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New President for Human Resources Body

New President for Human Resources Body

The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) elected a new national president at its annual general meeting in Auckland last week. Rachel Walker's vision is that HRINZ is embraced both by business and central government for the contribution HRINZ members make to the development, growth and achievement of organisational objectives, supporting New Zealand Inc.

Rachel Walker is the General Manager People and Performance with Delta, a diversified infrastructure company, headquartered in Dunedin. She is the first Dunedin resident to be elected to the position.

She replaces Catherine Taylor of Kiwibank who becomes immediate past president of the 4500-member organisation.

Ms Walker, a member of the HRINZ board since 2008, wants the common mis-perception of HR practitioners to change, with members recognised for the contribution they make to delivering on business strategy.

“HR professionals today are innovative, have business acumen and understand the context their business’s operate within. If a senior HR professional is not part of the team that make and implement decisions in an organisation, the leaders and directors there are truly missing out on a unique behavioural perspective on the business” she said.

She points out that the institute’s own recent strategic plan does not use the words “human resources” at all. “It’s about people practices and how they can support leaders to achieve the core KPIs of their organisation.”

Her priorities as National President include ensuring that HR is seen as a business oriented profession. She also wants to enhance communications to ensure the institute is interacting with members at every level and to encourage members to open their minds to new thinking and solutions.

The organisation is also keen to do more to assist members in supporting managers and others to deliver successful people practices in their organisations.

The institute is already highly regarded against comparable organisations, despite a small staff and a limited budget.

Ms Walker will preside over the HIRNZ’s annual conference in Wellington which has the theme “Friction or flow, making the boat go faster.” The focus is on bringing leading international thinking and wider business skills to members, not just HR speakers talking to an audience of HR people.

Ms Walker, a registered industrial psychologist and fellow of the institute, is a senior HR generalist, with a background in organisational development and change, industrial relations, leadership development and safety management. She has worked in a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, tertiary education, infrastructure and the public service.

She played a leading role in the review of HRINZ’s constitution over the last two years which saw major change in the governance structure, notably reducing the board’s size by almost two thirds and increasing the emphasis on governance skills.

She was President of the Wild South branch of HRINZ for three years from 2008, having previously been a member of the Wellington, Canterbury and Manawatu branches and has supported the establishment of the Queenstown Southern Lakes and Fouveaux branches, two of four new branches established this year.

Her governance experience includes being a current vice-president of the Otago-Southland Employers Association, the business representative on the Otago Polytechnic Council and strong involvement in the Royal Agricultural Society and the governance of the Otago-Taieri A and P Society.

Julia Stones, who has a background in HR and talent management in the United Kingdom and New Zealand and is managing a new HR agency based in Auckland, is the new national vice-president of HRINZ.


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