Theresa Gattung's efforts to boost women in business deserves high praise.
Her latest project is to help establish a university-based centre to foster women in entrepreneurship and provide financial assistance for teaching programmes and expansion.
She is walking the talk by putting a significant amount of her own money into the scheme, which will be run out of the University of Auckland Business School.
It feels like change in action at last.
Gattung is a great advocate for the cause and the perfect role model for women of all ages trying to break into the male-dominated business world.
And the timing couldn't be better. Statistics show women lost 90 per cent of the jobs that disappeared immediately after the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Meanwhile, the gender pay gap remains a chasm in many sectors.
According to a recent survey male accountants are paid 40 to 50 per cent more than their female counterparts in Australia and New Zealand.
The study by the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand confirmed men hold most of the senior positions in accounting, suggesting an unconscious bias behind the gender pay gap and its reality.
The survey was quickly described as revealing some "uncomfortable truths" in the industry.
As the first woman to be chief executive of an NZX listed company – Telecom NZ in the early 2000s – Gattung is well aware of those uncomfortable truths.
Her experience was captured recently in a NZ Herald podcast when she talked about herself and former Westpac CEO Anne Sherry being included in CEO pay surveys.
"Once Ann Sherry and I were no longer in the corporate world there was a decade when there were no women on that list."
At least now New Zealand has women running major banks, Spark NZ and more women on boards.
But what is needed is more pay transparency in the corporate world to deal with the structural issues behind the gender pay gap, she says. And her goal is to improve gender disparity in business, leadership and governance first. One will hopefully lead to the other.
A key step for the new project will be appointing an academic leader to run the Theresa Gattung Chair of Women in Entrepreneurship. That process begins this month and it is most likely a global academic will be chosen.
The chair will lead the development of the education programme which will be open to graduates and undergraduates from all faculties as well and PhD and Master's in Business.
The programme will involve credit courses as well as internships with women entrepreneurs. In time it will stretch to a school's outreach programme.
Gattung will be a great force in this – not only her passion and energy but also the strong network she will bring into mentoring and inspiring the students.
Gattung has already invested huge amounts of financial and human capital into helping women achieve parity in business and increase their role in leadership and governance.
This initiative is designed to lead transformative change and it's important the business community gets behind the centre financially and through participation.