New Zealand.

The 10 other category winners were:

Arts & Culture: Writer, director and producer Gaylene Preston won this category for the work she has done on New Zealand-focused films and documentaries. She has won 11 NZ Film Awards, she has been appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to filmmaking and has sat on the boards of the NZ Film Commission and NZ on Air.

Business Enterprise: Lisa King is the founder of social enterprise Eat My Lunch, which has been helping to feed children in need for the past year.

Community and Not-for-Profit: Catriona Williams is the founder of Catwalk Trust, which funds support for spinal cord injury research.

Diversity: Women’s issues champion Sue Kedgley.

Global: Lyn Provost is New Zealand’s first female auditor-general and has been a dedicated public servant for most of her career.

Innovation and Science: Nano Girl Michelle Dickinson.

Public Policy: Commissioner of Inland Revenue Naomi Ferguson is the first female commissioner and the youngest person to hold this position.

Rural: Mavis Mullins is the chairwoman of RangitaneTu Mai Ra Trust, a post-settlement governance entity established in 2014. In 2005 Mullins became the first woman to manage a New Zealand shearing and wool handling team and she also chairs the Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation, a 42,000-hectare agribusiness with 7000 shareholders.

Young Leader: Alexia Hilbertidou created GirlBoss NZ to address gender issues in science and technology and C-suite positions and to develop the leadership potential of young women between 13 and 18 years old. She has also created KaiShare, an online platform where corporate food waste is redistributed to those in need.

Lifetime Achievement
Businesswoman Dame Rosanne Meo was the first female president of the Employer’s Federation. She has chaired Television New Zealand and sat on the boards of Mercury Energy, Sky TV and Ports of Auckland. Meo is renowned for bringing her business expertise to non-profit organisations like the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra Trust Board and the Kelliher Charitable Trust.


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