It is International Woman’s Day today – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women!


To tautoko (support) this day, we’ll be celebrating some of the amazing wahine who contribute to the leadership & governance at HERA across the week, as well as korero (talks) around diversity and inclusion. For us, it seemed extremely fitting to start off with our CEO, Troy Coyle. In a very male dominated industry, Troy has had to fight for and prove herself over many times – and we are very glad she didn’t give up!  She is an inspiration to many and we are proud to have her as our leader.

HERA CEO, Dr Troy Coyle.

Check out her quick International Woman’s Day interview below! #IWD22 #breakthebias

Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

I think it is a call for action to raise awareness about the significant barriers to career progression women face and how a patriarchal system contributes to this.


Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

Yes, significant barriers, ranging from what is encompassed in the #metoo movement to pay inequity to the boys club to casual sexism.


What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?

The most influential “advice” for me has always been the disparaging comments, which have made me work even harder to be successful in my various roles.


How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in their career?

We need to stop focusing on mentorship, which I see as a pretty passive approach, and focus more on acting as advocates for women with high potential. Mentorship assumes women can succeed with a bit of support in the current systems. Advocacy supports women to succeed by changing the system to be fairer.


What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

That your role is not just to succeed, it is to help other people succeed too and that means actively breaking down the barriers for all (not just for yourself or other women, for everyone). It requires overcoming your own fears and not being shy to challenge what supports injustice.


Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?

Lots of people have and continue to. People who work to make changes to flawed systems inspire me immensely. These people are usually seen as trouble makers so their convictions often come at the personal cost of popularity and increased conflict…. But they are doing this for something bigger than themselves and to make it easier for future generations. That is immensely inspiring.

At the moment, this would include some key people such as Hinerangi Edwards and Naomi Manu who are ceaseless advocates for honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the workplace and Government administration.


Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

I won’t refer to the plethora of data, which forms the evidence base for why diversity leads to improved outcomes. I will refer to the day-to-day experience of monotony and undue power that comes from a lack of diversity.


If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

I would probably choose some kickass women in history, such as Boadicea (Celtic Queen who led a revolt against Roman Rule in ancient Britain), Penthesilea (Queen of the Amazons who led an army to Troy to fight the invading Greeks), and Frida Kahlo (who is known for her art and monobrow but should also be known for her fantastic quotes and so viscerally depicted the impacts of marital infidelity in her piece “a few small nips”).


Ngā mihi nui ki a koe (Thank you) Troy!