Ming-Chun Wu is an experienced public servant, who began her career as an interpreter, worked as a secondary school teacher, and has more recently held policy, strategy and operational positions across the public service. She is also on the board of several volunteer service organisations.
Ming-Chun joined our Nominations Service in July 2018. In May 2019 she was appointed to her first state sector board position as a Trustee of the Wellington Community Trust and now has her second appointment as Layperson member to the Pharmacy Council of New Zealand. We interviewed Ming-chun to find out how her governance journey began.
“I’ve always enjoyed solving complex problems and helping others develop and grow. This led me to pursue an earlier career in teaching, and then in the public service where I could actively improve and promote the welfare and well-being of people. My community involvements centre around promoting human dignity and rights for moral and altruistic reasons. I guess humanitarianism drives a lot of what I do.”
“One of my strengths is being able to understand the differences between people from different backgrounds and being able to appreciate differences in their values. My family immigrated from Taiwan when I was little. My parents were very traditional Chinese parents who were concerned about their children losing their cultural identify, so they raised me to speak three languages and I still celebrate both Christmas and Chinese New Year to this day! Having a solid cultural identity has kept me grounded.”
What attracted you to governance roles?
“In many of my professional roles I have worked with different types of Boards across the social sector. I have built an interest in leading transformational changes in organisations.
“Through my voluntary work with community organisations, I’m the current Board Chairperson and Trustee for Volunteer Wellington, an organisation which connects and supports more than 380 community organisations with volunteer engagement, professional development, networking opportunities, support and mentoring services.
“I am also the current Vice-Governor on the Board of Directors for Altrusa International in New Zealand which is an international organisation dedicated to community service with 20 service clubs across New Zealand.
How did you feel when you took up your first governance role?
I started my governance journey through my involvements with the professional association, the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA), where I was on the National Executive, the Regional Chairperson for Auckland representing over 3,000 teachers, and sat on an Advisory Board for the University of Auckland. I am grateful I had good mentors that supported me through on my governance development journey.
My recollection of my first experience being on a board was like turning up to school on the first day. It is natural to feel nervous and I believe everyone goes through the same learning process.
If you could give one piece of advice to new directors/board members, what would it be?
While you could read up on governance, I believe there is no better way to learn about it than being on an actual Board. Approach your new Board role like you do for any new job – get to know the organisation, its people, and be willing to ask questions and learn. You can also consider what else could help – to ensure my governance knowledge was more rounded, I took the exam and became a Chartered Director with the Institute of Directors.
What are you passionate about outside your governance work?
I’m passionate about learning. I get a lot of joy helping others and seeing people develop both in and outside work. Often, I learn from the people I work with. It is also important to me that I put some time aside each week for personal development from professional readings, learning about mindfulness, through to ballroom dancing!
If your are interested in finding out if you have what it takes to be on a state sector board then visit our Nominations Service webpage and get in contact with us.