The Big Idea’s Big Changes

Tina Symmans
Huia O’Sullivan
Annie Ackerman
Kirsten Matthew
International Women’s Day is being honoured with a spotlight on a recent ground-breaking move from The Big Idea board.

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An exciting new era has been ushered in at The Big Idea Te Āria Nui.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, The Big Idea Te Āria Nui (TBI) is proud to spotlight the four new faces that have been added to its board recently - all of them women.

Tina Symmans, Annie Ackerman, Huia O’Sullivan and Kirsten Matthew have accepted appointments, meaning for the first time in the organisation’s 19 year history, more than half the TBI board will be female.

Outgoing Chair Pat Snedden has welcomed the new direction. “One of the things us white guys in governance can do is step aside and let a new, more diversified generation of leaders take our positions,” Snedden states.

“TBI is booming because it has effectively pivoted to reflect more accurately the community it serves and their pain points. It has identified the intellectual and cultural drivers which reflect a diversified connection with the arts community in its content and now governorship. This doesn’t happen unless space is created to allow it to happen and that has to be intentional.”

Each of the new board members brings a potent range of skills and experience to help sculpt the future of the largest and leading online resource for the arts in New Zealand.

Tina Symmans

Symmans is one of the country’s most sought-after directors. Her ‘make it happen’ approach to governance has been built through a wealth of experience on publicly listed and private company boards including Emirates Team New Zealand and ForsythBarr. She is currently the Chairman of America’s Cup Event Ltd.

“Artists from every discipline always need support and bringing my experience to the table is a way I can support the supporters.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining the board of TBI, which is an organisation I have had the privilege of observing as it has transformed over the past few years,” Symmans explains. “TBI is strategically clear and focussed so it can remain relevant and valuable. I look forward to assisting it refine and adapt to the needs of its stakeholders but remain true to its vision.

“Artists from every discipline always need support and bringing my experience to the table is a way I can support the supporters.”

Huia O’Sullivan

At the other end of the spectrum, O’Sullivan is thrilled to receive her her first governance position. O’Sullivan has illustrated her passion for youth, mentoring and tikanga as the Executive Director for Ngā Rangatahi Toa, known for its social-justice-based education work and Creative Youth Development (CYD) work for young people.

“I get to work alongside some kick ass movers and shakers in our community that really care about the impact of the arts in Aotearoa.”

Her signature energy is clear when asked what attracted her to joining TBI, declaring “I get to work alongside some kick ass movers and shakers in our community that really care about the impact of the arts in Aotearoa.”

O’Sullivan is excited by the prospect of being mentored by the likes of Symmans and plans to bring “a deeper conversation around creativity and wellbeing and how the two are interconnected, as well as the place and inclusion of young people and strengthening Te Ao Māori in The Big Idea.”

Annie Ackerman

Ackerman is already a key contributor to TBI as the current Chief Executive. Her role in TBI’s transformation over the last three years is the latest of a long list of accomplishments in the not-for-profit and mentoring landscape. Her leadership experience has come from helming organisations like the Spark Foundation, Melanoma Foundation and the Hearing House. She chairs the Mentoring Foundation of New Zealand.  

“To say I’m delighted with these additions to the board would be an understatement. The expertise these incredible wāhine will bring to our organisation is immense and with their combination of personality, drive and passion, the sky's the limit for TBI.”

Kirsten Matthew

The quartet is rounded out by Kirsten Matthew, an accomplished writer, editor, brand strategist and social media marketer, having worked for cornerstones of the international media landscape, such as the New York Post and New York Times and closer to home, Metro and Urbis. Matthew is the founder of Mabel Maguire, an all-female boutique communications agency.

"Anything I can do to support the arts being a bigger part of our culture seems like something positive."

Matthew is excited about helping TBI achieve its vision. “I understand how hard it is to be a creative person in New Zealand right now. I know what the arts add to my life and how enriching they have been. Anything I can do to support the arts being a bigger part of our culture seems like something positive. 

“I'm interested in how we can make the arts a bigger part of New Zealanders' lives and how we can evolve our arts so that they truly reflect our population and our stories, and become more affordable to consume.“

They join current trustees Mike Denford, Gus Sharp and Sam Snedden. Denford endorses the appointments, adding “as TBI builds momentum with its activity, the important next phase is the development of a stronger, more universal brand and an awareness that better connects and helps our creative sector.

“Tina, Huia, Annie and Kirsten’s depth of skills, backgrounds and networks will be such a valuable addition to help drive TBI to its next phase.”

 

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

8 Mar 2020

The Big Idea Editor

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