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Our thoughts are with our members and their organisations impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle. Boards have a key role to play in the wake of any crisis. See guidance for chairs and directors

Future Directors - Stepping into the boardroom

By Institute of Directors
1 Jun 2017
read time
2 min to read

My journey - Rachel Hopkins

Rachel Hopkins

Rachel Hopkins was appointed as the new CEO of Diversity Works New Zealand (formerly the Equal Employment Opportunity Trust), in April 2018. At the same time she was appointed to the Board of leading crowd funder PledgeMe, a fast-growing social enterprise that “helps kiwis fund the stuff they care about”.

Rachel Hopkins was a Future Director with NZX listed AWF Madison Group in 2015 and the recipient of Auckland Branch’s 2016 Emerging Director Award. She has taken advantage of all the IoD has to offer – having completed the Company Directors’ Course and is working toward becoming a Chartered Member. In a volunteer capacity, she sits on the Establishment Board of New Zealand’s first Women’s Fund. The Women’s Fund is a collective philanthropy initiative, led by the Auckland Foundation, specifically to benefit women and girls.

Rachel credits her move to her first CEO role to the strong encouragement and mentoring she has received through both the Future Directors’ programme and Emerging Director award. “I am so lucky to have had access to mentors and their experience, so I have put their advice into action to make sure I benefitted from it. Whenever I have asked for support, they have been incredibly generous with their wisdom and time. I am very excited about the opportunity to have a leadership role in the area of diversity and inclusion. There is much work to do in this space – particularly in governance - and I will be #pressingforprogress.”

Experience beats theory

John Paul Tocker

"My appointment to the Future director position on the board of Wellington Museum Trust (Experience Wellington) has been a very positive and exciting experience. Communication from the get-go was on point and the interview process, while a little daunting to begin with, was in itself another learning experience.

Since joining the board I’ve been expected to always provide my point of view and feel very valued by the other members of the board and senior management team. I’m so very fortunate to be on a board with fantastic strategic experience and nous.

As part of the programme I’ve been given a mentor to work with which has been great value. Being able to discuss simple ‘board educate’ to strategic thinking, allows me to evaluate my thought-process outside of the meetings, and help develop my strategic thinking. Experience beats theory every time and I count myself very fortunate to be in the Future Director programme."
John-Paul Tocker MInstD
July 2018

Stepping up to the boardroom

Sara Brownlie

Sara Brownlie CMInstD is taking on a challenge.

The accountant and financial consultant has accepted the new role of external director on the board of New Zealand IT company Catalyst, making her one of the few women in the IT governance space. It's her first professional governance role and comes off the back of a series of career moves aimed at transitioning from the finance team to the boardroom – moves that have paid off.

Brownlie has completed the Company Directors' Course and throughout 2017 she participated in the IoD's Future Directors programme.

She was appointed a Future Director by the State Sector and got to participate on the Department of Corrections board. The board also provide access to a mentor, Department of Corrections Risk and Audit Committee Chair Peter Schuyt for 12 months, who guided her before meetings and debriefed her after meetings. This was Brownlie’s first experience of formal mentoring and she says the experience enabled her to understand better what she could contribute at board level.

"I learned to understand how I participated at the meetings and to see what other members brought to the table. It allowed me to start to see what I could bring."