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Anna Curzon of Xero: ‘Speak up and make a difference’

Anna Curzon of Xero: ‘Speak up and make a difference’

Xero's local managing director, Anna Curzon, discusses the importance of diversity in the workplace, science and technology as career options and the value of internships for companies.

Anna Curzon, Xero NZ Managing Director
Anna Curzon, Xero NZ Managing Director

There has never been a better time to get into STEM (science, technology engineering and maths).

Anna Curzon, Xero

Anna Curzon, New Zealand managing director at Xero, is now a regular speaker at leadership forums on digital transformation.

Yet, early on in her career she says she was reticent to speak up even in meetings.

“I thought, gosh, I am so different, maybe I am not even in the same wavelength of the people here. Then I came to realise the lens I was providing was immensely valuable, because it provided a different perspective,” says Curzon. “And that was really important.”

Prior to joining the cloud software accounting firm, Curzon was GM Digital First at Spark and general manager marketing at ASB.

At the bank, she held a raft of roles including chief manager strategic innovation, head of innovation and design, acting general manager for the contact centre and general manager internet banking.

Thus, at a recent forum for GirlBoss NZ, which was set up by teenage girls to support their peers “to be the best they can be”, she shared this message.

“Understanding your value” is important.

Anna Curzon talks about Xero's goal of using big data and machine learning to alert SMBs of market 'headwinds'

Anna Curzon at a panel discussion on cross border e-commerce at the 2016 Tripartite Economic Summit in Auckland
Anna Curzon at a panel discussion on cross border e-commerce at the 2016 Tripartite Economic Summit in Auckland
Read more: 'We need to rethink how we are developing digital directors'


Things change so quickly, you might find yourself disassociated from the community if you are not inviting fresh talent.

Anna Curzon, Xero

“When you are in a meeting and you are different, it might be where you grew up, your gender. Whatever it is...celebrate that because you probably are one of the most valuable people in the room. You will provide a different lens into that conversation,” she says.

“We all know there are too many studies that absolutely point to the fact boards and executive teams, and every team, do better when you have more diversity and more lenses for problems to solve for customers.”

Another theme she is passionate with is ensuring New Zealand has a steady pipeline of people going into science and technology.

Read more: ​Co-operative Bank modernises core IT infrastructure with Unisys

“There has never been a better time to get into STEM (science, technology engineering and maths),” she says.

“The new language of code is something that should be taught at school, because it is going to be key to our success as a country to compete in the world stage.”

“Software will play an enormous part of the business - it will be the core of business,” she says.

As well, the private sector should be working closely with government to be “fuelling this pipeline of talent”.

“We have this amazing opportunity in New Zealand to be this petri dish of having close public and private sector relationships, to build a generation that can take the world at a global scale.”

Whatever it is, if you are feeling different, celebrate that because you probably are one of the most valuable people in the room. You will provide a different lens into that conversation.

Anna Curzon, Xero

She is also a strong supporter of the need for companies to provide internships for young people.

"You do have to invest in new staff," says Curzon, who started at ASB as a graduate trainee.

“The risk of large organisations is just cadence, doing the same thing year after year after year.

“The importance of getting new and diverse thinking is, it will really challenge you to break that cadence and go, ‘actually, what problems are we trying to solve?'

''We have an excellent opportunity to break the cadence of the past and redesign the future,'' she states.

“Things change so quickly, you might find yourself disassociated from the community if you are not inviting fresh talent.”

Xero NZ Managing Director Anna Curzon; Small Business Minister, Craig Foss; and ASB Chief Economist, Nick Tuffley at the launch of Xero Signals.
Xero NZ Managing Director Anna Curzon; Small Business Minister, Craig Foss; and ASB Chief Economist, Nick Tuffley at the launch of Xero Signals.


The ‘L’ word: Will digitisation change our view of leadership?

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

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