CELF Board Profile - Dee McManus-Emery

Today's CELF board member in the spotlight is Deanne McManus-Emery, Regional Manager at Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children. Here is a few Q&A's that we did with Dee.

Describe your biggest obstacles in life and how you mastered them.
Being Maori, and having to navigate a system, that has been purposefully designed to fail Maori. I have mastered this, through my whakapapa, and connection to my Tikanga, and having the confidence to walk comfortably in two worlds.

What was your biggest epiphany: the moment of life-defining change that shaped you into the person you are today?
I have always been strong willed , and clear about what I wanted in life, which was todo what makes me happy, not what makes others happy, and most defining moment in my life, was choosing to leave my BMS degree, to complete a BSocSci, much to my parents disappointment, however I choose the pathway that I was most passionate about, which was people, although have ended up in a Senior Leadership role, the first two years of a management degree has eventually paid off.

What is your life philosophy? How did you develop this philosophy?
Do what makes you happy, and follow what feels right, this has always been my philosophy, since a young age, and one I have learned to fine tune along this pathway we call life. This is something both me and my husband have instilled with our daughter.

Who have been your strongest influences in life?
My whanau are my greatest influences, however in particular my mother, as she has taught me resilience, and my late grandfather Kamira Haggie, for his strong unwavering leadership and integrity, key attributes of good leadership.

What led you to your career?
My career has always been centred around supporting others, and hence every role I have held, is one that has leant itself to the social sector.

What are you most proud of accomplishing?
Obviously, my best and proudest achievement is my daughter, and watching her grow and mature as an adult, seeing her flourish, make decisions, test the boundaries of life, and being confident with all of this, demonstrates that my husband and I had instilled her with the right values, and tools to navigate life, and what it is likely to be thrown at her.

What is your hidden talent or superpower?
My ability to walk in two worlds, being able to transverse the two worlds confidently and comfortably, which makes building long lasting effective relationships easy.

What book/podcast are you reading/listening to now?
I was fortunate to listen to an address Dr Hana O’Regan made to public servants, regarding the impacts of colonisation, and how this impact, on the way we practise and deliver frontline services, the key take away for me, was to be open minded, learn the real history of Aotearoa, and reflect on my own biases, that may impact on others.


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