Your Say – Janisa Parag

Head of strategy at True advertising

I’d name my autobiography…

Nevertheless, yet she persisted.

To me success means…

Not compromising my values.

Best advice I’ve been given…

It’s borrowed, but great advice I live by is “keep turning up”. Resilience is an important trait to have in a world where change is a given.

I made my first dollar:

Sorting bank statements (and sometime stapling my fingers) working at my dad’s chartered accountancy practice.

The most rewarding part of my job…

Is bringing so many different thoughts and ideas together. Spending time talking to and listening to real New Zealanders to understand the problems my clients can help solve.

Life motto:

My sister and I have lived by my dad’s words:

It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice

Favourite book:

Gloria Steinham’s Life on the Road had a profound effect on me – the importance and value of community and grassroots organisation to drive real change in the world.

My goals for 2019 are…

Living up to my potential.

The women who inspire me:

I’ve always looked to the pioneering change makers. Dame Whina Cooper, Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinham, as they have something that I truly admire – effort over empty platitudes.

But I cannot go past my Mum, who is a true survivor (she suffered two heart attacks and has undergone a triple by-pass) and still has more energy than I do!

The main challenge for women in business is…

So rather than the main challenge for women, I’d reframe to what’s the main challenge for business….

There’s a stunning loss of IP when we don’t accommodate women with families in our economy.

To answer this challenge, we all need to change the conversation around inclusion from ‘because it’s the right thing to do’ to ‘how can we get more from all parts of our workforce?’

The change I want to see in 2019 is…

I’m passionate about challenging the cultural stereotypes that hold NZers and NZ business back. The old tropes of ‘she’ll be right’, ‘number 8 wire’, ‘tall poppies’ belie the innovation, skill and expertise that exists within many NZ businesses. Instead of perpetuating these myths, our industry (advertising) needs to play its part in shifting the cultural narrative to a country that is outward looking, world class and proud of its success.