Raewynne Pearson

The Chamber of Commerce has been catching up with each of the winners from the recent Waikato Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, supported by Foster Construction Group, to find out what they did to stand out from the crowd. This week's Winners’ Insight is with Raewynne Pearson, laboratory manager at SVS Laboratories, winner of the 2021 Emerging Leader award.

Of all the Business Awards, the winner of the Emerging Leader award is perhaps one of the most exciting to follow. It is one of the stepping stones many inspirational leaders in the Waikato take on their path of professional development. Past recipients consistently go on to do great things in the Waikato community, and 2021 winner Raewynne Pearson will undoubtedly be no different. 
Raewynne is the laboratory manager at SVS Laboratories in Hamilton and takes great pride in the work she and her team do to provide veterinary diagnostics for practices throughout New Zealand. Under her leadership, SVS Laboratories has quickly established a reputation for excellence in their industry. 
“I started with SVS nearly seven years ago and originally came on board to help build the Waikato laboratory I manage today. Richard Campbell, our CEO, and John Elstob, Owner/Director gave me full reign to build the lab to a world-class standard and the ability to pick our select team of industry professionals. It was a great position to be in, with a lot of trust and freedom to do the job. I’m forever grateful John was willing to put so much faith in someone he didn’t know that well,” said Raewynne. 
The faith and support SVS have shown in Raewynne has paid off, and the company continues to encourage Raewynne to push the boundaries of her professional career. 
“Once the lab was up and running, I began to feel I needed to expand my knowledge of how to run a business effectively. I asked the SVS senior leadership team if they would support me to study an MBA at Massey University, and they agreed without hesitation.
“If I’d known how my role would evolve with SVS when I started, I honestly would have been a bit scared. Thankfully SVS has been incredibly supportive, and our team here has just made it the easiest thing in the world for me to grow into my position.”  

As a self-described introvert, it could have been challenging for Raewynne to step into a leadership role, responsible for a team of 20-25. However, Raewynne’s commitment to personal growth saw her study psychology at university and gain the necessary skills to connect and communicate with various personality types.

“Every day I make sure to check in with all of the staff and make sure everyone is clear on their role. Despite being an introvert, I make sure to be friendly and approachable to everyone whenever they may need a chat. My value proposition for the team is that we are all one big family and everyone is as valuable as the next,” said Raewynne.
Transparency and honesty are two key values of the SVS team, values that Raewynne has ensured are a core part of the organisation's culture. A pragmatist, Raewynne knows that everyone makes mistakes, and she has instilled a sense of accountability in her team that has them comfortable owning up to errors before they can impact the client. 
“I think it’s crucial to be fully transparent with all levels of the business. From a management side, letting my team know exactly what state the company is in gives them confidence in our work and the security they will be looked after. From my team's perspective, they all know it is okay to admit mistakes, and they can be honest with any questions or concerns they have for myself and the rest of the leadership team,” said Raewynne. 
Winning any award at the Waikato Business Awards is a massive accomplishment. However, to win an individual prize such as the Emerging Leader award is a personal milestone that winners reflect on with pride. 
“Honestly, no one was more surprised than me that I won this award. Going through this process was such an incredible experience, one that I would have appreciated even without winning the award. I was nominated by our CEO Richard Campbell and seeing all the supportive words from Richard and our team included in my nomination was humbling,” said Raewynne. 
The road to becoming a successful leader is not a solitary one. Raewynne gives credit to a long list of leaders that have inspired her and shaped her into the award-winning leader she is today. 
“I could never list all the people who have helped me get to where I am today. There are simply too many. I want to thank our CEO Richard Campbell, who is one of those people who believe in you before you believe in yourself, director John Elstob for his continued support and guidance, and Tim Adam. Tim is my assistant manager, my main man on the ground and someone who this wouldn’t be possible without,” said Raewynne. 
For any budding manager embarking on the beginning of their leadership journey, Raewynne has one piece of advice: focus on your people, not your numbers.
“I think it’s too easy to get caught up in all the financial numbers and lose track of what’s important. If you focus on your team and make sure they’re happy, they’re clear on what’s expected of them, and they feel valued and appreciated, the numbers will look after themselves. Never get complacent about giving credit to your team. It’s important to continually give positive feedback, even to the biggest superstars on your team,” said Raewynne. 
The future is bright for Raewynne. With her extensive experience and newfound fame amongst the Waikato business community, she could have her pick of roles. However, the trust and faith SVS have shown in her abilities has Raewynne firmly dedicated to the organisation and committed to growing within the company.
“I’ve been very fortunate that no one has put a ceiling on how far I can go with SVS, which is a great privilege and a great challenge. Since winning the award, we’ve started creating a new role in the company that will have a wider scope and involve helping SVS continue to grow throughout the country. I couldn’t be more excited for the future.”


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