Haere mai Reremoana

We coach, develop and work alongside leaders and teams to shift ideas on leadership and provide the skills and tools needed to grow teams.

Reremoana, can you tell us what you thought as you went through our recruitment process and came to the decision this is something you’d like to do?

Job descriptions can often be loaded with buzz words and jargon that distort the reality of a role but I was really impressed with how easy it was to see myself in this space. I was excited by the opportunity to step in to something new, the values that underpin Updraft align with me and I can clearly visualise where my contribution will make a difference. It wasn’t a hard call – to be honest, I knew after my first coffee meeting that I’d be coming back in one way or another. The question was just how?

The recruitment process itself was pretty organic. A coffee meeting and then lunch … it felt like I was just catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in ages! I have to say that I was a little worried when I didn’t get called back for a ‘formal interview’ but realised fairly quickly that what is ‘formal’ in my experience isn’t always how things will unfold. Once the decision was made to bring me onboard, everything else moved fairly quickly. Not in a frantic, chaotic way but at a steady, even pace that allowed me the time to put things in order at my previous job. Nothing was too hard, or too awkward …

What closed the deal is the investment that Updraft is making to ensure that I will be fabulous in this job. Before there were any negotiations there was the commitment to provide me with training and support. How can you not want to work with people who are ready to propel you forward and then upward? If you look at Updrafts ‘why’ and the meaning behind their name then this whakatauki will make complete sense to you … Mā te huruhuru te manu ka rere – adorn the bird with feathers so it can fly!

Although none of your job descriptions look much like this role you’ve said several times ‘I’ve done this before’ tell us about that!?

In my previous working life, I was a kitchen hand for a long time before I realised that I could do everything the chef did and the only difference between us was training. It was a defining moment that changed my life and ultimately led me here. From then on, in every kitchen I worked in I looked for ways to create opportunities for everyone, from the glassy to the kitchen hand, making them feel seen and respected. And maybe they didn’t want to be MORE – maybe they were happy just being the dishy but acknowledging the work they did, their contribution to the team and the business, yeah – that motivated them to be the BEST dishy! On time, over time, all the time!

When I think about challenging teams that I’ve led, listening to them, showing that I value their thoughts and ideas and respecting them has gone a long way to creating a positive work culture. Embedding that can be hard work. Always some resistance but perseverance is key – staying true to your values, being intentional and consistent.

Did I consider that a kind of ‘coaching’ No. All I knew was that I wish someone had told me sooner that I could be more, that I could achieve more, that I was worth more in a way that I could relate to…

Is there anything that feels particularly trepidatious about making this move?

Being the only Māori in my organisation. That’s a little daunting. I don’t thrive in isolation so finding ways that will fill my cultural cup, those things that will keep my world in balance and working them in to my week, that’s going to help me.

What is it you really hope that you can bring to your new role?

Accepting this role is like breaking in a new pair of shoes. They fit and they look great! Everyone I’ve told says so, and everyone says it’s ‘so you’! But there are parts that are uncomfortable right? Uncomfortable enough to remind me that they’re new and that I’m still getting used to them. But once we’ve walked in them in a while, there’s less resistance. They fit better. And before you even realise it, they’re your go-to shoes for all occasions.

That’s what I want to bring, the metaphorical new shoes!

Because it’s exciting to dream about the amazing work Updraft already does with their clients but what I’m most looking forward to is the internal work that I’m going to do to bring te ao Māori in to the way we create and design and for all of us, that’s a brand, spanking new pair of shoes!

Okay, imagine it is your retirement party and a few of your colleagues old and new and some clients come and say a few words. What do you hope they might be saying?

I hope they’ll say that I was a safe place and that yes and no both came with a why. That I led from the back so that I could uplift those at the front, That I never went faster than the slowest but I didn’t tolerate stragglers. That during haka practise they were petrified about being in the front row until they realised that I only watched the people in the rows behind them. But mostly that I was kind.

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