Brittany Oliver resized

Brittany Oliver

Brittany is living in Auckland working for ZURU Toy Company.

Senior commercial lead at ZURU Toy Company - Auckland, New Zealand

YWCA Women’s Tertiary Award
Vice Chancellors Award for Academic Excellence
Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia
South Western University of Finance and Economics Exchange Programme Scholarship

Brittany Oliver resized

What do you do in your current role at ZURU?

I am currently living in Auckland working for ZURU Toy Company, with responsibility for leading the growth and profitability of ZURU's industry leading girls' portfolio of products.

It has been an absolute whirlwind, but I have loved all the learnings and experiences. I now get to manage the global business development of the girls' range across sales, marketing and operations. It has been epic! I'm still learning every single day.

How do you think you can make a difference through the work you are doing now?

Working in toys and accepting a job in an industry that is widely criticised for its environmental impact was a hard decision for me.  I said to myself, ‘Brittany, if you spend your whole life criticising from the outside, how will you ever enact real change on the inside?’

So, throwing myself into this industry has given me so many insights and understandings that I know will enable me to make meaningful change. For example, Sparkle Girlz have an open cardboard packaging design, with no PVC plastic packaging. Straight away this reduces the carbon footprint.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I spend the morning clearing through emails from our sales team who work in different time zones. I am often reviewing their numbers and how our key retail partners such as Walmart USA are tracking on our brand. It’s a mix of supporting them to secure sales and addressing any potential issues. After lunch I generally spend time with our back-end team on new product development.

Depending on the time of year, I also spend a lot of time working with our team on preparing for the many international toy fairs we show at in places like Germany, Hong Kong and the USA.

What are your plans for your future?

My big long-term goal is to set up self-sufficient businesses that can sustainably fund projects and schools in the Pacific Islands. For now, I'm soaking up every learning that I can.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Waikato?

When you are about to leave high school, it’s hard to know exactly what you want to do. My first two years of my management degree really helped me figure this out. The opportunity to experience practical internships, competitions and overseas experiences.

For me, learning to work efficiently in teams and understanding various aspects of business was important when considering where I would move in terms of my future career.

Where did you go for your study abroad experience?

I studied in Taipei, Taiwan for a semester in my third year of university. It was absolutely one of the best decisions of my life and played a huge role in my personal development.

I learnt so much about myself and where I sat in the world. I grew in empathy and learnt to really view the world through others’ eyes. My problem-solving skills improved immensely, I made lifelong friends from all around the world and felt like I was really living my life to the fullest. I learnt to analyse risks, not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone, listen to others’ opinions, and challenge my underlying perceptions of life and people.

What would you say to students who are thinking about studying at Waikato?

One hundred percent, do it. It’s such an incredible university that has a 360-degree support network. Whether it’s a strong academic program, supportive lecturers and tutors, international opportunities, sports or career advice, it really does offer you everything.

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