Concurrent Session One

Dr Fleur Francois & Janet Blake

Getting into the driver’s seat: taking control of your career

This interactive panel session will cover topics including: how to set goals and be proactive with your career development, navigating organisational politics, turning rejection into opportunity, and building your career following parental leave.

Fleur and Janet will be sharing their stories and practical tips as they have developed their careers in science and technology and worked in male-dominated occupations.


Women's Network Panel

Women’s networks: lessons from the front lines

Jill Walker, a member of the Government Women’s Network working group, will chair a panel of women who have experience in forming and running women’s networks within their agencies. This session will provide you with the opportunity to ask questions and gain answers about supporting and/or starting a network within your own agency.  Our panel members will share valuable insights on what works and what they wished they had known before starting out.  Also learn how your networks can connect with GWN and gain benefits there.


Matalena Leaupepe

Diversity in the Public Sector – but are we ready for it?

This session shares ten years’ worth of learnings in the Public Sector from a Pacific woman’s perspective – the good the bad and the blessings.  Having worked in a population Ministry, a large mainstream government Ministry and a Crown Entity: what are the things that have made the biggest difference in my career and the work to improve government’s contribution to Pacific communities and for Pacific communities to thrive? Has the Public sector changed from a diversity perspective?  The Samoan saying goes, E sau le fuata ma lona lou – Each season/crop brings its own tools.  Have we got the right tools to both nurture and reap the rewards of diversity?


Concurrent Session Two

Naomi Ferguson

The growing influence of women is the one reassuring thing in our political life (Oscar Wilde: 1893)

Naomi Ferguson is the first female to hold the position of Commissioner of Inland Revenue since the position was created in 1878.

In 2016, Naomi was awarded the Westpac ‘Women of Influence’ award for public policy. Naomi will share her highs, lows and lessons along her path to becoming a woman of influence, and some thoughts on how we can each be a woman of influence every day.


Natasha Lewis & Ema Hao'uli

Millennial myth-busting: are we all just flaky and entitled?

As young women beginning our public sector careers, we ask – is aspiration about ambition and ‘climbing the ladder’, or is it about finding a purpose and contributing to your community? We tackle two myths about millennials: that our tendency to switch jobs, locations and even career paths makes us ‘flaky’, and that we are the ‘Me’ generation of entitled children.

We think it’s time to re-envision aspiration as ‘leading from where we stand’, encompassing the diverse identities of women in government in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We‘re interested in facilitating a discussion on crafting a purpose-driven career that embraces personal and professional lives and our super-diverse society — and why we think millennials are leading the way.


Suzy Morrissey and Maria Williamson

Experiences of public sector employees on parental leave and the HR policies that support them

In 2016 the Ministry for Women completed an international literature review on women returning to work.  The review noted that there has been no research undertaken in New Zealand since 2007 on women’s experiences of returning to work from parental leave.   Therefore any issues and challenges for New Zealand women in advancing their careers are not well known or understood.

In order to understand state sector employees’ experiences when returning to work after parental leave, a cross-agency research project was undertaken by the Ministry for Women and The Treasury, using a design thinking approach. This included focus groups with 35 parents (mostly women) and 21 in-depth interviews with participants from core state sector agencies.

A review of state sector parental leave policies and practices was also undertaken.  This was to understand what the state sector agencies provide to support parents on parental leave with a view to improving the consistency of entitlements and experiences for employees.  

This project is one part of a programme of research commissioned by the Ministry for Women on developing an evidence base and a deeper understanding of women’s experience of the gender pay gap and its drivers and the effect this has on their careers.


Concurrent Session Three

Gabriel Makhlouf & Mike Bush

From front lines to finances: champions of change driving diversity

In this session Gabriel and Mike will share their viewpoints on the ‘why’ of diversity.

Applying a living standards perspective, Gabriel will open the discussion with a look at the role
women play in New Zealand’s economy and the importance Treasury places on that. He’ll
share what the Treasury has and is doing to ensure diversity thrives in its own back yard and
why being a Champion for Change is so important to him.

This year marks 75 years since women were able to become NZ Police officers. Mike will
outline the importance of NZ Police reflecting the communities they serve and what he is
doing as a Champion for Change to recruit, develop and retain a more diverse workforce.

The session will round out with an interactive workshop focused on practical tips you can
take back to your workforce to influence increased diversity and inclusion.


Dr Sharon Rippin

Nailing aspirations: why is it so damn difficult?  

Understand the barriers to aspiration and what you can do to answer two of the hardest questions …

‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and

'What kind of leader do you want to be?' 


Maxine Walker

Practical mentoring - finding the right person to help you grow

This is an interactive and insightful workshop about the powerful growth you can experience
through workingwith a mentor.

At the heart of this valuable development activity is the relationship between mentor and
mentee. A good mentor will ask the right questions, help you gain insights, share their
experiences and help you commit to actions. They are there to provide support, and rolemodel
the behaviours you aspire to.

A mentor can help you think differently and learn about a wide range of issues such as
• Career guidance
• Performance Improvement
• Working with different types of people
• Specific work challenges
• Settling in to a new job

We will look at how you can
• Identify the right mentor
• Get your initial approach right
• Establish a successful and rewarding development relationship.

The workshop will be full of tips and hints that will help you develop a plan to engage with
your ‘dream’ mentor.

Please come along ready to think and talk about your development growth goals.


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