She wasn’t very old – sixteen or seventeen and as she says “I certainly wasn’t wise”, but Astrid Fisher feels fortunate to have landed a Receptionist job in the pre-crash 1980s money market in Wellington’s Featherston Street. Fortunate, because it was here that Astrid would meet a life-long friend whose mentoring influence has stayed with Safesmart’s now fifty-year-old Marketing Manager throughout her career.
Meeting her mentor
Joy Mua was the Executive Assistant to the Managing Director, and Astrid’s boss at the large financial institution. She was an immaculately stylish dresser and drove a white convertible MGB. “Joy was, and still is the epitome of style and grace, and I idolised her” says Astrid, who now drives an MX5, which could be described as a spiritual successor (if slightly less stylish) to the British roadster.
Even at a young age, Astrid recognised that the reason Joy was successful in her career was largely down to her undying discretion and fierce loyalty to her employers. “Possibly also her innate sense of knowing just the right time to bring out the drinks trolley” Astrid jokes.
Almost two decades older than her young charge, and with a sharp wit, Joy would not let Astrid get away with anything undisciplined, unkind or unprofessional. The senior woman became Astrid’s mentor and confidant and shaped her career from then through to now at SafeSmart.
Joy was a runner. Every lunch-time, she would trot out to the nearby waterfront for her daily run wearing red running shorts which generally matched her favourite shade of perfectly-applied lip-stick. It was Joy that motivated Astrid to take up running. The seasoned marathoner gave Astrid a 3-month training programme to follow in preparation for the 42Km event. Not a half marathon - “you don’t play half a game of golf!” Joy would say. It didn’t occur to Astrid at the time that lots of people play 9-holes. The point was that Joy didn’t do things in halves and so Astrid followed suit.
On the day of the event, Joy travelled over “the hill” to Masterton to be there for Astrid. A few kilometers into the race, the more experienced runner put her running shorts on and ran along beside the nervous competitor, which was against the rules but provided a great support just when it was needed. Astrid finished the marathon in 3 hours and 36 minutes, placing as second woman and first novice.
Astrid and Joy have kept in touch intermittently over the years. Both of them still enjoying working full time and neither of them regularly running - both, coincidentally now practice yoga.
“I am eternally grateful that job brought me such a wonderful influence to both my personal and working life. I still try to model my approach to my work by silently answering my own question, What would Joy do?”