Armed with a conjoint degree in law and management, Alana Tyrell is helping her family business create better opportunities for Pasifika and her local community.
Alana has always excelled academically and thrives on continuous learning and challenging herself. While she was a student at Hamilton Girls’ High School, Alana’s parents started a specialised recruitment agency – now called Alignz Recruitment – to find meaningful work for Pasifika. It was a passion project that has since extended into the local communities they operate in.
Alana watched the business grow, and when it came time to consider tertiary study she wanted to follow her interests but also gain skills that would help Alignz Recruitment succeed in the long term.
“My parents started their business after seeing the inequities for Māori and Pasifika people in the workforce, and experiencing the struggles of low-to-medium income workers access stable careers and sustainable incomes for their families,” says Alana.
“The business grew rapidly – mum would literally knock on doors to find opportunities for her clients back in the early days, and word of mouth quickly spread. Her clients knew she was genuine and had their best interests at heart.
“So when I started thinking about what to study at uni, I was already drawn to business and entrepreneurship, but I also wanted to gain skills in an area that would help the business advance further, so I chose law as well.”
She graduated from the University of Waikato in 2015 with a conjoint Bachelor of Management Studies and Bachelor of Laws.
Now Group HR and Projects Manager at LM4 Group, under which Alignz Recruitment now sits, Alana puts her skills to use providing in-house legal counsel and management advice, and leads the development and implementation of new initiatives for the business.
“For each new initiative we look at doing, I will do the preliminary planning and testing, check financial viability and investigate possible funding opportunities. I then develop policies and processes to get it off the ground, go through a testing process, when it meets our set criteria, fully implement it.”
It’s a system that seems to be working. Alignz Recruitment has expanded from its Hamilton base to include offices and clients in Tauranga and Auckland, and represents clients across multiple sectors including agriculture, trades, industrial and commercial.
Pasifika thrive at Waikato
Alana says the University of Waikato is where Pasifika can thrive.
“There is a lot of support for Pasifika at Waikato. The staff build great relationships with students, and the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.”
Alana’s three siblings also studied at Waikato – a mix of accounting, business, and science – and she made sure she made the most of her study experience. She was part of the Samoan Students’ Association, and mentored Pacific students in Waikato Management School.
“I also really enjoyed my time in the law school. The applications of law are so wide and varied, it’s not just about being in a courtroom - it impacts on every area of your business and life.”
Alana is also passionate about helping young people. She’s a youth leader at her church and often gives advice to people considering further study. “I just like being helpful,” she says.
This year will also be her second time speaking at the University of Waikato’s Imua Initiative, a success and culture-based programme designed to help first-year students transition into tertiary study and through the early stages of the university journey.
At the event in May, Alana spoke about leadership and success, and how to create life balance.