From high-school teacher to lawyer to government policymaker, Anna-lee Annett’s career has spanned a wide variety of jobs, cities, and workplaces. But one consistent thread runs all the way through: her quest to make New Zealand a fairer, more equitable place for people of all backgrounds.
“I have a vision that one day New Zealanders will understand one another better and we’ll be a truly bicultural society,” explains Anna-lee, who is a proud Māori woman.
It was this unswaying commitment that first caught the eye of another equity, diversity & inclusion advocate, Robert Walters Associate Consultant Lance Encabo, when he was searching for a passionate and principled policy leader for the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). The role required a rare combination of policy acumen and primary sector knowledge – along with the ability to see Treaty policy through a Māori lens.
Lance takes up the story: “We took care to understand the technical requirements of the role and also the personal qualities too. That told us we were looking for someone a bit special; someone who cared deeply about Māori development and understood Te Ao Māori.”
Fortunately, Lance had a few assets on his side. First, everyone at Robert Walters is incentivised to work as a team, so Lance had access to a wide network of potential talent. Second, Lance and his colleagues specialise in the sector where they recruit (policy and machinery of government, so they quickly understood what the MPI needed. And third, Lance has previous professional experience working in government research.
Lance put his research skills to work and unearthed several candidates, and Anna-lee stood out from the pack. In fact, Anna-lee says Lance saw her potential before she even did.
“When I first heard about the job, I suggested other people who could do the role, but Lance encouraged me to put myself forward instead. He did his homework and went out of his way to track me down because he thought I’d be the right fit for this particular job. It was really impressive.”
Anna-lee’s story is still being written. Having successfully completed her tenure at MPI, Anna-lee’s focus is now contracting within Wellington’s public sector, utilising Robert Walters’ Policy Consultant Sam Stewart’s strength and expertise in the contracting space.
“I knew that as soon as I was comfortable making the switch to contracting, Robert Walters and Sam, in particular, could help. Their understanding of the policy landscape and also ensuring I was set up with the right tools made this transition seamless.”
Sam’s understanding of Anna-lee’s needs and aspirations have enabled her to secure a role as a Senior Policy Advisor within Te Aka Whai Ora, the Maori Health Authority, ensuring the transformational change for the Hauora, health, and well-being of whānau Māori.
So, not only has Anna-lee gained a new, flexible job, but she’s also gained trusted recruitment consultants in Lance and Sam. “Lance was phenomenal, and Sam has taken the time to understand where I wanted to go next. The recruitment process for both roles was really smooth, and we’ve stayed in touch. If I know someone who is seeking a new policy role, I refer them to both Lance and Sam because I know they’ll be in safe hands.
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