04 April 2016

Achieving success at the Engineering Professions Forum

  • Melissa Clark-Reynolds, entrepeneur and company director.
  • Sir Gordon Tietjens, New Zealand’s most successful rugby sevens coach.
  • Guests at the Saturday Forum session.
  • Amanda Siqueira GIPENZ discusses what success means in an engineering context.

Achieving Success was the theme when IPENZ Members gathered at our annual Engineering Professions Forum last month. The two-day event held at Wellington’s Amora Hotel was our opportunity to hear from Members and talk about our plans for the next year. Keynote speakers inspired us with tales of their achievements and career highlights.

Melissa Clark-Reynolds, a Director at ACCURO, Radio New Zealand and Software Education talked about her experience and views of the engineering profession and how she’s found success as an entrepreneur. She said “every time you take a job, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want. Having had some time to look back over my career, I’m deeply grateful for the jobs I didn’t take. You have to stop and think ‘is this the best use of my talent at this moment in time?’”

Chief Executive of the New Zealand Racing Board John Allen reminded us every instance of failure has the opportunity for learning and progress. He helped us paint a virtual picture of a positive future for New Zealand, with engineers at the heart of it. John said: “For our nation to succeed in this rapidly changing world, engineers will need to be the heroes.” He urged us, as engineers, to be involved, know what we stand for and to let the community hear our voice. These are the things, he says, that will help us achieve success.

Sir Gordon Tietjens, New Zealand’s most successful rugby sevens coach, shared his powerful insights into leadership and team culture and gave the audience a set of tools to use in their own leadership roles. He explained the importance of courageous conversations to his leadership style and how a 360 degree accountability framework helped him achieve success. He encouraged a “keep, stop, start” strategic approach: keeping what’s working, stopping what’s not, and seeking out new, useful ideas to start to put into practice.

The Forum also gave our groups the opportunity to get together. Our Collaborating Technical Societies and Technical Interest Group representatives discussed how to improve communication to their respective groups and talked about ways to work more closely together. The key focus was working more collaboratively through making the best use of tools like social media. Representatives from our regional Branches were joined by our Chief Executive and guest speakers. Roy Sharp DistFIPENZ from the Engineering Heritage Wellington Chapter spoke about how Branches and Engineering Heritage could work more closely together. IPENZ Foundation Trustee Tiina Hall-Turner FIPENZ gave an update on the successes of the Foundation scholarship pilot programme, which is due for review in May.

A combined session of the Engenerate Emerging Professionals Council, Student Engineers New Zealand (SENZ) Council and Branch representatives provided a great opportunity to discuss key opportunities, including CPD, marketing and communications, and our Code of Ethics. The SENZ and Engenerate groups also spent time discussing planning, process and policies for the year ahead, as well as taking the chance to meet with engineers working in industry.

Our new President Elena Trout FIPENZ set the tone for the year during her Incoming President’s address, saying “as President, it’s my responsibility to provide strong leadership – not just to the engineering profession but to the whole community.”

See photos from the Friday and Saturday Forum sessions.