Pil­lars of our com­mu­nity

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

THERE’S no deny­ing Karen Sherry is a bright spark.

The San­dring­ham woman is at the top of three elec­tri­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions, sits on the Auck­land SPCA board and packs it all in around her day job as a lawyer.

She has been awarded a Queen Ser­vice Medal for ser­vices to the elec­tri­cal in­dus­try in the 2014 Queen’s Birth­day Honours list.

Elec­tric­ity lit up her mind and cap­tured her imag­i­na­tion from a young age, she says.

She fre­quently wan­dered in and out of the Auck­land Elec­tric Power Board of­fices as a child while her mother was at work and later picked up a hol­i­day job read­ing elec­tric­ity me­ters.

‘‘Elec­tric­ity, it has to be said, is an ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive dis­or­der for me. There’s loads of stuff that’s hap­pen­ing in this area, it’s just mind-blow­ingly in­ter­est­ing.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing to re­ceive this – it’s a bit emo­tional for me, re­ally. I’m just so grate­ful.’’

Sherry has been an elected trustee of the Auck­land En­ergy Con­sumer Trust since 1994, help­ing div­i­dends grow from $60 to $330.

Hav­ing women around the board­room ta­ble is an im­por­tant part of di­ver­sity, she says.

‘‘It’s about bring­ing dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives to the ta­ble, whether that’s males and fe­males, cul­tural dif­fer­ences or vari­a­tion in back­grounds.

‘‘You need dif­fer­ent people with dif­fer­ent ways of think­ing turn­ing to the prob­lems that we face in the world. It’s not just one shade of black or white.’’

She is also a di­rec­tor of Vec­tor Ltd, the chair­woman of En­ergy Trusts of New Zealand and a part­ner at Bell-Booth Sherry Bar­ris­ters and So­lic­i­tors.

Her spare time is spent on the Auck­land SPCA board, her ‘‘lit­tle pet’’ project, or with her dog Bri­die.

It is a hec­tic sched­ule which means 70 hours of work on a light week and too many to count when she is re­ally busy. But it is a life­style she will not give up. ‘‘I couldn’t do what I do with­out hav­ing fig­ured out how to struc­ture my life. There’s so many people to thank for help­ing me do that.’’

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