Women of Influence Awards return with virtual live programme

The world may have changed dramatically since last year’s awards, but the Women of Influence programme will continue celebrating impressive Kiwi women in 2020.

Nominations for the annual awards open today, with organisers Stuff and Westpac NZ also revealing new details of a forthcoming ‘virtual’ Speaker Series, focussing on the theme of ‘Taking on Tomorrow’.

Broadcaster and Māori language advocate Stacey Morrison, ground-breaking criminal lawyer Marie Dyhrberg, rising environmental leader Annika Andresen and former discus world champion turned community leader Beatrice Faumuina ONZM will be among the speakers.

Westpac NZ CEO David McLean says Kiwi women will play a key role in reshaping the country as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Women of Influence is about sharing smart ideas and showcasing the women who are shaping our future, from a global to community level. It’s more important right now than ever that we support them,” Mr McLean says.

“Last year’s inaugural Speaker Series drew five sold out audiences nationwide, and attendees loved meeting and hearing from all sorts of inspirational Kiwis. We want to keep that up by hosting three interactive, informative and engaging live broadcast events in August, free for anyone to register.”

Stuff CEO Sinead Boucher says the awards are a meaningful way to celebrate the important contribution of women in building a better future for all of us.

“Many of our previous Women of Influence winners have since gone on to receive wider recognition, including 2019 Arts & Culture winner Jennifer Ward-Lealand who was named 2020 New Zealander of the Year, and supreme winner Professor Jane Harding who was awarded Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the recent Queen’s birthday honours.”

“More importantly, their mana and their determination continues to create positive transformation within our communities and internationally.

“Being able to play a small part in championing other women makes me extremely proud,” Ms Boucher adds. “If you know someone making a real difference in the world – nominate her.”

The awards are now in their eighth year and an award celebration will follow later this year, with leading women recognised in ten categories: Arts & Culture; Board & Management; Business Enterprise; Community Hero; Diversity; Global; Innovation, Science and Health; Public Policy, Rural and Young Leader. A 2020 supreme winner will be chosen from the ten category winners.

There are fresh faces among the judges, with All Black legend and mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan, sustainability champion Abbie Reynolds and not-for-profit leader Vanisa Dhiru joining the six-person panel.

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