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Originally from Canada, I've spent my career working with different social and environmental causes to make our communities and world a better place. Over the past decade I've come to call Aotearoa home, and was thrilled to join the team at Thankyou Payroll in 2015. I think the mission of our social enterprise to help care for the wider community by putting purpose and profit side-by-side is tremendously exciting. I thank our original female CEO Lani Evans enough for laying the groundwork that's helped get us get where we are today.
What has been your career path?
My career started in Canada helping organise the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, one of country's largest environment events involving 60,000 volunteers to collect, identify, count, and analyse coastal rubbish.
After moving to New Zealand in 2007 I began working with councils throughout the country on climate change through Communities for Climate Protection NZ, and 350 Aotearoa, the New Zealand arm of the international climate movement 350.org. I then helped to build and deliver community and behaviour change programmes with Sustainability Trust.
For the past three years as CEO at Thankyou Payroll I've been able to help support a variety of social causes by growing the our client base, and helping to put hundreds of thousands of dollars into charities and community groups.
At Thankyou Payroll we have an innovative business model that allows us to provide free payroll software to charities and direct funds to the Thankyou Charitable Trust that provides micro-grants to under-served communities.
In the past 12 months, that's translated into 45 grants totalling more than $81,000 to communities across Aotearoa.
What drives you?
I'm motivated by the prospect of creating positive change. At Thankyou Payroll, we're demonstrating that even the most traditional business sectors (i.e. payroll and taxes) can weave purpose and profit together in their model. I thrive on projects and businesses that help empower and inspire others, increasing quality of life for all, and decreasing the growing rift between the have's and the have-not's. When we help each other, we all win. Triple bottom line: people, planet and profit - I'm motivated by being part of the solution.
Do you have some advice for young women launching their careers?
Believe in yourself and don't be afraid to make mistakes - but be conscious to learn from your mistakes as they are the real key to success. Self-doubt can be a loud voice. There are plenty of great networks out there who will support you and want to see you succeed. Find them, learn with them, and take risks!
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
It's a day of recognition, and a 'tip of the hat' to female-identified people who've been trailblazing the long hard road to gender equality, and to those who continue to fight. It's a moment to reflect on the numerous amazing achievements and milestones that demonstrate women as contributors, change-agents, and cornerstones in society.