As this year's first GirlBoss Edge Justice Challenge winner for GWN, Carmen Holdaway had the opportunity to visit just sector agencies in Christchurch. She gave us her first-hand account of this experience.

Earlier this year, I participated in a leadership accelerator provided by GirlBoss NZ. This course involved mentoring from professionals within Law, Policy and Governmental roles and one of the key sponsors of the course was the Government Women’s Network. The Government Women’s Network sponsored me further by choosing me as their Justice Challenge winner for my essay regarding Mental Health Courts.

As my prize, I was given the opportunity to visit the Justice Precinct in Christchurch - and what an opportunity it was! Truly one of the best experiences of my life. I felt so warmly invited and met with some wonderful people to discuss the justice system in Canterbury and New Zealand. It was really eye-opening to see the people behind the organisations and see how passionate they were about their work. It was also great to discover how many issues I had written about being investigated in real-time.  

Between visiting police dogs, sitting in a court hearing or discussing my essay, I had a very jam-packed day! I absolutely loved every minute and am so grateful to the people who made it all happen for me, especially Jennie, Rebecca and Tina. It really inspired me to broaden my horizons in terms of future career plans. I hope I can visit again soon, and keep in touch with all of the lovely people I met.

Thank you all so much for having me!

Jennie Farrar-de Wagt, Carmen Holdaway, Justin Rowlands (Deputy Regional Commissioner – Southern Department of Corrections)

Back to Southern GWN Stories & Profiles