Glenys Powell likes to think she will leave “legacies of positive change” wherever her career takes her. And she will, according to her current employer. Her focus on facilitating and delivering positive change is one of the many attributes that singled Powell out as this year’s NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year.
“I am comfortable with ambiguity, open to change, skilful in overcoming obstacles and ready to seize opportunities,” she told the judges. “But most of all I think I am good follower and good leader in team situations.”
And in the judges’ collective opinion, these are invaluable qualities in today’s young executives.
Powell is general manager – sales and marketing of the Wellington-based Medical Assurance Society (MAS). She was formerly head of business development with banker ANZ Retail. She is already an outstanding young finance industry executive with broad experience across sales, marketing, business, product and service development.
MAS chief executive Martin Stokes thinks Powell’s many strengths are underscored by her ability to deal with complexity, an essential attribute in today’s world. And her success is despite, rather than because of, her training and background, he adds. “Glenys consistently displays and models strong leadership at all levels of our company.”
Powell believes she is “strong leader” who inspires and motivates others while simultaneously engendering self belief. “I like to transform businesses by creating an environment of trust, open communication and collaboration,” she adds. “I try to establish something special by leading the way, and influencing and developing people to reach their potential while accomplishing challenging goals.”
MAS is financial services company. It provides insurance, loans and investment services to professionals, mainly doctors. Powell joined the company after five years with ANZ bank. The result, according to Stokes, has been year-on-year double digit business growth in three of the company’s four core business and, “the highest level of new customer connections for decade”.
“My objective over the past three years has been to transform the company’s sales and marketing performance and to deliver strong results across all areas in my responsibility,” says Powell. “At the same time, I have contributed to the strategic planning and implementation of new initiatives across the wider organisation.”
Her leadership approach has, according to Stokes, delivered high level of employee engagement around strategic initiatives.
“We have also gained significant value from sharing best practice, new ideas and greater communication across the business,” he says. “Glenys has very structured approach to planning and as result, staff have clear direction and understand what is expected of them. She is very responsive to new ideas and requests, and delivers on time.”
Continual learning is one of Powell’s personal priorities. “Not just to make me better at what I do now, but to further my personal development and career priorities,” she adds. “I seek out new learning opportunities – balanced between structured learning and taking time to reflect and consider situational outcomes, both successes and failures.
“I pick things up really quickly and can apply the learning to both my own work and through to others. I think I learn something new every day – as follower, leader, colleague, protégé, partner and mother.” She is, she says, energetic, motivated and proactive with high level of self confidence. “And I have the courage to make difficult decisions and challenge myself. I think my decision to move from large organisation like ANZ to MAS is evidence of this.”
Stokes agrees that Powell has many future career options. She could be successful chief executive in medium size financial firm, he says. “Her success in the financial industry as senior executive is testament to her ability to learn quickly and to take her skills anywhere. She could be successful in variety of industries.”
Powell is “passionate” about developing, coaching and mentoring others to see them experience their own success. She finds the process of building the capabilities of others rewarding for the organisations and personally satisfying. “I think I got my first leadership experience early in my career because of my willingness to try new things, my ability to engage with people, and because of my commitment and drive to achieve high standards.”
Powell has, according to Stokes, made an “enormous contribution” to MAS in the time she has been with the company. “She has led, managed and embedded some overdue changes that will benefit MAS for some time to come. She has shown maturity beyond her years in tackling the challenge and works collaboratively to ensure success.”
That sounds like the kind of legacy Powell would be happy with. M


Glenys Powell is an outstanding young executive; change leader with healthy sense of perspective. She is an excellent communicator who enjoys business transformation and gets passionate about seeing positive change within her teams and the wider business. Powell is focused on leadership values and tries to emulate successful leaders with whom she has worked. She is actively involved as mentor of others. thoughtful, nimble and thoroughly professional executive.

Shane Gordon is respected industry executive with powerful capacity. He is passionate about his industry and pursues continuous improvement at every opportunity. He juggles multiple complex projects, cumulatively resulting in strategic gains for his company. Gordon has taken an active leadership role and delivered sizeable projects for Westland. With his significant community leadership activities he is leader in the making.

Lauren Voyce is model HR executive; clear, articulate, people-focused with one eye on strategy and the other on implementation. She is an impressive young executive who has been promoted rapidly to an executive level role within significant global company and world famous brand. Voyce is an outstanding young executive whose approach to human resources and people strategy is commercial, innovative and pragmatic.

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