My name is Nancy Sheehan (nee Ratumaitavuki)
My parents immigrated to NZ in the early 60’s. My Father Maciu is from Nairai and my mother Ro Silo is from Moturiki,both from the beautiful province of Lomaiviti.
I have one brother (two deceased) and two sisters we all live in NZ. We have 16 children between us, ages range from 24 – 2 years.
My husband Michael and I have four beautiful children, I have enclosed a photo, so from left to right its Edward, Mereana, James and Emily. They are of Irish, Maori, Yugoslav and Fijian ethnicity and they all identify strongly with Fiji.
2. Your primary, secondary and tertiary education?
My schooling was mainly in Palmerston North where my parents still live.
I completed all my tertiary qualifications in New Zealand; a Batchelor of Business Studies in Marketing from Massey University in 1981 and then was employed in a number of corporate roles in Auckland. I later returned to study, completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Business (Finance) from Auckland University in 1993, and a Master of Business Administration from Massey University in 1998.
3. Where are you based now?
I live on the North Shore in Auckland, in Beachhaven a nice unpretentious suburb. I like it as I have a superb view of the Waitemata and the area has a lot of different ethnicities living there it is also right by the water and the parks are great value for the children.
4. What work do you do now and can you please explain what your work involves?
I have been self-employed for 14 years and have my own company, with offices in Grey Lynn, Nancy Sheehan & Associates a Business and Economic Development consultancy firm which specialises in evaluation research and strategy, organisational capacity building and performance based management. We have a focus on projects that inform organisational responsiveness and ensure effective engagement. My daughter Mereana works for me and I have just negotiated an alliance with a strategic development and communications company L2S which is really exciting.
I usually work with associates on large evaluation research, organisational capacity and training projects for the New Zealand government in the social, health and business development sectors both in New Zealand and in the Pacific Region. I’m starting to look to Australia now for work.
5.What are some key points you need to highlight in order for someone to do the work that you do?
Be motivated, have a thirst for learning, always work with integrity, do it right the first time, always look to maintain relationships and want the best for your clients.
6.What are some challenges you face in this career?
Being a smart black woman! That’s both a challenge and a bonus.
7.What are some of the benefits you gain in this career?
I am living the professional life I had designed for myself 20 years ago. I was always a nerd with a voracious appetite for reading, I am also the consummate workaholic but my family give me lots of reasons to not work too hard – so its all about ensuring balance and doing the type of work that makes your heart sing.
My skills are internationally competitive so to ensure my knowledge base is current with international best practice in my specialist areas I regularly undertake training overseas, this has included:
· In 2001 the State of the Art Business Development Services Training with the SEEP Network in Washington DC in 2001;
· I returned in 2002 to a Training the Trainers workshop with SEEP Network and then assisted in facilitating the 2002 State of the Art Business Development Services course, again in Washington DC.
· In 2006 the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) supported by the World Bank in conjunction with the School of Public Policy and Administration of Carleton University, in Ottawa Canada.
· In 2006 a course on Building Partner Capacity with the International NGO Training and Research centre (INTRAC) in Oxford, United Kingdom.
I also regularly attend or present at national conferences and fono’s (meetings), I also have attended or presented at international conferences in Rarotonga, Washington, London, Kuala Lumpar and Melborne.
I’m also a professional director and the first Pacific person to sit as a Director on a Crown Research Institute, Crop and Food Research. I have had a number of ministerial appointments and currently sit on the Council of Manukau Institute of Technology, which I am enjoying, quite a few Fijian’s graduated last year.
8. If you have traveled internationally with your work, what place do you enjoy the:
a. Most and why? I regard myself as a daughter of the Pacific this is my region so anywhere in the South Pacific feels like home, otherwise I really like London for it’s vibrancy but the shopping in LA is great!
b. Least and why? Anywhere where I have to travel by diesel boat, I get seasick
9. What advice would you give young ones who want to pursue this career?
For those still at school – do your homework, and develop a good work ethic and always make your parents proud (which loosely translates to behave yourself and don’t do anything that will affect your career options at a later date)
For those in University - Get a few degree’s, the first should give you a strong technical discipline, then at least one postgrad that is research based, travel, open up your mind, read widely and be prepared to take advice
For those who want to pursue self-employment – make sure the market wants your skills, actively network, be prepared to work long-hours and manage your money well.
10. How did you know about Fijituwawa.com, and if you would like to recommend this site to others, why should you do so?
I got to know Fijituwawa through knowing the Vunidilo’s and I am supportive of community vehicles such as these, its innovative, full of resources, practical and easy to use…I’ve already forwarded this site onto others around the world.