Written by Ophelia Buckleton
On the very day Di Rump began the Leadership NZ Programme in 2011 she was offered a new job.
As General Manager of New Zealand Post Kiwibank Store Network (with around 1,600 people and 300 stores nationwide), embarking on a comprehensive leadership Programme was ‘perfectly timed’ for Di to learn how to take her leadership to the next level.
Two or three years into the role things took a turn, Di’s mother fell terminally ill. In 2013, Di made a call to take extended leave and return to her hometown of Levin to support and spend time with her mum and whanau.
“Leadership NZ taught me to trust my inner voice, my ancestors, to develop a sense of trust in what feels right, to stand in the decisions I take in that space. I did that to ‘just step off’ my career path, go home to whanau and be with Mum – I have absolutely no regrets.”
When Di was faced with going back to her GM role she made another decision, “It just wasn’t where I was at anymore, plus I could see a sea change coming in NZ Post and Kiwibank Store Network.”
“I have always been a career person so for me to say, you know what, my heart’s not in it the same way it used to be and I can’t be the half pie chick... to make the decision to leave before I had another role or something in particular to do... was absolutely huge for me as the breadwinner.”
“I was terrified! My security and our family’s certainty – gone.”
“The Programme experience gave me courage and permission to throw caution to the wind, I would not have made this decision ordinarily.”
In 2014, out of the blue Di was offered the chance to serve her Iwi, Muaupoko. She, with major trepidation, agreed to take on the role of interim CEO.
“I would never ever have imagined doing this in a million years! But I guess by making myself free and open to uncertainty – I recognised it when it came along! The Programme taught me to relax into opportunity and step into challenge with an open mind. So I did.”
Di says the dramatic change commuting to her childhood hometown from Auckland to a role in Te Ao Maori has challenged her to be mindful of her leadership outside the corporate world she is used to.
“Through Leadership NZ I connected with the most diverse peers. All with different world views, all passionate about sharing those. I discovered the only right way to be an authentic leader is to be and know yourself and to be open to possibility about everything else.”
Di believes she’s exceptionally lucky that being Maori and working for iwi in a kau papa Maori environment, automatically puts you in a mindful leadership kaupapa.
“Every single day, no matter where everyone is, we gather for karakia (and that won’t be the only time we have karakia throughout the day) this keeps us grounded, grateful and mindful of one another as well as why we are here - for our tamariki, rangatira and our whanau.”
Remembering to stay present is vital for Di as her time is consumed not only with her job but also involvement in over 11 community forums. Di says the most important thing future leaders can do to stay mindful in a hectic life, is to constantly find things to be thankful for, laugh a lot (preferably at yourself) and give out more energy than you take.
Tena koutou katoa