We catch up with Anita Potgieter
We caught up with Anita Potgieter, Manager of Global Facilities and Ways of Working at Fonterra. Anita told us about what it’s like to move to a completely different country and let us in on how she maintains balance in her life.
Tell us about yourself and what you do in the waterfront.
I’m a South African born Kiwi who works for Fonterra co-operative group as the Manager of Global Facilities and Ways of Working. In this role I am responsible for managing Fonterra’s facilities operations at office sites globally as well as across the New Zealand Farm Source retail network and Residential houses. It’s a busy role with lots of stakeholder interactions as the role supports the wider Fonterra organization by delivering high quality facilities management and leading Fonterra’s workplace strategy.
An important focus for us is promoting sustainability in everything we do. As such, I am proud to represent Fonterra on the Wynyard Quarter Transport Management Association (WQTMA) as elected chair. The WQTMA is the first independent business led transport management association in NZ. We strive to be the voice of Wynyard Quarter when it comes to creating a thriving environment for business and community and delivering targeted transport initiatives.
The power of intention – How did you design your life and career path? Or did it evolve?
It makes me smile when asked about my life and career planning to date as the only plan has ever been to be a lifelong learner and make a positive impact where I can. People are my passion, and since I started my career as a high school teacher back in South Africa, I’ve always sought strong people-focussed opportunities. With the universe smiling down on me, I have found these in various organisations within finance, procurement and facilities.
Did your job exist when you were at school?
I’m sure most of the elements and tasks associated with my role existed within various other roles, but the rapid development in technology has brought about significant change in how, where and when we work and utilise our work spaces. Thus the facilities and workplace industries look completely different today.
What are some of the unique experiences/greatest successes you’ve had in this role?
Being part of the project team that successfully delivered Fonterra’s new Global Head Office in the Wynyard Quarter, including design, build, fit out and people moves was very special and rewarding.
Also, as mentioned previously, being part of the WQTMA is a unique experience and a great opportunity to work with our Wynyard Quarter neighbours, Panuku and Auckland Transport to create an efficient, networked and highly connected transport system that support a diverse and vibrant community.
How do you maintain balance in your life? Work, family, social?
It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve learnt through the years to build and cultivate personal tools to help me bring back the balance when I find myself slightly out of whack. They are as simple as speaking up, asking for help and taking deep breaths!
Embrace the lessons – What challenges have you experienced that have shaped you as a person the most?
One of the biggest challenges that has also been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life was moving to NZ twelve years ago. It has taught me so much about patience, resilience, diversity and acceptance.
Through the loss of various loved ones I have also learnt to embrace life with gratitude and kindness. We just don’t know what other people are experiencing and therefore should be kind to all.
Shero’s & Hero’s – Who are your role models & why?
There’s been a few throughout my life, but at the moment I would have to say Brene Brown. Her research on shame, vulnerability and leadership makes’ being human’ a little easier every day.
What advice would you give your teenage self?
I would tell her to not sweat the small stuff or take on negativity as a personal insult. Harsh criticism is more often about the person criticising than about you. Just be the best version of you.
How do you try to encourage/empower the women in your life to achieve to their full potential?
Whether it’s my team members, my daughters-in-law or my young nieces, my encouragement is through living authentically, role modelling the values of courage and gratitude and always being available for a mentoring conversation, informal chat or sometimes just a warm ‘girl-hug’.
What’s your favourite place on the waterfront / thing to do / about the waterfront?
I have to say my commute. Catching the ferry into the city means I get to walk along the waterfront twice a day, enjoying all the sights and sounds. In the mornings it’s beautiful and fresh - with joggers, dog walkers and other commuters about. And the vibrancy of the social scene in the early evening is always a pleasure to experience.