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Why our CEO is an inspiration (International Women's Day 2020)

Why our CEO is an inspiration (International Women's Day 2020)

We are very proud to share that our CEO, Gillian Vaughan, has been recognised for her services to Wildlife Conservation with a Queens Service Medal. We had been wondering how to tell the world how lucky we are to have her and International Women's Day seems like a good opportunity.

It takes energy, enthusiasm, smart-thinking and commitment to do as much as Gillian does for the Pūkorokoro Miranda Naturalists Trust whilst also delivering on her role as CEO of Pinnacle Life.

Now and then Gillian will be unavailable at the office because she has to go and 'catch some birds'. The rest of us are always fascinated to hear the highs and lows of her experiences when she returns. But I don't think any of us at Pinnacle truly appreciated the work that Gillian has done for the Trust, beyond 'catching birds', until she was recognised with a medal.

Gillian's QSM recognises her involvement with the Pūkorokoro Miranda Naturalists Trust including eight years as Chair of the Trust, 13 years as a voluntary tutor and eight years as editor of the Pūkorokoro Miranda News. The Trust promotes the awareness and conservation of migratory shorebirds in the Pūkorokoro-Miranda area, home to almost half of the world's Wrybill bird population.Gillian's roles have involved significant projects including, engaging with China and Korea for the protection of shorebirds who migrate between our countries, co-authoring a report on the importance of Yalu Jiang National Nature Reserve for New Zealand’s migratory shorebirds, engaging with local iwi Ngati Pāoa regarding a a long-standing grievance over naming , lots of fundraising and meanwhile continuing to volunteer in the field and tutor regularly.

Having a flexible employer can make the difference between being able to follow your hobbies and passions and keeping them side-lined. Taking the odd day off to catch and tag birds has not detracted from Gillian's ability to do her job at Pinnacle at any stage of her tenure if anything it has enhanced it by giving her 'active' time away from the business.

International Women's Day aims to celebrate women's achievement. Women like Gillian remind us that this can take many forms and that anything is possible. She didn't turn up at the first field course thinking she was going to earn a medal. When she started at Pinnacle Life, helping answer the phones, she didn’t think she would be CEO. What she has achieved reminds us all to keep turning up, to work hard, to keep ourselves interested and engaged with the world around us and anything is possible.

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