This week NZME chief executive Jane Hastings talks to Annemarie Quill about her journey and shares ideas on how to succeed as a woman in business

Many women juggle a career and family. It's a balancing act that can become more challenging the higher you fly. Jane Hastings has overcome these challenges to reach the top of her game. As chief executive of media group NZME, she has had an impressive career. Jane will elaborate on her journey, and how to succeed as a woman, when she comes to Tauranga in October to speak at the indulge Speaker Collective, in association with Craigs Investment Partners, a new indulge event taking place that month, along with the indulge Bay Model and indulge Outlet sale.

1 What advice do you have for women who have their eye on top management levels in business?
Be very clear what's driving that motivation and seek advice from people you trust as to whether it's the right move for you personally - but most importantly trust your gut feeling. Establish what your strengths are and don't neglect developing them further, but be aware of your weak areas and start to address them if they are critical to top management.

2 Is it scary being the boss? Do you have moments where you want to crawl under your desk or do you thrive on pressure/decision-making?
At some point everyone has a moment when you wonder what you have got yourself into - that's reality. However, if you have great people in your team who are highly skilled, more skilled in their respective areas, you will have the right armour. It is also important to look for people who tell you what you need to know, not necessarily what you want to know.


3 Did you have your sights set on CEO level in management from the get go, from your first job as a management trainee?
My career path has been driven by feeling excited about the opportunity - do I believe I can make a difference? I have focused on enjoying each role and doors have opened. Tenacity, drive and a clear moral compass are required. Sometimes, the opportunity may be right but the company may not be the right fit. Sometimes you get both right and it is magic.

4 What was your major career breakthrough?
Working in Asia was an eye-opener for me, a steep learning curve which set me up for when I returned to New Zealand prepared to deal with all challenges and dynamics. Now, more than ever, with Asia's importance to New Zealand, that would be my advice to young people. Time working in Asia is career advancing.

5 Is leadership something that can be learned or is it innate?
Good leadership is instinctive. Being able to work with all types of people and motivate them is a skill not all people have. If people are willing it can definitely be developed, but great leadership is a mindset. I have worked with and for many great leaders and equally weak leaders. There is a clear difference.

6 What natural talents do female business leaders have to have?
The same as good male business leaders.

7 Who fostered your leadership skills and how?
I believe it starts from day one and my parents played a huge part in ensuring we knew how to stand on our own two feet, make a decision and get on with it. If I was to choose a few of the many great people I have worked for, three who stand out would include David Seargeant, group chief executive for AHL. He is a creative-innovative leader and drives constant innovation and quality across the business, challenging conventional management. In my early working days it was Leonie Ashford from Air New Zealand who was the best people leader and motivator and Julie Cotter in my younger teenage years, who taught self-belief and self-confidence - critical during teenage years.

8 What leadership roles did you undertake growing up, such as at school/university?
I was a typical teenager - study and part-time jobs. I co-ran a dance school for a few years with more than 600 students and it was a great way to learn about managing people to achieve a good output.

9 How would you describe your leadership style?
Open, challenging, innovative and driven.

10 Have you had female bosses and what did you learn from them about being a woman in business?
I'm constantly learning from all sorts of people across the various sectors I've worked in. People make the mistake in thinking learning comes from people more senior than you, but often my biggest life lessons come from peers, employees and, of course, the honesty from my kids.


11 Who is your mentor?
I'm fortunate to have always worked with people who have taken an interest in me. I'm not a big believer in having a "mentor", because if you are open to it people can guide, encourage, support, challenge and make you think differently every day, which is much more powerful.

12 Who inspires you?
Self-starting entrepreneurs who are brave, put it all on the line and drive through all challenges to focus on the end goal. Because their starting point is always passion.

13 You reached management level when your children were still young - how do you juggle a family and career?
The same way any CEO does - with a supportive partner, lots of communication, the ability to deal with the unexpected and a sense of humour.

14 What's a typical day for you?
There is no typical day as my role and family require flexibility to deal with different routines, needs and demands. It keeps it interesting!

15 How many hours do you sleep a night?
This also varies but I look forward to my annual holiday where [sleep] can be as long as I need.

Jane Hastings, open, challenging, innovative and driven.
Jane Hastings, open, challenging, innovative and driven.

16 What keeps you up at night?


Issues that challenge my moral compass.

17 How do you relax?
Time with my family.

18 Do you ever switch off your phone?
No - if work does not need me, my kids certainly may do.

19 What part of the job do you love?
Encouraging people to develop and achieve.

20 What important thing are you working on now and how are you going to achieve it?
The merging of three businesses with different cultures and infrastructures into one new company - NZME.

21 Do you have bad hair days and what do you do about it?
Yes! Keep a pair of straightening irons within reach. Try to forget about it.


22 What is your personal style?
I love casual weekends and dressing up for different occasions.

23 If you could trade jobs with a person for one day, what would you do?
Coach teenage kids on how to prepare for the real world.

24 When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
A designer.

25 What song would you do karaoke to?
Just one? I have hits that I would sing from the 80s, 90s and today.

26 If you had your own band what would they be called and who else would be in it?
International Chaos - Michelle Obama and Ellen DeGeneres because they'd be fun to tour with, Ed Sheeran and Neil Finn for their voices, my three kids on instruments, Barbara Kendall and my best friends as dancers and Slash on guitar.

27 What's in your handbag?
Everything but the kitchen sink.


28 What beauty product can you not live without?
Lipstick in every shade.

29 What's your favourite all-time movie?
Too many to choose from as they all come with different memories.

30 Who would you most like to come to New Zealand to do a concert?
Barbara Streisand.

Jane Hastings will speak at the indulge Speaker Collective in October
Jane Hastings will speak at the indulge Speaker Collective in October

This or that?

Heels or flats?

Heels even though I'm 5ft10.


Red or white wine?


Coffee or tea?


Chocolate or icecream?



Rock or pop?


Rugby or cricket?


Twitter or Facebook?



Richie McCaw or Dan Carter?

My husband!

Hear Jane speak this October:
What: indulge Speaker Collective in association with Craigs Investment Partners
When: October 7. Doors open 5.30pm
Where: ASB Arena, ASB Baypark
How: Click here to purchase tickets

indulge has a great combo offer to attend all three indulge events in October - indulge Speaker Collective (October 7), indulge Bay Model (October 9), and indulge Outlet Sale (October 10). The outlet sale is where you can grab fabulous fashion bargains and which is the sale to be at, bigger and better this year with some great local and national labels at bargain prices.

Attend all three of these amazing indulge events for just $60 for a VIP ticket (which gets you preferential seating at the indulge Speaker Collective with a VIP gift, preferential seating at indulge Bay Model, as well as one of our fabulous sought-after indulge goody bags. Or for just $40 you can get General Admission for all three events.