Welcome To Our New Corporate Members – Datacom & Eden Park

20 new leaders join the NZAL membership

The next wave: Change-makers, Entrepreneurs and Superdiverse leaders

NZ Asian Leaders (NZAL) in association with Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), MYOB, NZ China Trade Association (NZCTA), Future Dragonz Wellington (FDW) and NZ China Friendship Society (NZCFS) held its first Wellington event of 2018, a panel discussion on ‘The Next Wave: Change-makers, Entrepreneurs and Superdiverse Leaders’.

The panel discussion pioneered the conversation focusing on entrepreneurship, age and gender diversity and ‘disruptive leadership’ by superdiverse New Zealanders from uniquely Wellington firms and sectors.

 

#myidentity campaign launched to celebrate diversity: Now join the challenge

A social media campaign, #myidentity, was launched Thursday, March 1, 2018 at SKYCITY Auckland to increase well-being, connection and racial harmony by encouraging New Zealanders to share their stories about their unique identities – be it a race or ethnic origin, a gender, a religion, a sexuality, an (dis) ability, an occupation, etc.

The launch included never seen before videos of Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development, Disability Issues and Associate Minister for Arts Culture Heritage, and Pacific Peoples; and Hon Julie Anne Genter, Minister for Women, Associate Minister of Health and Transport, talking about their identities. Both Ministers spoke at the campaign launch, which was officially launched by the Governor-General of New Zealand, Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy in front of an audience of 200 attendees.

Over 40 prominent New Zealanders have shared their #myidentity stories including Capt Pete Bethune (Founder of Earthrace Conservation), Dr Hinemoa Elder (tertiary education academic and former television presenter), Ian McInnes (CEO, Tear Fund),Melanie Higgins (Consul-General, US Consulate Auckland), Alison Taylor (CEO, Centre for Social Impact), Diane Maxwell (Retirement Commissioner), Hon James Shaw (Co-Leader of the New Zealand Green Party and Minister for Climate Change, Minister for Statistics and Associate Minister of Finance), Priti Ambani (Co-Founder of The Next Billion), Mele Wendt (Consultant and Board Director), Alexia Hilbertidou(Founder of GirlBoss New Zealand), Rob Hennin (Chief Executive, nib New Zealand),Scott Pickering (Chief Executive, ACC), Ete Eteuati (actor and comedian), Vanisa Dhiru (President, National Council for Women), Riahn Hoani (nib New Zealand) and the Head Girl of Manurewa High School.

We invite you, your family, business, organisation, school etc to accept the Challenge. The website www.myidentitychallenge.com has been set up to allow all New Zealanders to add their stories. Superdiversity Centre for Law, Policy and Business Chair, Mai Chen, said, “This will encourage greater connection and understanding in our families, workplaces, schools, neighbourhoods, schools and hospitals. With the growing diversity in New Zealand and Auckland in particular, it is important to ensure we better understand who we are working with, serving and relating to. We don’t all look the same and we can’t assume we know the other person’s background. A person’s identity affects how they think and act. The campaign should grow economic and social capital in helping us to better understand who we are as New Zealanders.”

NZAL first regional event in Gisborne

Date: March 13, 2018

Theme: The event will focus on matching businesses with investors for farming and infrastructure projects

For more details, please contact the NZAL team.

Sameer Handa

Director, Investor & an experienced Business Leader

Sameer is a Mechanical Engineer by trade with an MBA from Sydney University.  Sameer has extensive experience in management and leadership roles in various countries through several industries. Sameer possesses a good knowledge and understanding of International trade through his work experience in Middle East, Fiji, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Sameer has worked in the refrigeration & air-conditioning industry in NZ for the past 22 years. In his last role Sameer was the MD for Beijer Ref AustralAsia. In this role Sameer’s responsibilities included managing six businesses in four countries; Patton & Realcold businesses in NZ, Patton Refrigeration in India, Patton Aero in Thailand and merger of Patton Australia and Realcold Australia into Beijer Ref Australia. This included 40 trade outlets, 6 factories and 300 staff in 4 countries. Currently, Sameer still holds board positions in Patton NZ Ltd, Realcold NZ Ltd & Patton Refrigeration India Pvt Ltd.

Sameer is an executive member of India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC), on the advisory board of New Zealand Asian Leaders (NZAL), CMInstD, Chartered Member, Institute of Directors NZ since 2009 and also on the board of Bank of India (New Zealand) Limited & Refrigerant Recovery NZ Limited

Highlights from an exclusive breakfast session with Hon. Stuart Nash

NZ Asian Leaders along with Chen Palmer Partners, SUPERdiverse WOMEN (SDW) and the Superdiversity Centre hosted the Hon Stuart Nash for an exclusive breakfast event for its members, clients and sponsors at Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ).

Speaking about his four portfolios, the Minister fielded lots of questions, particularly about his Police, Revenue and Small Businesses portfolio. He spoke about the high number of migrant business owners, the need to restart the Small Business Advisory Group, the recruitment drive for top quality police officers from diverse backgrounds to reflect the communities they would serve in, and the reforms he will be overseeing in tax and in fisheries.

Hosted  by NZAL Corporate member, CAANZ, in attendance were NZAL, SDW members and supporters and sponsors. Hon Stuart Nash spoke about NZ’s diversity and  superdiversity as a source of strength and how it brings new skills, insights and opportunities to NZ. He spoke about his political philosophy – equality of opportunity and the importance of retaining connections to one’s culture.

Spotlight on Nikhil Ravishankar, Chief Digital Officer, Vector

NZAL Established member, Nikhil Ravishankar spoke to NZAL’s Priti Garude, Marketing and Communications Manager on his journey to NZ, his diverse bunch of friends, on being a “failed entrepreneur” and how he learnt of his own unconscious bias while leading a team of 100.


Your journey

My parents moved to New Zealand in 1996. I finished my high school here and then studied at the University of Auckland. As a new immigrant, I worked almost from the day I arrived. I worked multiple, odd jobs all the way through university. Back then, it was quite a challenge as a new immigrant family, we all had to do our bit and that is an important part of my story.

It has been quite instrumental in establishing and shaping my work ethic.

Transition and life in NZ as a new migrant 

To be honest, I had a nightmare start. We moved here in winter and it wasn’t the weather that was tough on me. As a teenager leaving all your friends behind and coming to a new place was quite difficult. I went to an all-boys school, which is quite an unforgiving environment. So, I went from being the cool kid to an outsider – someone who dressed funny, sounded funny, it was a hard time. But when I look back, I believe that experience also developed my resilience.

It was really when I started playing sports that I was accepted and started to make friendships that have endured over the years. In NZ, sport is such a big thing, and it was sports that helped me integrate in to the NZ culture. My friend-set has always been a diverse bunch, a collection of “outsiders”, with a few people from NZ who found that diversity very interesting.

First entrepreneurial venture, MobileLife

Mobile Life was launched during my University days.  My peers and I were always very interested in what was happening with the internet, always testing the boundaries of services that could be delivered online. At that time, mobile was starting to grow its foot hold. We started thinking about the power of mobility and internet, and from that, an idea of mobile as a virtual broadcasting center, was born. It was built out of interest in the limits of digital disruption and that every human being has the technology to become their own broadcaster.

We had a great time building the company, received support from NZTE, gained capital from other investors, 6 to 8 people working full time or almost full time. And we did okay, but we were a bit too early to the game.

Mobile data rates were too high and people would literally challenge us in sessions and question us such as “What do you mean people would watch videos on their handset? It’s too small, no way would people do that, there is no network that can manage it, or would allow for it”. They made us look and feel like idiots!

What it takes to be an entrepreneur

I’m a failed entrepreneur. I attempted to start my own business, ran it for a few years but it sort of frizzled out. It was a very humbling experience. Though we were right about the way people’s lives would change because of these disruptive technologies, like mobility in that instance and access to the internet, video technology and so on, our timing was not quite right.

It was a combination of timing, the environment that we were in but also more importantly the 3 of us weren’t very commercial guys. We were literally the cliché start-up guys and we didn’t surround ourselves with people who were commercial. You don’t know what you don’t know.

So complimenting the team with people who bring stuff that you don’t bring, is a very big message of diversity. Recognizing that not everyone needs to look like you, or talk like you or more importantly bring the same skills that you bring to the table, as obvious as it sounds. We were too young and too naïve to recognize the value of that.

In the cold light of the day, it was the best experience that you could hope for, because it taught me some very valuable lessons but it’s still too raw to say that it was learning experience. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went in to it, so I still feel like mourning it.

It is easy to start, but you need to be very focused and disciplined and to an extent brave, to stop things that aren’t going to deliver the results. I had a boss who kept saying that your most accelerated learning happens when you go through failures. In the digital start-up game, timing is a very precious ingredient. Sometimes its easy to let your ego get the better of you, but the timing needs to be right. Failing is not a bad thing and learning from your failings is the best thing you can do. I never run away from talking about MobileLife, I’m very proud of it actually.

Entrepreneurship in NZ

The NZ in early 2000, was nowhere near entrepreneur friendly as it is today. Even today, it is light years behind some of the more leading cities in the world – like Silicon Valley, San Jose, San Francisco, Israel, in terms of support network around entrepreneurship – places where they really embrace innovation. We talk about it a lot but we’re not quite there yet. But we are a lot better than we were in the 2000.

Experience of leading a diverse team

Coming from NZ, representing minority myself, I was expecting that going into a more diverse organization like Accenture will be easy. But I hadn’t paid attention to my own bias, preference which had developed obviously growing up in Auckland. Ironically, I struggled with it.

My biases and preferences were not bad, they were just different. I thought I would have to work less than any body else, around working with other cultures and diversity, because I’m an Indian from NZ. In my mind, I was the poster child for diversity but in fact I was the opposite. So, when I was in Hong Kong, I led a team of about 100 from Bangalore and a couple of months down the line, I was struggling to motivate them.

If you want to make diversity work for you, there are a lot of things personally that you need to do, to understand what it really means, it does not happen automatically. Working with mainland Chinese versus the Hong Kong team versus working with the Australians or the Americans, it is easy to put people into boxes but you have to be fully open minded and work at it to start leveraging its power. Some of the most close minded thinking I’ve seen is from people who come from similar backgrounds.

Since then I’ve never thought of myself as being in tune with diversity and its power – I’m just like everybody else and I have my own biases, shortcomings and I just need to work at it.

Diversity in business and its advantages

 The highest order of topic in diversity should be diversity of ideas and how it creates genuine new value. Everything else is just a means to an end. Be it gender diversity, ethnic, religious, sexual preference, or any other form of diversity – at the end of the day, all of that is secondary to diversity of ideas. Staying within your comfort zone with the type of people you like to interact with or you identify yourself with, is just restraining yourself from getting access to those diversity of ideas.

Message to young leaders

There is some incredibly powerful technology that is very egalitarian in the way it impacts society. Technology isn’t racist, technology isn’t biased, technology has the power in being an equalizing force. Over the next 3 to 5 years, there will be some incredible technology that is going to impact over lives in more ways than we can imagine – machine learning, robotics, AI, big data analytics, VR, AR, Internet of Things. These things will have an impact on every part of life and if I was a young person coming through the ranks today, I would be really focused on understanding what those technologies were and the possibilities that it can bring. Both in isolation but really the magic happens when they combine together – the multiplicative effort of all these technologies that I think no one is immune to.

On a personal front, I think there are very few places around the world that are as accepting of new ideas as New Zealand and specifically Auckland. But we can not get complacent and need to work harder to ensure that Auckland remains that way – and that for me is one of the attractions of being a part of NZ Asian Leaders.

We should not think of breaking down barriers as a chore but really look at it as a privilege. Apathy is the most dangerous thing in all of this. To think that a certain person is racist, and hence you are going to give up on them and move on, it’s the point at which you’ve rolled over and died. It’s not a chore at all, once you break down that barrier, that’s where lies real value.

As spoken to Priti Garude, Marketing and Communications Manager, NZ Asian Leaders

Highlights from an exclusive breakfast session with Hon. Stuart Nash

Trademonster nominated as the finalist for prestigious 2017 Annual NZCTA Business Awards

 

Trademonster, a multi-dimensional consulting, trading and global logistics company has been nominated and selected as the finalist for prestigious 2017 Annual NZCTA Business Awards in “Best use of eCommerce in exporting to China”. Established member and Managing Director of Trademonster, Gavin Yang says:

“Being a very young and vibrant company with a group of young people, we share one vision: Passion creates future!  Although we have only been operating for 2 years, we strongly believe that with our passion in providing effective and feasible solutions in cross-border e-commerce, helping our partners to enter into top China e-commerce platforms, achieving high yield and broad coverage on brand building… we realise our dream and contribute building an effective bridge between NZ and China trade. The selection of Finalist of NZCTA China Business Award is a recognition of our effort and achievement during the last two years. We are truly honoured and we are confident that we will continue to our best endeavours in what we are passionate about.

NZAL Emerging Leader, Jessie Chan-Dorman announced as Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year

Congratulations to NZAL Emerging Leader, Jessie Chan-Dorman on winning the coveted title of Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year

 A Canterbury woman who has dedicated her career as a rural professional to New Zealand’s dairy industry is 2017’s Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.

Jessie Chan-Dorman, a Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillor, won the coveted title out of a group of three finalists which included CEO of Sirona Animal Health Claire Nicholson and agribusiness consultant Jolene Germann.  The awards ceremony was held tonight in Queenstown as part of a gala dinner at the Dairy Women’s Network’s annual conference.

Chan-Dorman, whose peers say is equally as confident at a grassroots level as she is in her governance and leadership roles, is director of the Ashburton Trading Society and is a Fonterra Shareholder representing farms in Rakaia. In addition to being a Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillor, she is also on the Holstein Friesian New Zealand External Affairs Committee and a member of the Institute of Directors and New Zealand Asian Leaders.

With a career spanning farming through to business and governance, Chan-Dorman’s experience stems from her roles in large organisations such as DairyNZ and Environment Canterbury, and volunteer positions with Federated Farmers, the Land Use Futures Board, Land and Water forum and Ballance AgriNutrients as a judge for their farm environment awards.

Dairy Women’s Network CEO Zelda de Villers says Chan-Dorman is a worthy recipient of the title, citing her positive role modelling for others in the rural sector and her ability to work across all aspects of the dairy spectrum.

“Jessie’s career over the past decade has seen her add extraordinary value to the business of dairy in New Zealand,” she says. “It’s clear that across the variety of roles she has had, from volunteering through to business ownership and governance, she has made it a priority to share her expertise and give back where she can.

“Jessie also brings her diverse experience and background through various forums to influence outcomes. She’s unique in that she recognises that issues need representation from different perspectives and she’s not afraid to have tough conversations.

“We’re very proud to present her with the Dairy Woman of the Year title.”

Fonterra General Manager NZ Industry Affairs Jo Finer says Chan-Dorman is deserving of the award.

“What quickly became clear in Jessie’s nomination is that she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, but is more than capable of seeing the bigger picture at the same time,” says Finer. “Experience like Jessie’s is incredibly valuable in this industry.

“On behalf of Fonterra I’d like to congratulate her on this achievement and we’re looking forward to seeing more great things from her in the future.”

Chan-Dorman says the award is great step for her to continue role-modelling dairy leadership to her peers and those looking to come through the ranks.

“I see myself further influencing change by being involved at a governance or representation level in our cooperatives and advocating for the next generation to get involved in the industry with skin in the game.

“New Zealand’s dairy industry is unique in that we structure our farming businesses to bring the next generation of men and women on to the farm. I’m looking forward to working further on these kinds of collaborative relationships at a higher level.”

Chan-Dorman receives a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 to undertake a professional/business development programme.

Eye on Asia

 

Held on Oct 31, the Eye on Asia forum was an inaugural joint venture between the Institute of Directors NZ (IOD), NZ Asian Leaders (NZAL) and the Superdiversity Centre for Law, Policy and Business, aimed at deepening a working knowledge of cultures and factors influencing business success in India and China.

Facilitated by Mai Chen, CMInstD, Founder, and Chair of the Superdiversity Centre, NZ Asian Leaders and David Jackson, CFInstD, Director, Fonterra, the forum provided deep insider knowledge from those doing business in the China and Indian markets.

Providing this expertise, was a top line up of NZAL members who through their deep experience have insider knowledge of the Indian and Chinese markets. Issues included, understanding tax regulations to government machinery and digital growth in India. On the Indian business panel, Sameer Handa, CMInstD, Director, Deputy Chair, NZAL,Chandan Ohri, Managing Partner – Global Business Services, IBM  and Jay Changlani, Director, Account Icon. Ziena Jalil, MInstD, Partner, SenateSHJ presented a case study on her experience of working within the education sector in India.

The second session on  China capability included the China panel, Terry Lee, Managing Director, Milk NZ Ltd, who spoke about the investment and partnership opportunities in China and what the most recent 19th Communist Party Congress means focusing on President Xi Jinping’s three and half hour speech, Lisa Li, Managing Director, China Travel Services explained the Belt and Road initiative, Dr. Xiaoying Fu, MInstD shared insight into  innovation, growth and future growth industries and Leon Fung, General Manager, Winston Nutritional Ltd spoke about his experience on understanding the Chinese client and consequently the market. The case study was presented by Gavin Yang, Managing Director, Trademonster on the growing e-commerce market in China.