Built To Give Back

5-mins with Selwyn Cook

5mins with_Selwyn Cook

What gets you up in the morning?

I’m a morning person so I’m happy to get up. It’s the other end of the day that I begin to struggle.

What keeps you awake at night?

It’s the simple things; or the things that’re close to home that keep me awake. I worry about things like crime. I worry about my family. I am always thinking about the personal well being of my employees.

Tell us about your favourite place in NZ

I am happy to be anywhere in New Zealand if I am with my family.

What’s your signature meal?

Lamb rack with a sticky mint glaze. I love cooking for my family and friends and when the children come to visit, they always request the lamb rack. I was recently given an Annabel Langbein book and am keen to test some of those recipes.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would share what my father told me: Be a good person. You can be anything you want in life and do what makes you happy, but values and principles are important. I gave this advice to my own children and I think there is nothing more important in life than being good and kind. 

The experience I had when I was younger also helped shape me – when I was 17 and lived with a family in LA and expected Disneyland and such; when actually it was more like washing the car and mowing the lawn. They said, you’re part of our family now and sharing responsibilities and taking ownership of this is important. It was a really cool start to my life there.

What challenges do you think NZ is facing?

From my perspective and the work I am doing with Workbridge, I think we have some way to go with equal opportunities. There are some amazing organisations in New Zealand that’re leading the way – Z Energy, ACC and Kiwibank included; but we need to do more to see a candidate for what they bring to a job. 

We’re heading in the right direction, but I think employers fail to see the hidden talent pool and I have dedicated my life to this and via my former work life with Z Energy and now Workbridge, I hope we encourage change.

To find out more about our local heroes and their incredible stories, head to New Zealander of the Year.