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Christina McKenzie (The Instillery)

What role do you play in the local/NZ tech sector?

Currently, I’m spearheading the go to market charge for The Instillery across our nationwide delivery footprint. My focus areas are twofold:  creating customer success in the regions, by marrying their fire and ingenuity with the very best in cloud expertise and leading technology.

Secondly enabling our public sector and enterprise with the flexibility of a modern cloud partner, that is able to support their diverse and complex requirements.

More broadly, I’m an experienced leader and strategist, who specialises in growth execution through business development and strategic partnership execution. A passionate connector, and lifelong learner, I work closely with other leaders to help  them create clarity, enabling their teams and organisations to use technology to achieve their goals.  

What is your favourite habit to keep up to date with the latest technology trends? 

I’m fortunate to have a large, diverse and talented personal network to touch base with, this is my very favourite medium for learning. Listening to stories, ideas and research from people who both challenge and inspire me.

I travel a fair bit, so I maximise my time spent in the car or on airplanes by listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Ted Radio has a broad range of tech content,  Freakanomics is another favourite podcast.

I’m also a business book geek- culture code, the lean start up, good to great…. Not a lot of fiction in my bookshelf sadly.

What are your priorities as a tech enthusiast/leader?

Genuinely, using technology to solve some of the most complex problems facing our planet, such as enabling ethical and sustainable supply chains.

I am working with a group of clever humans at the moment to enable value based consumerism – imagine a world where you could govern your purchasing to align to your value base- that’s the legacy I want to leave.

What advice would you give to young people wanting to get into careers in tech? 

Humility is important, I was once told early on in this industry- “to work in tech, being a certain level of smart is a given- so what else have you got?”, oddly enough it was a defining piece of advice- chances are you will wind up being the dumbest person in the room more often than not, learn, listen and contribute your genuine thoughts, not just what you think we want to hear.

Be creative and work hard, we are all looking for the best talent that have great ideas and can execute on them. Demonstrate this.

Build a network, by being curious and open to new ideas.  Ask people to share their stories and don’t be afraid to state clearly what you want. I find most people these days are so busy, they’ll appreciate the clarity and efficiency of being direct.

Finally,  make sure you contribute on a level greater than your own personal gain- it matters.

What in your opinion are the greatest opportunities and challenges the technology sector faces in the Waikato/NZ?

The greatest opportunity as I see it in technology is for bold investors to invest capital in R&D, and the product start up space. NZ is a place full of creative entrepreneurs, yet our investment portfolio as a nation is disproportionately reliant on property and traditional fund options. Our businesses need access to capital to stand up to a global market,  I see the rise of digital companies as a great opportunity to build a healthier economy overall.

I think a challenge that the Waikato and regional NZ faces is accessing top talent from diverse backgrounds. There needs to be a continued and accelerated focus on making the Waikato an attractive place for business and talent alike to thrive. Personally I’d like to see a more pragmatic and cohesive collaboration between the local tech businesses, universities working alongside with the arts and culture organisations to see how we could collectively achieve this. 



 

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