Earlier this year, I made one of those ‘change job’ decisions and gave up my role as the Domain Name Commissioner to come onboard as Netsafe’s CEO. 

Becoming Netsafe’s CEO means getting to know more people and being out and about in the community much more.

At Netsafe I’ve already had the opportunity to make a difference to online harm minimisation by:

• launching the Aotearoa Code of Practice for Online Safety and Harms, 

• hosting Netsafety Week and

• carving out a refreshed focus for the future – Supporting People in Aotearoa to Create Safe and Positive Online Spaces. 

Coming into the organisation, I knew with technology continuing to become more prominent that Netsafe’s work was only going to grow. It was important to hit the ground running because in this sector, change happens unexpectedly and opportunities present when they just come. 

Seeing the need for us to be in more conversations around policy work has been important. I’ve enjoyed the thinking and the conversations been having about how to potentially shape partnerships and approaches to online safety education for youth, Māori and marginalised and vulnerable communities. Thanks to those who have reached out with their ideas.

Another priority for me was to attract, motivate and retain a top rate team. We have recently filled two new positions on our Senior Leadership team with Leanne Ross as our first Chief Customer Officer and Michael des Tombe as Chief Legal Advisor. 

It was important to bring new voices to the leadership table to better reach New Zealanders. I’m confident the new team will cement Netsafe as the first agency Kiwi’s turn to for help when navigating online spaces. 

I’ve also moved fairly quickly to make changes to our customer services operations area including the arrival of our first digital employee Kora who will respond to questions made through our website 24/7 and embraced cloud based AI contact centre software. 

I also got the nod from staff that joining the global 4 day work week pilot for six months was something that were up for. We’ve formulated a plan around that and listening to one another as we fine tune to balance business need and staff wellbeing.  

Across the motu, more and more businesses have started to adopt work anywhere, any time, any way models. We’re experimenting too with having a main office in Auckland butwith teams and zoom, employees are given the freedom to work from home. It’s seen our presence grow to Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and the Hawkes Bay. 

We have some exciting projects coming up over the next 18 months including: 

• Launching our micro learning education offerings in February in time for the new school year  

• Multiplying our efforts to build a world class online safety data, analytics and insights capability and

• Expanding our seven day a week online safety operations centre into holistic services.

At just over 100 days in, there’s lots more people to meet and things to learn. Overall, it’s great to be in an organisation where we are visible in the community and our main focus is delivery of services that matter to the people in New Zealand.