It's been a year of highs and lows for Nadine Tereora.
The 42-year-old chief executive of life insurer Fidelity Life has had to hold the fort while a former staff member was sentenced for importing drugs, using the company as a front.
But two months later, Fidelity announced that the NZ Superannuation Fund had decided to invest $100 million in it, buying a 41 per cent stake.
"It has certainly been an interesting 14 months in a number of ways, mostly positive," she says.
"I think it was unfortunate that an incident involving a previous staff member and drugs happened."
But she points out that the offending happened more than two years ago, when she was not chief executive of the company.
"It was about two and a bit years before I arrived at Fidelity Life."
Tereora joined the company from insurer Asteron at the end of 2016.
In August last year, former employee James Bell was sentenced to six years and 10 months' jail for importing meth, two years concurrently for importing GBL, and convicted and discharged for possession of cannabis.
Tereora says the sentencing didn't cause much disruption for the business, which is New Zealand's largest locally owned life insurer.
"In fact the key for me and my executive was to make sure the staff that were here at the time were actually protected as it went through the media again."
She says the biggest lesson from the experience was that it was dealt with appropriately at the time.
"We engaged with the appropriate authorities at the time and it was pretty seamless in terms of the impact for Fidelity Life."
You get the impression that not much shakes Tereora, who is one of the few women at the top of New Zealand's financial services sector.
But when she is asked about the biggest challenges in getting to the top, it isn't outside factors she points to.
"Probably the biggest challenge is actually the belief in yourself, and as many women do, we actually chase perfection.
"One of the things I have learned in my journey is there is no such thing as perfection and you have just got to be comfortable with the good old 80-20 rule and the fact that the biggest key to your success is making the most of opportunities and leaning in."
Tereora reckons she had a "pretty stock standard" upbringing, growing up on Auckland's North Shore.
Her mum was a hairdresser and dad a builder, and they divorced when she was 7.
She has two brothers who are both builders.
While there was no particular influence which led her into wanting to go into leadership, she learned from an early age that money was hard earned and had to be spent wisely.
"I didn't have a huge financial backbone to rely on. Mum was on a conservative wage as a hairdresser."
Tereora started working young, first doing a paper run at 12 and then working in the local dairy at 13.
What did influence her was her mother's strong budgeting and financial planning skills, which allowed her to own a home even as a solo mum without a big income.
Tereora's mother was always able to put food on the table and put money into activities like dancing, but Tereora learnt that "nothing you achieve comes on a silver platter".
She says some of her earliest leadership opportunities came through sport, but admits a clear career path was not something she had in mind at the end of school.
"At the end of my school career I didn't know what I wanted to do."
She had planned to go into the arts when her father encouraged her to do something that would give her an "office background", so she chose a business degree at Massey University in Albany.
She was just one of three women in her class of about 40 students.
Tereora says initially her business degree focused on law, which she enjoyed, but in her second year at university she got a job working for insurer Sovereign.
Back then it was still a start-up - now it is NZ's biggest life insurance company.
"I loved the organisation. It was new."
Chris Coon was chief executive of Sovereign at the time. (It has since been sold to Commonwealth Bank of Australia and this year will change hands again.)
"What it opened my eyes to was firstly the business world and the whole life insurance space."
She says it was not just about paying people money when a loved one died, but also giving them the financial freedom to get well without having to worry about money.
"The claim stories hit a nerve with me."
So much so that she never finished her business degree, instead taking up a full-time role at Sovereign.
That decision has never held her back, and didn't stop her becoming a chief executive at the age of 37.
But she isn't advocating that others take the same route.
"I'm not for one minute saying don't get an education. But I've been very fortunate; I've managed to strive ... based on my own merits."
She stayed at Sovereign for 14 years and had a lot milestones at the firm, including getting married and having her first baby.
"I learnt from the ground up."
She started in customer service roles and moved around the business to allow her to gather experience in all areas.
Even now she emphasises the importance of good customer service and at Fidelity she sits with her operations frontline staff.
"It is incredibly important. I encourage any young executive to keep their feet on the ground. You are only as good as your frontline people," she says.
Her decision to leave Sovereign was spurred by a need to spread her wings. The company had been taken over by CBA and former ASB chief executive Barbara Chapman was at the head.
Tereora returned to work after taking six months off to have a baby and moved to AIA, which she admits was "not ideal with a 6-month-old baby".
She headed into a general manager role as the company went through a transformation phase.
She was there seven years, moving up to become chief operating officer, and was the only senior executive to survive three CEO changes.
During that time she had another baby and took a year off, although she remained in close contact, attending board meetings with a 3-month-old in tow.
The company went through the global financial crisis and rebranded to AIG, only to switch back to AIA.
The role involved a lot of change and travel to Asia, which was tough as by then she had three young children at home.
She decided to take a step back in her career - or what she thought was a step back - moving to a general manager's position at Asteron Life, part of Australian insurer Suncorp.
"A lot of people thought that was a strange step," she says.
Four months later she was offered the CEO role.
She was 37, her youngest was 3, her older daughter was just starting school and her step-daughter was hitting her teens.
"It was challenging," admits Tereora.
But she wants to let other women know it is possible to be a mum and have a career.
"You can have what you want if you are prepared to put in the hard yards and accept trade-offs."
Tereora says it helped that her husband took a back seat in his career, which meant they never needed a full-time nanny.
"Yes my kids went to daycare - I don't regret that for one minute. They are well-rounded girls."
And she is proud to be a working role model for them.
She says there is no one silver bullet that will get more women to the top of the corporate ladder.
"There are a number of pieces we are going to have to get right."
And a lot of it comes down to women themselves. "If it is going to be, it is up to me."
Tereora says flexible work needs to be pushed a lot harder. There is a lot of rhetoric around that, but she is not sure companies are actually doing it.
Women also need to accept it is okay to fail.
"I have made huge epic failures which I have made my biggest learnings from.
"You are not going to get it perfect all the time."
She cites one of her biggest failures as hiring the wrong person for a job.
Tereora also encourages women to put themselves forward. "My first CEO opportunity, I nearly didn't apply. I needed someone to give me a kick.'
•Job: Chief executive Fidelity Life
•Family: Married with three children
• Last book read: The Awakened Woman, Dr Tererai Trent
• Last movie watched: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
• Last family holiday: Hawaii