Hosts: Southern Government Women’s Network Te Aka Wāhine o Te Waipounamu

Venue: Tūranga, Christchurch Library

Date: 22 September 2022

Attendance: Approx. 40


Shreejana Chhettri – Ara Poutama Department of Corrections

Renee Walker – Alliance Group

Chris O’Brien-Smith, Ara Poutama, Corrections Services Southern region.

Facilitators from SGWN: Jennie Farrar De-Wagt; Jennifer Leahy


“What I’d like to know, do know and wish I’d known” – three women from different stages in their careers share their journeys

SGWN were delighted to host their first face-to-face event for 2022 in Suffrage week. Jennie welcomed all to the event and started with a karakia. The three speakers were each asked the same questions by our panel facilitator, Jennifer and then questions were taken from the audience. Attendees were treated to a wonderfully inspirational session as well as a chance to enjoy kai together.

The speakers spoke of the challenges, lessons learnt and highlights in their careers. They discussed what they wished they had known when they started working and shared the advice that had helped them in their careers.


Key takeaways

  • Know yourself first
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself
  • Find out who the right people to influence are
  • Don’t be afraid to try, take all opportunities – ask why not?
  • Take criticism as a compliment, keep going and get better
  • Criticism is often about the other person and not you
  • Focus on what’s important
  • Remember, relationships are permanent
  • Have good networks
  • Be honest and authentic
  • Make goals to work towards
  • Be solution focused
  • Know your drivers and your boundaries
  • Find a mentor/coach and take advantage of any help and support offered
  • Put strategies in place to mitigate imposter syndrome
  • Try to create balance in your life 


SGWN committee members in front of the network banner

Shreejana Chhetri, Renee Walker, Jennifer Leahy, Jennie Farrar De-Wagt and Chris O’Brien-Smith.

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