Emerging Director Award

Each year the Bay of Plenty Branch offers an Emerging Director Award.

Emerging Director Award

Emerging Director Award winnerDiversity advocate Laurissa Cooney has been recognised as an emerging talent in governance, taking out the Institute of Directors’ (IoD) Bay of Plenty Branch Emerging Director Award on the 19 October 2017.

The Chief Financial Officer believes that good governance is about creating trusted relationships through a co-collaborative approach – something that is essential in a post-Treaty environment.

“Women, Māori and younger voices are a minority around board tables,” Cooney said in her application. “I am committed to being that initial person who others can relate to and see themselves in so others are motivated to “show up” in life.”

IoD Bay of Plenty Chair Bev Edlin MInstD says the judges were impressed by Cooney’s professionalism and personality, as well as her ability to present material in a concise and logical manner. “Larissa stood out because she has a number of competencies that would make her suitable as a director.  Her presentation shows that she would bring enthusiasm and challenge into the boardroom.”

Cooney is of Te Āti Hau Nui a Pāpā Rangi (Wanganui) descent, and is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Te Whare Wānanga O Awanuiārangi.  Her career spans roles in audit and risk for Deloitte in New Zealand and London, and she was one of the founding members of the CAANZ Māori Accountants Network.  She serves as an independent director on the boards of Āti Hau Incorporation Limited and Ngā Tāngata Tiaki.

Cooney says, “Many of our Māori trusts and organisations are accountable for a significant value of assets in the post-Treaty environment, which makes it even more important that the governance groups of these entities are equipped with the necessary skills to make sound decisions for the organisation”.

Cooney receives an award package valued at $3,500, of which $2,000 can be used for IoD professional development.  The package includes an IoD membership and mentoring with an experienced director for 12 months, and an Emerging Director position with a selected placement board.

The IoD Bay of Plenty Branch Emerging Director Award was established to foster upcoming talent in governance through mentoring, formal training, and access to leading speakers at events across the region.

Application criteria

Applications for 2017 are now closed.

  • Must be a Member or Associate Member of the Institute of Directors New Zealand
  • Must demonstrate governance development commitment (i.e complete Governance Development Programme or other relevant courses)
  • Must have governance experience through reporting to a board in a senior management role
  • Completion of application form and a written submission, maximum 1,500 words, as to why the applicant should be considered for the Emerging Director Award

Award - total value $3,500

  • Complimentary membership with IoD for 12 months
  • Complimentary attendance at all branch functions for 12 months
  • Mentoring with experienced director for 12 months
  • $2,000 towards IoD professional development (must be spent in current year)
  • Director Development’* position for 6 -12 months with selected placement board
  • Placement on the Institute of Directors - Bay of Plenty Branch Committee for 12 months.

*The emerging director will have the right to participate in board and audit committee meetings but will not be able to vote on any board resolution. The successful applicant will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement with the sponsoring board. The position will be unpaid.

Judging criteria

  • Demonstrates a commitment to and a sound understanding of governance principles.
  • Demonstrates level of senior management experience with governance exposure.
  • Committed to development of the Bay of Plenty business community, including both the commercial and not- for-profit sectors.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to developing a career in governance.

Potential placement boards include:

Tourism Bay of Plenty Tauranga Art GalleryDairy Women's Network

*More placement boards are to be announced 

Past winners


Anushiya Ponniah A consultant with extensive experience in the health sector and passion for her new community, is the 2016 Institute of Directors (IoD) Bay of Plenty Branch Emerging Director Award winner.

The Strategic Manager Consultant with PLG Consultancy Services, Anushiya Ponniah was recognised as an emerging talent in governance at an IoD Bay of Plenty Branch function on 27 October.

IoD Bay of Plenty Branch Chair Glenn Snelgrove says the judges were impressed by Ms Ponniah’s commitment to supporting the community, and desire to build her governance skill and knowledge. Read more.


Bryan Graham has been named winner of the Bay of Plenty Aspiring Director Award, recognising him as a future talent at the board table. The award was presented at a function in Tauranga on 29 July with Institute of Directors CEO Simon Arcus. In an age of cyber threats, disruptive technology and digital innovation, firms need to consider the value of skills and capabilities like those we see in Bryan at the board table,” said Mr Arcus. “We’re pleased to be part of Bryan’s next steps in realising his potential in governance, and we look forward to working with him over the next year to ensure he gets a good grounding in all aspects of directorship.”


The Institute of Directors (IoD) Bay of Plenty Branch announced their Aspiring Director Award for 2014 on Thursday 24 July. This year there were dual winners: Maria Stockman, Herring Life, and Peter Tinholt, Taura Natural Ingredients. Deryck Shaw, one of the judges, said, “we were not able to choose one winner, as both were just as deserving as the other.” He noted that “the winners were now in a position with the support of the IoD to become more involved in governance in community and business organisations across the Bay of Plenty and further afield.”


Darren McGarvieRotorua local Darren McGarvie has won the Bay of Plenty ‘Aspiring Director Award from the Institute of Directors Bay of Plenty branch. Mr McGarvie headed off four other strong finalists to win the Aspiring Directors Award sponsored by BDO. As part of the award he will receive free membership of the Institute of Directors, complimentary attendance to all branch functions for the year and tailored personal development training offered by the Institute’s specialised governance training suites.


“A big week” is how Hemi Rolleston described winning the 2012 Aspiring Director Award presented by the Institute of Directors Bay of Plenty branch. Fresh from winning the Bay of Plenty export New Zealand Achiever Award, Mr Rolleston has backed it up with another prestigious award. ‘I used to always wonder whether finalists knew whether they have won or not and now I know they don't. To be a finalist is indeed an honour and to win is so amazing and such a surprise’.


The winner of the 2011 Bay of Plenty Aspiring Director Award is Maree Turner. Award winner Maree Turner has always believed people should be chosen on ability, not gender – and that you shouldn't pre-judge them. 

Bay of Plenty Aspiring Director Award winner - Maree Turner

The five finalists including winner (holding certificate) of our inaugural Aspiring Director Award. Left to right: Jodi Tong, Maree Turner, Peter Roden, Damien Radesic, Helen Mason