Catherine Harris is the chief executive officer of advertising agency TBWA.
How would you describe 2021 for your business?
Like the last dance at a wedding - full of emotion, super exhausting, it felt like it went on forever… but a load of fun was still had.
How is your business planning to tackle 2022?
With a lot of perspective, optimism and ambition. Focussing on the work that makes us happy, minimising the workload that doesn't and ruthlessly eliminating the things that aren't having a positive impact.
What will be the major challenges and/or opportunities for your industry?
Talent is the number one challenge right now, attracting not just the best people – but the best people for your particular culture and vision. We are always looking for talent who can bring fresh, disruptive thinking and align with our values.
How do you think the Government has handled the Covid-19 crisis?
It's not been their best year in terms of preparation or communication. Business has been put under enormous pressure. However, we are opening back up in Auckland and New Zealanders still played their part in achieving exceptional levels of vaccination rates. Let's hope a few lessons were learned and new principles adopted, especially with the spectre of Omicron looming.
What are two key things the Government should do for economic recovery?
Ensure we have a plan to live with Covid so that we open up our borders to talent, trade and tourism.
Ensure businesses and the legal profession are properly consulted with and listened to so that Covid isn't the excuse or the cover for rushing through dangerous and damaging legislation and policy.
What was the most interesting non-Covid story of 2021?
While the rest of us were unable to leave our houses, our cites and our countries, billionaires left the planet in their questionably shaped rockets.
What are your predictions for 2022?
The borders will open and we will see a resurgence in New Zealand around creativity and innovation. And housing prices will settle. Or at least that's the dream.
What's the worst mistake you've made in business?
Worrying about the small stuff and working too hard.
What would you rate as your greatest success in business?
Working with my business partner Shane Bradnick, to take a failing business and re-build it from the ground up into a brilliant, creative, innovative and successful place to work that now have some of the most talented and inspirational people in New Zealand working here.
Where are you holidaying this summer?
I am taking a really long nap, spending some time with family and then I am getting a few days in Waiheke and the Coromandel.
How has the media reported Covid and what's your view of the Fourth Estate?
The media have a serious obligation to question politicians and question the actions of the government. I would like to see a far stronger press calling out challenges and questioning policy far beyond a Covid response.