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44. Ann Brennan

Ann Brennan, LawFuel Power List member

Ann Brennan head the legal team at the powerful Ministry of Business and Innovation and Employment (MBIE) the oft-criticised but nonetheless highly influencial civil service branch set up in 2012 to help power New Zealand’s economic development.

A former senior counsel at Westpac and the Public Trust Ann Brennan is also a member of the Law Society’s Women’s Advisory Panel dealing with questions around unconscious bias training, reducing the attrition of women in the legal profession and other key issues, she retains a key leadership and advisory role within the profession as a powerful and successful lawyer.

Although MBIE retains its super-ministry moniker, it has received some strong criticism for its over-arching role and perceived issues in performance and culture.

Ms Brennan’s role has been to assist the new organisation to become a cohesive ‘whole’ and to establish clear relationships with clients and suppliers. Wielding considerable power and influence she was reported as saying “Influencing is the ability to lead others outside your control so they make better decisions affecting you and your work.” Influencing approach when trying to get a team member or CEO to come to your way of thinking is much more effective than attempting to be authoritative, she said.

With a law firm litigation background and leading a team of around 70 in the Ministry her role is one of significant power.

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