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Jo Healey sees the opportunities in 'every boom or bust time'

Jo Healey sees the opportunities in 'every boom or bust time'

The managing director of Fujitsu New Zealand talks about her passion for business leadership

Jo Healey started off in a secretarial role before her IT career really took off.

When the opportunity to become a technical writer presented itself, she took it, and from there progressed through management, sales and business leadership roled.

Finally, in 2005, Healey went back to school to earn her MBA, a move that helped launch her into executive roles so that, fast forward to today, we are talking about the woman who leads business for Fujitsu in New Zealand.

“No one day is the same as the next,” says Healey, who moved from general manager at Fujitsu to MD last October. “I love the people I work with—their talent, focus and passion for the business is an inspiration. And I love the travel."

Which is pretty handy since Healey has spent quite a bit of time on the road. She has toured the nine Fujitsu locations in New Zealand, to meet with staff and customers and has spent time in Japan at the company's Global Leadership Forum which she says helps the company align requirements for "local delivery.”

It has been Healey's passion for business leadership, more than love of technology, that has guided her career, she says.

“For me, I love spending time with our customers and partners—understanding their business and how technology enables them to meet their customers’ needs,” she says. “People enable the great progress that we can make through the use of technology and advanced services.”

Healey alos puts in the long hours. In fact, the earlier the start the better, it seems. Twice a week, her days start with one of those early morning bootcamps very few of us can face. From then on, it’s “a real mix of working with our customers and the Fujitsu teams across New Zealand, Australia and on occasions globally”.

She counts her best days as those when she is out with customers, engaging with business partners (HP, Microsoft, NetApp, and others) and “having time to work on the business to ensure business challenges are addressed and strategy is driving continued growth”.

A number of people have inspired her over the years, ranging from Steve Jobs—“for his vision and creative genius”— to someone closer to home: Rod Vawdrey, president of International Business for Fujitsu, for his drive in delivering "quantum growth" for the company.

Healey is hopeful for the year ahead. But she believes that New Zealand “needs to be competitive and differentiated in an increasingly globalised market and as such, there are plenty of global market opportunities available for New Zealand businesses”.

“In every boom or bust time there are opportunities to be found with some companies and sectors faring better than others. In saying that, there are continued offshore pressures along with debt wariness by businesses that will potentially make the next couple of years tight for New Zealand,” she adds.

Q+A

Where do you live now and where did you grow up ?

I live in Wellington now.  I was born and grew up in Christchurch. I also lived in London for a few years.

Are you married? Do you have any children?

I'm married to Jeff and I have three boys, the oldest is 8, and twins who are 6.

What are you currently reading?

Screw Business as Usual by Richard Branson. What would be the best advice you could give to someone in the same business as you?

If you believe you can or can’t, you’re probably right!

When you were little, what did you think you would be when you grew up?

A singer or a dancer.

Do you have any favourite sports?

I love watching a good game of rugby. Our boys are into Tae Kwon Do—great for building focus, discipline and self-defence skills. As for participation—I have a great personal trainer and Boot Camp gets me going a couple times a week.

What's your drink of choice?

Peppermint tea or hot chocolate! And on the odd occasion, a really good red wine.

If you weren't in technology, what would you be doing?.

I’d re-train and move into law—I'd love to be in criminal law. What do you consider to be your major strengths or skills?

Building relationships and communicating with people—my greatest passion is driving success through the combined local, regional and global team. Business leadership—I’m not a technologist. My strengths lie in understanding our customers, our business and the market and ensuring we are leveraging all appropriately to deliver great results.

How do you maintan balance between work and leisure?

I wouldn’t say I maintain a great balance between work and leisure. There are times when work is all consuming and that’s ok, as long as I then make sure I take the time to be with Jeff and the boys, family and friends—and some time for myself on the odd occasion!


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