Katherine Gilligan reflects on 18 years at the College

19 June 2019

Last month, Katherine Gilligan (one of the College’s longest serving staff members) was recognised for her 18 years of service by Interim Chief Executive, Peter Tynan, who recently introduced long-service awards. 

Katherine wasn’t expecting to be presented with an award during our regular staff meeting, and she says “the award was a great surprise.”

If you’ve ever visited the College offices in Wellington, you may have seen Katherine’s friendly face at reception where she’s the first point of contact for members and visitors. 

Katherine started working at the College in 2001 and says the time has gone very fast.
“It certainly doesn’t feel like 18 years…I was hired as the 25th staff member to support the 3000-member organisation. We’ve got over 5000 members now, so I’ve seen the College grow a lot over the years.”  Katherine has kept some treasures from when she first started at the College, including the original description of the College emblem and branding which she keeps safely in her cupboard in a plastic sleeve.

“Members sometimes ask where the owl in our emblem came from, so it’s nice to be able to show them the meaning behind it.”

When Katherine first started at the College, one thing that stood out to her was how friendly the staff were.

“I was overwhelmed by how friendly everyone was - I was happy to be working here and I still am.”

A couple of highlights for Katherine are interacting with members and visitors to the College, along with the new office. 
“I enjoy talking to different people, mainly on the phone, but it’s good to put faces to names when they come into the offices…I’ve met so many people while working here. “I also love our new office space which we moved to in 2015. It’s a really nice place to work with lots of light and lovely views.”

When presented with her award, staff members shared some nice comments about Katherine, particularly about how kind and friendly she was – some even joked about how no one ever beat her into the office in the morning. She’s always the first one in.

Richard Tankersley, Principal Advisor Māori said “when I came in for my interview last year, I remember you being so friendly and welcoming, and you immediately made me feel at ease. I left the interview knowing that I wanted to work at the College, and you were a part of that.”

Katherine’s manager, Tina-Mareta Nation said “It’s hard to be succinct when describing such an asset to the College. However, Katherine is the smiling face of the College - reliable, diligent and proactive.”

After Katherine accepted the award, Tina announced that Katherine had been promoted from Receptionist to Office Manager and she received a big round of applause from College staff. 

Full list of long service awards 

Six other staff members were also rewarded for their service to the College: 

Five-year service awards
Louise Abolins, Group Secretary
Margaret Needham, Vocational Registration Advisor
Veronica Schofield, Finance Administrator 

Ten-year service award
Frances Townsend, Senior Policy Advisor

Fifteen-year service awards
Katherine Gilligan, Office Manager
Jane Dellabarca, Senior Finance Administrator
Robyn Atwood, Graphic Designer and Editor