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On the ascent

Vera Alves | March 19, 2012
CIO talks to three women IT executives tipping the gender imbalance in the sector as they take on leadership and decision-making posts.

CIO talks to three women IT executives tipping the gender imbalance in the sector as they take on leadership and decision-making posts.

Terry Shubkin: The business of not-for-profit

Terry Shubkin has over 18 years of experience in the IT business and her curriculum vitae includes some very important roles, such as head of operations of Unisys New Zealand, acting GM for marketing communication and fundraising at Barnardos New Zealand and director of Mint Consulting Services. None of those, however important as they were, had the level of personal impact Shubkin feels her current role has on her.

The CEO of not-for-profit Youth Enterprise Trust says this is the "most personally rewarding job" she has ever had and, despite the downsides of sometimes struggling for funding, her answer when asked about the job is an enthusiastic one: "I absolutely love it".

The Youth Enterprise Trust promotes an enterprise and financially literate culture among young people, through education programmes with the goal of helping develop a generation that contributes to New Zealand's future economic and social prosperity. As part of her role as CEO, Shubkin says she is responsible for "basically everything" but has a good team behind her to make sure all aspects of the business run smoothly.

The CEO and her team will be busy this year, as they prepare to launch new enterprise education programmes while making a number of changes to how they operate. Shubkin lists the increase in number of students participating in enterprise projects as one of her priorities for the year. The creation of an alumni programme is also planned. "We want people to reconnect with us and tell their stories," she explains.

The development of new technologies within the enterprise programmes is also top of the list. Shubkin says they started creating podcasts in 2010 and the feedback has been very positive so the goal is to increase production this year. The creation of webinars is also something that Shubkin is keen to focus on. "Traditionally, we have been very face-to-face and teachers love face-to-face learning, but that is very costly," says Shubkin. She says webinars, combined with podcasts, will be added to face-to-face learning as a way of cutting costs, a particularly important result to achieve, considering the institution depends on funding.

Shubkin's corporate past means she is familiar with the differences between that world and the not-for-profit one. "I have had to learn to cut corners," she explains. She adds that the trust does not get its revenue "from selling products or services" like a corporate organisation so it is heavily dependent on funding.

The CEO says it is all possible because she works with a great team. Staff engagement is very high, the CEO says, and, once again, her knowledge of the corporate world helps her understand why that is the case here, "having worked for IT, where budgets are traditionally higher, and working for a not-for-profit now, where budgets are lower".


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