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Ann Sherry AO has had what I would describe as a ‘non-linear’ career. However there is at it’s core a consistency in her dedication to improve the working lives of those around her. Much has been written about her career. I have known Ann for many years… the first time I met her was when we had just started At the time she ran Westpac New Zealand – she not only met with me, she opened many doors for us both for suppliers and customers. A very warm and welcoming nature. Fast forward and I find that her generosity has only got bigger with the years.

I remember her saying at women’s leadership lunch some years ago – “Our job as female leaders is to make sure we bring other women with us.”

Last week I was present and a CEO roundtable event where Ann shared her thoughts on leadership. Even out of context there is meaning for others in her words.

  • “In leadership it is important to explain to people why the future looks better than the past”
  • “Most organisations have good people wanting to do the right thing”
  • “The sense of possibility does ignite people”
  • “To be a part of growth is exhausting but exciting and people want to be a part of it”
  • “The best way to get people to partner with you is to make sure there is a benefit for both”
  • “Risk aversion is killing us – we need the capacity to take ‘calculated’ risk and that can be very exciting – we must believe in the future”
  • “Hire on motivation, attitude and beliefs because you can’t teach people that.”

Her vision is inspirational, her achievements considerable – she brought us all into her world – and our world is better for it.

Reader Interactions


  1. Naomi, thanks for sharing these words from Ann! Particularly resonating with the “risk aversion is killing us” (YES!) and having previously spent many years in recruitment it is always heartening to hear a leader like Ann reinforce the approach of hiring on motivation, attitude and beliefs. Thanks again. Warmest wishes, Bernadette

  2. I find her presence insightful. Most female leaders have not made gains possible for potential female leaders. Calculated risk is a must but I find that businesses resort to a lesser evil, competition. But I praise her thoughts on leadership and hope to be like her one day.

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