Our Stories: Rebecca Page

Written by Tracy Goodall.

The first buds of Rebecca Page’s entrepreneurial spirit sprouted when at 10 years old she would put on performances at home and sell tickets around the neighbourhood at 50 cents a pop.Rebecca Page small

With that kind of intrepid approach, it’s hardly surprising that today, three decades later, she has a team of six fulltime staff and a burgeoning online business selling online patterns around the globe.

Online sewing patterns? You may be forgiven for thinking that sounds like an obscure or niche sector but in fact, as part of the sewing sector with an annual value of USD 50 billion, it is anything but. However, the path Rebecca took to marrying her commercial bent with what she previously had considered a mere hobby, was a winding one.
Rebecca set up her first business at age 19 whilst at Auckland University when she noticed queues of people wanting to get their assignments typed and spotted an opportunity. She didn’t actually own a computer so went out and purchased one, thus chalking up her first business expense. She put up a sign offering her services for typing up assignments, which she squeezed in between classes and in so doing, paid her way through university.

Our Stories: Melissa Roberts

Written by Bronwyn Huband.

As Kiwis we have a certain ridiculousness about us – you just have to look at some of what we report on in the news. What other country running a Penguin of the Year Competition would make international news?Melissa Roberts

Melissa Roberts reckons it’s something we need to make the most of, especially in the UK office environment. “It’s nice to accept that we are a little odd, but it’s about making it work to your advantage. People find it quite endearing.”

As well as being able to keep her colleagues in the television and advertising production industry amused, Melissa is also one of our invaluable volunteers working on the events side. She helped pull together our amazing birthday event earlier this year, and believes events and production are fairly similar – “it’s often just herding cats.”

And it sounds as though she’s always been good at that. Growing up back home in Auckland, she spent her free time writing scripts for her younger sister to (often begrudgingly) perform while she recorded them on the family’s old VHS camera.

Our Stories: Jacqui Gilbert

Written by Emma Keeling.

What could be simpler than designing a handbag? Any six year-old with a few felt pens could do it. But designing the perfect boardroom handbag that doubles as a backpack, using the finest leather, made by the best craftsmen that catches the eye of the world’s fashion media? Ahhhh, now that takes creativity, innovation and one determined Kiwi, as it turns out.Jacqui Gilbert

To understand how Jacqui Gilbert operates, you only have to listen to her reason for leaving Telecom in her 20’s. “It didn’t capture my imagination and I love working for things that make me dream.” She finishes this sentence with what sounds like a self-conscious laugh but it doesn’t sound silly to me and it explains a life lived with passion and curiosity.

A Wellingtonian, who majored in psychology and political science at Canterbury University, Jacqui worked for a few years but “I’d always wanted to do an MBA somewhere because I really wanted to have the chance to see how I stood against the rest of the world.” She was drawn to Cambridge in England because...you guessed it, “I loved the innovation and the history.” That was 2013 when she was 31.

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