What is your biggest personal achievement
to date? To have established and run the largest and most well-established research company in Wellington for the last 25 years+.
What are your biggest professional achievements to date? There are many,
but I'm particularly proud of the work that we did for Trust Bank when it was in the process of merging with Westpac. Our focus at the time was on the emotional and psychological hurt that that business decision made on many loyal Trust Bank customers. Many subsequently voted with their feet.
What is the most interesting project you have worked on? Again there are many and it would be unfair to single anyone on them out! However, some of the work we have done for Mountain Safety Council is up there because we know and can see that that work makes a real difference (literally) to the lives of New Zealanders. Also the work that we have done in the field of gender equality and let's not forget a number of firsts, such as the first-ever Census of the Public Service.
What are your biggest professional challenges? As an independent homegrown research company one of our biggest challenges is competing against the well-resourced international companies. However, I think we have done extremely well and punch well above our weight. Much of that credit goes to our staff members.
What is on your wish list for the next five years at Research New Zealand? Change is a constant thing in our line of business, given the evolving nature of our client base. So, some degree of stability would be a great thing because then we could focus on our mahi.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor? Ian Brown, who was one of the founding partners in the Heylen Research Centre (the company I started working for when I graduated from university). That was in the 1980s.
Why? Ian was a perceptive individual who's end goal was always on the decisions the client needed to make.
Given a chance, who would you like to be for a day? I've really got no idea, but it definitely would not be a politician or someone of royalty. Probably a doctor or someone else in the community field who's dealing with and helping people in need.
What do you like most about your job? Helping clients make evidence-based decisions.
What's your favourite line from a film? I don't really have a favourite film, but I'm reading a book at the moment about a young volunteer who went to Uganda and worked in an orphanage school. Obviously that was a heart-rending experience. One of the lines in that book has stuck in my mind: “You can't do everything, but you can do something”. That's a reference to her wanting to help every child she met. In my case, it means keep everything in perspective and have realistic and pragmatic goals.
What is your guilty pleasure? Milk chocolate.