The National Society of Leadership and Success
Building leaders who make a better world

Society Member Spotlight: Jennifer Guzzardi – “Global Leader Scholarship” Recipient (Part 2)

By B. Pasapane on Mar/21/2016


Congratulations to Global Leader Scholarship recipient Jennifer Guzzardi, from the Society chapter at Marist College.

Jennifer Guzzardi became an executive board member for her chapter at Marist College in her junior year. Through her membership with the Society and her executive board position, Jennifer not only gained the confidence to talk about leadership, but also found a new found passion for restorative justice. The term “restorative justice” has emerged sporadically in the media as an alternative approach to the traditional methods of crime and punishment. This model involves bringing the victim, offender, and any necessary parties together to talk about the crime and what can be done to achieve future success.
Two weeks ago we shared part one of Jennifer’s journey and progress abroad as a “Global Leader” who is making a better world. Today we are happy to share part two. Enjoy!
Click here to read Part One.

Celebrations and Cultural Awareness
By: Jennifer Guzzardi
Festivities and long weekends! The past two weekends here in New Zealand have been filled with celebrations. The first, Auckland Anniversary Day, was on February 1, 2016. Surprisingly, the holiday does not commemorate the birth of Auckland, but it does signify and celebrate the largest city in New Zealand.
The Auckland Harbor was packed with people during the celebratory weekend. There were rides, games, pop-up markets, handcrafts, and traditional Maori song and dance acts. Oh, and food, lots of food. Food trucks filled with the most delicious sweets. Did I mention that there were ice cream sundaes in fresh pineapple bowls?
My favorite experience was not the food, however. I took a ride on a “waka,” a traditional Maori boat. We cruised around the harbor for an hour, with a beautiful view of Auckland in the backdrop while learning about the history of the “waka.” It was my first introduction to Maori culture.
The second holiday was Waitangi Day on February 8th. Depending on who you ask, it is either a day of relaxation, celebration or protest. The holiday itself brings to life the difficult relationship between “white New Zealanders” and Maori. In the days prior to the event, the Prime Minister was both disinvited and invited to the event by Maori leaders.  
The day commemorates the Treaty of Waitangi, signed on February 6th, 1840 by members of the British Crown and Maori chiefs.  There are two versions of the treaty which differ significantly due to language and interpretation. The British believe the treaty gave them sovereignty of the land, while the Maori believe the treaty gave the Queen governing rights, with the ability for Maori to manage their own affairs.
There were multiple celebrations and activities scheduled for the weekend. I was planning on attending one of the largest outdoor events, similar to the one on Auckland Anniversary Day. I was looking forward to learning more about the history of the Maori culture. But I was a no-show, because on the day of the event, it rained. And rained. And rained some more.
I took the day as a learning experience. I went to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, spending most of my time in the Maori exhibits. I learned about some of the tools, sculptures, boats, homes, and art that are present within their culture. I had my first introduction to the “haka,” a traditional dance used on the battlefield to signify strength and unity. Movements include stomping of the feet, slapping of the body, widening of the eyes, and sticking out of the tongue. While it can be quite scary at first glance, it is not used as an act of intimidation and instead, often to welcome others.
So, how does this relate to the Society? Well, let me explain. In many of the broadcasts that I have attended, the speakers who are in the business realm talk about knowing and understanding one’s audience. In order to be successful, you must know who you are targeting in order to sell your product.
However, in the public sector you are not selling a product, per se, but instead a service. Through my internships, I have learned that there is little consideration or adaptability within government agencies to accommodate the varying cultures of people.
But shouldn’t those in the public sector be responsible for knowing their target audience as well? I would like to think that some already do. Yet, I’m not entirely convinced they all do.
To me, the festivities have shown the importance of being aware…of knowing the practices and cultures of the people who I’ll encounter throughout my internship here in New Zealand. By understanding cultural differences, we can potentially prevent years and years of tension and hatred.