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New NZDIA Executive Director: Jennie Vickers

Line of Defence Magazine, Winter 2017

Jennie Vickers, NZDIA Exec DirectorJennie Vickers, NZDIA Exec Director

Jennie Vickers has worked with contracts and the law since starting out as a lawyer in mergers and acquisitions in London. Her UK career spanned stints as a corporate lawyer in firms such as Slaughter & May, and as an in-house lawyer for EMI Music and a US software company in sales and distribution contracts, intellectual property and M&A, and then a chemical pharmaceutical company.

Moving to New Zealand in 1997, she took with her a temp contract with a satellite set-top box company, which later came into good use when she participated in the Sky TV IPO, as a lawyer at Chapman Tripp. There, she was seconded to work on the split up of ECNZ into Meridian, Genesis Energy and Mighty River Power. “That was my first interface with Wellington, government and policy”, she told Line of Defence.

It was after taking escape following the sale of her then employer United Networks to Vector that Jennie set up her own consulting business, delivering corporate training in mind mapping and memory skills. Ten years later, she was ANZ Director for the International Association of Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM) and delivering Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) training to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

As result of the Rizzo Review the ADF’s maritime component was ahead of the game in terms of how to rethink managing relationships with suppliers. IACCM workshops were an integral part of repairing dysfunctional relationships and bringing defence and suppliers together, turning outcomes around in areas such as the Guided Missile Frigate Systems Program Office (FFGSPO).

“One of the IACCM principles is that contracts should be a framework for business operations… they are not meant to be a legal weapon,” said Jennie. “That’s been my philosophy.”

She sees contracts as playing a role in supporting good outcomes and the sorts of behaviours that make suppliers and customers work well together. “When you deliver evidence to people of the benefits they will personally get on all sorts of level from changing their behaviour, they will change their behaviour.”

“The reality is the vast majority of people go to work to do a good job, and not get in the way. As trust grows you can have fewer rules and more techniques in place to support that with clear outcomes,” she said. “Tangible economic benefits are derived by everybody if there is that outcomes focus and you let people go on and deliver what they’re supposed to deliver.”

She is impressed with the initiatives in place in New Zealand to slim down the rule book to simplify procurement rules and get better outcomes, although notes that there has been some hanging on to the old rule book.


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“Government has to get value for money, and industry has to get value for delivery. We need industry to recognise where they can do things differently to deliver better outcomes for defence, and Defence needs to work out how it can lighten up so that industry can deliver better outcomes. It’s two-way.”

“My vision for NZDIA is that every business who supplies or who wants to supply Defence in New Zealand see the Association as part of their toolkit of trust building and influencing skills.”

She sees the NZDIA as providing the safe environment for industry and Defence to learn from each other and build the levels of trust to help each other, and that early engagement is a critical part of that trust building and supplier-customer experience.

“Defence needs the outsights of what’s going on in the world so that as they make their capability decisions they really genuinely understand what’s out there from having built trusting relationships with industry who then share their ideas with them in an environment in which they know that trust will be honoured. Industry needs as much access they can get to understand the user requirements so they can steer their economic activity in the right direction.”


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