Ria McBride Public Service Management Award
The Ria McBride Public Service Management Award for women is sponsored by the State Services Commission. The goal of this prestigious award is to help women, including those who have not previously undertaken academic studies, who have already demonstrated potential, to advance to higher levels of responsibility in the Public Service.
The award honours Ria McBride, who was the first woman appointed Chief Clerk of the Public Service Commission (which preceded the current State Services Commission). Ria McBride worked for the Public Service Commission from 1946 to 1960 overcoming prejudice and obstacles as a woman in a then male domain. She was the first non-Maori to be appointed to the Maori Welfare Division of the Maori Affairs Department, serving as Administration Officer there from 1960 to 1967, when she became head of the Housing Division. Upon her "retirement" in 1970, she pursued equal employment opportunities for women, as a founder member of the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women. In this role she helped set up the Accident Compensation Commission. From 1978 to 1980 she was one of the first full-time human rights commissioners.
Stephanie Martin started at Inland Revenue in 2004 as a Customer Services Representative at the Contact Centre. IRD has been a good place to work and Stephanie has developed her career there by taking opportunities as they have arisen.
She always wanted to study law, “As a young mum from a small town I didn’t have any educational qualifications, so the first obstacle was defeating the self-doubt and fear that accompanies the decision to enrol oneself in University having not even finished high school”.
She applied to do a Bachelor of Law programme at Waikato University at the age of 34. Her IRD managers supported her by reassuring the university that she had the qualities to complete the study, and giving her time off for lectures, tutorials and exams. Working full time and studying also required support from her family. “My husband and two beautiful daughters gave me their full support without question over the last seven years. When dinner was Irvine’s potato top mince pies burned on the outside and still partially frozen in the middle I still got a ‘thanks for dinner Mum’”.
A couple of years in, she saw information about the Ria McBride Public Service Management award. Again IRD supported her, “This award required multi-level management endorsement of my application. My manager at this time gave me her wholehearted support as did every tier of management to Commissioner level”.
“Being granted the award was a tremendous boost to me personally, professionally and academically. My interview with the panel and the advice I received from the inspirational group of women was priceless, and the award enabled me to trim a year off my study by attending summer school and completing the required papers at a faster rate”. Stephanie Graduated with a Bachelor of Law in December 2018, maintaining an A- average and receiving the 2017 Top Student award for Dispute Resolution. “I’m very proud to be able to show that women like myself who work full time and study with a family can still achieve excellence”.
Stephanie is passionate about social policy and matters adversely impacting society generally (families in particular). She is now using her time, skills and knowledge to focus on making a difference in this area of work at Inland Revenue. “I look forward to the future and the opportunity to pay it forward to other women like myself. When it comes to study; the hardest part is starting. After that we just get it done”.
“I’m extremely grateful for the support and assistance from my employer, from the women who played a key role in helping me to succeed and of course from my family who are these days enjoying perfectly heated pies (cooking was never my thing – I’m good at law instead)”.