Guest Blog: Claudia Batten - My Next Squiggle

claudiaFrom my home in the US I have been an advocate for growing New Zealand businesses to international greatness. I have been working with start-ups, supporting the eco-system, mentoring and advising where I can. Hell, I’ve even joined a few boards!

So now I’ve decided to take on a massive opportunity, putting my energy and focus into supporting New Zealand businesses growing in North American markets. I will be joining the team at New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) to lead their North American program. As an advocate of taking squiggly journeys into the unknown, this most definitely fits the bill.

Even coming to this decision was squiggly in itself. My initial reaction was HELL NO. Why would I work for a government agency? Jeez, that sounds like watching paint dry. Not to mention that “working for someone” made me want to break out in hives. But some smart people told me to look deeper, so I did.

First, I met the NZTE team, and I got inspired. NZTE have attracted some truly remarkable people from the private sector, people who are seriously smart. Second, I talked to a few of their customers (the world class businesses they support), and I got excited. By the time I went one-on-one with NZTE’s CEO Pete Chrisp and heard his vision, I was convinced I had found my next new home.

Talking with Pete was like looking in a mirror (sorry Pete). Pete’s boundless energy and drive for exploding New Zealand business on the world stage is intoxicating. Under Pete’s leadership, NZTE has evolved into an operation that:

  • Focuses on their customers (growing New Zealand businesses)
  • Measures the outcomes they’re making happen
  • Isn’t afraid of trying new and different things to improve those outcomes.

So, in supreme squiggly fashion I am jumping in with both feet. Mark and I are moving to LA, we are leaving the Rockies for the next few years and I am going to turn the volume up on New Zealand’s North American outreach.

What gets me jumping out of bed in the morning (no doubt annoying my new boss with endless emails of NEW ideas and self-proclaimed fresh thinking) is how open-minded NZTE have been. They embrace my inner rule-breaking need for disruption – and they are open to me finding new ways to get the job done. Kudos to them for letting the rooster in the hen-house.

My first step is to get to know the NZTE team. Next step: grab hold of these amazing businesses and hit the market hard.

And I need your help to be this change for New Zealand. Please find me online and, if you want to come and be part of this journey with me, we are hiring for some great roles. And, stay tuned.

Claudia Batten is a member of the World Class New Zealand Network and received the Supreme Award at the 2014 World Class New Zealand Awards. She has been an advocate for the power of New Zealand’s diaspora and spoken at many Kea events over the years. Watch a video of Claudia’s presentation at Inspire Auckland 2014 below.