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You’re invited to lunch

Lunchtime learning is a free event at Design Factory NZ where experts inspire visitors and students

Gemma Major from Seed Waikato ‘working hard when no-one is looking’ at a Design Factory NZ Lunchtime Learning event.

Design Factory NZ is a constant hub of activity, with students working on projects, industry partners visiting for professional development, and staff meeting amidst the hustle. On one Thursday a month, the activity stops and all attention focuses on Lunchtime Learning.

Lunchtime Learning is open to all and free to attend. It’s also a chance to eat lunch with a diverse group of people, and learn from a leader in innovation from within the Waikato. Thirty minutes long and full of laughter, insight and questions, Lunchtime Learning events have featured guests from Gallagher, Creativate, Rezare Systems and, more recently, Gemma Major from Seed Waikato.

Gemma launched Seed Waikato in 2016 with a dream to see young people in the Waikato thrive. Since then, Seed has run 19 events with close to 2,000 young people, offered over 130 wellbeing subsidies and advocated for and with young people at local and national government. With a heartbeat for philanthropy and human betterment, Gemma is full of energy and she shared her insights and tips on how millennials can flourish in the workplace. 

A critical skill Gemma’s research has identified for millennials was deceptively simple – master the art of asking great questions.

“As millennials learn to question wisely, they will embrace a constant learning mindset – positioning themselves as people who hold onto their ideas lightly, who are willing to learn from the answers of others and are seeking to gain insights of value – to benefit both themselves and their organisation.”

Gemma also noted that the old-adage of ‘working hard when no-one is looking’ still holds true today. Challenging the millennials in the room, Gemma advised them to take responsibility for themselves and their betterment.

“When individuals choose to ‘improve their greatness’ – through knowing themselves and creating plans for growth – personal value increases, as does value to the organisation.”

Gemma also offered advice to the employers and industry represented in the room, saying organisations must be aware of the changing nature of loyalty, with millennials choosing loyalty to values and community over loyalty to an organisation.

“The organisations that will thrive the most in the coming years are those that authentically intertwine purpose, profit and planet, offer transparency in decision making, practice mentoring over traditional management, and who recognise the importance of nurturing positive wellbeing.”

This fast-paced learning experience was followed by a lightning round of questions and answers, and the opportunity for a few more quick conversations among participants (between sips of coffee and bites of sandwiches!). Guests are encouraged to take away and implement one key learning, and to feedback to Design Factory NZ on their progress.

The next Lunchtime Learning event will be at Design Factory NZ, next to the Atrium, Wintec House at the Wintec Hamilton City campus on Thursday 16 May, 12.30-1.00pm. The guest is Steve Parker, founder of HEAF (Human Excellence and Flourishing), who will be sharing insights from StrengthsFinder and its impact on organisational performance.

To join the mailing list and find out about future events email

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