Why I got involved... an interview with Jonathan Mason, CFO of Fonterra

03 April 2013
Mary and Jonathan Mason

How long have you been involved with the Business School and what contributions have you made?

I have been involved with the Business School for about seven years both as a financial contributor and advisory trustee.

What makes you passionate about the Business School and all its activities?

For New Zealand to stay competitive and sustain itself in the coming decades, we need small and large companies to thrive. For companies to thrive, they need talented and skilled employees. The Business School offers New Zealanders the skills that are fundamental in business success. As a result, the Business School is integral to the success of New Zealand.

What contribution have you made to New Zealand that you are most proud of?

I am proud of the energy that I have brought to work and the decisions that I have made for Fonterra and my previous employer, Carter Holt Harvey in Zealand over the past 14 years that have created new jobs and wealth for the shareholders and farmers.

How important is it that people like you support entities like the Business School? What do you bring?

I have a sense of what skills are needed in large companies like Fonterra and I give advice on how the Business School can provide those skills in its curriculum. For the Business School to stay competitive, more alumni need to stay engaged making contributions of both time and money. New Zealand’s higher education will fall behind its key competitors without more support.

How important is it for supporters to stay in touch, understand each other’s contributions/strengths and celebrate successes?

Supporters of the Business School have a common goal that makes it easy for us to stay in touch, help each other in life’s decisions and build lasting friendships. Celebrating success in all aspects of our life and with our friends and family is something we don’t do enough of but is one of the ways to have a happier meaningful life.

You’re about to start a new path in your life – what are your plans?

I hope to join a few boards of companies that I think I can contribute to, continue to support the Business School - including teaching a class that draws on my business learnings - and take classes at the University in subjects that I love, like history. I like to think of myself as a lifelong student…I have taken about ten night classes over the last 12 years at the University in a variety of subjects that interest me and see the University as the foundation on which the Business School and other departments rest.

What advice would you give people thinking about supporting important educational facilities like the Business School?

Get involved, find what the Business School vision is, make your opinions known and see how you can support the School. I am planning to increase my involvement at the School now that I have more time.