INTOUCH : Tracey Berry: saving Kiwis

Tracey Berry would really like to see New Zealanders shift from being nation of great borrowers to being great savers.
“I think it’s critical for the long-term prospects of the country – not to mention the individual. I have big drive around increasing financial literacy in New Zealand – most would agree it’s not at the level it should be.”
It’s that kind of passion for the work she does as general manager, wealth at Kiwibank that has helped earn the 34-year-old mother of three the accolade of NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year, Central Region. Responsible for developing, leading and managing the bank’s wealth investment business as well as growing its insurance portfolios in line with the business’ overall strategic direction, she’s had just 12 months in the role but already gained reputation for getting things done.
For Berry it’s more about building business than simply managing it – and she applies combination of strategic thinking and consistent execution.
“It’s about taking concept, whether it’s mine or somebody else’s and making it real. The world is full of good thinkers, but the proof is in the delivery – it’s all very well having great idea but it’s useless if you do nothing with it.”
She describes her management style as collaborative and transparent.
“I like to ensure communication is at very strong level so people feel engaged in the process and have ownership in the outcomes. You obviously row faster when everyone is rowing with you. So we collaborate on big decisions, get consensus before we make changes and consult with various stakeholders to make sure that whatever we’re rolling out works for those it’s intended to work for – whether customers or employees.
“It’s bit more work, more consultation but the execution is so much smoother so you end up saving time and effort in the long run.”
Berry has worked in financial services in one form or another for around 16 years, the past 10 of them in banking – but she also has strong entrepreneurial bent that Kiwibank enables her to exercise.
“I really enjoy the culture and the philosophy – the fact that you have lot of rein to execute strategy. It’s real can-do culture and that’s consistent with my entrepreneurial streak.”
As to the future – Berry says as mother of three, her focus is split between work and family.
“You want to be exceptionally good at what you do in professional sense, but equally you want to do that in personal sense, so finding that balance is important.”
With energy to spare, she’s also exploring her own business interests.
“Well, I do have this entrepreneurial streak – but I also love the commercial aspect of work. When you come into an organisation like Kiwibank, you can actually make significant difference for large number of people.”

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