Adela Plakic | Seelye Kupe Leadership Scholar

Bachelor of Science (Honours) Psychology

Historically, women have faced complex barriers preventing them from pursuing leadership roles and entrepreneurial endeavours. Driven by agencies such as lack of representation, regulatory constraints and gender biases, embarking into a leadership position or sustaining an entrepreneurial venture is prefaced with many obstacles. The effects of these barriers are accentuated for marginalised groups, emphasising the need for advocacy of gender equality and diversity in leadership. To gain a complete picture of the experiences of women leaders and entrepreneurs, we must examine the economic aspects and the psychological, cultural, environmental and political factors influencing our communities today. By doing so, we can create environments premised on trust to empower women into these roles, broaden our horizons and celebrate our differences not only for the sake of fairness and equality but also for the progression and prosperity of our people.

Sponsor: Ralph and Eve Seelye Trust

Mentor: Vanessa Stoddart, Independent Director for Channel Infrastructure, OneFortyOne Holdings and a member of the Financial Markets Authority and Te Whatu Ora. She is often chair of Board Remuneration and People Committees. She was previously Group General Manager of Technical Operations and People at Air New Zealand for almost ten years and a key driver of the cultural transformation at the airline from 2003-2012. A lawyer by profession, Vanessa joined Air New Zealand from Carter Holt Harvey Packaging Australia, where she was the Chief Executive.  She is a member of both the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Directors; an honorary fellow of HRINZ and a Companion of Engineering NZ. Vanessa also assists Iron Duke on their Advisory Board, a member of the NZ Education & Scholarship Trust and a Kupe Advisory Group member.