Editors Letter – Jan/Feb 2019

It’s easy to view the world as a constant thing that needs to be molded and whipped into shape occasionally. Whatever needs fixing needs external action and force to fix that thing. Ending slavery in the US involved a whole lot of force. Deciding to give women the right to vote involved action and decision. History is defined by actions that have questioned the status quo and created new norms. That is actually kind of the definition of history, the collation of events tied to a subject. It is important to capture our history and the events that define it, of course, but it is also good to look at the stuff in between. The slow shifts that don’t warrant entry into a journal let alone a history book. The slow, cultural shifts that generational change brings, new awareness and perspectives that new technologies bring, and the examples and pathways set by everyday people excelling at their work and changing other people’s expectations of what they can achieve.

These points are highlighted in the issue with an interview with the phenomenal Jane Hastings. The female CEO (there will be a time when we don’t highlight “female CEO” as a thing, by the way) who merged some of the biggest legacy media companies in New Zealand, APN and TRN into NZME, creating a modern, audience-focused content company. She now heads up Event Hospitality and Entertainment Ltd., a company that employs over 8,000 people and even though it is 100 years old, is on the cutting-edge of experiential innovation for its different divisions. On the subject of creating an environment of diversity at board and governance levels in our companies, Jane speaks about the necessity for companies to reflect their consumers, and their consumers are diverse. So that’s a business no-brainer and we need to keep working towards that. At the same time, Jane also speaks about being optimistic about the future based on the attitudes of her children, the content that they are consuming and the way that they treat each other. That’s such a good point to remember. While we might be fighting hard now to establish further diversity against legacy networks and traditional hiring practices, the world will keep evolving because new generations will keep coming through and they will bring with them the new norms and the expectations created by their parents and the people like Jane who is not a female CEO but an amazing CEO full-stop.