As Chief Executive of Tourism Bay of Plenty, Kristin Dunne finds it rewarding to know what a difference she can make to the local economy, and community by growing the tourism sector in the Bay of Plenty. The Bay of Plenty is her product and she is a huge fan of it! Last year, after talking to many locals to articulate the essence of the Bay of Plenty – it came down to three things: LOVE, TURANGAWAEWAE and HAPPINESS. When a place has those things as their spirit, Kristin firmly believes it is remarkable and unstoppable.
The tourism sector, however, is changing rapidly – traveller behaviours, technology, business models, and the role and relevance of organisations – to keep pace Kristin believes we need to transform ourselves, or be left behind. It is exciting, but unchartered territory and there is a real opportunity to grow and manage the Bay of Plenty sustainably and offer an authentic visitor experience, whilst protecting our beautiful environment and lifestyle. It is a business that has a social impact.
The greatest challenge in achieving this Kristin says, is having the required revenue or funding, to do the job they need to do, on behalf of the industry and the community. As a council-controlled organisation this is always a challenge, so Kristin is always constantly looking at new ways of ensuring our organisation is sustainable and accountable.
Kristin completed a Bachelor of Business Studies, majoring in Marketing and then was fortunate to work for some of New Zealand’s best brands – DB Breweries, ASB BANK, TVNZ, Vodafone and had the opportunity to lead business growth or ‘intrapreneurship’ in these organisations. This enabled her to expand beyond the ‘marketing department’ and move into roles such as General Manager, Chief Operating Officer and now Chief Executive. She says she is still learning every day and finds leading teams and organisations a humbling experience. In her current role she supports a team of between 15 and 25 (depending on the season) to flourish.
Kristin is motivated by growth and transformation – whether that’s her own personal growth or coaching others to develop their capabilities and confidence, as well as being a catalyst for growth of business sectors. In her current role she gets to combine these passions. She sees so much opportunity here in the Bay and wants to be able to stand back in 10 years’ time and know that she has made a really positive difference to our beautiful region. True transformation is measured in decades, not annually.
She’s very much a believer of playing the long game, and working hard. Her advice to others would be, don’t be afraid of owning your female perspective and approach – your intuition, emotional intelligence, nurturing management style and ability to multi-task will be among your greatest strengths. Also never apologise for being a woman, or compromise your values or who you are – be you, and believe in yourself.
Outside of work, family is her everything. Kristin has a 5 year old son, and with a husband who is currently away over 60% of the year, family time is really precious. She is also close to her parents and several family members who live here in the Bay. She also owns a chocolate labradoodle and a seal ragdoll kitten who are chaos and cuddles in equal measure. Kristin tries to get to Pilates twice a week and a personal trainer once a week, to help her manage stress and the effects of her other great loves: chocolate, chippies and sauvignon blanc!