Wednesday 8 September 2021 3:04pm
Advice at a high school international business competition helped Young Enterprise Contributor of the Year winner Anna Campbell towards a career in business.
The award recognises the significant contribution Anna has given to business leadership over the last decade. She says the award, presented in Wellington in July, is a great honour and she didn’t even know that she was nominated.
Anna enjoyed the awards evening and thought it was “really cool” to learn about all the other Young Enterprise alumni who had done amazing things.
Award presentation in Wellington
Anna was studying at Southland Girls’ High School when she heard of the Young Enterprise Scheme and decided to sign up.
Her Young Enterprise experience started off with a market day in Year 10. Her team sold bags with Sesame Street characters on them for $5 each. She says the bags all sold out in about an hour.
“A few months later we saw that Jay Jays were running a similar campaign with Sesame Street characters, and we thought wow we’re all geniuses!”
Through Young Enterprise she went to events in Auckland and Wellington and also travelled to Singapore to represent New Zealand. Anna was Southland Young Entrepreneur of the Year while in school.
She thought that she would be a ballerina, an artist or work in medicine, but through her time in Young Enterprise and advice from Robyn Borne from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) that accounting and economics weren’t prerequisites for business studies at university, she enrolled at Otago Business School in 2011.
On entry to Otago Anna received a Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship, an Invercargill Licencing Trust scholarship and a Southland Community Trust scholarship.
Anna loved her time at Carrington College, where she says she made “friends for life”, after which she flatted for four years in the student area which was always “really friendly”.
Anna struggled with an accounting finance paper as an International Business undergraduate. Later on, Associate Professor Helen Roberts taught the same subject to Anna in her master’s degree and she says by then she “really got it” when it was framed in the small business environment.
“I found Helen Roberts to be a really amazing lecturer and she really stood out. I also found all my Art History and all the Entrepreneurship lecturers were great, and (Associate Professor) Sara Walton was excellent. We’ve stayed in touch over the years.”
Anna thoroughly enjoyed studying International Business, and she spent a semester on an exchange in France that opened her eyes to the opportunities out there.
“We had a lot of amazing teachers who were very inspiring and following this I was enthusiastic to come back to Otago and do my master’s in Entrepreneurship.
“I wanted to be a globally competitive graduate and the Master of Entrepreneurship looked like a good fit for me,” Anna says.
After graduation she worked in the marketing team at Dunedin start-up Timely.
“I got huge experience in a fast-growing start-up there for two years.”
While there she volunteered for a new chocolate factory in Dunedin (OCHO) and loved the plan and working with its founder Liz Rowe.
Cocoa sourcing in the Solomon Islands
“I really love it here in Dunedin, it’s a great little city. I’m trying to make my impact from here.
“I got married in Dunedin and my husband is a medical student here and I decided I needed a ‘big girl job’”. Anna is now the Group Marketing Manager at automotive group Cooke Howlison.
“My education at Otago put me in good stead to do well at this job. We did case studies on companies like BMW, and I work with that brand every day and can apply that learning.”
Anna will always be grateful to the Young Enterprise scheme as well. “It’s a programme that sparks that curiosity to always be looking for new ideas and how to improve things.”
While at University she did a lot of interning and enjoyed the whole university experience. Anna has just completed her certificate in Beekeeping or Apiculture through Telford Polytechnic in Balclutha.
“That was a really cool thing to do. I love it and I’m really looking forward to my first harvest of honey.”
Anna and her bees
Along with her first batch of honey Anna and her husband are expecting their first baby around Christmas, so busy times ahead.