A woman standing in a garden, Redefining Service Excellence Awards logo in the bottom corner

As Community Engagement Manager for Ventia's Auckland Council contract, Acacia Cochise is passionate about deepening relationships and building trust, particularly with vulnerable members of society. 

As part of her role, Acacia works with vulnerable youth, people from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and minority groups including Māori and Pasifika, and has been heavily involved in women and youth engagement projects, recruitment days, and other community partnership projects.

However, the important work she is doing in addition to her 'day job' - leading Ventia's drive for NZ Rainbow Tick accreditation - saw her win the Sustainability category at our Redefining Service Excellence Awards.

A woman presenting to an office crowd

Pictured: Acacia presenting to her fellow Redefining Service Excellence Awards finalists 

The NZ Rainbow Tick is an accreditation mark for organisations that demonstrate they are inclusive workplaces for Rainbow employees. The Rainbow community includes people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, takatāpui, queer, intersex, asexual, and other Rainbow identities (LGBTTQIA+).

I hold the wellbeing of our diverse communities in Ventia close to my heart.

Essentially, it is about accepting and valuing everyone in the workplace, embracing diversity, and creating safe and welcoming working environments where people can be their complete self.

Led and championed by Acacia, Ventia achieved its initial 'tick' in December 2022. The process is one of ongoing improvement and education within the organisation, to ensure we continue to learn and maximise inclusivity.

A woman standing in an office

Pictured: Acacia Cochise

Speaking about the importance of inclusivity, Acacia said: "As an ally, but also as a Woman of Colour, I have found that the practice of active allyship can provide meaningful visibility and empathy to people who you might not even know need support, recognition, and validation. I hold the wellbeing of our diverse communities in Ventia close to my heart."

Thank you for the work you are doing, Acacia, for all of us here at Ventia and in the wider community.

Hear more from Acacia about her Award win: