Media Releases

First Future Director selected for the State sector

Thursday, December 1, 2016 - 11:49

The Minister for Women Louise Upston has today welcomed the selection of the first Future Directors participant since the expansion to the state sector.

Ruth Smithers will join the WorkSafe New Zealand board early in the New Year, following the expansion of the Future Directors programme to include state sector boards and committees in June this year.

“The Future Directors programme identifies talented people for governance roles and provides them with opportunities to observe and participate in board discussions for a period of 12 months,” Ms Upston says.

“The programme is about diversity in all its forms including gender, age, ethnicity, experience, and regional perspective. The experience helps aspiring leaders to gain governance skills, as well as the boards themselves benefitting from fresh perspectives and greater diversity of thought.

“This will lead to better decision making and performance on boards, and by investing in our future leaders we will develop a more diverse and inclusive pipeline of high-calibre candidates across the public and private sectors,” Ms Upston says.

Ms Upston acknowledged the WorkSafe board for their commitment to increasing the diversity of the pipeline of directors, and anticipates this to be the first of many more placements to come in the future.

“Women are under-represented in leadership and governance roles. It’s therefore great to see this investment in an aspiring women leader.

“The state sector is already leading the way with female board member representation at 43 percent of members – the highest level ever - and I encourage other state sector boards to follow the lead of Worksafe and help to develop the next generation of directors by participating in this excellent programme,” Ms Upston says.

Ruth is from New Plymouth where she works for Tui Ora Ltd., which provides a wide range of health and social services in the Taranaki region. The appointment was made following a rigorous recruitment and selection process, similar to any board appointment.

Further information on the Future Directors programme can be found at