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Ziena
Jalil

A changemaker and former diplomat, focused on equity and opportunity to build a prosperous Aotearoa

Be the change you want to see.
Profile

Ziena Jalil doesn’t believe in boxes and is hard to put into one.

With a career ranging from diplomat to business leader to entrepreneur across New Zealand and Asia, Ziena draws on a rich experience of many worlds to bring equity and opportunity to those with diverse cultures, abilities and experiences.

A staunch advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, Ziena regularly speaks and writes about diversity-related issues, including publishing internationally in the book Workforce Diversity: Global Perspectives.

She is a keynote speaker, facilitator, MC and commentator on topics as diverse as economic development, international and vocational education, Asia business, leadership, crisis management, country branding, and politics.

As a young(ish) Kiwi Fiji Indian woman, Ziena identifies as much with Asia as she does with the Pacific. She assumed leadership roles from a remarkably young age, frequently the first in her demographic to be appointed to these positions.

She has helped some of New Zealand’s largest businesses build their reputation and revenue, advised Ministers, and supported the growth of Maori and Pacific young people in professional careers.
Ziena consults on strategy and stakeholder engagement, and is a board member of Manukau Institute of Technology, Unitec, Asia New Zealand Foundation, DNA Design, and the Cancer Society Auckland Northland. In 2022, Ziena was appointed to the board of Education New Zealand, an honour that she is delighted to take on to share her wealth of knowledge.

A New Zealand Women of Influence awards finalist, she was also recognised by Campaign Asia Pacific as part of its 2020 Women to Watch, a group of 40 outstanding women in the Asia Pacific.
Ziena has also received several international awards for her work promoting New Zealand trade and education in Asia, while in the roles of Regional Director (South & South East Asia) for Education New Zealand, New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Singapore, and Head of North Asia Marketing and Communications for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Ziena holds a Master of Arts (First Class Hons) in International Relations and Politics, a Bachelor of Communication Studies, and a Diploma of International Trade. She is a member of Global Women, the New Zealand Institute of Directors, Superdiverse Women, New Zealand Asian Leaders and Asia 21.

Expertise
Talking Points

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Moving beyond reporting diversity, to fostering equity and inclusion. Ziena helps organisations benefit from the “why” of diversity through practical “hows”.

Leadership

Ziena shares her own experiences of leading diverse teams across multiple timezones, in an authentic and empowering way.

Governance

Ziena’s focus is on demystifying governance to inspire a new generation of directors, demonstrating that this can be an accessible and rewarding career path for people of diverse backgrounds, age, abilities and experiences.

MC and Facilitation

Ziena is an experienced and gifted MC and Faciliator. She is particularly well placed to host events and facilitate conversations on the following themes:
- Diversity, equity and inclusion
- Leadership and governance
- Economic development, including regional development
- Education - vocational, international
- Future of work
- International relations
- Asia business
- Politics
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