Jo Blair started Brown Bread in 2012. It has become a champion of arts and culture in the city, creating excitement and “building communities around great things”.
Despite perceptions of Christchurch being conservative, Blair said the city and its people have historically been very diverse, from successful business people to New Zealand’s greatest artists.
What makes this city stand out as one where women can succeed?
Well, Kate Sheppard of course came here, so perhaps there is something in the water. We seem to get women in power where it counts for the community, especially.
Now there is a culture of great entrepreneurship (economic, social and cultural) and women seem to be well represented. We have it in our DNA, the mission isn’t over.
Do you think having so many female leaders at this crucial time for Christchurch will change how the city looks and operates?
I sincerely hope so. I think women bring a more collective leadership style, more collaboration and are great listeners.
Is there a piece of advice you wish you had heard when you were younger?
I used to feel very awkward when I went to networking events and everyone was a man! As I’ve got older I realise it is super weird not to have diversity in a room - and now that I accept what we’re all living with - it empowers me a lot to be in more rooms like that to shake it up.