Today is International Women’s Day.

To celebrate, we want to take a second today to spotlight the fantastic wahine across the Āpōpō network. We asked them some questions about what International Women’s Day means to them:

What does International Women’s Day mean to you personally? 

Nazley Bebedzakov, Business Relations Manager at Āpōpō:
Recognition and celebration of female empowerment.

Hinewai Pouwhare-Anderson, Kaitohutohu Mātāmua | Principal Asset Investment Advisor, Tactical Asset Investment Programme & Standards, Waka Kotahi:
It’s a chance for me to celebrate all that women do – in the workforce and in our homes and communities. We hold such pivotal roles and deserve the recognition that this day brings ❤ 

Priyani de Silva-Currie, Technical Director/Principal – Asset Advisory, Beca:
It’s a chance for me to stand up for the women who need support, guidance and help to succeed in life. I personally get a huge sense of gratitude on this day for the wonderful women around me.

Emily Liddell, Membership Engagement Manager at Āpōpō:
It is a chance to acknowledge how much has changed, and to celebrate that. Women fought to get the vote, to get into the workplace and do a variety of jobs. Having recently returned from maternity leave it still astounds me how much inequality there is if you have a family, it is built into the fabric of every system, and so International Women’s Day is also a reminder of how much more progress we can strive for.

Kelly LaValley, General Manager, Planning, Regulation & Environment, Waimakariri District Council:
To me, IWD is a celebration of how far women have come and the countless achievements of so many incredible women in the world.  It also brings attention to the fact that we are not “there” yet and we still have work to do to ensure that there is an equal playing field for women in the workplace, at home, and across all areas of society.


Who is a woman that has inspired you in your career, and why?

Nazley: One of my managers many years ago, Tracey Storey. She said, you can do anything you set your mind to. I don’t think she was trying to be motivational; it was just something she said to me while we were having a casual conversation. I don’t even think she realised what it meant to me. I never forgot those words.

Hinewai: Michelle Obama has always been a big inspiration – she is always reminding me what women are capable of inside and outside our professional working environment, both beside their partners and independently!

Priyani: It’s always been my Mum, the most amazing woman I know and someone who faced extreme adversity and constant barriers in her life, yet she achieved so much for so many.  A strong, courageous and gracious person who paved the way for other women not just in her sphere, but around the world, to succeed professionally and personally.  I could not have had a better role model to emulate and I am very proud of her.

Emily: I’ve met so many inspiring women I don’t know where to start. My mum is probably the first – Always sticking to her values in her work as a social worker helping children, and an activist in speaking up for the most vulnerable in our community through volunteer roles and lobbying /political activity. Her passion and genuine care for those she worked for was apparent. How has that inspired my career? To work in roles I feel passionate about and organisations which align with my values.

Kelly L:  I have been very fortunate to have two key women inspire me in my youth.  The first being my mom, who attained a degree in mathematics at a time when there were not a lot of women in that field, and the second being my aunt who is an electrical engineer in the automotive industry who showed me that engineering can be fun and female.

What advice would you give to young women entering the workforce today?

Nazley: Being you is your superpower. Be you, unapologetically.

Hinewai:  Lead from the heart and try not to compare yourself to others– as Snoop Dogg would say: “There is no one better to beat than myself” 😊

Priyani:  Collaborate well, be present and visible, be brave, be you!

Kelly Churchill, National Performance Manager, Fulton Hogan Ltd:
To be your authentic self. We need diversity of thought in our industry to ensure we develop solutions for our diverse community. So don’t morph yourself to be someone you are not, just to fit in.

Emily: Be yourself. Back yourself. Be feminine, own it, but don’t let anyone get you to take the notes or re-fill the water just because you are the only female in the room.

Kelly L: My words of wisdom would be to press on and speak up.  What I mean by this is press on and be involved.  Find opportunities to make a difference and let yourself shine.  And then speak up and make your voice heard whether you are at work or out in the community – advocate for yourself and let people know your thoughts, they matter.

How do you celebrate and support the achievements of the women around you in the workplace?

Nazley: Congratulate and celebrate them and make their achievements known publicly and openly.

Hinewai: I nominate the phenomenal people I work with for recognition at every opportunity I get and I speak the names of wahine toa in rooms where we are minorities

Priyani: Encourage people to consider our women wherever I can. Promote the achievements of women to others at every opportunity. Find platforms where we can showcase our amazing Wahine.  Provide opportunities for belonging, gathering and networking. Support each other through sharing stories and providing mentorship and career advice.  Take time to listen intently to the women around me!

Emily: Connect, support, listen, share.

Kelly L: We have had women-specific leadership programmes at work aimed at enhancing leadership skills of emerging leaders to ensure that they are well-prepared to progress in their careers.  I have also mentored a number of women and have supported and encouraged many to put their hands up for leadership roles, which they have been successful in.  We regularly check in with each other and share the unique challenges and opportunities for women.  As a part of our executive leadership team, we celebrate the successes of our women and strive to foster a culture of inclusion.


1 thoughts on “Celebrating International Women’s Day

  1. Murray Pugh says:

    Apopo is very fortunate to have such amazing women from all parts of Aotearoa and with fantastic backgrounds and experiences all in our corner together.
    Here’s to celebrating International Womens Day!

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