UPFRONT : AS I SEE IT – Vanisa Dhiru

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• marketing project manager at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
• Taking part in Excelerator’s Future Leaders Leadership Development Programme.
• Vice president of the YWCA Wellington-Hutt Valley.

What are the values that you will not negotiate on?
Honesty, integrity and respect. People have to be passionate about what they believe in – able to articulate that to wide audience – and accept others’ opinions.

What dreams do you have for the future of New Zealand?
More global interactions: small companies and large – all putting New Zealand on the map and showing the world our point of difference. New Zealanders and their companies moving between different jobs and countries so they have more experiences they can contribute back to New Zealand.

What are the biggest barriers to success for New Zealand? Why?
New Zealand will always be geographically isolated country. We have to learn to speak up – here and overseas. We have to join in international debates about big issues facing business and society – environmental sustainability, exporting, race relations and the aging population amongst others. We can’t be afraid about speaking up – otherwise we’ll be left behind.
We need to continue to plan for the future – succession planning is going to be important for smaller companies in the future. We need to place more emphasis on research and development before going out to market and greater value on long-term investments.
We need to support and celebrate our diversity and success. Businesses need people to succeed and people need business to make New Zealand an even better place to live.

What are the key performance indicators of thriving society?
• Open access to health care, education and employment.
• Knowledge sharing and people with broader knowledge base working together.
• diverse mix of people who celebrate each other’s cultures, skills and achievements.
• Representation of all voices in society – openness and clear communication.

Leadership without ego – how do we reach this state?
Be yourself. State your opinion but also don’t be afraid to not have one if you don’t know. Be honest. Surround yourself with talented people. Live and learn from others, seek out other people’s ideas, not just your own.

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