Year in Review 2023

January 2023

The beginning of the year started off strong with STEM Wana Trust delivering on a STEM roadshow for the North Island with NASA Astronaut Dr. Kate Rubins. Personally, the highlight for me was that I got to work with Janet Van Jenkins (based in South of France) and despite the time difference and challenges with remote working we delivered on an amazing event. Helped largely by having a team on the ground in NZ and having such a high-profile speaker.

January is summer in New Zealand and it’s also the start of cherry season, which always makes me very happy.

February 2023

The STEMFest 2022 team got together for a photoshoot to support our nomination for Event Excellence as part of Western Bay Community Awards. It was great to catch up with PM Murray Clode and Soraya Hebert and have everyone involved in STEMFest in the photo. As you can see we channelled our very best “Power Rangers” pose.

This month was also Chinese Lunar New Year which meant that we celebrated the new year with friends and enjoyed delicious food!

March 2023

At the start of the month, I finally got my ink with Julie at Bohemian Studios. It wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be and pretty much everyone noticed straight away and was complimentary. 

In STEM news: winner winner, chicken dinner! We attended the Western Bay Community Awards and won the Event Excellence award for STEMFest 2022. I was tasked with getting on stage with Soraya to accept the award on behalf of the team and the main concern was to ensure that I was coherent on stage and that I didn’t trip up whilst wearing a ridiculous pair of whale shoes.

April 2023

This month Miss Crayons and I went on our big trip back to the UK. The flights were long and punishing with us almost missing our outbound changeover in Hong Kong due to me being tired and not allowing for faffing to get from one terminal to another. We were the last people to board the connecting flight to LHR and had our names called over the speakers. Oh the shame.

It was great to revisit the homeland and Miss C and enjoyed hitting M&S at Heathrow as soon as we got off. We mostly shopped, visited Ba and stayed at Aunty’s in South London. There was also an overnight trip to Peterborough to catch up with Andy and Joff and a night in Cambridge in Christ’s College which gave Miss C a small glimpse of university life. We also organised to meet JVJ and Potato in Cambridge and enjoyed some expensive underwear shopping at Rigby & Peller at Grand Arcade.

We drove back to London with JVJ and there was more shopping, eating (at Borough Market) and ink at Angel. We also caught up with good friends Suz and Tas. Dim sum with the family and topped off with tickets to Phantom of the Opera at Haymarket in the West End.

The trip back to AKL was tough on the body but I made sure we booked into the airport lounge so that we could replenish and recharge our bodies for the long 13+ hour flights.

May 2023

This month was a celebration of 20 years of being Mister and Missus Lush with a fancy family meat dinner at Fife Lane! I also got to go to Christchurch to meet with a group of awesome women for an exciting charitable space based women in space exploration initiative. I enjoyed my visit to CHC and it reminded me of how much I enjoyed the city and how much it reminded me of the UK. Another trip to AKL to attend and speak at World of Drones and Robots at the invitation of Dr. Catherine Ball. Some great conversations and connections were made and even though I was petrified of speaking, I did it and it was relatively pain-free. Who would have thought? Also nice to hang out with Michelle from Kiwibots at the event too.

June 2023

This month was about birthdays, lots of food, cakes, and an abundance of self-gifting.

July 2023

The boy celebrated a birthday this month and there was so talk about Crumble. More to be revealed soon.

August 2023

Overnight trip to AKL with the bestie to attend Electrify Aotearoa at Sky City. What a great event, very inspirational and we both gained some insights and gems as takeaways. I am seriously considering how we can create some similar energy for the NFP sector. We met up with PHP and Maria for dinner the night before at Seoul Nights, which was a lot of fun. The Sky City casino was fascinating to witness and see the type of people who were visiting during the day. Mainly elderly asian couples who probably couldn’t afford to lose money. It didn’t look like a joyful or happy experience which made me sad.

September 2023

This month is all about STEMFest, by the end of August we had issued over 7,500 tickets with expectation that we will ‘sell out’ two weeks before the big day. It’s all about making sure all the preparations and comms are handled and getting the merch ready.

October 2023

STEMFest 2023. Our successes were that we had a large organising team, each with their own tasks. JVJ came from Auckland and helped run the stage show which was amazing to have her help, I could genuinely forget about it knowing that it was in hand. The wind was a major consideration and we had to take down the gazebos on the street as it became unsafe. At one point the stage gazebo went flying over the fence and Elliot and Jim had to shimmy into the gardens to dismantle it. The stage was a hit along with Spot the Robotic from Boston Dymanic/Drone Deploy and other demos from Rebecca and Morgane. The final count was 6.000 (we were anticipating 7,500) all in all it was another successful event, with happy visitors, exhibitors and sponsors. Well done to the team.

Post STEMFest we also hosted an official Ada Lovelace Day live-stream of the London show and we got a lovely shout-out by Helen Arney. Ace. I’m keen to do something more substainial for next year.

November 2023

Post STEMFest reporting and finishing off all the necessary things for STEMFest. This month Soraya returned as PM for SWT and working on planning for the Summer Tour as well as getting a handle on funding applications. It’s great to have her back and taking charge of operational activities across all our initiatives.

December 2023

This month the team have been working on finalising the elements for the Summer Tour which will start almost immediately as New Zealand comes back from the Summer break on the 8th January. There have been some team catch ups and parties to attend.

Miss C also passed her learner’s licence and is planning to start driving lessons. Mister got “inked” after many months of talking about it and yeah, it really hurt.

It’s been a really busy, packed, and exciting year, I’ve enjoyed being able to connect with new people at various events outside of Tauranga and stepping out of my comfort zone. New ideas are brewing and need to be fleshed out, but I’m excited for 2024 as there’s a chance to go national with some events and building the Crayons brand a bit more to see where that takes me.

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