- Kaitlin Corrigan and Chris Wakefield are the 2018 winners of the Craig Norgate Scholarships, which are named in honour of Fonterra’s former CEO.
- Corrigan’s application was inspired by Norgate’s story and she hopes to achieve similar success.
- Wakefield will soon become the CEO of The Investment Society and believes winning the scholarship will open up more opportunities for him.
Craig Norgate was often described as visionary, passionate and influential. The award-winning business leader in New Zealand came to prominence as the inaugural chief executive of Fonterra dairy co-operative. Then as CEO of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, he oversaw the 2014 merger between Chartered Accountants Australia and Chartered Accountants New Zealand, which created CA ANZ.
He died suddenly in 2015 and the Craig Norgate Memorial Scholarships were created in his honour in 2017. The scholarships provide two aspiring accountants with $5000 in financial support to complete the CA Program. This year, Chris Wakefield and Kaitlin Corrigan are the recipients of the Craig Norgate New Zealand Memorial Scholarship and the Craig Norgate Taranaki Memorial Scholarship, respectively.
Inspired to succeed
Wakefield is the Chief Operating Officer of the Investment Society, which aims to educate Canterbury University students about the role of investments in their financial futures. He will begin as the CEO in 2019, as well as starting his Master’s Degree in Applied Finance and Economics
Becoming a chartered accountant is practically a family tradition for Wakefield. His grandfather, father and brother are all chartered accountants and he plans to do the CA Program while seeking a full-time graduate position in 2020.
He applied for the scholarship after seeing an advertisement at Canterbury University and learning more about Norgate’s career. He was surprised but grateful to receive a scholarship. “They [the judges] were quite impressed with the emerging leadership and community spirit and action I tried to demonstrate in my application, and what I've been working on over the last few years with all my different out-of-study involvement, as well as the academic side,” he says.
Corrigan grew up in the rural community of Hawera in Taranaki but has been living in the city for the past four years studying at Victoria University of Wellington. She graduated in December 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce majoring in accounting and commercial law. She received an email about the scholarship after applying for the CA Program in March. She was at the start of her accounting career, with limited experience including her current role as an accounts assistant at Service IQ, helping her mum with the accounts for her dairy farm from time to time, and the papers she wrote at university.
Corrigan was inspired by Norgate’s story, which was a key factor in her decision to apply for the scholarship: “If I can emulate even a portion of the great things he's achieved, it would be great. He's got a very good history of achievements and he is very well-known.”
Wakefield says the scholarship has given him the confidence and recognition he needs to keep his career going in the right direction. His ambition is to become a chief financial officer or chief executive of a large NZX-listed company, which is why he believes the scholarship is a great opportunity for him.
“I think having the scholarship under my belt will definitely be worthwhile and open up a few doors, once qualified, especially if I want to move overseas to some of the bigger business centres like in the USA and the UK,” he says.
“If I can emulate even a portion of the great things [Craig Norgate has] achieved, it would be great. He's got a very good history of achievements.”
Corrigan’s goals are first to get her CA qualification, then secure a financial accountant role and eventually have a family. Applying for the scholarship encouraged her to start working towards making a tangible difference in society.
“I was very thankful to get the scholarship and it made me realise that I want to get more involved in the community to help out with charities and just help out where I can,” she says.
Both Corrigan and Wakefield highly recommend other future leaders apply for next year’s scholarships. “I probably second guessed myself at first, but then after talking to a few people, they really encouraged me to go for it. Just believe in yourself because there are so many good opportunities out there that you might as well give yourself a chance,” Wakefield says.