Christchurch a 'dynamic' place to do business
A senior woman banker says it has been easier for her to do business in Christchurch since she returned five years ago with the city being a more dynamic place than the one that was once dominated by old boys' networks.
Westpac's South Island regional manager Gina Dellabarca, who looks after retail business for the bank, says she has been part of a women's business network created by the bank to make it easier for women in the Garden City.
She has been supported by Ian Blair, Westpac's general manager of business banking, who also has a role in encouraging diversity within the Australian-owned bank headed by Gail Kelly.
In New Zealand, 45 per cent of Westpac's executive team are female and just over 39 per cent of management positions are held by women. When recruiting for a position the interview panel had to include a woman and the short list of candidates also had to include a woman, Blair said.
In the Australian setting Kelly was chasing a similar target for female "leaders" but was behind New Zealand in that respect.
Dellabarca said when she returned from Auckland to take up the new role with the bank in September 2007 the Christchurch business community had changed from when she was based here earlier.
Asked about old boys' networks, she said: "I think it's quite different now, it's quite dynamic, as time goes by ... there's also quite a strong women's network alive and well," she said.
She has been mentored by professional director Sue Sheldon (a director of Telecom) and in 2010-11 had been part of a women in leadership breakthrough leaders programme organised by a Jenny Shipley-chaired group.
In Christchurch this week through the bank's network of women she had helped organise an event which had raised $20,000 for the Christchurch Women's Refuge.
In her role Dellabarca oversees 850 staff and 59 branches. While two of Westpac's central business district retail outlets in Armagh Street and Cashel Mall had closed with the St Martin's site "deconstructed", there were still 22 sites operating, including a new "container" bank at the Re:START site.
Barrington and Rangiora sites had been relocated, and other retail sites had been refurbished, Dellabarca said.
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