You probably won't find new Spark boss Jolie Hodson strawberry picking this summer, if memories of her worst-ever job are anything to go by, but you will find her anticipating a big 5G year ahead, and more good-natured jibes from the opposition.
How would you describe 2019 for your business?
2019 was a huge year for Spark. We launched the first commercial 5G wireless broadband service in New Zealand. We launched our sports streaming service, Spark Sport and hosted the Rugby World Cup for the nation.
We embedded Agile ways of working within our business to make sure we deliver more customer focused outcomes, get products to market faster, and create a more engaging environment for our people to work in. And of course we delivered on our promises to our investors, our customers and our people.
What do you think 2020 will bring?
We'll be gearing up for a mass market launch of the next generation of wireless technology in 5G. It follows in the footsteps of 3G and 4G and provides faster speeds and greater data capacity over a wireless network, meaning you will be able to do more, faster, on our mobile networks. Bringing our America's Cup 5G partnership to life in preparation for the racing to kick off in 2021.
Beyond 5G we're investing in our networks and platforms like the Internet of Things, providing the critical infrastructure and digital services that enable Kiwis to thrive. We're also improving our customer experience, simplifying the journeys you take with us and using data to better personalise the things that are important to you as a customer. And we'll be bringing lots more Sport including cricket to New Zealand via our partnership with NZ Cricket.
Going into an election year, what are the three biggest issues the Government needs to solve?
The three biggest things the government can do to improve New Zealand's social and economic performance are:
• Continue to make progress on income poverty and housing shortages;
• Deliver on the climate change action plan; and
• Lock-in a clear pipeline of infrastructure investment projects and execute on the projects currently underway
What was your favourite corporate stoush of the year?
The race between Spark and Vodafone to launch 5G. Healthy competition, with some tongue-in-cheek banter, is driving great outcomes for all New Zealanders.
What should be un-invented in 2020?
What do you want to fix in 2020?
Over 200,000 New Zealand households currently don't have access to the internet. While some households make the choice not to have the internet, a high proportion of these are due to barriers such as income poverty, lack of access to devices and confidence in using the internet and online services. We want to help close that gap, using our low-cost subsidised broadband product, Jump, in partnership with the government and businesses like Kiwibank to close this gap.
What was your first job?
Working at The Warehouse during the holidays and weekends. A fantastic way to learn about customer experience in a retail environment.
What was your worst job?
Strawberry picking in the school holidays – you're exposed to the elements and it's hard on the back!
If you could change one thing about the workplace what would it be?
I'd like to see more diversity on boards and leadership teams of New Zealand companies. I'm actively encouraging broader talent development here at Spark and via initiatives like 'On Being Bold' to make sure we're encouraging a more diverse range of leaders to succeed in business.