Auckland GWN member, Abby Milner, participated in the GirlBoss Edge Justice Challenge career accelerator this year. We talked to Abby about her own career and asked about her experience mentoring Challenge participants.
Could you tell us about your role at the Ministry of Justice?
I’m currently seconded to the Ministry of Justice as a Senior Advisor, from the Department of Corrections. My role covers working in collaboration with other agencies, both government and non-government to support better outcomes for Maori/Pacific and Youth. At present we’re working on the driver licencing initiative. We aim to create a support structure within the community through schools and churches to help people gain their licence.
What led you to a career in the public sector?
I’ve always been motivated to support and help those who are less fortunate. The public sector, with its support system across partner agencies, is a great place to do this work. We have an amazing, highly motivated team which really adds to the overall experience and pushes me to be my best self.
How did you become involved with the GirlBoss Edge Justice Challenge?
My team and I received the opportunity via our Director. I was intrigued and excited by the prospect of working with a group of motivated young women who wanted to progress in the field of law, policy and government. I expected to meet some amazing young women but was really impressed at just how motivated they were to learn and progress. If this is the standard of our youth today, we are very lucky and have a very bright future!
What was required from you as a GirlBoss mentor and what was the experience like?
It was fantastic! I was fortunate enough to get to know four students from across New Zealand. I spoke of my current role and the steps I took to get here. They asked me a range of well-thought-out questions and we discussed the actions they could take to open up career pathways as well as experiences that would round off their current knowledge. One of the students in the group aspires to be a lawyer so we discussed how attending an open court session could be a good experience to pursue.
I also shared some resources with the group such as a decision-making process map, as well as links to web-based material around working with at-risk youth.
Only 2% of NZX CEOs are women. How can we seek to change that statistic?
Leadership and mentoring programs such as Girlboss and GirlBoss Edge are an important step towards encouraging positive change. I believe developing strong relationships with the next generation of women through mentoring with a focus on up-skilling will bring us closer to closing the gender gap.