My Food Bag founder Cecilia Robinson supreme winner at Women of Influence awards video

LAWRENCE SMITH/STUFF

Women in leadership roles from across New Zealand attended the Women of Influence Awards dinner at SkyCity in Auckland.

Helping improve the shopping and cooking habits of many Kiwis has earned My Food Bag founder Cecilia Robinson top honours in the 2017 Women of Influence Awards.

Robinson, who also won the business enterprise category, was named the supreme winner at a gala dinner held in Auckland on Thursday. The awards are backed by Westpac and Fairfax Media (publisher of Stuff).

"It is not only a great business idea – it has also had a wider influence on family life. My Food Bag has meant less time planning meals and shopping in supermarkets, and more invaluable time spent with loved ones. On a dietary level, it's also delivering healthier options for many households," Westpac chief executive David McLean said.

My Food Bag founder Cecilia Robinson.
supplied

My Food Bag founder Cecilia Robinson.

Robinson created the meal kit delivery service in 2013 with husband James Robinson, chef Nadia Lim and businesswoman Theresa Gattung.

It now has more than 50,000 customers, 120 employees and projected revenues of more than $135 million a year.

A Lifetime Achievement award was also presented to former New Zealand Prime Minister and United Nations Development programme administrator Helen Clark.

Clark spoke at the Women of Influence forum earlier on Thursday, telling the audience about running for secretary general of the United Nations, the gender bias and sexism she experienced and her legacy.

She said young New Zealanders are frustrated that the discussion about gender disparity continues to exist but told them "don't get mad, get organised".

Other winners at the awards were:

Arts & Culture - Sponsored by SKYCITY - Denise L'Estrange-Corbet

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Fashion designer Denise L'Estrange-Corbet is a co-founder of WORLD, one of New Zealand's most iconic creative brands, with six boutiques across the country. She is also an ambassador for the IHC Art Awards, Diabetes New Zealand (Auckland) and the Mental Health Foundation.

Board & Management - Sponsored by DLA Piper - Anne-Maree O'Connor

As the Head of Responsible Investment for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund since 2006, Anne-Maree O'Connor has helped move responsible investing from a sideline activity for institutional investors to a part of their mainstream investment strategy.

Business Enterprise - Sponsored by MYOB - Cecilia Robinson (also the Supreme Winner)

Entrepreneur Cecilia Robinson is the brains behind food kit delivery business My Food Bag. The business has become a household name in just four years, growing from a start-up to a team of 120, with revenue forecast to exceed $135 million for this financial year, and is preparing for an IPO within three years.

Community & Not for Profit - Sponsored by Spark - Lisa King

Lisa King created Eat My Lunch after discovering thousands of children go to school without lunch every day. For every lunch purchased, Eat My Lunch provides a lunch to a child in need. In two years, Eat My Lunch has given around 450,000 healthy lunches to children in low decile schools.

Diversity - Sponsored by Chartered Accountants ANZ - Minnie Baragwanath

At the age of 14, Minnie was diagnosed with Stargardt's, an incurable disease that causes deteriorating central vision. She went on to start Be. Accessible, a social change agency shifting how Kiwis value accessibility. She is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Global - Sponsored by Massey University - Sian Simpson

A three-time Women of Influence finalist, Sian Simpson is a director of community at Kiwi Landing Pad, where she helps take New Zealand technology to the world. In the past three years, Sian has worked with more than 2000 New Zealand businesses and met with over 3000 entrepreneurs.

Innovation & Science - Sponsored by Mastercard - Hinemoa Elder

Hinemoa Elder leads Māori strategy at the Centre of Research Excellence for the Ageing Brain. She was the first to articulate a Māori theory of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and develop two evidence-based resources for Māori with TBI – an area where Māori are over-represented.

Public Policy - Sponsored by Ministry for Women - Rebecca Kitteridge

As the Director of Security at the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, Kitteridge runs an organisation that deals with some of the most sensitive information in New Zealand. Prior to this role she spent six years in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Rural - Sponsored by Zespri - Professor Nicola Shadbolt

For more than 30 years Professor Nicola Shadbolt has taken a strategic perspective on global agribusiness. She is a professor of farm and agribusiness management at Massey University and is the New Zealand representative in the International Farm Comparison Network in Dairying.

Young Leader - Sponsored by Hotpoints - Sharnay Cocup

Sharnay Cocup is the founder of the Taupiri Youth Group Trust, a Taupiri Community Board member, Taupiri School Board trustee and PTA member. She started the Taupiri Youth Group Trust to restore the Taupiri Mountain track, which hadn't been maintained properly for 20 years.

Fairfax Media chief executive Sinead Boucher says what was remarkable about the finalists was the incredible breadth of talent across so many categories.

"There was someone to inspire in every field, whether it was law or conservation or finance or broadcasting.

"These are some of the smartest and savviest women in New Zealand, with their success exemplified by the exceptional work of Cecilia Robinson and her team."

 - Stuff

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