INBOX : Funding whizz wins award

Overcoming some of the toughest times for the economy, Sharon McCook was able to build partnerships for the Health Research Council of New Zealand that leveraged $3 for every $1 invested by the organisation.
For her work, the young Aucklander has been recognised as finalist in the New Zealand Institute of Management’s Young Executive of the Year Award and winner for the Northern Region.
The funds helped maintain national programme that enables cross-sectoral approach to health and disability research.
McCook studied psychology and worked in the fashion and telecommunications industries before moving to the council, where her role is group manager of research partnerships.
“I oversee the allocation of budget of approximately $6 million for number of national and international programmes of health research.
“My role is developing and implementing high-quality research programmes that are participatory, where the individual partners jointly own the strategic direction of the work, set the agenda and encourage cross-sectoral buy-in.”
She oversees around 100 research projects, with more than 35 partner organisations in the public and not-for-profit sectors.
McCook says her management mantra is: “Never ask someone to do task that I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself,” and says her role is all about managing risk, communication, finance, staff and personal business skills.
Robyn Olds, CEO of the Health Research Council, nominated McCook and says she is outstanding in her ability to cultivate and turn relationships with potential partners into tangible gains for the organisation.

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