For this year's Auckland Summit, GWN and AGWN were able to provide grants and sponsorships for 12 women early in their public service careers to attend the Summit for the first time.

It was amazing to be able to support and host these incredible wāhine at their first summit. We gathered some of their thoughts on the day.


Highlights of the day

“I felt encouraged to be myself and trust that my authentic self has a place in the public sector.” – Brigitte Alamani, Ministry of Education on sessions with Rachel Leota and Minnie Baragwanath

“I am passionate about honouring Te Tiriti and helping to bring change between Maori/Pakeha relationship.  Unity amidst diversity.” – Catherine Pearson, MSD, on Lil Anderson's session

“I resonated with Rachel Leota’s experience of suppressing her whole self, working in a male-dominated workspace, struggles with mental health, and being unable to see leadership that looks like you. It was a reminder to be true to yourself.”  – Cathy Xiong, Ministry for the Environment

“Minnie Baragwanath’s tenacity, bravery and dedication to always seeing the possibilities was so inspirational.” – Justina Toomata, MPI

“I learned a lot about influence within organisations and how to progress change.” – Liline Hewett, Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission, on sessions with Tania Powhare and Lil Anderson

“The authentic willingness of leaders to share and support and an insight into how much diverse opportunity there is within the Public Service.” – Catherine Pearson, MSD

“Being able to participate in sessions via group discussions, and asking questions on Slido.” – Elsa Pelman, Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission

“The energy created by so many wāhine coming together.” – Jean Archer, Oranga Tamariki


Top takeaways

“There’s strength in empowering communities to create their own outcomes.” – Cathy Xiong, Ministry for the Environment

“Never be scared to walk away and move on to other opportunities.” – Elsa Pelman, Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission

“Nothing is perfect, learn to work within it but be the change you want to see.” – Julia Stent, NZ Customs Service

“Take what you’re good at and bring it to the table.” – Justina Toomata, MPI

“Form a support network– people who can support your projects and career planning. Find your peers, allies and mentors.”– Liline Hewett, Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission

“That I can be a leader one day, too.” – Mackenzie Blucher, Auckland Council


Favourite quotes from the day

“Don’t let your diary manage you. Take control. Book those times for yourself – holidays, massage, read a book…! Keeping time to yourself will help you be resilient during your time in the public sector.” – Naomi Ferguson

“How do we make sure we always stand in our customers shoes.” – Rachel Leota

“If you can’t see it, how can you be it?” – Rachel Leota

“Leaders come from everywhere.” – Lil Anderson

“Start everyday with the goodness of you for yourself.” – Riripeti Reedy



First time attendees at the Auckland Summit
Grant recipients await the next session at the Auckland Summit

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