Managers Abroad: No need for cold calls

What prompted you to seek work out of New Zealand?
I graduated into fairly barren job market for civil engineers in 1992, so there was career element to me leaving New Zealand. It also didn’t hurt that I had the opportunity to travel and climb in different countries around the world. On the economic front, things are lot different now. On my frequent trips back, I see hugely encouraging changes. There are lot more opportunities in New Zealand now, lot more career paths available, including the rise of younger entrepreneurs. You don’t have to get job out of university – you can start business.

How are your experiences overseas shaping your understanding of New Zealand?
Geographical distance has given me much better appreciation for our qualities, resources and characteristics – and how fortunate we are. Some of our advantages are down to our small population: because we’re relatively few in number, we’re extremely agile. We also have some pretty compelling virtues as people – our pragmatic approach to things, the ability to innovate, for example. On the “room for improvement” side of things, I think we need to become better at selling our ideas, and commercialising offshore.

How can offshore Kiwis contribute to New Zealand?
The simplest way is join the conversation – at, follow @keanewzealand on twitter or join the keanewzealand LinkedIn group. If you’re part of that conversation, you’ll see opportunities to contribute in many ways – helping New Zealand business make the right connections in global markets, helping New Zealander find their feet in foreign country, to name just couple. As my fellow Kea board director Craig Donaldson says, “there shouldn’t be any ‘cold calls’ for Kiwis abroad”. M

Phil Veal is member of Kea, New Zealand’s global talent community.

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