Success has many different faces, is achieved by diverse paths but is rarely a linear journey. And that’s why our team wanted to capture emerging young talent, teenagers on the verge of making important life decisions about their futures, and introduce them to inspiring leaders.
“The idea was to reach out to the new generation and say - can we help these younger women maybe learn some tricks that we have learned along the way and broaden their horizons”, says one of our founders Joan Withers.
This year saw the first of our Dreaming Big events, aimed at year 13 girls from Auckland schools. Around 80 of them were selected, students from diverse backgrounds whose teachers thought they would benefit from our event.
We deliberately chose speakers who were themselves from diverse backgrounds, including Margie Apa, the CEO of Middlemore Hospital and Maru Nihoniho from Maori Television and Maori Carbon Foundation.
After hearing how some of the business leaders came from small island communities, breaking family traditions and expectations to find success in their chosen fields, the girls were enthusiastic.
“I don’t know many women role models in professional environments like this, that have spoken to me in the way they have,” one teen told us afterwards.
“It’s powerful, I get to hear from women just like me, who have the same morals and the same ways as me,” said another.
After sessions on entrepreneurship, preparing for an interview and imposter syndrome the students were treated to afternoon tea at Government House, where Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy spoke to them.
“I hope they realise that we all started out just like them,” Dame Patsy said.
We wanted the students to leave the event “Dreaming Big.”
“You can do it if you put your mind to it,” Dame Therese Walsh says. “Anyone can.”
We’d like to thank Mercury for hosting the event, and also Dame Patsy for her support.
Following the success of the event we’ll be holding similar ones in the future.