To celebrate International Women’s Day, Blue Sky Recruitment held our first Breakfast Stories for 2019. The theme of the Breakfast Story was Celebrating the Power of Difference. 

We had 3 inspirational Maori women leaders who are change agents, influencers and disruptive thinkers. 

They shared their stories on how their ‘uniqueness’ as a Maori woman, has been a strength in influencing and leading change within the communities they live and work in.

Rhonda Koroheke, General Manager, HR and Diversity & Inclusion at Spark NZ Limited, shared her vision of working towards creating  space within Spark for a more diverse and inclusive workplace.  She acknowledged that her achievements have been the result of working in collaboration with the senior leadership and executive team.  She said their buy-in and support is crucial for successful outcomes overall

Jenny Bol Jun Lee Morgan, professor of Maori Research at Unitec, delivered a heartfelt message around how story telling is the vehicle to which we, as women can stand in our power.  She shared her story of being Chinese and Maori, and how the two cultures shaped who she is today: a mother, a professor, an educationalist and author.  The essence of being a Maori woman in today’s society is not based on  ‘how Maori’ you are, but what you do for your whanau, hapu and Iwi.  In her view, being a Maori Woman comes with responsibility.

Maria Marama, Health Advocate & Social Researcher began her story with a personal account of her Cancer journey.  Now, as a Cancer survivor, she sees everyday as a gift and encourages Maori women to strand-up and be accountable.  She also spoke about her time as a Health Advocate and the struggles associated with being heard in a predominantly Pakeha lead environment.  In this role, she believed her key responsibility was to encourage the medical profession to show empathy to the people they were serving.   

The key messages that came out from all three influencers were:

  • The importance of having strong relationships with those around you.  You may disagree with them, but maintaining a relationship is key to progress forward
  • Be prepared to speak out, be true to yourself and your values.  It is none of your business what other people think of you. 
  • Change can only happen when you take small steps, and it’s the small steps that lead to bigger outcomes

Our Breakfast stories offer an opportunity to listen to stories, discuss and reflect.  This happened this morning, and we want to warmly thank everyone who shared this wonderful morning of storytelling with us.