NZAL Wellington End of Year Soap-box networking event

Survive, Thrive and Lead
NZAL Wellington End of Year Soap-box networking event

NZAL Wellington Soap-box event was held on Wednesday 28 November with two outstanding guest speakers, Golriz Ghahraman and Laurie Foon.

Golriz and Laurie shared with us their personal story on surviving, thriving and leading in NZ. Their personal journey was thought-provoking and inspirational, which prompted lively discussions.

It also highlighted the value of having a community where diverse heritage is celebrated and shared.

Participants are keen to attend future events to continue the dialog on how to survive, thrive and lead in NZ.

NZAL Wellington’s next public event is likely to take place in the first quarter of 2019.

Watch this space.

Letter from NZAL Chair, Mai Chen

Get To Know The NZAL Membership, And More

Dream Up Workshop in Wellington

Organized by the NZAL Wellington Committee, this event was held exclusively for NZAL members.

Highlights from the event:

  • NZAL Wellington members got together to discuss how we work together to make “the next wave” a reality.
  • Lynda Chanwai-Earle, one of the NZAL Wellington members and well known writer and producer, kick started the evening by sharing her fascinating journey which epitomises the celebration of diversity.
  • A lively discussion followed that created a large number of ideas.
  • Thank you everyone for your fantastic input.
  • The Committee has now developed a plan of action which focuses on delivering value for members and NZ Inc
  • Invitations for future activities and events will follow shortly.

Watch this space!

An evening with Hon. Iain Lees-Gallaoway

Thursday evening saw NZAL members and supporters share their insights with the Hon. Iain Lees-Gallaoway on the government’s workplace health and safety relations. Hosted by NZAL corporate member, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the session also included four NZAL members, Mikee Santos, Chairperson, Migrante Aotearoa, Jacob Mani Mannothra, Director, Zindia Ltd, Jenny Lim, ActivAsian Lead, Harbour Sport and Jade Leung, Project Consultant, Vector Limited, sharing their own perspectives from within their business, with the session facilitated by NZAL Chair and founder, Mai Chen. The Minister said he appreciated hearing from top Asian leaders about health and safety issues from their perspective and on behalf of their communities.

Discussing the Government’s Health and Safety Strategy, and the broader work in the Workplace Relations portfolio, the Hon. Iain Lees-Gallaoway’s address

focused on the various communities in Auckland and the different perspectives and attitude towards health and safety. He touched upon the government embarking on a health and safety strategy that sets out goals and priorities to drive sustained, system-wide improvements to NZ’s work related health, injury and fatality rates, including NZ’s ethnic workers.

This was followed by  NZAL members, Mikee Santos, Chairperson, Migrante Aotearoa, Jacob Mani Mannothra, Director, Zindia Ltd, Jenny Lim, ActivAsian Lead, Harbour Sport and Jade Leung, Project Consultant, Vector Limited speaking about health and safety issues in different industries that they work in, along with the health and safety measurements.

The session was closed by Sameer Handa, Deputy Chair, NZ Asian Leaders and Managing Director, Glowbal NZ.

Mikee Santos, Chairperson, Migrante Aotearoa highlighted his story and the working conditions of various Filipino workers in New Zealand. Migrante Aotearoa is the a grass-root, non-profit organisation that advances the rights and welfare of Filipinos and other Migrants in New Zealand.

A Malaysian-born Kiwi whose career in sport and recreation started when she was 16, Jenny Lim is the ActiveAsian Lead at Harbour Sports. With an aim to increase Asian participation in sports, Jenny touched upon a few initiatives and programmes created to observe health and safety on and off the sport field.

Jacob Mani Mannothra, Director, Zindia Ltd spoke about the high serious harm and injuries within the forestry sector, best practices observed by his company, and what is the new research, development and innovation needed within the sector to safeguard their working environment.

An HR practitioner, Jade Leung, Project Consultant at Vector Limited spoke about the need for human understanding within organisations and a strategy to create health and safety practices based upon knowledge of different cultures.

Spotlight on Komal Mistry, General Manager, Fonterra Ventures

NZAL member, Komal Mistry, General Manager at Fonterra Ventures and Deloitte Top 200: Young Executive of the Year 2017 has had quite a diverse career journey. A qualified Solicitor and Chartered Accountant, Komal is now leading Fonterra’s Venture division. She started her career with Deloitte in London, post which she moved to Auckland as a Senior Analyst, and has since 2011 been a part of various teams within the Fonterra Cooperative Group.

NZAL Marketing and Communications Manager caught up with Komal a few weeks ago, closely on the heels of Fonterra Ventures strategic partnership announcement with German active nutrition start-up foodspring®. In this rather personal interview, Komal talks about the award-winning Disrupt programme within Fonterra, how the idea of Fonterra Ventures came about on Christmas Eve and how it developed from an idea to a now successful platform for innovation.

Tell us about the Fonterra Disrupt programme and how Fonterra Ventures came about?

It was actually Fonterra CEO, Theo Spierings idea. He had a vision that the world around us was rapidly changing. Consumer preferences were changing – how they engage with products, business models, technology, etc. The idea was to bring that awareness very quickly into the organisation. Fonterra has 22,000 people all over the world, we sell products across 140 markets, the question was how do we create an environment where it doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from, a good idea can come from anywhere. Because the premise is disruption, how do you create an environment or a platform for anyone to be able to come up with an idea and have the ability to bring it to life within the organisation.

I remember we had this conversation on Christmas Eve in 2015. He basically just asked me whether I can bring something like this to life. I went away, assembled two people to support me and said we will pilot it in three markets – Australia, New Zealand and China. It wasn’t something, with my background, that I had ever done before or something that the organisation had done before. So, it was really just about building something that was right for Fonterra so we could achieve the outcomes that we wanted.

We wanted commercial outcomes, in terms of new business models that would lead us into the future. We wanted our people to have the ability to feel included and participate. We wanted the ability for people to learn and we wanted to understand who in the organisation has these types of ideas. It was about talent spotting but doing it in a way that was quite unique and entrepreneurial. So we just learnt along the way. We didn’t get everything right, (but) we got the pilot up and running successfully.

It was at that point that our CEO decided to create Fonterra Ventures, where Disrupt is now one part. We have now taken the model to all our markets and also run a different sort of programme. This year, we launched the Disrupt 10 day challenge, which is a global programme, where we actually pose the biggest business opportunity areas to the staff and they compete to be on the sprint teams to solve them.

What is it that interested you to be a part of the disrupt programme?

For me, I had a strong career in finance and a legal background which I really enjoyed. I started out with Deloitte which was a very financially focused role in London. When I started working with Fonterra, my roles were more commercial finance roles. Over a period of time, I grew a real passion for the commercial side of business rather than just the financial. So, I took up a role to become a technical assistant to the MD of our consumer business at the time, which involved a whole lot of strategic project work, and creating a performance management system of their executive team. This gave me exposure to a whole lot of things and so when an opportunity was posed around developing the Disrupt programme, I did it and I loved it. This evolved into Ventures and I guess the more I delved into this world of innovation and disruption and business models, the more I enjoyed it.

A lesson from this is that you don’t know where your career is going to end up. I couldn’t have told you five years ago, that I would be doing Ventures, but its about being open minded, taking opportunities as they come and turning them into career avenues for yourself.

Did it feel like it’s your baby, did it feel like your business that you are developing?

Absolutely, it’s a big part of my time at Fonterra and a big part of what we do today. It started out as nothing, essentially an idea, and looking at the impact that it’s had on our people, our organisation, culture of our organisation, is something to be proud of. But I didn’t do it alone – there was a great team that built it, and I think when we all look back on it, its kind of a proud moment that you are able to give back to the organisation.

Your views on corporate ventures on a global scale and how does Fonterra Venture fit into it?

Globally, it is becoming more and more prominent that businesses do look at having a corporate venturing unit because it is the premise that innovation can come from anywhere. There is a lot of activity in the start-up ecosystem globally. Last year alone there were about $155 billion funded in corporate VC globally. But in saying that, for Fonterra, it was not around let’s set up Fonterra Ventures. It was around let us start with Disrupt, let us build it and then let us do something and create an operating model for Ventures that is right for Fonterra. Something that helps us accelerate our strategy and that is essentially a lever to help us get to where we want to go faster.

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 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