Tina is a Lead Service Manager at Corrections and was one of the speakers at this year’s Women in the Public Sector Summit. She very kindly answered some questions for AGWN on her big career change, tertiary study in later life and balancing all of this with her whānau.

What motivated you to make the move from running your own business as a hairdresser to a career with Corrections?

The family business worked well for us as we had three young children, so it gave me the ability to be flexible. I had been a hairdresser and beautician for 15 years and although I loved my job, I wanted to help people by making positive changes in our community.  A close relative who worked at Corrections mentioned there were jobs available. We sold our business and a week later I started with Corrections as an Administration officer.

How was your experience as a speaker for the Woman in Public Virtual Summit?

When I was asked to be a speaker, I felt two things, firstly excitement at the amazing opportunity and secondly pure fear. Public speaking is a stretch for me however the experience has done a lot for my confidence, my networks and relationships. I had a lot of support and advice which made me feel good about myself and my story. I didn’t appreciate that people could learn from and connect with what I had to say. The experience also encouraged me to reflect on myself as a leader, my strengths and where I could make improvements. If you’re ever given this opportunity, I encourage you to tūwhitia te hopo – banish your fears! Feel the fear and do it anyway.

What has been your greatest lesson from leading people through the recent uncertain times?

That everyone deals with things in their own way, but with support and clear direction we can come together and achieve so much. That when our communities are in need we can swiftly pull together and provide support and this was proved by my team and their work. That I can trust and depend on others and I don’t have to be the driver of everything.

Being a late learner of tertiary studies, what is your advice for late learners who have a desire to study but think it's too late?

Do what’s right for you and your aspirations but once you’ve committed to your study give it 100%. You’ll need to find balance across all the areas of your life. The key for me was to communicate my workload and timing with my husband, whānau, manager and team. Don’t just assume they know what you need.

Has there been someone in your life that you’ve seen as a mentor or supporter?

I’ve been very fortunate to have very strong and supportive managers. I’m always looking to learn from the people I meet simply by watching them work. That said the biggest mentor and source of support is my Mama. My Mum is one of 14 children, she is the go-to for any whānau who need advice or to offload. At 74, she is still hairdressing part time and her standards for everything she does are always at the highest levels.

What is your advice for parents juggling work, children and their own well-being?

Start with doing the best you can. Try to find a balance and continually asses your wellbeing using tools like Te Whare Tapa Whā. Always communicate with your family and partner and work as a team. I believe this has been the main reason we as a family have been able to achieve so much, #TEAMPEEL! Finally, know that doing something seemingly frivolous for yourself is not selfish but important for self-care. It’s important that you take time for yourself, time to reset, re-balance and breathe.

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