Bright future ahead for next generation of women climate leaders

Publish Date : 06 May 2022
Teresa Poli Headshot
Teresa Poli, Women4Climate Auckland mentee

Future climate leaders in the film, construction and urban design industries are among the ten women selected to participate in the C40 Auckland Women4Climate Mentorship Programme.

Created as a partnership between Auckland Council and global mayor’s network C40 Cities, the programme pairs emerging women climate leaders with senior experts in their field. Through a series of mentoring sessions, training workshops and networking events, mentees are supported to take their climate action projects to the next level. 

Councillor Pippa Coom says, “We were really impressed by the applicants’ clear commitment to climate action and the creativity and innovation shown in their projects.

"Auckland Council is committed to finding new ways to respond to the climate emergency, so we are thrilled to be able to support these future climate leaders and their ideas.”

One of the programme’s participants is Teresa Poli (Ngai Tuhoe), who works as a sustainability advisor to the construction and infrastructure industry. She says she is excited to have been paired with Theresa Roigard, General Manager, Advisory and Performance at the Independent Māori Statutory Board.

“Not only did I want someone who could help me with my career, but someone who could provide cultural and identity guidance as well,” says Teresa. 

"Māori are naturally kaitiaki, and so it makes sense for us to be in the climate action space and to harness the use of mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori to bring it into a new phase. Theresa is an amazing Māori wahine who is using her identity and culture in all aspects of her career, and I want to do the same.” 

Another mentee is Annabel Burgess, a sustainable business coach and founder of Third Era Sustainability Consulting. Annabel says that as well as regular mentoring sessions, the networking opportunities provided by the programme will be invaluable. 

“Working in the sustainability and climate change spaces can be quite lonely, and I’ve sometimes felt isolated from the bigger picture movement. I saw that the programme offered a chance to come together with other people who were really driven to make change, and to share and celebrate the ways we’re all working towards this mission.”

Annabel Burgess is excited about meeting other climate action change-makers through the programme.

Annabel Burgess is excited about meeting other climate action change-makers through the programme.

The programme kicked off last month with an online event for mentees and included participants from Tāmaki Makaurau as well as other C40 cities around the globe.

“It was so empowering to sit in a room and hear about all the incredible things people around the world are doing. Leaving that session, I felt really inspired,” Annabel says.

Below is the full list of participants in the Auckland’s Women4Climate Mentorship Programme.

To read more about each participant’s project and their mentors, visit the Women4Climate website.

Mentee: Sophie Barclay
Project name:
Indigenous Leadership Summit
Mentor: Helen Te Hira, Director, Māori Outcomes - Auckland Unlimited

Mentee: Hana Botha
Project name: Future Friendly Film
Mentor: Debbie O’Byrne, Circular Economy Principal - Beca

Annabel Burgess
Project name: Sustainable Business Accelerator
Mentor: Rebecca Mills, Managing Director - The Lever Room

Mentee: Natasha Carpenter
Project Name:
Shoreline Adaptation Planning for Auckland
Mentor: Rachel Kelleher, General Manager, Environmental Services - Auckland Council

Mentee: Jessica Hiscox
Project Name: Advising an iwi-led climate response
Mentor: Sarah Anderson, Programme Director - Climate Connect Aotearoa

Mentee: Teresa Poli
Project Name: Sustainability Education in Construction and Infrastructure
Mentor: Theresa Roigard, General Manager, Advisory and Performance - Independent Māori Statutory Board

Mentee: Nicky Shave
Project Name: Rosedale Park Restoration Project Pilot
Samantha Hill, Head of Natural Environment Specialist Services at Auckland Council

Mentee: Leigh Steckler
Project Name: Blue Carbon Sequestration
Rachel Brown, Founder & CEO - Sustainable Business Network

Mentee: Yasmin Tapiheroe
Project Name: Co-designing Healthy Streets to Transition into Low-Emission Urban Neighbourhoods in Auckland
Mentor: Frith Walker, Head of Placemaking - Eke Panuku

Mentee: Ruth White 
Project Name: Empowering the East Tamaki Business Community to Take Environmental Action
Kate Wilson Butler, Head of Climate Action - Sustainable Business Council

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