From Olympic sailor to CA: Meet Jenna Hansen CA
Training for the London Olympics to compete in sailing was a formative experience for the OMF financial controller.
- Financial controller Jenna Hansen pursued both her dreams of professional sailing and becoming a CA.
- An accounting career has allowed Hansen to explore the world and gain exposure to other cultures.
- Hansen has now settled in Auckland where she works as OMF financial controller while still sailing competitively.
When I was a little girl growing up just outside Whangarei in the 1990s, Dad would take me sailing on Sundays. I started competing in sailing in my mid-teens and that took me overseas. I was by no means the best athlete in my age group but I had a lot of determination and some good luck.
I decided to study accounting thanks to a great high school teacher. After graduating from the University of Auckland, I did a graduate diploma in the US. I joined the graduate program at PwC in 2009, where I was given a lot of flexibility and full support to pursue a dual career as a professional sailor.
The four years of training leading up to the London Olympics in 2012 was an amazing chance to focus on developing myself. Being a part of the New Zealand Olympic sailing team was very special. We missed out on making it through to the quarter finals on a tie-breaker, which was extremely disappointing at the time.
Even before the regatta, I had decided that once the Olympics were over, no matter the outcome, I would come home and focus on qualifying as a CA. My dream as a kid had never been to go to the Olympics; it was to move down to the city and work in the corporate world.
“My dream as a kid had never been to go to the Olympics; it was to move down to the city and work in the corporate world.”
One of the advantages of an accounting career is that it affords the opportunity to travel and gain exposure to other cultures. A high point for me was visiting the Great Pyramids of Egypt in 2015.
I spent 2½ years in Hong Kong working as a senior manager financial services with PwC. It was a real career highlight. It opened my mind to just how big the world is. Gaining some insights into Asian markets really broadened my perspective.
I love travelling but am very happy these days living in Auckland. It’s so easy to get out of the city and into nature on the weekends. This year I joined OMF (OM Financial) as the financial controller, married my lovely husband and bought our first home. I still sail competitively.
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