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YWCA Auckland award for long-time women’s role model

Recognising a lifetime of achievement; YWCA Auckland award for long-time women’s role model

New Zealand’s first female Governor General and Mayor of Auckland has been granted a Lifetime Achievement Award by YWCA Auckland, for her services to the Auckland community and acting as a role model for Kiwi women nationwide.

Dame Catherine Tizard has worked closely with YWCA Auckland for decades. She’s a Patron of their Future Leaders mentoring programme, has a lifetime membership and has been hugely supportive of the organisation’s endeavors since she first became involved with the YWCA attending some of their programmes when she was younger.

“Dame Catherine has been a true pioneer for women in New Zealand, working in positions of great responsibility, while balancing demands of motherhood and a public life,” says Monica Briggs, CEO of YWCA Auckland. “She truly embodies the values of YWCA Auckland, has personally supported our staff and programmes, and has always conducted herself with indomitable style!”

Dame Catherine’s interest in Future Leaders developed when she attended the first YWCA Leading Women dinner more than ten years ago. She was one of the guest speakers at the dinner in her role as governor general so was present to see the Future Leaders programme launched. “I was very impressed,” she says. “The mentors really got something from the experience, and the success rate of mentees was amazing. I spoke to young women who had been planning to drop out of school, but after their involvement with the programme, wanted to go on to higher education.”

Future Leaders supports young women to achieve their goals, offering skills development, new experiences and opportunities. The individualised leadership programme sees young women paired with a mentor, with activities and workshops planned throughout the year by YWCA Auckland.

YWCA Auckland are passionate advocates of young women’s leadership development, and value having a role model like Dame Catherine who supports their work. “She’s a woman of many strengths,” says Vanessa Ceelen, YWCA Auckland President.

“She’s had four children, an enviable career, and has made huge contributions to women being involved in the public sector. But what we really respect her for, and why we think she is so deserving of this award is that she has accomplished all this with a smile, encouraging words, and a willingness to roll her sleeves up and get involved.”

Dame Catherine says she supports YWCA Auckland’s work because “in many ways, societal expectations of women haven’t changed. It’s still often assumed that they will take on roles of support, be mothers and wives, and not much else beyond that.”

As a society, New Zealand’s professional attitudes towards women have come a long way, but there is room for development yet. “YWCA Auckland works to expand their horizons, and I am proud to support that, to show up, to contribute, to be involved. It’s important that young women and their families understand their potential and what they are capable of.”

About YWCA Auckland
YWCA Auckland are driven to give women the opportunity to realise better futures, and believe that every woman deserves choice. As an organisation, they understand the issues which impact on Auckland women, and work closely with businesses and communities to offer positive solutions to these.

YWCA Auckland is part of the world’s largest women’s organisation, a global network of 25 million women leading social and economic change in over 125 countries worldwide. YWCA Auckland are passionate advocates of young women’s leadership development, and what we do makes a real difference in New Zealand women’s lives.

We have a proud heritage of providing free community programmes in Auckland for over 125 years, which enable women to maximise their potential in an environment that values equality and diversity.


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