Alex Fala wants to see Māori and Pacific thrive in business, and thinks their respective communities need this success.
“I also think the rest of New Zealand needs that from us,” Alex adds.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vend, one of NZ's fastest growing technology companies is grateful for the opportunities business has given him throughout his career.
As a proud Pacific Islander, he is delighted to share his life-journey at next month’s inaugural TupuToa Gala Dinner in Auckland, to celebrate the 28 interns who have completed summer internships, applying their tertiary studies in the corporate workplace.
The February 22 event also acknowledges the support provided by host corporate agencies and the interns’ whānau throughout TupuToa’s internships.
“TupuToa has massive potential to give others the opportunities that I had, so I'm happy to share my story if that helps,” Alex adds.
His father stems from the villages of Sa'asa'ai and Falelatai in Samoa, and Alex is just the second person of Pacific Island ancestry to attend Oxford University and receive the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.
He is a former consultant at McKinsey & Co, and a former executive at iconic Kiwi growth companies including Trade Me, Les Mills International, and Orion Health.
While, Alex did not complete any internships during his studies, he says he was fortunate to get a part time job at a funds management firm.
“That gave me real experience in business and a chance to talk to people who were doing what I wanted to do.”
He does however, believe internships make career opportunities more “real”.
“They reduce the fear of the unknown, give a valuable boost to a career, and maybe even spark a passion or uncover a talent that a student didn't even know they had.”
Success creates role models and knowledge which leads to greater participation and more success, the CEO adds.
“But sadly many of our Māori and Pacific kids haven't seen business success in their own community.
“So we need to short-cut this process, and internships do that.
“I hope too, TupuToa grows into a true community, where interns can support each other in navigating the challenges of bringing together business careers with the unique realities of Māori and Pacific communities.”
Having “climbed the career ladder”, Alex shares his five top tips for Māori and Pacific students to ponder ahead of entering the workforce:
Be proud of who you are
Look for the biggest opportunities to learn
Set high standards of quality and work ethic
The inaugural TupuToa Gala Dinner will be staged at Auckland’s Maritime Room on February 22.
To book your ticket, visit iTicket and check out www.tuputoa.nz for more information about TupuToa.