Anna Campbell, BA, BCom, MEntr. In recognition of inspiring future generations of students into business careers.
Since leaving Otago, Anna has packed business success, adventurous travel, advocacy for gender equity and a young family into her busy life – and has learnt that success comes in many forms.
What was your reaction to receiving the award, and what does it mean to you?
I have spent the past 10 years working for local, privately-owned businesses. In my work I have gained a multitude of experience, while pursuing my interests and achieved personal milestones. As a recipient of this award, I am proud to share my belief in creating your own definition of success.
What have you done since graduation and what are you doing now?
I started out with a graduate role at a tech startup that recently sold for over $100 million. I volunteered to work on the business plan that resulted in New Zealand's most successfully crowdfunded equity raise at the time, of $2 million in two days, backed by 2,500 investors. That eventuated in the chance to travel to adventurous places in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
On a local level I worked with global brands and was recognised on multiple occasions as top in my network for marketing, and my work was endorsed as best practice internationally. I have been involved with advocacy for gender equity, girls' education, and arts fundraising. Currently, I have a contract in the creative arts industry and I absolutely love it. My husband and I have a one-year-old and are expecting another baby mid-year.
What inspires and motivates you to work and volunteer in the areas you are involved
I have been drawn to work and volunteer in areas that interest me; technology, innovation, sustainable business, advocacy, the arts. I've most enjoyed working in teams with people who have strong ethics and a drive to achieve.
Equality and furthering girls' education is something I am passionate about. Any volunteer work I engage with centres around this purpose. I think many of Aotearoa's complex issues can be solved by investing in the future of our girls.
I started my twenties with 10-year personal, professional and financial goals. The roles I have taken on have always been with this in mind. I have zig-zagged through a few industries to end up where I set out to be. I have tried new things and said yes to new opportunities that might have seemed like risks. I am 30 this year (2023) and am really proud to have achieved my 'twenties' goals.
What were the highlights of your time at Otago, and has it influenced you in your career and following your interests?
As part of my International Business major I worked on a project with students from different countries to put together a pitch to solve a major global issue facing young people. We had to work on the project using digital tools, in different time zones, and I was the only native English speaker. It was a real challenge, but I am enthusiastic about meeting people from different cultures and enjoy business strategy.
My team nominated me for a leadership award that I was presented with at Parliament. The endorsement by my peers was formative in my leadership style and approach to teamwork that I have carried through my career.
When I was 21, I went on a student exchange to France. As a ballerina, I have always been drawn to the romanticism of French culture. And as an art history student, visiting Paris was a dream come true. I studied Global Management, achieved top marks, and made the best of friends. While I studied International Business at Otago, travelling overseas was a vital part of understanding commerce in the global context. Having the chance to do so early in my twenties shaped my world view and how I wanted to make a difference.
I certainly was drawn to working for large corporates in Europe, but making the decision to return to
Aotearoa and help local businesses thrive was where I could make a meaningful impact. I
pursued a master's degree and researched new venture creation, while working and volunteering in the community.
Towards the end of my studies, I was selected as a New Zealand delegate for the World Business Dialogue in Germany. The theme was 'Globalisation Disrupted'. It resonated with me that businesses have the power to solve the big issues like climate change and inequality. This sentiment was echoed in my master's studies on a local level; even though we live on a remote island at the end of the world, New Zealand is the ideal place to spark change. We can influence much larger nations to adopt our sustainable business practices to implement them on a large, impactful scale. I relished the opportunity to put this into action when working, such as in establishing a socially responsible ownership structure, ethical value chain, or driving clean energy solutions.