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Redefining Leadership Through An Indigenous Lens | Heidi Renata

Today’s Guest Heidi Renata

Get ready for Heidi Renata, a dynamic business virtuoso and community beacon! With a legacy rooted in Vodafone NZ, Heidi reinvented herself as the mastermind behind Dunedin's Innov8HQ, an inventive co-working hub offering more than just office space. Straddling governance roles and crafting innovative strategies for businesses and non-profits alike, Heidi is all about empowering communities and ushering in the future of business in the digital age!

  • Authenticity and being genuine is important for building trust and retaining clients in business, and sharing vulnerabilities can break down barriers and increase trust.
  • Heidi discusses her experience of pivoting her business during COVID-19. She was running a shared workspace and innovation hub, but due to the pandemic, she had to transition to focus more on education and training rather than just on providing space. This transition allowed her to challenge the paradigms of western business and become a leaner, more holistic organization.
  • She talks about how her business was able to thrive during and after COVID-19 despite not having a physical location, and how incorporating Maori culture into business operations has brought more authenticity and powerful foundations to their practices, embracing the idea of creating long-term relationships versus quick material success.
  • Heidi reflects on the challenges of being a female Maori in the technology sector but sees it as an opportunity to work harder and prove herself. She also discusses the positive changes that have occurred in New Zealand, where various cultures can celebrate their heritage and work together towards a better future.
  • Heidi emphasizes the importance of counterbalancing work with self-care activities like being still, spending time in nature, dancing, listening to podcasts, and spending time with loved ones to recharge her batteries.
  • She is working on projects to engage and motivate youth, and also does public speaking and humanitarian work. She finds the humility of young people to be a golden thread, with a focus on helping humanity and the planet.

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Heidi: a lot of how Western business has been done There hasn't been a lot of integrity shown. It's basically, you know, first pass the post it's everyone's competing with each other, and sometimes it's a bit of a dog eat dog thing. And where I am competitive, I, I am, I'm, I'm not cannibalistic.

And so what we've actually found is, especially in New Zealand, um, as well, and, and, and Maori now around the world having huge influence around how we are running businesses and, and actual fact, um, Wahine-preneurs or, um, Maori, um, leaders, business leaders are, are now at the forefront, um, globally of, um, I guess being or championing, uh, Indigenous businesses because of the way in which I guess we see the world.

Matt: Welcome to Push To Be More with me, your host, Matt Edmundson. This is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us do just that. I am chatting with Heidi Renata from Innov8 HQ about where she has had to push through, what she does to recharge her batteries and to be as well as what more looks like for her.

Now, the show notes and transcript from our conversation will be available on the website, And also on our website you can sign up for our newsletter and each week we will email you the links along with the notes automatically. They come through straight to your inbox, totally for free.

Which is amazing. So if you haven't done it yet, go to and sign up for the newsletter. Now. This episode is brought to you by Aurion Media, which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful podcast. Well, why would you want to do that? You might ask. Well, let me tell you, it is a great marketing tool.

Oh, yes. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I have seen. I have built networks, made friends, and had a platform to champion my customers, my team, and my suppliers. And I think just about every entrepreneurial business leader should have their own podcast simply because it's had such a huge impact on my own business.

Now of course, this sounds all great in theory, which I appreciate, but there's a whole lot of problems, isn't there? Uh, with that simple statement, like, how do I know if I'm setting it up right? How do I know if I'm doing it right? What's the technology behind it? I mean, the list goes on. So this is where Aurion Media steps up to the plate.

You see, I love talking to people. But not all of that other stuff, so, Aurion media does it. That's what they do. It's what they do brilliantly. We've got a great team who take care of everything. So if you wonder. If you are wondering, rather if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at

That's A U R I O N We will of course link to them on the website as well, which, One more time is So let's meet today's guest, Heidi Renata, the co-founder and Chief Energy Officer of Innov8 hq, which I just think is a great job title. The Chief Energy Officer. We all need those.

Uh, she is a popular motivational speaker whose career has spanned over two decades, uh, having spent 13 years at the forefront of technology in the ICT sector. She was recognized in 2015 as one of. Uh, Vodafone's, New Zealand top business leaders, and in 2016, she co-founded Innov8 hq, the first indigenous modeled co-working space in the world.

I really want to do that. Jeremy Clarkson voice. You know, the, in the world, so, excuse me. She set that up, uh, with culture at the heart of its business model and leadership strategy. Now Heidi's story is best described as culturally curious, uh, which I just love this, uh, culturally curious. Uh, she's a culturally curious wahine entrepreneur, or wahinepreneur, I think is the proper word.

Now this was inspired by her life's journey of self-discovery from being a wahine, uh, from blended heritage of Maori, Scottish and Irish descent. Inherently living dual lives. Not always comfortable in one or the other, but unconsciously searching for the authentic blend. From a small town in New Zealand, working for her family's business to rise within the corporate world, traveling the globe and being a business leader in a fast paced and competitive world.

Resilience, coupled with integrity and grace, uh, was not only critical to survive, but thrive. This is the philosophy behind her teachings, program design and delivery, representing over 25 years industry experience, which she has made available to her global audience. Oh, yes. This is a great conversation. Grab your notebooks, grab your pens. Here is my conversation with the incredible Heidi Renata.

So, Heidi, welcome to the show. Great to have you. Thank you for joining me. How are we doing today?

Heidi: Fantastic. Thank you. And Kia ora from New Zealand, Matt Kia ora is hello and welcome in our Maori language. Um, yeah, it's 10:30 in the evening here, so it's a, it's a lovely early start to my, to my day. But no, thank you so much for inviting me on to share I guess a little bit of, um, me on here. And so, yeah, appreciate it.

Matt: No, it's great to have you. And I'm, I've been looking forward to the conversation, uh, really getting, getting into the conversation, which is great. So let me start, Heidi with, um, the question that I now like to ask all my guests, right? Because it's just a great opening question. As you know, this show is sponsored by Aurion Media, which specializes in helping great people like yourself, host their own podcast to, you know, meet interesting people and grow their business.

And I'm kind of curious if you did have a podcast, right? Let's imagine you do and you could interview anybody from the past or the present that's had a big influence on your life, who's, who's on your guest list and why.

Heidi: Yeah, well, a hundred percent it would be Julie Andrews. Um, I guess she was potentially my first girl crush, if I'm being completely honest, many years ago. But Julie Andrews the great Julie Andrews. Um, I've watched the Sound of Music, oh, I don't know, 50 times throughout my life and I think. One of the,

Matt: that's a lot.

Heidi: I know a little bit obsessive, but anyhow.

Um, but I think one of the things that I really admired and still admire about, um, Julie is her, Julie Andrews, is her Grace and how she'd done stuff, you know, she's always been a very humble and graceful, um, woman, and I could listen to her for hours. I think the problem I'd have if I did interview her, I'd probably get a bit starstruck and say nothing.

So it would be.

Matt: Yeah, that's the problem with this question.

Heidi: so yeah, I think it would be one of those very silent, very unusual podcasts because I'd be, yeah, completely starstruck with her. But no, I've, um, I've admired and respected her throughout the years and, you know, even in her eighties now, early to mid eighties, you know, she still is great as ever.

Um, and um, so she's been a huge influence I think just because she's, she's, she's kind of got that sunshine personality. Um, and I think. Even in all of her roles that she's played and she's had a diverse career, um, you know, I'd always seen her as either the, you know, the Maria from Sound of Music or the Mary Poppins or then she's had extreme roles.

So, yeah, no, I think she is a really graceful and very influential, um, woman or wahine, yeah.

Matt: Oh, Oh, wahine. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now the um, and wahine, just to clarify, Is the Maori term, cuz you, we were talking about it. So is the Maori term for woman, right?

Heidi: Woman. Yes it is. Yeah. And also in Hawaiian culture wahine is the same.

Matt: Wahine. Is there, um, I mean, we'll come back to Julie Andrews in a minute, but I'm kind of curious now you've mentioned this, so it's, it's the word for woman in Maori and also in Hawaiian. Is there a lot of crossover between Hawaiian and Maori culture?

Heidi: Yeah, that's, yes, cuz we all sort of descended from Hawaii, both of us. Polynesians, Hawaiians, it was, I think it's Maori. Tongans Samoans. So there was a group that basically, as you're probably we migrated and um, did it all come down in

Matt: they? Mm-hmm.

Heidi: many, many thousands of years ago? And so, yeah, there's definitely, there's definitely a, um, correlation in that to a lot of the language that, um, we speak. So you will hear some of those intrinsically

Matt: Yeah, they're still sort of there. Yeah, it's a bit like, I suppose the Latin languages, isn't it? Because, you know, I speak English, the, my French cousins obviously speak French and there are some, there are still some crossovers, uh, in the Latin. Not a lot these days. It has to be. So, but there are still some crossovers, so I'm always intrigued at, these have remained intact for so long.

Um, but let's get back to Julie Andrews right. Um, so you talked about Julie's grace and humility. My daughter would know Julie Andrews from the movie. Um, Uh, what was it? Princess Diaries, uh, that she did, uh, she, and so I had to watch the Princess Diaries with my daughter as she was growing up. And so I'm like, this is Julie Andrews from Mary Poppins.

And it's just, it's really fascinating, isn't it, to see that she was, she reminds me a little bit of, um, Dame Judy Dench, Do, you know what I mean? That's sort of that era of, um, actress and just an amazing person that I, I can totally see why. You would want her on your podcast. So why? Why would you be drawn into somebody who to use your words, has both grace and humility?

What is it about those characteristics that you find so appealing?

Heidi: I think it's the authenticity that's demonstrated or, um, you know, when someone is graceful and, and, and shows that humility. I mean, they feel genuine to me and I think, um, I don't suffer fool. So I, I guess one of the things that I find meaningful is when I'm building relationships, um, I like to know, or, or I'm usually influenced by, by good people, you know, soulful people.

And I think also with her, there's a cheekiness to Julie Andrews, which I like. So there's a gracefulness and almost an innocence. And then there's this really playful, um, you know, cheekiness to her as well. So I think there's a little, you get a bit of a, um, a bit of double delight with her because, you know, when you think she's sort of innocent, then there'll be this way playful, which is, which is great when you're sort of thinking of how you're gonna do life.

It's like you wanna be meaningful and, and graceful and kind. Um, but you wanna still be playful. As you are doing that. So yeah, that'd probably be some of the things that I'm drawn to. Um, just the fact that she's got this authentic way about her, um, and she can be, you know, she can be serious and fun and do those both very well.

Matt: Mm. That's interesting. Yeah, yeah, yeah, because you definitely see the fun side when you watch Mary Poppins, right? I mean, you've gotta have something about you to be able to pull that movie off. Uh, that's for sure. So this authenticity thing, then, you know, the, the authenticity, the genuineness of people. Um, I mean, I totally get what you mean and I, I, I can, I can totally empathize.

With that? Is that something that you try and bring into what you guys do at say Innovate H uh, H Innovate hq. It's not Innovate eight hq, it's Innovate hq. Let me get that right.

Heidi: Correct. Yeah. And I'll give you a bit of history with the V8 cuz I like fast moving things. So the innoV8 HQ is all about fast paced, I guess innovation. Um, yeah, I mean I think for me, um, authenticity and. And being genuine is a, is a big deal for me. Uh, I think I'm sort of one of those people. I'm fairly spiritual, so I can see through, I can see through filters I guess, or facades if people aren't being, um, honest with me.

So, um, I'm drawn to people that. Offer, I guess a more genuine approach and, and I guess also when we look at running a business, we wanna be trusted. We wanna be a trusted brand. So if we are not advocating a genuine part of ourselves, and we're gonna struggle with being able to not only acquire, but retain clients.

So yeah, I think, and. And I, um, you know, I sort of always sort of talk about authenticity doesn't, you know, can be about being able to share your vulnerabilities as well. So a lot of the coaching and mentoring that we do is, you know, especially when we are working with our youth, um, is showing them our, you know, our authentic selves.

We we're gonna tell them and I guess show them some of our vulnerabilities because I guess it breaks down a lot of these barriers and we can, um, and they'll trust us more. So, yeah, and thought authenticity and being genuine is extremely important to me and making sure that I remain, I remain that way in every way, shape or form.

Yep. Not to compromise anything.

Matt: Yeah, that's a really powerful thing, isn't it? It's such a, it's an interesting lesson that I think, um, and I dunno if you found this Heidi, but for me, the older that I've got, the more important that lesson is.

Heidi: Mm-hmm.

Matt: Whereas I think when I was in my twenties and my thirties, I was trying to always trying to accomplish something, always trying to have success in something.

Um, and there was a great book friend of mine gave me the other day, uh, where it talked about how when your, in your sort of forties and fifties, you moved from wanting to be successful into wanting to be. Something that's significant. And, and for me, significance ties very much with these words like authenticity.

Um, and so, I dunno, I, I'm curious, is it just me, I, if you found that as you've gone further on in life, it's become more and more of a bigger deal to you.

Heidi: Yeah, absolutely. Cuz I think, um, you know, I'm in my later forties now, and I think you've sort of, you've, you've done a lot of experimenting and rehearsals over your life. So you've, you've weaned out the things that you're probably not gonna tolerate for too much longer and you, and you, I guess, um, you start honing or guess polishing the di the direction that you wanna take.

So I think, and especially, you know, You know, beyond the whole covid, um, stuff that we had, it's, I've, I've noticed a lot more people, um, given the fact that we had a lot of limits around what we could do, it changed how people saw how they're living their lives. So, you know, whether it's personal or their professional stuff, you know, I've got a lot of colleagues now that have either, You know, complete, had a complete change in, in career path, or they decided to, you know, dump their business and do something else or work less, have a better work life balance.

Um, so I think, yeah, I think as we've, as we've our age and stage changes, how we, um, how we see. And today in our futures. And then ultimately I think we become more values aligned. So, you know, that whole thing for me is, is always sort of having values at the centerpiece of who we are and making sure that we always, um, I guess stay on track with those and we don't ever, um, I guess compromise them.

So, yeah.

Matt: Yeah, it's interesting, isn't it? It's interesting. So what is your, um, what is your journey then? I mean, you've, you've got your company now. I know you guys had a little bit of a, a struggle during covid and one of the things I, I put it down in my notes, um, Heidi, and I'm just gonna read it here, that, um, This is a great quote from when we did the pre-call.

So we always have a, if you don't know, dear listener, we always have this sort of chat before we record the podcast. Just get to know each other a little bit. Um, and you were talking about Covid and how you had to transition out of the business that you were in, into what you do now, which we'll get into.

But this was my quote. It's bloody hard running a business, um, many people go into it romantically for the short run, uh, which I think is a very true statement, but you wanted to challenge the paradigms of Western business, and I'm really curious what you, what you meant by that phrase to challenge the paradigms of Western business.

Heidi: Yeah, sure. So, yeah, no, 2020 taught us a lot of things. Um, again, when we set up Innov8 hq, we were set up as a shared workspace, um, and an innovation hub. So of course, come 2020, when everyone's been made to stay at home, it became very difficult to sustain, um, a, a business that actually supported other businesses actually cohabitating.

Um, so that was an interesting period, but it was also, you know, if I was also being honest about that stage as well, I was probably burnt out. So, you know, lots of huge hours. Um, you know, I was working, we opened in 2016 and we'd seen over 20,000 people through the space and I was predominantly always on and available.

Matt: Yeah.

Heidi: Nice. Yeah. Always on and available. Yeah. So, um, and I think like most, I guess, ambitious entrepreneurs is we just wanna keep going. So, you know, no such, we don't tend to worry too much about risk or burnout. We just keep going. But I guess when Covid sort of hit New Zealand went on to full, full diet, full-time lockdown, um, it was almost like that, um, it was almost like a little blessing of.

Well, I get to have a bit of a break, um, and this is a really nice sort of period of time to sit and reflect. And then obviously what were we gonna do with the business if we were never gonna come outta lockdown for a period of time? And we were also right in the middle of our, our commercial lease. So it was almost like divine timing, you know that sliding doors moment of going right.

Um, we've got so many other wonderful, um, services and products that we offer beyond the space. The space was the highest cost and the highest maintenance. Um, and so it was an easy but not easy decision to make, um, to relinquish that part of it. But with all of our education and training programs, being able to.

Um, expand on those and do what basically what I love the most instead of just having to worry about being a landlord was really, was really critical. Yeah. So it was, you know, I guess it slid into a moment of being able to transition out and not everybody can do that. Um, I think we were lucky because of the way we staged the business.

I mean, in a lot of co-working spaces, they're just all about real estate. Ours was basically, I guess the found, you know, the base for where we did stuff, but. Really what the purpose behind our business was, uh, education and training. So we were lucky to be able to

Matt: space was a place where you delivered, in effect the training.

Heidi: Absolutely. Yep.

Matt: it's, and you had 20,000 people. That's a lot of people, especially in New Zealand, uh, that's a lot of people come through your doors, um, and you deliver the training. So when Covid hit, you were then able to pivot and just focus more on, just on the training and say, well, we can deliver that.

We just don't need this building to do it. Have I, have I got that right?

Heidi: Yeah, absolutely. Which was brilliant because we've become a more of a holistic organization, which means that we're, we're lean, we don't have to worry too much about having to have a commercial space and worry about that. Um, we could just focus on what we, uh, you know, what we were passionate about was around, you know, um, the education and training on leadership and entrepreneurship.

And so, um, yeah, no, that was, that's, that was a scary, but actually really exhilarating and kind of a very powerful, um, um, moment in time to go through because you just, you just never know. And at that stage, you know, like many businesses, it was a, it would've been a very difficult time to, um, transition quickly and we were lucky to be able to do that. Um, just.

Matt: if you found. Sorry, Heidi, just to, uh, interject there a little bit, I'm kind of curious about this. So, uh, and we'll come back to, uh, the challenging, uh, the paradigms of Western business cuz I start, I do wanna get into that, but lemme just take a little sidestep here.

So you have this space where you deliver education, training around entrepreneurship and leadership. Covid hits that goes online and the whole world is happy to do training online at that point. Right. Have you found coming out of Covid now, There's still the demand for what you do without that, um, commercial space, or is the, is the default thinking falling back into place, which says, yes, your training's good, but it'll be much more valuable if you delivered it in this space over here.

I'm kind of curious to where the market's at for you. Right.

Heidi: Yeah, well, beautifully. No. So we were really lucky because our brand was strong. I mean, we had a beautiful space here in Dunedin, um, which is a sister city to Edinburgh. Um, but it was, you know, we're in an old, um, An old building that had been completely redeveloped was an old wool store back in its time.

Um, and it was beautiful. But I think what we realized is that the bricks and mortar wasn't actually what the products and service was about. It was a nice place to gather and to resource stuff, but it, it didn't, it didn't have the impact, um, on what we were actually training on. It was a nice place, it was a beautiful place to be, but what we realized is coming off the back of Covid and, um, when the restrictions were lifted, um, We were able to deliver anywhere and I think there was a lot more.

Um, How'd you say we were, it was more liberating to be able to say, Hey, we can take this all around the world. So really what it came down to, it was us being able to move versus people needing to come to a specific place. It was more around, um, the, um, the impact of the program and the, you know, the programs that we were writing and then being able to deliver that had the biggest amount of impact, and that didn't actually matter where we delivered them in end.

Which was a, which was a really in. You know, enlightening sort of experience. I'd put a lot of, I guess kudos on the, the space that we'd created, cuz it was awesome. But I remember someone saying to me one day, it's not about the space, it's about you. So I was like, so it was, yeah, so we were very, we were very lucky to have, I guess that power behind our brand and our reputation and, and now we have the luxury of, we just, We just keep moving forward.

So, um, I guess in true Maori style, which is probably gonna lead into the segue into what you're asking about, is, you know, we went from what we call a Marae to the, when we set up the, um, innovate hq, I'm not sure how you f how familiar you are with Marae, which is the meeting place for tribes traditional meeting place for tribes.

Yep. So it's obviously, it's a, it's a fixed location. And I guess what what it meant for us is, um, when we transitioned out from Covid, it was, we'd gone from being in a, in a marae into being in a waka, like a canoe. So it was, you know, moving, we were starting to move and, and take our products in services and, um, you know, move with that instead.

So the, the metaphor for it was actually really quite beautiful. Um, But to touch on, I guess, you know, looking at the, the, the western way in which businesses run and how, I guess holistically, um, you know, I think for, for me is that the beauty that that culture brings into an organization is I guess how we we're a little bit more spiritually centric.

So we are not just looking at things where, and I think from a Maori culture perspective, a lot of our rituals and protocols, um, and our traditions are so powerful in this very fast, you know, moving, um, very, um, what I'll call. And in many cases, very superficial environment sometimes, because you know, businesses go into survival mode, right?

So versus that authenticity of relationships and engagements can be lost when we're under pressure. And I think what, having a cultural lens. On business for us, almost grounds us back again to having, you know, I guess looking at, I mean I've, you know, I'm a sales manager by trade and so, you know, people always saying, you know, how do I become a good salesperson?

I said, well start with a hello. You know, start with those basic en you know, engagements of, Hey, how you going? You know, what's your day like? And it's creating those sort of basic, um, intros just to begin. And, and in, in Maori culture, we call it Taonga, which is basically around, you know, wonderful, um, powerful relationships and significant relationships.

So we're not just, we're not going in with a car dealer attitude. We're in here to create a long term relationship. So a lot of how. Um, you know, Maori culture influences how we do stuff in our businesses. There's a a lot more sort of depth around how we consider what we are doing in our business and how our rituals and our customs have actually correlated into how we are doing everyday business, which has been really beautiful.

Um, and it's created a lot more, um, you know, These powerful foundations behind how we do stuff, and it's more, again, it's more authentic to how we live life as founders and business owners. So, yeah.

Matt: So have you found then, um, Heidi, that people, if they don't understand that, do they find it hard to connect with that? Because if you are you know you're using words like depth and, um, being more spiritual and bringing your Maori culture into the business and the way it works. If I come in from outside that, or if I'm, you know, we get talking and I'm, I'm outside that.

Um, have you found that people have, have struggled to connect with it, or is that not really been a problem?

Heidi: No. In fact, they've embraced it because what they've realized that we've become so materialistic and so disconnected from our. I guess ourselves that we've lost our way and we've been faking it till we've made it for all these years. And we're, we're relying on, we're relying on all of these antiquated and outdated ways in which we're doing stuff.

And a lot of how Western business has been done isn't really, uh, what I'll call, um, There hasn't been a lot of integrity shown. It's basically, you know, first pass the post it's everyone's competing with each other, and sometimes it's a bit of a dog eat dog thing. And where I am competitive, I, I am, I'm, I'm not cannibalistic.

So it's like that whole thing of. Um, I think what it does is it, it, it grounds us again. And so what we've actually found is, especially in New Zealand, um, as well, and, and, and Maori now around the world having huge influence around how we are running businesses and, and actual fact, um, Wahine-preneurs or, um, Maori, um, leaders, business leaders are, are now at the forefront, um, globally of, um, I guess being or championing, uh, Indigenous businesses because of the way in which I guess we see the world.

It's a little bit different, but we're able to bring, um, yeah. We're able to bring a little bit more grace into, I guess, how, um, how things have sort of been done. Cause it's been bloody hard. Yeah. It's been, it's been hard over the years. Very patriarchal society. Yeah.

Matt: Yeah, I mean, uh, we can get into that a little. I mean, cuz you, I mean you are both from. I mean, you know, you are, uh, wahine so you're a woman and you are indigenous. So I, I'm guessing to be an entrepreneur in that kind of environment. And I, it, it, and you understand it's a total guess, Heidi, because I live on the other side of the world, so I've not seen it in, in New Zealand.

I can see what I see here in the uk. Um, has, has that meant that by default you've had to work harder to prove yourself or to, you know, to establish the business. Do you think?

Heidi: Uh, on reflection. Yeah. Yeah, I have. I mean, I wouldn't have thought so years ago, but I think now, you know, when I work through a lot, I mean, we, we now, to give an example of um, I guess the population that I represent, I represent 3% of the population here in New Zealand for Maori women in the technology sector.

So what that's meant now is because there's high demand for us to, as we build our, our economy over here, they wanna see more female Maori people in tech. So I guess, um, I get called on a lot to represent a lot of, um, technology events and stuff because they wanna see, I guess, small role models, um, within that as well, which has been really cool.

Um, I think, look, I grew up in a, in a family full of men and I love working with men, so I've never been challenged with working with a whole heap of guys. Uh, in fact, I love it. I think there's a, there's a great balance there when you've got a gr I mean, I'm lucky that I had, I've got wonderful brothers who are very supportive and I, I advocate that a lot because when, um, I've always been supported, um, by my brothers with everything that I do, I know that it's not the case in every family or even every organization, but there's something, it brings out a bit of an instinct with me when I'm working with men.

Cause actually, I do fight a little bit harder, you know, it's so, there's something in the fight that makes me a little bit more deliberate. So, um, but you know, in, in many cases, I think, you know, thinking about it, um, I think for. You know, for Maori it has been a little bit more challenging for us, but to be honest, I think that's made me wanna work harder.

So I guess, you know, prove that we can get it done and, you know, with the right mindset we can, we can forge new pathways and new, I guess, um, uh, belief systems for, you know, other others out there. So yeah, I'm sort of the harder it is, the better I work, if that makes sense. So it's almost defeating what you're saying, but I like a bit of a struggle if you, you know, chaos and I'll thrive.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. No, absolutely. Don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. Right. It's that kind of motto, isn't it? Like we we're just gonna crack on and do it. So do you think then, looking back over some of the stuff that you've done and the, this desire to, to bridge the Maori culture, business culture, yourself, you know, and that heritage do, do.

Looking back over it, do you see change as happened or is it still as hard now as it ever was?

Heidi: I. Oh Oh no, it's been a beautiful transition and I, when we spoke about on the pre-call as well, I mean, it has been, you know, challenging over the years with, you know, various things like it is in a lot of countries around the world. But I think, you know, now we're in New Zealand's in a beautiful place where for, you know, um, Maoris that are coming through, and we're all blended now.

So we are all looking like, ou know, we, we've, we've got this wonderful ability to connect into, you know, being Maori or being Scottish. You know, I'm a Highlander, and then being Irish as well. So being able to bring these beautiful blends in together because we all actually share similar, um, stories, believe it or not.

So it's not just indigenous, you know, the Scottish and the Irish have had their own challenges over the years as well. So it's one of those things, being able to, um, um, I guess celebrate, celebrate that blend. But I think, um, you know, New Zealand has come a long way. Um, there's a lot more opportunity, um, for, you know, Um, Maori to do, to do even better.

And I think the more that's, that's wrapped around and we've got a lot more encouragement out there, the better it is. So I think yeah, it's a good, it's a great time. It's a great time to be able to, um, I guess embrace our culture and use it in a, in a, in a beautiful, authentic way to do some really cool stuff around the world. Yeah.

Matt: Yeah, totally. And I, I love how Maori culture has been promoted. It feels like to me that it's been promoted a lot more recently. And, you know, the first time I came across it really was when I saw the All Blacks on television. Um, you know, just doing the, uh, what you, the Hi Haku. Haka. The haka. That's it.

Um, and just blowing my mind. Uh, you know, and even like for my daughter, you know, movies like Moana and, and, and stuff like that just coming out, you just kind of go, this is, this is cool. And I've been to New Zealand many times, uh, and I just love that whole Maori feel of things, you know? And I, and I try very hard to pronounce the words.

I'm useless at. I just need to get better. Um, so Heidi, you're listening. You, you, you've mentioned this word spiritual quite a few times. You're a spiritual person. You're trying to bring the spiritual dimension to your business. It's part of your culture, it's part of your heritage. Perhaps more your Maori heritage than maybe your Scottish, I don't know, maybe the Scots would say that slightly unfair.

Um, but how, what does that mean? Like, how do you fill your tank? How do you. How do you sort of recharge your batteries? What does that look like?

Heidi: Yeah, well I'm, if I'm thinking about from, you know, when I'm doing anything, I mean, I know what it's like to work your ass off and totally neglect everything about your wellbeing. So I think what I've learned through trial and error, um, and failures, Is that you've gotta really counterbalance when, I mean, I'm what, you know, I guess I'm a high performer, so I'm always going, I've got a Ferrari mind, which is why we've called the business Innov8 hq.

The mind never slows down. Um, but I think what I try to make, um, a greater effort on, especially now, is being able to just be still and, and actually. Um, and also enjoy being outside. So I love being out in nature. I love going for walks. Um, again, anything to reconnect with, you know, with nature is really important for me.

Um, I also love dancing, so I'm a bit of a boogie. Check. So I like to go out and, you know, it's not necessarily winding down. That's probably more of a blowout. So it's like a, you know, to exert. Um, but I'll also, ironically, I actually love listening to podcasts, so I actually go to sleep now listening to podcasts. So it's actually been, yeah, yeah, so it's quite cool. So I actually love, um, I love getting into the zone of listening to other people's stories and. You never know what story's gonna influence you next.

So, um, yeah, and time with family and friends is another thing as well. So it's that. But being able to have a good balance, because I could work my ass off, to be completely honest with you, and I've enjoyed it, but I also love having time with my partner and my family and my friends, so it's, you know, yeah.

Matt: It's an interesting one, isn't it? Because everybody that I've talked to on this podcast, every entrepreneur, um, I would, I would say that there's always this tension. I mean, we call it the work life balance. There's always this tension between work and what we perceive to be life, right? So, um, the desire to spend time with families.

A lot of people like you, like to get out in the hills, go and be in nature. Um, I imagine most people like to dance, but they probably, they, I dunno how well they would admit it, uh, if I'm honest with you. Um, but they, but they, you know, I think there's, there's definitely some common threads that I. That I see in that answer. But the bottom line is, um, for me, I find that it's easy for work to be the dominant force in my diary. And just recognizing that and acknowledging actually I need to be intentional if I'm gonna do any of these other things, um, is perhaps the most powerful thing, isn't it, really? Um, so where do you, where do you see more, uh, what does, what does the future look like for you?

Heidi: Well, to be honest, what I'd love to be doing, I mean I love working on different projects, so we do at the moment. Um, what we do is we work a lot with youth. So as you know, um, coming off the back of Covid, we've got lots of challenges globally with youth no longer being engaged in education. So we are dealing with issues where we are looking at ways in which we can, um, get youth more engaged and more motivated about what they're gonna do because we're in a different new phase in life now and we don't know what sort of a sort of coming up.

So doing a lot of work around the country with that. But I also sit, um, I also sit on the, the panel, um, for NZQA, which is New Zealand Qualifications Authority for tertiary, so influencing Maori in education. And then I'm just about to jump on, uh, looking after regional economic, um, strategy for the region here as well.

But beyond that, um, I love, ironically, um, I love doing, um, keynotes and public speaking, so I do a lot of public speaking, and so to be able to travel the world, um, I guess, you know, sharing stories, um, and I guess sharing experiences has been, uh, I, I love doing that and so I, I see myself. You know, traveling a lot more, um, over the years to come, but also being able to go and work and, um, and doing some, you know, humanitarian work too.

So I've got a keen interest in going into communities, uh, indigenous communities around the world and doing some cool stuff and just, you know, giving a hand and yeah. Supporting them. Mm-hmm.

Matt: Oh, that sounds fantastic. That sounds fantastic. I mean, you've mentioned a couple of times, um, youth and you work with youth and, uh, I, I too have the privilege of working with, um, uh, amazing young people. And I'm kind of curious, Heidi, if you, if you think about all the young people that you've worked with, And you can spot like some golden threads that you think, if I could just pull that one there, that's gonna have a massive impact on our young generation, what would it be?

Heidi: I think it's their humility. And I guess, you know, we were just talking about this tonight cuz I've been, I've been, uh, we've, we've done another, uh, region. I've just traveled back from another region tonight. We've just launched one of our programs down there. And one of the fi things I find really incredible about this generation, unlike our generation, was when we asked them what they wanna do, it's all around, um, people and planet.

So, you know, years ago when we were at school, it'd be, oh, I'm gonna be a doctor, accountant, lawyer or nurse. Now. It's like, oh no, I wanna help, I wanna help humanity and I wanna do this. If it's not, you know, relating to the rainbow community, it's, it's dealing with cultures, it's dealing with, um, you know, mental health and all that sort of stuff.

So I think, you know, um, Yeah, that's, that's for me has been one thing that's really stood out with the, with the youth that we are dealing with, is their keen interest in helping each other. So, um, and, and helping the world.

Matt: Yeah, much more so now than, like you say, than the, I mean what, what, we're in generation Z now, aren't we? Or Gen Z? Um, much more so now, uh, than say the millennials or the Gen X's that came before those. Yeah, definitely. That's interesting. What we will watch this space as they say, so. Heidi, we've now got to that point of the show, which you're either gonna love or hate and I dunno which one it's gonna be.

Um, it's called the Question Box. And so, uh, this is where I have a, a box full of random questions. I'm gonna pull the questions out of the box. I'm gonna flick through said questions. And wherever you tell me to stop, that's a question that we're gonna ask and see where it takes us. Okay? So let's go

Heidi: Stop.

Matt: stop there. Okay. Okay, so are you ready for this question?

Heidi: Oh, I'm not sure.

Matt: You're not sure?

Heidi: No, bring it. Yeah.

Matt: I think it's a really nice question. Okay. I want you to describe a simple pleasure.

Heidi: Oh God. Oh, um, can I actually say what it is cuz it's quite. I love it. It's gonna sound a bit crazy. Yeah. I like a back tickle.

Matt: Okay. I think everyone's going. I, I think I probably agree, but you probably should explain that just a little bit more. Heidi. I.

Heidi: Uh, you know, simple pleasure is, um, yeah, I love, I mean, I guess I, when I, I, I do, I do love massage and therapeutic massage, so, um, that would be a simple pleasure. Well, I think it's a simple pleasure. Um, but yeah, the odd, you know, back tickle when you've had a stressful day is quite nice.

Matt: Yeah, yeah. No, I'm with you. I like that. I like that a lot. I maybe would've said back massage. That's a very simple, um, uh, pleasure. Uh, but, uh, or. I was, I, if I was honest with you, I was kind of half expecting you to say, because I think this is probably what most of the known world would've said at that point is some chocolate.

Um, but,

Heidi: Oh, right. Chocolate's there too. I, it's, it's 11:30 at night over here, so that's probably where my headspace is. That's probably where my headspace, you know, that whole lullaby moment, that lullaby zone.

Matt: Uh, to be honest with you, Heidi, I think your, your answer is much, much better than chocolate. I think chocolate would've been way too boring. Um, but one of life's simple pleasures is that, I'll tell you one of the things that I like to do, and it is a really simple pleasure, but it's taken me years to do it right, is um, I used to live in North Carolina, uh, in the United States, right?

And I lived there for a few years and had the most wonderful time and. One of the things that I acutely remember from this trip, uh, from this time was on the porch. I was like 18, 19, that sort of age when I lived there. On the porch of the house of all the houses was usually a swing. So they had this sort of covered area and a swing.

So regardless of the weather, you could sit outside and just sit in this swing. And either think, contemplate, journal, pray, read a book, didn't really matter, but it was just, you are in this very tranquil state and I, I can't think of a better express. So finally last year, um, I've just built myself, uh, a new wood shop because I do like to do a little bit of woodwork.

Um, and I finally made some, I call them Carolina swings. So at our house now we have Carolina swings. So every morning, My thing is I get myself a cup of tea and I just sit in the swing and I read, or I journal, or I pray or do something for like 10, 15 minutes. Normally, my wife and I catch up. Just catch up.

Just have a little conversation in the swing, and that's my simple pleasure. The Carolina swing in a covered area outdoors every day, regardless of the weather. Very nice.

Heidi: I'd have to support that as well. I, I'd love actually swings myself, so anything hammock or anything else like that, I would totally agree with that as well.

Matt: Oh, hammock, now you're talking my daughter's language. Soon as the sun's out, the hammocks out and she's in it and she's just quite happy. Um, hap yeah, just, just wonderful place for her to be. So, no, it's quite, anyway, simple pleasure. I feel like we could just keep going and going and going.

Heidi: I'll be a bit more cautious on my next, you know, my next answer anyway.

Matt: No, no, no. I, the back tickle thing is when you said to me, can I say it? I'm like, what's she gonna say?

Heidi: Yeah.

Matt: But a back tickle? I'm like, yeah, yeah. I'm like, keep it, as long as it's pg, we can say what we like. And I think a back tickle is good. I, that's awesome. Listen, uh, I'm sure there's many folks out there listening who would. I'd like to get in touch, connect with you, um, find out more about what you guys are doing at Innov8, uh, hq, what you're doing in New Zealand around the world with your training, um, and even your love of all things indigenous.

So how do people reach you? How do they connect with you if they want to do that?

Heidi: Yeah, sure. Well, they can go to or you can go to Innov8HQ on any social media, uh, Facebook, um, Instagram, and I'm on LinkedIn as well. If you wanna check me out. Heidi Renata, happy to connect.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. Check out Heidi and it's Innov8hq. That's I N N O V, the number eight. So just take, just take a t e out of innovate, put in the number eight and you've got it right, Uh, we will of course link to, uh, Heidi's, uh, company website, social media profiles and LinkedIn profile in the show notes, which you can get for free along with the transcript at, uh, or it will come direct your inbox if you're signed up for the newsletter. Heidi, listen. I feel like I'm just getting warmed up in this conversation. I'm, I'm thoroughly enjoying it and it seems like a shame to stop it. But, uh, unfortunately time is against us. Thank you so much, um, for joining us and, uh, just sharing everything from Julie Andrews to back tickles and to a lot of the Maori culture in between. It's been awesome.

Heidi: Oh, that's awesome. I thank you so much for having me. It's been great to chat and yeah, I've just got started. I've gotta go to bed now. So. Interesting. Hey. But, um, as, as we, but as we say in, in Maori, I wanna finish off with, uh, um, Po marie, which Po marie, is good evening. So it's, You know, we wish you well on the, on well, you, well you actually, I should be saying ata mārie to you, which is good morning.

Um, but from my side to you, it's a, it's a good evening for me. So, you know, thanks, thanks for, thanks for having me. It's been a pleasure.

Matt: No, it's been great. What was that? Po Marie.

Heidi: Po Marie. So if you, if you think of. And if you want a little hint around Maori language, it's the, the vowels instead of A E I O U, it's aa ae ee oh oo, and that will help with pronunciation.

Matt: I'm gonna go away and have a look at this now. I'll get better, Heidi. I will get better. And there's no doubt

Heidi: You're all good. You've done well. You've done well.

Matt: I need to improve. No, that's great. Listen, thank you again for joining us. What a great conversation. Loved it. Loved it, loved it. Also, a big shout out to today's show sponsor Aurion Media.

If you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, which I probably think it is, if you host a podcast, you meet some incredible people just like we did with Heidi, uh, do connect with them at That's a u r i o n, and of course, they will be linked on the website as well.

Now be sure to follow, push to be more wherever you get your podcast from because we've got get more great conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them. And in case no one has told you yet today, uh, you are awesome. Yes, you are created awesome. It's just a burden you've got to bear.

Heidi has to bear it. I have to bear it. You've got a bear it as well. Now Push to Be More is produced by Aurion Media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app. The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Estella Robin and Tanya Hutsuliak. Our theme song was written by Josh Edmundson, and as I mentioned, you can read the transcript and show notes on our website

So that's it from me. That's it from Heidi. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.