We sat down with Jan Hutchinson, CEO and Director at Techtorium NZ, Institute of Information Technology to find out some of Newmarket’s best kept secrets and what goes into running a successful business….
N. Why do you love working in Newmarket?
The shopping and eating in Newmarket is pretty spectacular even with the temporary closure of 277, but predominantly for us it’s the amazing accessibility with public transport from pretty much all corners of Auckland. Our students come in from everywhere and get to enjoy the magic and bustle of this vibrant city fringe ‘burb.
N.What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who was looking at starting out in your industry?
Make education your passion and students your focus. The tagline our team came up with to describe what we do is “Creating IT Professionals through Excellence in Education.” Excellence is possible with a dedicated team who share the vision. Watching secondary school leavers morph into Computer Engineering Professionals working at some of the biggest IT Companies in the country is pure gold for us.
N.What would you do if you weren’t in your current role?
Loving my job gets me out of bed every day so it would have to be something pretty compelling. My passion is really around engaging young people in education that makes a difference in their lives. So it would definitely be something else in education with a corporate flavour!
N.Name 3 people that you would invite to a dinner party (living or dead).
I would have to say I am inspired by strong humanitarian leaders and amazing musicians. Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Armstrong or Freddie Mercury with Barrack Obama or Norman Kirk would be pretty amazing. Any combo!
N.What was your first job?
Occupational Therapy Aide to physically disabled children straight out of school where I learned to celebrate successes no matter how small. I then went on to work for the Sheraton and Regent Hotels where I developed a great appreciation for fantastic customer service!
N.What motivates you?
Being challenged and rising to the occasion is my biggest motivator. My natural competitiveness hasn’t been satisfied on a squash court for some time now so I am motivated by finding solutions and breaking down barriers to success. I come from a family of hard workers so mostly I am motivated by work.
N.If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Hard question because I love living in Central Auckland and NZ. If I were to choose somewhere other than NZ, I love the easy access to Europe and the busy cosmopolitan lifestyle of London. But if I were to narrow it down it would be anywhere coastal in Italy for the summer and New York in the winter.
N.Where is your favourite place to get coffee or a drink in Newmarket?
I am enjoying the Japanese restaurant just down from Archie’s Pizzeria. There is no beating yum cha at the iconic Pearl Garden in Teed Street, especially their steamed dumplings for lunch so actually you could stick a pin in a map – Newmarket does pretty well for an amazingly diverse range of food and drink.
N. Describe Newmarket in 3 words:
Vibrant, energised, awesome.
N.What do you wish you’d known before you started your career?
It’s a cliché but it would have to be don’t sweat the small stuff.
N.How do you start each morning?
I open the iPad around 6am to check my e-mails and my meetings for the day. Techtorium is one of the highest performing tertiary providers in New Zealand so for me my day starts with making sure our people have the tools they need to give our students a fantastic experience of tertiary and a head start in their IT careers.
N.What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve received?
Be clear about what you want. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you won’t recognise it when it’s in front of you.
N.What is your favourite holiday destination and why?
New Caledonia. Apart from the tropical island thing it has going on, it’s only a three hour flight from here and everyone speaks French so it really feels like a holiday.
N.What is Newmarket’s best kept secret?
The Rialto Centre on Osborne Street and Broadway. Mid-morning movies, a great food court, a variety of clothing stores and The Homestore. It has everything including easy access to those gorgeous shops on Osborne Street like The Poi Room.
N.What would you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Professionally being the CEO in such a great company and being able to work with my husband Patrick Dowling, every day in the business he created 15 years ago is pretty great.
N.Name one item that you can’t live without.
My iPad – for sure.
N.It’s 10am on a Sunday morning. Where would we find you and what are you doing?
I could be anywhere around Auckland with my camera looking for that winning shot.
N.Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
We have had and currently have some incredible female role models in New Zealand but sadly in senior roles women are woefully under represented. I think as women sometimes we need to stop trying to play by the rules and instead just rewrite the rule book.
N.What is your greatest fear?
Not being heard.
N.What do you love most about your job?
That my opinions and ideas have merit and can be the basis for change and evolution. As a result I endeavour to ensure that the people around me get to enjoy the same.