Interview: Janet Selwood, Chief Transformation Officer, New Zealand Post

Janet Selwood has been working for New Zealand Post (NZ Post) for the past eight years. She joined the organization in 2013 as Executive Advisor to the then Chief Executive, and then moved into the role of Executive General Manager of Channels in 2017. Since August 2020, she has worked as Chief Transformation Officer.

Speaking about some of her fondest memories to date, she says, “My highlight is the people I have met along the way. There is a real passion for delivering what people care about, which is NZ Post’s key purpose, in terms of customers, partners and for each other. We have a strong value-based culture–something which is very important for me and I’ve worked with some very talented people who I’ve learned a lot from.”

Selwood’s current work period at NZ Post represents the second time that she has worked for the postal operator. She last worked for the company in the late 1990s before moving on to spend 14 years in the telecommunications industry. “When I worked for NZ Post the first time around, there were very few women in leadership roles, particularly in operational areas,” she explains. “This had quite a bearing on the culture of the organization; however, I was fortunate to have had strong support from several male leaders who encouraged me and my career development. We still don’t have well-balanced representation in senior roles, but it’s getting better and there’s a genuine commitment to address this.”

NZ Post’s commitment is evident in the number of initiatives it has underway to address gender equality. The post is a member of Champions of Change, which is a group of NZ leaders working together to promote diversity in leadership. “We also run a mentoring program for women, called Le Faufautua – I am a sponsor for this,” explains Selwood. “And we enroll six women each year to attend the Activate Leadership Programme via Global Women and operate a women’s network support group.”

According to Selwood, although there have been some pockets of resistance during her career to date; she believes the sector in general is extremely receptive to women and welcoming of diversity in the workforce. “More still needs to be done to encourage gender equality, however, particularly in operational roles,” she says. “Overall NZ Post has a workforce comprised of more women than men, however women are under-represented in leadership and senior roles. The more we can do to encourage diversity – not just gender diversity – the better our organizations will be.”

This article first appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Union Postale.