Shanee Kiriau

Shanee Kiriau

Digital and Community Coordinator, International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport, Women in Sport Aotearoa
Bachelor of Sport and Recreation in Sport Management & Bachelor of Business in Marketing, Advertising, Retailing and Sales

She loves contributing to social change in sport, says sport and recreation alumni Shanee Kiriau who is now the digital and community coordinator for Women in Sport Aotearoa and is involved in the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport.

“Through my work I support the national and international programme of digital and community engagement activity that supports the delivery of the strategic plans for Women in Sport Aotearoa and the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport. All of this work responds to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #5 on gender equity.”

Shanee enjoys being involved in a variety of diverse projects, constantly looking at ways to strengthen and advocate for female leadership within the sport sector.

“I get to innovate and creatively apply my digital expertise to advocate for women and girls worldwide. My working days are ever-changing and I’m always meeting a diverse range of people all over Aotearoa and globally. I’m lucky to have such amazing leaders who continuously empower, value, and take me along the journey towards gender equity.”

The right university environment
Born and raised in Wellington, Shanee moved to Auckland because she wanted to make a positive contribution to women and girls in the sports sector and enrolling in AUT offered the best pathway towards her dream career.

“I had a taste of full-time work experience in this area with the Wellington City Council and I knew that sport and recreation was the area I wanted to pursue. AUT offered an amazing double degree programme that could be completed in four years, with flexible options to include workplace experience. AUT also had strong industry relationships with some of the sport organisations I wanted to work for in the future, which was an attractive selling point for me. The smaller classes also meant more time with lecturers.”

There were plenty of highlights throughout her time at AUT, says Shanee who captained the AUT women’s basketball team and was on the AUT Sports Governance Club Committee in addition to her studies.

“My semester-long marketing project was a huge highlight, and my sport management internship with Women in Sport Aotearoa was equally mind blowing. Both opportunities allowed me to gain real-life working experiences within the sector, while giving me the autonomy to take the lead on a project that would benefit the organisation. They both opened opportunities to network, turn knowledge into practice and understand what shared leadership felt like.

“Another highlight for me was hearing Gaye Bryham, one of my favourite lecturers, speak on the topic of leadership and the multi-faceted lenses that go with it. She discussed the power of the word ‘yet’ and how this small change can reframe and empower us to take on leadership. Simply add the word ‘yet’ to the end of an issue and it becomes an opportunity to revisit and embrace ‘I can’ at a later date. This gave me a huge sense of confidence and acceptance by allowing myself to evolve rather than accept the ‘I can’t’ type of thoughts.”

Advice for other students
Shanee, who graduated in March 2021, has some great advice for other students.

“One of my favourite quotes I learned in my entrepreneurship class was ‘It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows what you know’. This positively integrates the power of knowledge and relationships to create action. This quote has guided me significantly in whom I connect to share my learnings with, to help elevate the collective towards action in creating positive change within our community.”

It’s important to always be true to yourself, she adds.

“Be authentically you! Being true to who you are will always lead you towards the direction that was meant for you.”

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