2021 in review and my year ahead

Clients and friends often ask me what I get up to on a usual day. The truth is, that’s a loaded question for me, as no two days are ever the same!

It’s all a bit higgledy-piggledy at times to be perfectly honest. But that’s the way I like it. The frequent changes of clients and topics keep me on my toes. They broaden my understanding, teach me new perspectives, and make me value the incredible diversity of leaders and worker bees we have throughout our public sector and business community.

The rest of this post outlines what I got up to in 2021 and what is in store for 2022.

My professional life in 2021

The following are some of the key things that shaped my professional life in 2021:

Contracting –  During 2021 I provided ad hoc contracted support to a number of organisations. While in-house, clients got me involved in a wide range of tasks including economic and labour market analysis, business case development, strategic and business planning, peer reviewing, procurement support, and communications and engagement support.

Presentations and planning workshops – Before Covid-19, providing presentations to advisory groups and corporate boards was a relatively small part of my business. But this area of work has grown substantially over the past two years. In the midst of so much uncertainty, environmental scanning by governance has become so much more important and my clients value the broad skillset I bring and approachable nature of my advice. Zoom has also lowered the cost of accessing such workshops as travel time and expenses traditionally form a large share of the cost of accessing such services.

Professional development workshops – I often say to people that economics is just common sense dressed up with fancy jargon. One of my aims is to put this into practice by making it easier for people to decipher trends and make sense of the world around them. In 2021, I was fortunate to provide professional development workshops for professional bodies and government departments across a variety of subjects such as living standards and wellbeing, trade and investment flows, and regional labour market analysis.

Media – In 2021, I gave more than 50 interviews across print, radio and television to regional, national, and international media. I also regularly published blog posts and achieved strong growth in readership of my newsletter.

Governance – I am a proud board member of the Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association. This position is an important way of using my professional skills to give back to my local community.

All-of-Government provider – I have been appointed as an approved All-of-Government provider of consultancy services across four sub-categories (finance and economics, human resources, procurement, and policy, research and development).

Environment Court – Water availability and quality are key concerns in regional New Zealand, with environmental considerations being balanced against economic and social wellbeing. During 2021, I spoke in the Environment Court about the economic and social wellbeing considerations of agriculture in Central Otago.  

Projects – Alongside my contract work, presentations and workshops, I also delivered a number of projects in 2021. A selection of these projects includes:

  • The contribution of skiing to the Queenstown-Lakes economy
  • Profiles of Canterbury’s and Otago’s labour market and future challenges
  • Understanding productivity in Nelson-Tasman and strategic responses
  • Selwyn District Strategic Events Plan
  • Business births and deaths trends in Porirua since Covid-19
  • Selwyn Business Opinion Survey
  • Economic impacts of farming in various catchments (eg. Manuherikia)
  • Spending in Alexandra during Blossom Festival weekend
  • The economic impacts of future options for Dunedin Railways.

My year ahead

I have taken the best part of a month off over summer to recharge my batteries and am now rearing to go for the year ahead.

If you or anyone that you know is considering your options for strategic, economic or other advice in the year ahead then please get in touch.

As you can tell by the varied nature of work I was involved in last year, I am a sure pair of hands, who is relied on by a variety of organisations as a trusted, straight shooter. I look forward to hearing from you!