5 Minutes With… Guergana Guermanoff – New Zealand’s Consul General

In our 5 Minutes With… series, we’re speaking to remarkable women about their career highlights, challenges, who they admire and advice they have for other women. 

In this edition of 5 Minutes With…, we’re featuring Guergana Guermanoff, the Consul-General, New Zealand Consulate Shanghai. We were fortunate to host her at Navigating Borders: Women on the International Stage event on October 19. Read on!

Guergana Guermanoff

Guergana Guermanoff

My biggest career hurdle was: I left government and went to work for an advisory firm, which was working with a hedge fund in Australia. That was very challenging, because I was working in a different time zone from everyone else, and in a very stressful environment. But I survived two years there, and had a lot of fun. But making yourself part of that culture and that work ethic was very difficult.

My advice to young female professional is: I have three pieces of advice! 1. Back yourself up. 2. Be yourself 3. Speak up!

My career highlight was: There have been so many! This job is one of them, it was a bucket list job so I was very pleased to get it. But a real highlight was in my previous job, when I represented the New Zealand education system in Beijing and it was a reputation recovery job. Getting to the end of that work and seeing New Zealand be acknowledged as a quality education partner in this market was truly amazing and satisfying.

What I like most about my current job is: That I’m the boss! Running the office is challenging and shaping the work that we do, the direction we take, is very fantastic.

The career woman I admire is: Coming from New Zealand, I admire Helen Clark. She was a former Prime Minister, our first elected female prime minister, who then went on to become the Director of the United Nations Development Program, and she most recently led a really amazing campaign to become the next Secretary General. Obviously she wasn’t selected, but she has done so much to bring New Zealand diplomacy and female issues to the international stage. She is someone who has set herself challenge after challenge and has demonstrated that you can actually do whatever you put your mind to.

I am passionate about: Making a difference. I really like to be involve in conversations and work that makes a difference, whether it be to people that I work and live with or to the country that I represent. I’m passionate about women’s issues because I think it’s one of the most important issues that we’re facing right now. We need diversity in our world, our leadership, our thinking. Women’s issues are quite central to that. I’m passionate about international affairs, which is why I do the job I do.

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