Creating better access to financial wellbeing

April 12, 2022

Ensuring everyone, no matter their background, has a chance to improve and build-on their financial wellbeing is essential to Olive – Our new Project Advisor for Financial Inclusion and Access.

Olive has a passion for financial inclusion. Even when she was doing her degree at university as a single mother of two, she was going above and beyond by helping other Pasifika students with their financial wellbeing by teaching them how to budget and manage money.

“At that time, there was a lack of culturally responsive budgeting services that catered to the needs of our Pacific community, so I decided to try and fill this gap by provide budgeting support to help them become more confident with managing their money.” Olive shared.

The former accountant and business banking manager told us she’s always had a passion for inclusion and access, but her desire to support people who experience extra barriers and challenges with their financial wellbeing grew when her situation changed and she became a single mother.

“As a first-time single mother trying to seek financial support, I had an experience that left me feeling judged, stereotyped and marginalised. This ignited a fire within and motivated me to do something about my situation and to help others going through similar experiences.  I wanted to be a change maker – this is when I decided to do a degree in social work because I believe your circumstances don’t define who you are. It’s not how we start, it’s how we finish, and I was determined to finish strong.”

When she finished her bachelor’s degree in social work, Olive landed a job at the Fono where she helped develop its first financial mentoring service tailored to Pacific people.

“It was a great opportunity. It really fuelled the fire for me to dig deeper and look at how we can expand this work to support more people.”

Working at Good Shepherd NZ

Following her work at the Fono, Olive went on to join us at Good Shepherd NZ, initially as a Financial Wellbeing Coach on our DEBTsolve programme.

DEBTsolve combines wellbeing, debt coaching, advocacy and debt solution loans to help people take back control of their unmanageable debt.

“Working on the DEBTsolve programme was a real privilege. Helping clients realise their potential and watching them come up with their own solutions inspired me and reminded me why it’s so important to support people, no matter their background, on their financial journey – the impact can be life changing.”

Good Shepherd NZ Debt Counsellors

While she was working as a Financial Wellbeing Coach, Olive discovered that people can feel overwhelmed and ashamed when their financial wellbeing is not in a good place, which prevents or delays them from reaching out for support.

Now in her new role at Good Shepherd NZ, Olive is investigating how she can reach communities and people who feel financially isolated or excluded, to help them access supports and gain the skills and knowledge they want to feel financially confident.

Olive told us she will also be looking at how to tackle money taboo, bring conversations about money to the table so people can learn from and support one another.

“It’s important for people to know that they’re not alone and that a lot of people do experience financial challenges throughout their life, despite what it may look like from the outside.”

Ka pai Olive – we look forward to seeing what you do in your new role.

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