Listening to words of wisdom from former pupil Eva Hartshorn-Sanders (left) are Crystal He Ngayen, Vaasa Fatialofa and Patisepa Tu’ua.
William Colenso College former pupil and 1999 head girl Eva Hartshorn-Sanders not only brought a wealth of experience with her when she visited her old school recently, but she also came bearing tips for the students of today.
Eva visited the college and spoke with a group of senior students about career and work options after school. She has more than 20 years working in policy, law reform and politics for NGOs, government agencies, international organizations and the private sector.
In 2019, Eva set up her own company, Hartsheba Limited, with a focus on progressing social and economic change.
“Most of the recent work I have done relates to supporting the Government’s response to the Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks, working with the UN on a climate change and space satellite data project in the Pacific (IPP Common Sensing) and supporting NGOs in policy and law reform work.”
Eva has governance experience on both state sector and voluntary boards and is currently a board member of New Horizons for Women’s Trust and the International Hub Coordinator for the National Council of Women of New Zealand. She spoke to the students about her journey and offered the following messages.
● You don’t have to rush into study; If you aren’t too sure what you would like to head into as a career or job it may be better to consider a gap year. If you do this, then make sure that you have a plan for how you make the best use of your gap year and what you want to achieve by the end of it.
● As a student and during your gap year, try and get some work experience. If there’s a union, join it, so you can ensure that you and your colleagues have fairness at work. Sometimes when you start out, it can be hard, but think about the positive things that experience is giving you – whether it’s money to save up for something important, experience for your CV or problem-solving skills.
● Be honest, loyal and learn from every experience, even if you don’t like the work or people. Learn from what you don’t like as that will show you how you want to treat others, and what you want your job or business to be like.
“I worked three jobs to save up for my trip to the States, where I worked as a judo coach at a summer camp and traveled the country with friends. This was a rich life experience and helped open my eyes to different possibilities.”
● Study hard but don’t limit yourself to one particular subject in your first year. Don’t be afraid to try different things to find out what you really like.
“I tried different subjects in my first year at university before majoring in law, politics and criminology for my double degree. I later studied a masters in Advanced Global Studies (International Security) at Sciences Po University in Paris.”
● If you have a dream but don’t know how to start, find someone who is doing that work now, ask questions and find out what the pathway is to get there – this could include asking them for work experience. Sometimes the job won’t exist, and you will have to create opportunities to get to where you want to go. Think about what knowledge or skills you need and look for opportunities to develop those. Your generation is likely to see a lot of changes through your working life, so it’s good to be flexible, review what is working well, look for opportunities, and think laterally about how you can apply your skills. This is a chance to be creative.
“I’ve been fortunate through my career to have traveled and worked on high profile projects that I’m passionate about – both here and overseas.
“This didn’t happen overnight but was the result of opportunities being offered or found, working hard, building trust, and taking each experience as a building block to where you ultimately want to go. Find the good in each experience.
“I had a lot of mentors and support throughout my life and would particularly like to thank my parents, teachers at Colenso, university professors, and work colleagues.”