One of Aotearoa’s most inspiring advocates for diversity, inclusion and equality, Vanisa is an equality champion with a strong sense of social responsibility who has worked in a variety of advocacy roles throughout her career. She has assembled an astonishing collection of skills across leadership, management, marketing, communication and strategy.
Born and raised in Manawatū, she is now based in Wellington. She has served the community through a variety of both paid and volunteer commitments including previously holding the roles of National President of National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ), CEO of Volunteering New Zealand, Executive Director of 20/20 Trust and General Manager with InternetNZ. 
Today, she is a member of Global Women NZ, the Institute of Directors and the Global BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network. She volunteers with the Wellington Interfaith Council and is a Justice of the Peace. 
Vanisa currently holds commissioner roles with the NZ National Commission of UNESCO and the Library & Information Advisory Commission, as well as trustee roles with the Spark Foundation and He Whenua Taurikura, the National Research Centre for Countering Violent Extremism.Vanisa talked about her upbringing in New Zealand as a New Zealand born person of immigrant parents.
Vanisa talked about her upbringing in New Zealand as a New Zealand born person of immigrant parents. She talked about assimilation and intervention into New Zealand society. Raised in a corner dairy, she was always made aware of the importance of education, as this was the pathway to success. Vanisa talked about the influential moments and factors in her youth, including movies and tv shows that featured young women or girls of colour (if you see it, you can be it). She visited India when she was 8 and then again when she was 25. The later trip revealed to her the big differences between the 2 different cultures. Vanisa has subsequently had many more trips back to India. She considers herself to be a third culture kid. She spent a significant period outside of her parents' culture.
Vanisa is a gender advocate. She has represented NZ at the UN on gender rights issues. Vanisa spoke about intersectionality and suggested we read up about Dr Kimble Crenshaw. Vanisa also talked about her role and experience on the Council of Women. What an extraordinary person! Vanisa's korero was very well received and she had lots of questions after the talk.
"Intersectionality is an analytical framework for understanding how individuals' various social and political identities result in unique combinations of discrimination and privilege