20 April 2020
Tessa Meyer crowned Future Thinker of the Year 2020
Panuku’s corporate responsibility advisor, Tessa Meyer, has been awarded the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) Future Thinker of the Year for 2020. Tessa has a Bachelor’s in Science with a Masters in Urban Resilience and Renewal, she works in Panuku’s Corporate Responsibility team under Kristen Webster and is fiercely passionate about advocating for institutional, environmentally-responsible reform within her industry and the wider world.
The NZ Green Building Council is a non-profit organisation that works with developers, designers, and construction companies to ensure that New Zealanders live, work and play in a healthy, sustainable office, home or community space. This award comes shortly after Tessa worked successfully with NZGBC last year to achieve Green Star – Communities ratings for two of Panuku’s key priority neighbourhoods in Takapuna and Henderson, a first of their kind in Aotearoa. Tessa has also recently worked to complete Panuku’s Toitū Envirocare Carbon Reduce certification with an emissions inventory and management plan, which includes championing internal sustainable travel.
New Zealand Green Building Council chief executive Andrew Eagles was thrilled by the number and quality of prospects this year, suggesting we have much to look forward to.
“It’s great to see so many bright minds entering the industry and championing green building. We need to embrace and nurture our future thinkers as we transition to low carbon healthy homes and buildings. There’s passion there and bright ideas.” says Eagles, adding “Tessa will be a brilliant Future Thinker of the Year and we look forward to working with her more.”
Tessa’s submission and interview focused on the need to address decarbonisation through community-wide planning and infrastructure, and to establish ways to communicate the long term economic benefits of this. She was enormously grateful to receive the recognition and is already looking ahead.
“It’s a chance to contribute to the green building industry and help grow our movement at a critical time. My task will be promoting the platform and making it beneficial for young professionals across the industry.”
The award is open to any students or young professionals who have demonstrated environmental knowledge and leadership; either through activism, achievements in and out of the workplace, or research. It recognises passion for green urban development and allows shortlisted candidates an opportunity to make a difference across Aotearoa’s built environment.
“I’ve got a lot of admiration and respect for the other finalists and the leadership they’re showing in their respective areas. I’m excited to work with them, our wider cohort and NZGBC to promote the programme for our young professionals and students. I’m also just so grateful for the work I’m involved in at Panuku, and the passionate people I can learn from”.
Initial plans for the awards evening (to be held at AUT) were cancelled due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, however the process was shifted into an online format and the judges were instead given the chance to interview candidates personally over conference calls, which were recorded for revision. These interviews would later be used as part of the live-streamed award ceremony and the presentation of Tessa’s winning application.
The proceedings also feature some robust discussion about priorities for state-level investment during the COVID-19 recovery and our current challenges to our infrastructure brought about during isolation. You can watch the Future Thinker of The Year Award and discussion here.