The time has finally come: this week I move back to New York! Before I jet off to the other side of the world, I thought I’d squeeze in one last blog post.
This month has been full on with job hunting. When I first started my search back in April, I thought the hardest part would be scoring a role. I’ve since realised that the real challenge is seeing the wood from the trees. I’m determined to do what I love and that has meant walking away from multiple offers promising stability these last couple of weeks. While this has triggered some mixed emotions, I feel like it has sharpened my focus. I’m excited to hit the ground running in New York with a clear idea of what I really want.
I’ve also spent this month honing in on one of my big goals for 2019. When I returned home last December, I realised that my New Zealand network was pretty limited. I had invested most of my energy into New York and wasn’t super engaged with my own community. I set myself a target of strengthening my connections in NZ. June has been a particularly great opportunity to do this with lots of awesome events!
The standout for me was undoubtedly the Kea World Class New Zealand Awards. The Awards are a massive celebration of Kiwis who have achieved outstanding success offshore. Think expat New Zealander of the Year with nearly 1000 attendees! This year’s winners included internationally recognised chef Peter Gordon, Allbirds entrepreneur Tim Brown and Google HR whiz Kirsten Nevill-Manning.
As part of the Kea team, my role during the Awards was to help out with interviewing our Award Winners and VIP guests. This was an absolutely amazing experience. I got to meet all of the Award Winners (some of whom are my career heroes) and interview the likes of Sir Stephen Tindall. Everyone had incredible words of wisdom to share with young Kiwis and I often found myself on the edge of my seat, holding onto their advice. Tim in particular inspired me to stay focused. I can’t wait until the interviews come out so you guys can learn as much as I did.
The second event I thoroughly enjoyed was Unfiltered Live. If you haven’t heard of Unfiltered before, it’s a brilliant platform that democratises access to education. 22-year-old CEO Jake Millar interviews business leaders from Sir Richard Branson to Anna Mowbray and makes the content publicly available online. Unfiltered Live is a one-day event that brings together a bunch of these impressive people to share their experiences live. It’s powered by Kea, which means I was lucky enough to work alongside the Unfiltered team.
I managed to see about half the speakers and they were fantastic. The theme was ‘Fall Forward’ and was all about growing stronger through failure. I thought this was an excellent choice because Kiwis are often averse to discussing their mistakes, which is culturally different from places like Silicon Valley. The common thread among the speakers seemed to be that no one ever gave up. This was a good reminder for me to persevere as I head out into the great unknown. I also had quite possibly the best cheesecake of my life in the VIP lounge – thanks Unfiltered for your top-notch taste in catering!
My final event highlight this month was the inaugural Kiwi Landing Pad Summit. KLP is a community of over 6000 Kiwi entrepreneurs from more than 1000 start-ups. Their Director of Community, Sian Simpson, very kindly invited me to attend a day of workshops, jams and networking. It was fascinating getting immersed in the start-up world and meeting people who believe relentlessly in their ideas. It was also really cool to be able to see what Sian does firsthand. She is a big inspiration to me and seeing her succeed gives me confidence that I could too.
Outside of work, I had another fun speaking gig this month. I got the chance to reconnect with my alma mater, Kristin School, as the opening speaker for a new career series they’re running. I shared my story from chronically sick teenager to working at the UN and it was really special to show those 530 kids that impossible things can happen. In a way, it felt like I was telling my younger self all of the things she needed to know. It was a proud full circle moment.
Now that June is drawing to a close, my plan is to make magic in New York. My first few days are set to be jam-packed with meetings and events. In true Victoria style, the initial 72 hours alone will include multiple job interviews, an Adam Lambert performance, a photoshoot for the NOH8 Campaign and seeing The Veronicas live at World Pride. How fitting for my reintroduction to the city that never sleeps!