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Leader confident in bounce-back

Leanne Southey. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Recognition well deserved for outstanding lass

Lisa Urbani

For Leanne Southey, the key to managing her many important roles is “time management, a great team, and her supportive husband and family”.

Not one to let the grass grow under her feet, not only is she a chartered accountant and director of accounting firm Southey Sayer, but she is also the chairwoman of the Masterton Trust Lands Trust – the first woman to hold the position – and chairwoman of the audit and risk committee at Wairarapa District Health Board.

Leanne says she really enjoys accounting and being able to help her clients, and she also likes to be involved in the Wairarapa community.

“Because it’s small, everyone knows each other – as you are walking around you can meet people like the local mayor – it helps to get things done.”

Growing up rurally, her farming background is an advantage in dealing with many of her clients who are involved in agricultural pursuits.

She attended Wairarapa College, and she is based in Masterton where her two children grew up.

After the completion of her Bachelor of Business Studies degree in 1985 (Massey University), she spent several years with an international accountancy practice, before joining her current practice in 1989, rising through the ranks to make partner in 2002.

As a leader, she tries to “lead from the front and delegate, trusting people to take responsibility for themselves and their actions.”

Regarding MTLT, she is hopeful that the economic impact of covid-19 will not put too big a dent in commercial property prices, but it is of concern.

However she has faith in the resilience of locals who are entrepreneurial and innovative.

Now that many people have found working from home is possible, they might be attracted to our region, and she believes that Wairarapa is also well placed for travel.

Not so well publicised is the fact that for the past 20 years, she has also acted as a trustee for the Wairarapa Community Health Trust, and she is proud of the work they have carried out in the health sector by means of funding and purchasing of medical equipment.

Originally an initiative of Rotary, they have been able to provide Wairarapa Hospital with a $110,000 image intensifier, give them IV pumps worth $2600, and present Alzheimers Wairarapa $25,000 towards their programmes, and $5000 for a new van.

They have also covered costs for a courtyard at the rehabilitation ward ($5000) and furniture for Taku Waihi ($5230), both at Wairarapa Hospital.

These are made possible by charitable donations and bequests, and they have also contributed towards the funding of ambulances in the past.

As a leader in her community, a great honour was bestowed on her by her peers in 2018, when she was given Fellowship to the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

This was to recognise members who have made outstanding contributions to the accounting profession and the community, and for this resident of Wairarapa, it is richly deserved.

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