Friday, 8 November 2019

Twizel Events Centre


We’re really excited to invite you to join us and a talented, inspirational and diverse line-up of speakers for our first South Island Women’s Symposium in Twizel on 8 November 2019.


The theme of the symposium is ‘Unleash Your Potential’, and we aim to energise and empower you to do just that by connecting with other women in a collaborative, creative and inclusive environment. In addition to our fabulous guest presenters, the day will include an interactive workshop, a networking lunch and fantastic goody bag to take home.


The first annual South Island Women’s Symposium is being organised by Leadership for Women, a Twizel-based group set up by women for women to connect in a collaborative, creative and inclusive environment. The Mackenzie Country has a long history of inspirational women who have overcome the physical, logistical and personal challenges of living in such a remote and extreme environment. Today, we come together to celebrate the achievements of all women: mothers, daughters, grandmothers, businesswomen, carers, community workers…

The aim of November's symposium is to bring together women from the wider South Island community in an environment of collaboration. With the help of our talented presenters and through networking and a workshop, we will explore the theme of the event – 'Unleash Your Potential' – through the perspective of inclusiveness, balance and authenticity. We invite participants to be inspired by the presenters, by the other fabulous women around them and by the sweeping landscapes of the Mackenzie Country to realise their own personal potential.

“Leadership for Women is intended to be a place where women can come together to authentically connect, collaborate and create; where we inspire one another in a positive, supportive environment with integrity. Our philosophy reaches beyond the traditional definition of leadership to embrace all women as we journey through our communities in volunteer, professional and personal roles. We are the CEOs of our homes, in our communities and through volunteer capacities, in addition to our professional and personal domains, and given these amazing and dynamic experiences, we have much to offer one another.” – Dr Sharon Blanchard, Leadership for Women

Fatumata Bah

Our keynote speaker, Fatumata will share her journey through adversity and personal and cultural challenges, and inspire participants through her vision of courageous leadership. Fatumata's drive to campaign for women’s rights, cultural intelligence, and diversity and inclusion saw her attend the United Diaspora Leadership Programme in London in April this year, and in June she was selected to attend the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver. In addition, she has recently returned from working as an intern at the United Nations in New York, where she was involved in the UN System-Wide Gender Parity Strategy.

Victoria Campbell

Victoria (Kāti Irakehu, Kāi Tahu) has spent the last 20 years working in the education sector and more recently has been involved with Kotahi Mano Kāika, a 25-year strategy established by Ngāi Tahu to reinvigorate te reo Māori (Māori language) within iwi homes and communities. Victoria has a passion for te reo and mātauraka Māori (Māori knowledge and culture), including Māori astronomy, which led to her secondment to Ngāi Tahu Tourism and her involvement in the Dark Sky Project at Takapō (Lake Tekapo). This year, Victoria also completed a Master of Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago, which focused on language use among Māori youth. She believes this research will benefit planning around te reo and the revitalisation of the language. 

Jacqui Dean

Jacqui is a proud advocate for the people and communities that make up the Waitaki electorate and is driven by a desire to see the region thrive. Being a woman in a public leadership role, she supports any initiative designed to help women reach further and realise their endless potential. A member of the Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentary Association, Jacqui is also heavily involved in mentoring women interested in achieving leadership roles. She says her desire to serve with strength and integrity is the key to a long and successful career. Jacqui will bring to the table her own experiences of balancing peace, power and politics.

Jan Cowan

Jan has had a successful career in early childhood education, both in kindergartens and as a senior teacher encouraging Southland kindergarten teachers to achieve best practice in their profession. She was also an adviser and part-time lecturer in early childhood education at the University of Otago’s Invercargill campus, before returning to her greatest love – working with and teaching small children. Jan's other great love is singing, and she has organised and directed numerous fundraising events and groups in South Island – and continues to do so in Twizel today. Jan will engage participants creatively to discover their superpower – their potential.

Sharon Blanchard

Working in higher education for the past
30 years as a leader, innovator and coach. Sharon is a passionate lifelong learner, most recently earning her Doctorate in Education. Leading with integrity, honesty and respect while upholding the absolute dignity of others has always been a foundation to her leadership approach. Her experience, research and willingness to help others nurtures an authentic desire to create opportunities where leaders explore. Sharon will share with participants how to live and breathe authenticity through principled leadership. 

Kate Ivey

Kate Ivey lives on the shores of Lake Pukaki with her husband and three children. She started Kate Ivey Fitness in 2016, and two years ago set up DediKate, a hugely successful online health and fitness community and app for busy New Zealand women. Kate streams workouts from her farmhouse and from spots around the stunning Mackenzie Country, into the homes of hundreds of women all over New Zealand. DediKate also has recipes, meal plans, running plans and an incredibly supportive online community. Kate will talk about the importance of maintaining physical and mental well-being to optimise leadership potential.

Sarah Ottrey

Sarah Ottrey has had a 30-year career as an international brand marketer and more latterly as a professional company director in New Zealand. After a year working in an accounting practice in Dunedin, she joined the multinational consumer goods company Unilever, working in New Zealand and Asia. From there she moved into the brewing industry, working for DB and then its parent company Heineken, culminating in the role of Head of Marketing. Sarah is currently a director on the EBOS Group, Skyline Enterprises, Christchurch International Airport, Whitestone Cheese and Mt Cook Alpine Salmon, and in her spare time is an avid skier and mountain biker.

Leadership for Women would like to thank our generous sponsors and those who have donated products and their time to this wonderful event. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Platinum partner
Gold partners
Supporting partners

The Twizel Events Centre is conveniently located in the heart of Twizel and forms the hub of the local community. The symposium will be held in the centre's auditorium, conference room and upstairs space.


8/3-18 Market Place

Twizel 7901

New Zealand

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Arrival & registration
Welcome & mihi whakatau
Keynote: Diversity, Adversity & Courageous Leadership – Fatumata Bah
Strengthening Leadership through Identity & Culture – Victoria Campbell
Nutrition break
Balancing Peace, Power & Politics – Jacqui Dean
Networking lunch
Unleashing Your Potential through Creative Play – Jan Cowan
Breathing Authenticity through Principled Leadership – Sharon Blanchard
Nutrition break
Wellness, Leadership & You – Kate Ivey
Resisting Happiness or Living the Dream? – Sarah Ottrey
Wine & cheese

 © 2019 Leadership for Women