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Future female leaders develop solutions to real financial problems

A new generation of young, female leaders have brainstormed solutions to real-world financial issues as part of an ANZ-backed course – with impressive results.


The online course was run by GirlBoss NZ - an organisation dedicated to empowering high school-age girls to become leaders in traditionally male-dominated fields, including finance, technology, business, data analysis, investment, and innovation.


Fully funded by ANZ, the GirlBoss course included mentoring from prominent financial leaders, including ANZ New Zealand CEO Antonia Watson, influencer Queenie Tan, Letters To Strangers founder Diana Chao, and Kiwi financial journalist, podcaster and author Frances Cook.


During the course participants were asked to brainstorm ideas to solve problems and find solutions for real-world issues in the finance sector.


“From banking solutions for at risk youth, to a financial literacy app, the depth and detail of their ideas was impressive - I look forward to the day when their solutions will come to life,” GirlBoss NZ Founder and CEO Alexia Hilbertidou said.

GirlBoss NZ Founder and CEO Alexia Hilbertidou


Participant Hannah Bautista took on the challenge of improving the banking experience for teenagers, coming up with idea of a nationwide financial literacy pack to be sent to all students aged 14-15.


“Students would be mailed a ‘Finance 4 Future You’ starter pack to their homes at the beginning of year 10 (late January) - this is the best time to distribute these packs as it is when students are preparing for school, purchasing stationery and could also think about setting up a bank account,” Hannah said.


She also suggested that an Instagram account could be set up - @thefinancialgodmother – to accompany the packs, with content centred around tips for banking, saving and healthy spending habits.


“I strongly believe that the ‘Finance 4 Future You’ starter packs could initiate the beginning of teenagers becoming money savvy and utilising banking more. It may also have flow on effects to more individuals (including women) becoming more aware of career opportunities within the ever-growing finance and technology sectors.”


Anna Ly’s submission was based around financial abuse – where people, typically women, are abused by their partners using financial means like controlling their bank account, discouraging them from finding work, or pressuring them to take out loans.


Her idea – the Bank of Freedom movement – involves a not-for-profit organisation which is dedicated solely to recognising signs of financial abuse, and educating women on what steps they can take to improve their situation.


“In an example scenario, if a woman comes to our customer service and confesses that she’s in a financially abusive relationship, the receptionist would immediately bring her to our team of experts,” Anna said.


“Then, the team will guide the customer through a journey to freedom.”


As well as outlining in detail the steps Bank of Freedom could take to help women, Anna also suggested the organisation could collaborate with schools to improve financial outcomes for women, and undertake campaigns to highlight the current gender inequities in New Zealand workplaces.


From the 150 participants, the ten winners were Hailey Fitzgerald, Hannah Bautista, Zyrelle Soriano, Amanda Yap, Breanna Garcia, Anna Ly, Sarina Todd, Rose McGuire, Christina Chen and Angela Dalope.


ANZ New Zealand CEO Antonia Watson said the winners’ ideas demonstrate the incredible depth of talent that exists in the next generation of female leaders.

ANZ New Zealand CEO Antonia Watson


“Encouraging success begins at a young age, and we’re incredibly proud to be partnered with GirlBoss NZ, which is backing young women on their path to success,” Antonia said.


“As our recent Watch Women Win Report demonstrated, there is still some way to go in terms of gender equity in the workplace in New Zealand, and courses like these help to unlock potential, giving young women the skills and confidence they need to succeed in any field they choose.”


Participant Han Yoang, 18, said the course was one of the best things to have ever happened to her.


“It has shown me a wide range of opportunities in the Finance and Technology industry which I did not know about and gave me confidence to step into that industry,” Han said.


“I was able to get a deeper insight on how to achieve financial independence, and this has led me to many greater topics such as the minimalist lifestyle which I am trying to implement in my life.


“The programme opened me up to what finance is, and how we can get our money to work for us - not that we have to work for money.”



ANZ's Watch Women Win Report

There’s a huge amount of work to be done to find ways that enable, empower and encourage women to fulfil their professional or personal aspirations and dreams, which uplifts us all, socially and economically.

Supporting women to succeed

It's time for all New Zealanders to feel it's no longer unusual for a woman to succeed in any way she chooses – and be championed doing so.

ANZ partners with GirlBoss New Zealand

GirlBoss New Zealand is the brainchild of Alexia Hilbertidou, who created the programme as a result of her own experiences as a teenager growing up in Auckland.