#503: Disrupting and Innovating in Airline and Energy Loyalty Programs in New Zealand

In this episode, we delve into the remarkable journey of Monique Forbes, who has worked behind the award-winning Air New Zealand loyalty program. Join us as we explore the evolution of this program, from its inception to its groundbreaking retail coalition comprising over 65 partners.

Monique’s expertise doesn’t stop there – we’ll also uncover the intricacies of her work on the proprietary loyalty program at Mercury Energy.

Get ready for insights into loyalty program innovation and the strategies that drive success in the ever-evolving landscape of customer loyalty.

Hosted by Carly Neubauer

Show Notes:

1)  Monique Forbes⁠

2)⁠⁠⁠ Air New Zealand⁠

3) InZone Education Foundation

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m Paula Thomas, the Founder and CEO of Let’s Talk Loyalty, and also now Loyalty TV. Today’s episode is hosted by Carly Neubauer, Co-Founder and Director of Elevate Loyalty and Pay2Elevate, an Australian based company specializing In loyalty and incentive services, global rewards and digital payment technology.

If you work in loyalty marketing, you can watch our latest video interviews every Thursday on www.loyalty.tv. And of course you can also listen to Let’s Talk Loyalty every Tuesday, every Wednesday and every Thursday to learn the latest ideas from loyalty experts around the world.

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Carly: Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. My name is Carly Neubauer and I am the Co-Founder and Director of Elevate Loyalty and Pay2Elevate, a loyalty and incentives services company specializing in global rewards and digital payment technology. Today, I have the privilege of introducing Monique Forbes, a leader in the New Zealand loyalty industry.

Monique has an extensive career in loyalty, starting out in product and customer experience at Qantas, before moving to Air New Zealand, where she and her team won the coveted Loyalty Program of the Year award, after disrupting the industry with a new approach to loyalty in airlines. Moving to the energy sector, Monique worked at Mercury Energy, the largest New Zealand energy retailer, and took a confusing customer proposition with multiple variants and currencies into the customer focused, redefined program that it is today.

Along with some invaluable advice for anyone in the loyalty industry, please enjoy the conversation with Monique, and some excellent perspectives in driving and developing loyalty programs now and in the future.

It’s not often that you get to chat with someone who has such in depth experience across some big industries and loyalty. Welcome Monique Forbes, who in her early days worked alongside both Vanessa Hudson and Stephanie Tully, now the CEOs of Qantas and Jetstar, but has since developed a proprietary loyalty product in the energy sector and an award winning airline program, including a retail coalition with over 65 Partners. Thanks Monique for joining us. 

Monique: Kia ora koutou and thank you Carly for the invite. I’m very excited to be chatting with you today from Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Carly: Thank you and welcome. Very, very exciting. Look, I’m looking forward to delving further into your loyalty experience. But firstly, we always kick off with asking the key question, which is your favorite loyalty program and why?

Monique: Well, Carly as a proud Kiwi and I’m potentially have a huge personal bias going on with this, but my favorite loyalty program is still Air New Zealand, Airpoints. And that’s, I guess, partly due to it being such a huge part of my working life being involved with its evolution. And then later on, on the other side as a commercial paying customer for the first time in many years for both business and leisure travel. 

Carly: Oh, that’s fantastic. It must be new when you have to start paying for it as well. When you’ve come from so many years in the airline industry, including Qantas yourself.

Monique: Yes, it is a bit of a shock to the budget. 

Carly: Very good. So tell us a little bit what do you think is your favorite part about the program? What stands out to you and what makes it your loyalty favorite? 

Monique: Yes. Well, I, I love and we’re going back a few years now but I love how the vision and the leadership really cemented. The journey to take it from a frequent flyer, traditional frequent flyer program, that it was to a data driven loyalty business. And that, I guess, was the first step to its evolution into a full retail coalition. And one of the most exciting things in the New Zealand market, being us being a small market, is back then it completely disrupted the industry.

And the valuable commercial partnerships that were formulated with so many partners, including Keystone Cornerstone partners, as well as being able to integrate those elements of a frequent flyer in the top tiers and also incorporating more digital experiences. Truly, I believe was a bit of a game changer and that the team now is, you know, continuing on that success path. So, and as a punter now on the other side, as a customer I’ve been fortunate enough to do quite a bit of travel over the last few years to experience that true end to end, you know, ground and in the air experience under a new loyalty proposition. 

Carly: Awesome. Oh, I’m really looking forward to hearing more about your experience developing that program as well, but let’s go back to a bit about your background and your story and how you started out in loyalty.

Monique: Sure. Well, I started straight out after a master’s degree in marketing at University of Auckland right into the oldest airline. In the English speaking world, which was Qantas. So that was my very first job out of marketing. I’m sorry, out of uni and that was at a marketing coordinator role based at a regional office which was in Auckland. And that is since evolved over the last 24 years. And I’ve predominantly been working in the marketing and customer experience roles across quite a few industries now from aviation, obviously advertising, solar energy, utilities and recently banking across both Australia and New Zealand, and I didn’t really sort of sit out to go into loyalty.

It was something that my path took me on. And it wasn’t, you know, when I was, when I sort of started at Qantas, I was working directly with Qantas Frequent Flyer customers in my product and service development roles. So things like in flight trials, you know, whether that was a food and beverage menu development trial, service equipment, soft finishings in the air. I really, that was sort of my first exposure to frontline customer feedback and really understand parts of the customer journey that were critical to their experience. 

And that, that evolved into customer and CX strategy which those, and so I think that’s where my, my, my insights continued to feed in and to but it wasn’t really until the following company after Qantas SMA Solar Technology was really when my loyalty, my true loyalty journey started off with running their B2B loyalty program in Australia for solar installers across the markets, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific islands. So that’s when I really started getting more involved in the loyalty industry.

Carly: I think mentioning that specifically that you’ve come from a really customer focused part of the loyalty side of things as well, and bringing customer journey in that would probably resonate with so many people in this industry. Making sure and always addressing the customer needs when planning and building out a loyalty strategy. It’s so essential. 

Do you want to talk to us a little bit about how that led into, obviously, from your solar energy experience into the Air New Zealand? Program and how you started working through redeveloping that.

Monique: Sure. Well, after close to 10 years living in Australia came back home and wasn’t actually intending to go back into aviation. Actually, but ended up in New Zealand and worked with Hamish Rumbold, who was a complete visionary and leader in the loyalty space.

And so my role, I have a number of roles over the years. They’re always in the loyalty team, but the latest the most recent one was running and project managing the Airpoints program. Now, as I mentioned before when we relaunched the program and the consumer side of the program, we also relaunched our B2B Airpoints for Business program and also introduced an Airpoints for Schools program as well, which is more a philanthropic donation of Airpoint dollars with the airline matching.

So, so my role there was responsible for taking that program or programs to market upon launch and then really, evolving the engagement and customer communications. Including everything from our redemption offering, which was replatforming our reward store as well as introducing a new online retail store as well.

Carly: And you mentioned as well with. This, you’ve got your retail store and you took the coalition partners. How did you develop those? Talk to us a little bit about the huge number of retail coalition partners you brought on. 

Monique: Sure. So our commercial partnerships team they wish they would go in there, do the deal, so to speak of key partners in the coalition that we wanted to acquire. Those relationships would be developed, commissions would be agreed and then on the program and marketing side, which was my piece, we would work with the partners and work with the wider project and program team to bring that coalition to life by advertising and communications. So with the launch, there was a big brand launch to relaunch Airpoints. And then there was also a direct marketing and that was that evolved into an always on piece which was a huge piece of work for the digital markers at the time.

So it was a whole team working together on their particular pieces. And I think this is where the program had so much success is that across the entire team, and we’re only a small team, you know, by way of revenue every person knew what their part was to deliver. And obviously those partners, a key revenue stream for the program.

Carly: Absolutely. Now I have to call out the fact that this wasn’t a winning customer loyalty program. It was Loyalty Program of the Year 2018. Can you tell us a little bit about what was some of your favorite parts or from a personal experience as well? What did you really enjoy the most or what did you really get out of this?

Monique: Yeah, I think on a personal note when we, that was probably the one award that I really wanted to win for, you know, that to have the team when that award after so many, everyone knows how hard it is to relaunch and build a new commercial model, a new business. So we may, we were at The New Zealand Marketing Awards, that was the one that was sitting there hoping we would win. And I wasn’t supposed to do the acceptance speech. I mean, you know, my, my boss at the time was, but he unfortunately couldn’t be there due to illness, so I ended up doing the acceptance speech.

And that was definitely worth all the hard work and on behalf of the team, because we had some incredible partners we worked with, we had incredible advertising agencies, media agencies and other supporting departments across the airline as well. So, you know, it was a complete team effort.

But I’ll say the execution of sometimes, you know, I think it’s a balance. You’ve got to have the strategy there. And the strategy correct but if you, in terms of massive scale, you’ve got to be able to execute it well and then continue it into the year as well. So it’s that balance, but yeah, career highlight that one, a big night. That was a big night. 

Carly: I’m sure. I’m sure. And as, as it should be. Congratulations on that one. And you’re right. We it’s strategy first and foremost, but obviously the implementation, the rollout and then BAU, I mean, that can be forgotten as well, but it is absolutely fabulous to get a great new initiative up and off the ground. And then there’s the teams that still need to continue this moving forward as well. So it’s a really great approach from all of you. 

What I’d like to talk to you a little bit more about as well as you touched on earlier, the data driven approach and the fact that was brought into the program, that was part of the evolution. Now for all the data lovers that may be listening, can you talk to us a little bit about how that was used?

Monique: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I mean, we were a little bit ahead of our time, sort of reflecting back on that because while AI seems, you know, relatively new now, it actually has been a brown for a very, very long time. And so 10 years ago you know, adding New Zealand, we were using sort of traditional AI to implement things like next best action within the program. So across our marketing communications, we’re using internal data sets sch as, you know, customer preference and second and third party data to even add more insight.

And obviously since then, the AI models have become supercharged and sort of way more accessible to people. But and even more so now with the generative AI being a real game changer. But the exciting thing is that we, you know. We were delivering as fast as possible with the tech, you know, available at the time and, you know, identifying those, you know, in market customers and delivering personalized offers that really, you know, resonated with the customer needs or in.

So I think, I guess, I guess I sort of reflect back to, to, you know, some of the generative AI coming out now going. Oh, we were kind of doing that already it’s just really supercharged now and boosted the speed and efficiency and conversion. So yeah, our approach to data and some of the awards we’ve won around data strategy. And we did some pretty gnarly data engineering on a few things as well was probably before, before its time and that was full credit to the data analytics team that were part of our team. 

Carly: Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. And as you said, these days, it’s definitely a hot topic. Everyone is discussing the different types of data we can glean from loyalty programs, but also where is it going and how we can keep using this in the best possible way.

Before we talk more about that, let’s discuss a little bit about where you went from in New Zealand, you know, you’ve developed this award winning program. You’ve had some big wins here. And then from there, you moved into another major industry and developed another major loyalty program, proprietary product at Mercury Energy. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that program? 

Monique: Sure. So, so Mercury Energy is one of the, or was one of the top five energy gen tailors in New Zealand here. And it is actually the largest now, but at the time their loyalty program. Position was just a little bit confusing. There was, they were a member of their points the coalition they also had their own proprietary program sort of going on. There were two lottery currencies you know, sort of targeting different segments of their customer base. Some of the, you know, like what I call brilliant basics and foundations of loyalty program design.

Just you know, it was a bit missing. So I came in with the challenge of relooking at that entire proposition in the background where the company was also looking to acquire one of the retail books from a competitor which would make it the biggest retailer in the country and holding the largest market share. So there was a lot to, to, I guess, consider with you know, these new customers coming in and making sure they wouldn’t churn joining, you know, as Mercury acquired them. 

So, sit on a on a journey and we worked really closely with the team from Ellipsis. And so Tim and Dave and Simon, and completely redesigned what was best for Mercury and best for the business, which was standing up it’s proprietary program. And I thought what was really interesting at that is, is the process. You know, in terms of the process we went through and all the different options and, you know, with such a big capital investment and such a big complex decision with all the moving parts this did take time and sort of rightly so.

You know, but what we wanted to do was also incorporate some of the rewards and elements that the program already had. So, you know, rewarding people for the step challenges, i.e. physical going for a walk which completely aligned with the company’s values of being 100 percent renewable energy and generating from 100 percent renewable energy.

So taking those best of elements but also taking into account the you know, the new generation or next generation coming through. So not only, you know, consumers or new customers, but making sure that you know, the aging base the program was still relevant, relevant to them to engage with.

So, that was a, that was so a big relaunch of that program. And one of the key considerations or enablers was of course, was the tech and the platform of what we were going to use. So we ended up going with Antavo working with Andy and the team and you know, some of the considerations are of course, ability to flex, you know, with changing customer needs and wants and lifestyle but the ability to scale where we needed it because, you know, we were about to acquire hundreds of thousands of new customers as well. So, so that was a really exciting time. And again, you know, working with some incredible people and talent at Mercury to bring that to life.

Carly: And I really loved your term, the brilliant basics. So when you’ve entered a new space with a new team and a new company and had to identify, obviously, we’re going to evolve this program and you’ve got your brilliant basics. I love this term. 

How did you decide? And what was, talk to us a little bit about how do you, how would you decide which components to keep and which ones that won’t impact that turn with a new business acquisition?

If anyone hasn’t seen, I love the tone and the style of this program. It’s a very fun. It’s very light hearted. It takes a whole new view on an energy company. And as you said, keeping the fitness element to align with your renewable energy focus, but talk to us a little bit about how do you choose which pieces to keep, which places to maybe discard and evolve and what were the core favorites that you kept for your consumers?

Monique: Yeah. So, so we had an amazing customer research and insights team. And we tested a whole lot of you know, different rewards you know, new, old you know, some pretty out there to see how far we could stretch. But it was as through testing. 

Carly: Yeah, I love that.

Monique: Really, you know, across, across quite a few different segments, obviously really focusing and making sure that our most valuable customers were definitely part of that mix.

But the other program, part of the program design which we needed to really work out was tenure based rewards. So, so how do we reward customers for staying with us, staying longer with us? And the way to do that was through incentivizing through you know, how long I’ve been, how long I’ve been a customer of Mercury. And obviously the more it’s like a classic tiered structure as well, but keeping it as simple as possible. So it was, so it’s not confusing. 

Carly: Absolutely. And your free power days for. The length of time someone has stayed as a customer. I think it’s a really logical anniversary bonus. I mean, so many programs can bring in complimentary rewards and benefits, which are fabulous, but this is a really logical one to offer when this is your product. So free power days for 10 years is really great as well. 

Monique: Yeah, absolutely. And it sounds really, it sounds really obvious, you know, why do customers come to your organization or business for the first place? Well, they, want to get rewarded for the product or service you sell, right? Like so we absolutely dialed up our free power days, which was you know, one of the elements that already existed. It just needed to be brought in and amplified as part of a wider program. 

Carly: Yeah, absolutely. This is good. Well, it’s always the balancing act in loyalty. What are the rewards? What are the benefits? Is it more of your own product? Is it some complimentary addition? So there’s always a big discussion point there. And I think, as you said, the test and learn approach with your long term customers and your best customers, fabulous place to start. 

Can we talk a little bit about your career and loyalty? Some of your favorites, some of your favorite moments or any important lessons that you might have learned through developing some very big industry programs.

Monique: Sure. I think what, you know, what I’ve always loved is the psychology and models behind customer behavior. And, you know, one of the first teams I tracked down usually in an organization is the data scientists and data analytics teams, but particularly data scientists and, you know, they become just such a key part of your development and your work and bringing those guys, in early and it’d be part of the context for solving real problems for customers. Be that a product or service. 

The other thing that I’ve found is delivering efficiently. So what I love is being able to find, you know, not just the latest shiny new, you know, thing in, in terms of loyalty tech, but finding ways of delivering fast within your own team as well as for customers.

And I’ve always loved that, you know, being able to quantify that true value exchange of what loyalty programs offer and, you know, that can be anything from quality communications and obviously the feedback at all levels. But I think, you know, launch industry is so diverse and exciting and can be applied across, you know, multiple markets and industries. So it’s skills that you learn along the way. That, you know, you don’t have to be afraid to jump to jump industries to still be, you know, applicable and be able to add value to that organization. 

Carly: Yeah, absolutely. And on that as well, what kind of advice would you give if you were talking to somebody who is starting out, who is either more junior in their career or looking to switch over and change into loyalty, what sort of advice would you give someone starting out?

Monique: I’ve got a, yeah, I’ve got a few tips that, you know, certainly wish I knew I’m starting out, but the first one, I guess would be, you know, learn as much as you can from others. You know, seek out the subject matter experts, whether that’s within your own organization or, you know, globally, it’s very easy to access information these day. Those with more experience than you know, learn as much from people who you respect and learn the practical application as fast as you can. 

Carly: Yeah. That’s great advice. 

Monique: The other thing is put your hand up for everything. So, you know, starting out as your life stage, you know, sort of permits. You don’t have, you know, family commitments or restrictions around traveling and for weeks on end or months on end. Don’t be afraid to step out of your discipline and learn other parts of the business. So whether that’s something like frontline operations, customer operations, procurement, or even financial planning is really, really important as you progress.

I loved President Obama’s advice. He, you know, he’s a big advocate of learning how to get stuff done and I think, you know, starting out, I think that’s absolutely key. So, you know, who do you talk to? Who do you build relationships with as well as using, you know, tools to become as efficient as you can. So, you know, actually get stuff done and get get it done quickly. 

What one piece of advice I’d also give to those starting out in loyalty is that it’s really critical to understand what the revenue drivers are and what the leavers are of the business to, to be able to understand the overall business strategy and where the company is hitting in the next three to five years, or what does the company want to achieve? And then how your role actually ladders up to contribute to this which will give you a greater sense of purpose. If this is something that you believe in, which certainly helps you get out of bed every day to go to work being able to connect the dots up there. And that’s particularly even harder in large organizations. 

And I’d also suggest to ask questions don’t be afraid to ask questions, then ask more questions. And I remember receiving an answer, you know, for a question once that it was, the answer was, because, you know, I said, I think it was like why do we do it like that? And the answer was because we’ve always done it like that. And you know, at that moment, that’s probably a likely area that’s sort of ripe for, you know, some kind of process improvement. So I’d keep an ear out for those words. 

And then finally the 80-20 rule, so delivering fast and early. You know, deliver to 80% as opposed to spending the extra 20%, trying to perfect the last little bits, which is not worth the time. This one I felt, I found very difficult to learn in my career, you know, it’s more than a hundred percent, a hundred and ten percent. And I remember my leader at the time just saying no. You know, deliver to 80%. That’s good enough. It’s particularly on first versions, first drafts of things and also share early. So, you know, get it out, get it round for early feedback. So, that one was a, that was a bit of a light bulb moment. 

Carly: This is a huge amount of fabulous advice. I think for loyalty, definitely, but really any career path, because you’re exactly right. And there’s quite a few big statements from, you know, very successful people across the range of industries to talk about. If you wait to a hundred percent, you’ve delivered too late, you know, things like that. If you wait for perfect you’ve too late. So I think you’re exactly right. And really great advice as well. 

The fact that you’re also advocating, getting that experience and seeing how the frontline works really talks to your experience in customer journey as well, because to really understand that customer journey, you need to have been at some insight into how frontline is working. So, I’m gosh, I’ve got heaps of ideas, even just from listening to you right there. I hope everybody else does too. That’s huge amount of advice. And thank you for sharing your thoughts on this as well. 

In regards to success, what do you think makes a successful program and loyalty or a successful leader and loyalty?

Monique: Yes. So I think in terms of program success it really comes down to, you know, your definition of success. And I think very early on it’s so important to just sit, you know, agreed measures of, you know, what are we going to measure? How are we going to measure it? And then what does success look like on a, you know, case by case basis.

And I’ve always been a huge advocate of getting the balance right in terms of metrics. You know, I was taught that the balance between the commercial outcomes of the program, the customer outcomes of the program, and then the culture, sort of the third one, the culture team is the ultimate balance to have in terms of success.

And that sort of still resonates with me today. And it’s it’s very difficult to sustain if you’ve delivered on, you know, to without you know, the third or you know, a classic example is, you know, you get there on the commercials and the customer outcomes, but you completely burned out your people in terms of getting it across the line and then their ability to carry on with BAU. So, I think, you know, the importance of Having all of those balanced makes a successful program.

In terms of successful leader, and, you know, I love like quite a simple definition of that. And it’s probably quite personal as well. That I see success as a leader, really relating to mindset and I recall Simon Sinek describing it, you know, personal success, you know, definition of being at peace with the life you live and the decisions you’ve made. And I think any point in time, you know, to get out of bed and be at peace with, you know, your own, you know, definition of success is as well, but that’s like, you know, feeling more on the feeling and emotional side of that. But I really love that definition. 

So in terms of leaders and, you know, certainly leaders I have worked for and with and alongside, the balance between the IQ and the EQ is absolute paramount. And then that energy drive and clear vision of where the ship’s going and making sure everyone is on it, not, you know, in the water makes a really good successful leader.

Carly: Amazing. Amazing. I also like to understand a little bit when we talk about how to balance a business. So we’ve got the business customer and people balance and trying to get that right. If we then retrofit that across to the industry, where do you see best practice or room that we need to improve in the loyalty industry? Where are some areas that you see loyalty needs to address or maybe step it up a notch? 

Monique: Yeah, sure. Sure. So probably on the yeah, customer sort of value proposition side not, you’re not getting too complex or confusing with the customer journeys, whether those, you know, are online or offline and store or in a, in an online store environment. So making sure that, you know, those propositions are completely clear and not having too many conditions wrapped around and T’s and C’s that are 20 pages long and not in, you know, simple English either. So, you know, it takes a degree to try and just cipher them. And so, so the simplicity, you know, simplicity goes a long way.

And also, I think taking, you know, moments to reflect you know, overall program performance. And that value exchange and challenging yourself because, you know, once you’re sort of in working in the company you can have your rose, you know, rose tinted glasses on particularly on, you know, the acquisition front of why actually people would even bother, you know, joining your program and whether the value is still there.

And as we know with changing demographics, but certainly here in New Zealand with multi Pacifica and Asian populations increasing over the next few years you’ve got to constantly make sure that you know, programs and value propositions are, you know, resonating with the audiences that you were targeting.

The other hot topic, I guess, of room for improvement is around cyber security. You know, this is taken in different formats over the last few years. It’s obviously just increasing invisibility, particularly in banking, certainly over here it is. So, you know, sounds obvious, but avoiding, you know, customer data breaches at all costs.

You know, it should be, you know, constantly on the agenda to talk about level of cyber security you’ve got around your new technology the, you know, obviously that impacts to something like that can be huge on your brand, your company reputation, and you know, from a customer perspective decreases that trust that they can have and your long term impact across, you know, acquiring new customers.

So those probably are the two main, you know, sort of main areas that I would, you know, suggest focus, continue to focus on.

Carly: Absolutely. Yeah, it’s super important. I think we could all probably talk to programs we’ve seen that have been impacted. With cybersecurity breaches, and it’s one thing to ensure that’s working. Right. But then how do we communicate that to the customers and the members for some peace of mind for them at the same time, especially after the effect as well. 

What would you. Say you see happening in our industry, so where would you see the loyalty industry, especially across Asia Pacific in the next 5 to 10 years? Any big predictions?

Monique: Yeah, well, I’d hope there would be continued focus on ESG and how that you know, how loyalty programs and value propositions. And offerings can play a part in this. So ESG being an environmental social governance some of those are sort of non-financial factors that really impact long term profitability of an organization. And so, and I think water has got a huge part to play if not. 

Already, and some programs are doing this extremely well. So I would hope if, you know, at board level, if they’re not regularly talking about ESG matters, you know, the company’s going to get left behind. And I’d also add, you know, these sorts of matters and how they show up is not just for the chief sustainability officer at the company, you know, everyone can and should contribute to this conversation particularly those in customer roles. 

Also thinking about your actual teams. So, you know, next generation teams of sort of succession planning and skills and capabilities. So I think it’s never too early to start planning for succession across loyalty, you know, programs and the skills and different skills you may need in the future. Talked a little bit about, you know, cyber security being able to manage really complex crises, say cyber attacks evolving new models of leadership management. And any sort of expertise or capabilities needed and this should always be, you know, ongoing and planned. 

I know we’ve touched on AI we’ve already talked about this of how this will, you know, certainly make our work and loyalty and marketing and our life easier as employees overall, but obviously, as I mentioned, the cyber security aspect of that will need to be managed. 

I think in the next 5 years, and this is probably nothing new, but keeping an eye on costs, over the next five years. So, you know, with pressure on pricing and the type labor market in this part of the world and globally ongoing uncertainty continuing to, you know, streamline processes and driving that productivity within your teams and resources and across your program and also taking into account, you know, when will we need, if and when will we need you know, future platform upgrades as an example so, so managing you know, costs which are always, always visualize.

Carly: It’s always fun. The most fun part. Yes, absolutely. You did touch on planning for succession and how to work with your teams. I’d like to ask you a little bit about, and please talk to us a little bit about Global Women New Zealand. And uour experience here and tell us a little bit about it. 

Monique: Yeah, absolutely. So, Global Women New Zealand is founded, sorry, by the incredible Theresa Gattung, and it’s a not for profit organization which I joined last year. And the aim is really to drive diversity and leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand. And it’s been running for 10 years now. And it’s really there to increase like leadership through promotion and encouraging and facilitating the development of women. 

And so over my career, I’ve, you know, I’ve been a mentor to many of my, you know, team members over the years and as I’ve sort of progressed over the years, I really wanted to join an organization, a more structured sort of organization and then become a member and really be able to you know, make an impact in whatever, you know, whatever, however way I can. 

So, the Global Women has a goal of increasing New Zealand’s ethnic diversity represented across leadership in this country. And the organization is partnered with and also support some of New Zealand’s most ambitious organizations who are completely driven and committed to include increasing their DNI within their workplaces.

And, you know, the membership of this organization is pretty inspiring. These women who are members who have huge influence and impact across New Zealand in their roles as chair of boards or CEOs or senior executives across a range of industries and they really advocate and for diversity, equality and leadership. So that was something that I definitely wanted to be involved in. And it’s also run by an incredible management team here in New Zealand. 

So some of the things that global women do is as they run leadership programs. Which have absolutely catapulted, you know, the careers I think it’s about over 400 women to date have gone through those. They also partner with, they partner with organizations and chairs or CEOs of, you know, the major New Zealand businesses and thousands of people have attended Global Women events in New Zealand where they’ve got access to, you know, the latest research information and advice.

So it was, yeah, it was something I thought, yeah, absolutely want to get involved in and love, just absolutely love seeing, you know, women around, around the table and having a voice. 

And it takes me back to my very first role at Qantas when I was researching the role in the organization. Margaret Jackson was the chair of the Qantas group at the time and you know, I thought, wow that’s pretty inspiring that, you know, it was such a huge organization of 31,000 employees at the time. I thought that’s pretty cool to have a woman chair.

Carly: Absolutely.

Monique: Way back then. So, you know, it was something that’s always really. Reservated with me throughout my career and in being able to, you know, pay it back and pull others up. 

Carly: Awesome. And yeah, that’s something you should be totally proud of. And, you know, we’re really interested to watch the work as it continues from this organization. And yeah, congratulations. 

One thing, I’d like to chat to you a couple of final questions, you know, before we close out today as well, if we’re thinking life and loyalty., what do you know for sure? 

Monique: That’s a great, absolutely great question. Well, I’ll do, yeah, life. I would, yeah, I’ll do the not so easy one first. I would, I would say, you know, in life and never stop investing in yourself and by that, I mean, you know, that can be mean a number of things for a number of people, but, you know, for me investment of self to be a lifelong learner. And whether, you know, that’s academic study or upskilling yourself or continuously learning to improve your mindset, such as your motivation and positive thinking and things that are not in your sphere of control or influence. But yeah, I think that one is super, super important and, um, to just continue just recently over New Zealand summer which is, you know, December to Jan in this part of the world.

I recently set the chartered membership exam for the Institute of Directors in New Zealand. And, you know, so take, you know, take opportunities where you have some downtime over a break. And you’ve still got the energy to, you know, have a respite, but also keep your brain really active and challenge yourself to, to learn new things. And this can be, you know, again, as simple as you’re starting to dive into, you know, Chat GTP or, you know, giving you know, researching what the things is, you know, it doesn’t have to be. Oh, cool. 

In terms of loyalty, what I know I guess, you know, loyalty will continue to keep evolving as we all know across like the value exchange between a business and their customers. And I think to keep that real in depth understanding of changing generations and demographics, um, as they continue to grow and change and you’re offering to ensure that it’s absolutely solving a problem and making customers lives easier and giving them that incentive to, to stay full. Just continue to keep going in the next five years. 

Carly: Thank you so much. And for anyone listening, how would we connect with you, Monique? 

Monique: Sure. Well, probably by LinkedIn is probably the easiest. I would absolutely love to connect with anyone who has a particular interest in supporting women and indigenous communities and also those who are passionate about loyalty marketing and designing customer experiences.

And finally, I just wanted to say I wish you all the finalists good luck in the Australian Loyalty Association’s Asia Pacific Loyalty Awards coming up on 14th of March. I know there’s some really good entries in there. And finally, just want to challenge all the listeners out there to partake in a local event on International Women’s Day, which is March 8th. And the theme is to inspire inclusion. 

Carly: Oh, thank you so much, Monique. You, it’s been so lovely to chat. And I think everything you’ve brought to the table today around, you know, customer focus and change of demographics, where we’re going in the future, plus the amazing work you’re doing at the moment.

Look, let’s watch this space and thank you so much again once for your time, have a fabulous day. Thank you, Monique. 

Monique: Thank you, Carly.

Paula: The Australian Loyalty Association is proud to bring you the Asia Pacific Loyalty Awards to celebrate excellence, innovation and best practice in the thriving loyalty industry across the region. Tickets are now available for the Awards Gala event taking place on the 14th of March, 2024 at The Glass House, Melbourne, Australia.

Book your tickets or table at australialoyaltyassociation.com.

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