A Woman’s Place

By: Blogger

By Joan Withers
‘Successful women rarely set out to become role models. They just do the best they can and, hopefully, that becomes inspirational for other women. This quote is from Joan Withers, who left high school with School Certificate at the age of 16, and went on to manage one of New Zealand’s leading media organisations and to chair the boards of several of the country’s largest companies. An outspoken advocate for diversity in the boardroom and for equal pay for women, Joan argues that gender inequality holds back not only women but economic growth globally. In this candid account of her life and career, she shares her journey from stay-at-home mum to chief executive of Fairfax New Zealand, and an in-demand company director and board chair. She is currently the chair of Mercury NZ and The Warehouse Group, and a director of ANZ New Zealand. Joan is a trustee of the Louise Perkins Foundation, which provides support to breast cancer sufferers, and is chair of a steering committee working to increase the percentage of South Auckland Maori and Pacific Island students taking up roles in the health sector A highly readable insight into business leadership and what it takes to succeed, A Woman’s Place is also a call to action for women to set their sights on the top of the corporate ladder. Joan’s approach to life and business boils down to the fact there are no shortcuts, no silver bullets, just hard yards and a willingness to continue learning at every turn. To this end she talks honestly of her lowest point when Feltex collapsed in 2006. An inspiring and recommended read.


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