Best way to predict the future is to create it – Jacki Johnson speaks to Chinese community

To celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival with our growing Asian population in New Zealand, IAG’s New Zealand CEO Jacki Johnson was recently interviewed for an article in ‘Skykiwi.com’, the largest Chinese website in New Zealand.

The Chinese Moon Festival is traditionally celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunisolar month, which falls on September 27 in 2015. This was the first major interview done by IAG for the local Chinese community. “It is a milestone for us,” Jacki Johnson said.

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“As a migrant myself, I understand how difficult life can be for the second or the third generation of immigrants. IAG doesn’t only care about new migrants, but we also want to make their future generations’ world a safe place in New Zealand. They are all the ‘New New Zealanders’ for us,” she said.

Jacki shared her personal stories of being an immigrant, daughter, wife, mother and CEO with the Chinese community through Skykiwi.com. Areas of focus included her motivation to contribute to the community through leadership, her strength and resilience and also her commitment to her family.

After interviewing Jacki, the reporter Rita Zhang chose to use some colourful and evocative phases in referring to Jacki’s contribution. “The soul of the future insurance empire” was the headline Rita’s noted, “the world is never short of person who can enjoy a snow fight with you in winter, but not everyone can offer you firewood in a very cold winter”. She said IAG offered ‘firewood’ to AMI when it was really needed and that Jacki is the kind of leader “who can turn back the powers of darkness and create the future”.

In this article, Rita also observed that Jacki’s character influenced IAG culture widely. Being resilient and open to changes were reinforced by two other interviewees – IAG’s Strategy People & Reputation Executive Martin Hunter and the Head of Corporate Affairs Craig Dowling.

Martin has a background as a lawyer and was IAG’s General Counsel, before becoming the executive in charge IAG’s Strategy, People and Reputation.

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Selecting Martin for this different role shows Jacki has an eye for people’s potential, SkyKiwi reported, while keeping him in the legal sector would have been like “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”.

Craig said that IAG’s employment brand was inclusive and diverse. People from different professional and ethnic backgrounds could always find a place for their talents and to develop their potential. The fact that IAG has 37 Chinese-speaking customer consultants across both AMI and State and two Chinese-speaking AMI store managers in Auckland indicated that the insurer appreciated very much the value these multilingual employees add.

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Rita used one of Jacki’s recent tweets to conclude the article: “Love Abraham Lincoln’s quote: Best way to predict the future is to create it”. Coincidentally, Chinese president Xi Jinping also quoted the same remark to conclude his speech when visiting the Whitehouse recently. It seems like that both leaders are committed to creating the future!

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Want to read the interview?
For those who are interested in this story on Skykiwi and can also read Chinese, please follow this link; for those who cannot read Chinese, Skykiwi also presented a video of the interview, available on youtube. It is worth watching as you might be surprised how IAG’s CEO, the executive and senior managers embrace the Moon Festival.

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