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Sir James Wattie Scholar takes on the world

Written by Margot Boock
on September 01, 2022

Ryman Healthcare and The Eastern Institute of Technology’s (EIT) School of Business have awarded the 2022 Sir James Wattie Scholarship to local student Jessie Hawkes-Pearce at an event held in Havelock North.

Jessie Hawkes-Pearce visiting James Wattie Retirement Village

Jessie, a Bachelor of Business student, double majoring in business and management was awarded the $15,000 scholarship offered by Ryman Healthcare, in honour of visionary Hawke’s Bay entrepreneur Sir James Wattie.
The award was presented by Ryman Healthcare NZ CEO, Cheyne Chalmers at the function attended by EIT Head of Schools of Business and Computing John West, family and friends of Jessie and residents of the James Wattie Retirement Village.4459

EIT Head of Business and Computing Schools John West, Jessie and Ryman Healthcare NZ CEO Cheyne Chalmers

"Jessie is a deserving winner and we hope this scholarship will inspire her and other business students to go forward as future entrepreneurs following their own vision in the footsteps of Sir James Wattie,” Cheyne said.


Jessie with Ryman Healthcare NZ CEO Cheyne Chalmers

Jessie (26) displayed all the qualities of a deserving winner of the scholarship’s namesake. She shared with the residents and guests her journey after leaving school to follow her dreams - graduating at the NZ Florist Academy, working on an organic cattle station in the Australian outback, to running her own online business selling reusable and plastic free products.
She has also worked full time as a wedding consultant and florist but decided to reassess her work during the first lockdown during the pandemic when she chose to commit to full time study at the EIT.

IMG_4463 small parents

Jessie celebrates with her proud parents

Jessie said this degree has helped her to better understand that she wants to follow her core values - protecting wellbeing and one day work for a business where there is a company-wide focus on the planet and people.

Jessie is a student representative on the Hawkes Bay Business Advisory Board and an ambassador for the School of Business. In this capacity she attended meetings with the Chamber of Commerce.
Jessie is also connected with Hawkes Bay Rotary and is a charter member of Rotoract.
In her busy life Jessie also fits in time for her many sporting interests and practises yoga, plays guitar and is a member of the Napier Pottery Club.


The village residents were keen to congratulate Jessie 

Jessie is immensely proud of her achievements as a mentor and manager of the Hawkes Bay Halberg Team, a community group she has been part of establishing for kids with limb differences.
They have worked hard to establish a formalised incorporated society with a charitable status to enable the growth of the team, as Hawkes Bay was one of the only regions in New Zealand without an established para-federation.
Throughout this process Jessie has learnt how to build a constitution and form a board. They have had success in gaining ongoing government funding and she hopes one day to be employed by the newly formed charity and support physically disabled children to participate in sports, and to normalise the acceptance of diverse abilities in the community.
The scholarship will enable Jessie to travel to Germany next year to continue her studies at Regensburg University.

IMG_4450-1John West congratulates Jessie after the presentation

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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