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Waikato IoD announce Emerging Director Award

Media release
15 May 2014

Sarah Morton-Johnson awarded Emerging Director Award by Waikato Institute of Directors

The Waikato branch of the Institute of Directors (IoD) has announced that Sarah Morton-Johnson was awarded its fifth annual Emerging Director Award.

The award includes a 12 month Director Development position with the Wintec (Waikato Institute of Technology) Council.

Additionally, Mrs Morton-Johnson is provided with a complimentary 12-month IoD membership, professional development opportunities to a value of $2,000 and will be mentored by an experienced director for one year.

Chair of the Waikato Institute of Directors, Margaret Devlin, said Sarah stood out amongst nominees as a person well-suited for a directorship career.

“Sarah has a promising career as a director. She has had governance exposure on a range of boards in various industries including manufacturing, hospitality, education, training and social services, and she has used her commercial background and experience in human resources to help groups and organisations in the not-for-profit sector, in particular organisations that work with youth,” said Devlin.

Wintec Chair, Mary Cave-Palmer said the Wintec Council is proud to sponsor the IoD Emerging Director award because it is an opportunity to demonstrate the important part of the Wintec culture at a governance level.

“At Wintec the focus is on applied tertiary education and we are very fortunate to have many employer and industry partners who not only help to ensure our programmes are relevant, but they also provide work placement opportunities for our students.

“We are delighted to welcome Sarah Morton-Johnson to our Council for a year to help her further develop the potential that made her application stand out from the very strong competition,” said Cave-Palmer.

Morton-Johnson has more than 10 years’ experience in human resource management working with Skycity Entertainment Group and the Vertex Pacific Group.

She has been developing a career in governance since 2005 and held the chairperson role for Lifeline Waikato from 2007 to 2012.

She has also served on the Lifeline New Zealand board, Hub Youth Charitable Trust board, and chaired the Waikato Engineering Careers Association from 2005 – 2008.

Morton-Johnson said she never aspired to be a director, but from her early teens was chosen for or found herself opting into roles and being given opportunities where she was charged with overseeing or directing activities.

In recent years, since having a break from her career to raise a young family, she has had the opportunity to consider what her contribution to the wider community might look like, and begin a journey of formalising and building on the governance skills and competencies she already possessed, and seeking opportunities to exercise these with larger, more commercially focused organisations.

Morton-Johnson has completed the IoD’s Regional Director Development Programme and undertaken an assessment of her capabilities using the IoD’s ‘Four Pillars of Effective Board Governance’.

In her application summary Morton-Johnson said she has a sound understanding of governance principles and had experienced the challenges of breaking into a governance career. If successful, she said she would use her skills and experience to help other aspiring directors achieve their goals and help make the pathway a little easier for those who follow.

The Waikato branch of the Institute of Directors initiated its Emerging Director Award in 2010. The purpose of the award is to provide a valuable training and networking opportunity for senior managers, community or business leaders who would like to strengthen their knowledge of governance issues.

The branch is extremely grateful to the host companies for supporting the Waikato’s emerging directors, acknowledging that this is a significant investment in terms of their time and commitment.

The Waikato branch of the Institute of Directors is one of the most active in the country with more than 400 members.


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