Mena Antonio, Caritas Aotearoa The impressive experience of New Zealand’s new CEO is perfect for her to lead the Catholic Social Justice Agency.
She has worked for over 20 years in and with boards and management teams, combining leadership in strategy, risk management, legal and financial execution and people management here and in the UK.
Of Samoan and Tokela descent, Antonio is the daughter of the first generation of immigrants in New Zealand.
She learned to live and develop in an intercultural world from an early age.
This is a world that a graduate of Victoria University, a former soldier and mother took with both hands and formed a career.
In her professional life, Mena Antonio’s clients have been the academic and corporate worlds, the public and private sectors, public and voluntary spaces.
She says this diversity has been “challenging”, but she has also given her valuable ideas that she uses in her leadership and coaching programs, “to help others be the best”.
Caritas chairman Keith Wedlock says the board is very pleased that Antonio headed New Zealand’s Caritas Aatearoa, replacing Juliana Hickey, who has worked for 10 years.
“Mina has a good balance of social entrepreneurship and social justice skills in managerial and operational roles.
“The mix of professional skills she brings to this role is complemented by a practical commitment to community, justice and peace.
“The board is confident that they have found someone capable of leading … Caritas at the next stage of its journey and responding in full to Catholic social teaching.”
One of the many benefits of Antonio’s unique cultural heritage is the opportunity to deepen ties with partners from Oceania.
She experienced this quite recently on recent Caritas assignments in Samoa and Fiji.
“One memorable visit from Caritas Samoa was the Maamoa Theological College, where my grandfather from Takula Atoll Nukunonu was trained as a catechist.
“My late father, Nicolae Palia, was for years the chief catechist in the parish of the Holy Family in Porirua. For me, this role continues to call my parents and their parents to them to be of service to the people we are called to serve. ”
Antonio strongly supports the values of the community and strives to live in accordance with the principles of Catholic social teaching.
Antonio of Vairarapa founded a charity in Masterton that brings together leaders and teenage parents through a mentoring program aimed at creating equal and diverse communities.
“The participation of the voices of women and children is crucial for making the right decisions to ensure that all people prosper. I want to improve this work at Caritas, ”she says.
News category: New Zealand.