Staff Reporters
Aug 18, 2020

Women to Watch 2020: Ziena Jalil, SenateSHJ

Strategy, diversity, leadership, communication. Ziena Jalil’s multi-faceted approach makes her an “indispensable” partner to her clients, an asset to her country and an important advocate of underrepresented groups.

Women to Watch 2020: Ziena Jalil, SenateSHJ
Exceptional female talent from the APAC marcomms industry 

Ziena Jalil

Consulting partner
New Zealand

Ziena Jalil has a rich and diverse CV that includes work across the public, private and NGO sectors, in governance and strategy, marketing and business development, and communications and stakeholder engagement across New Zealand and Asia.

The communications graduate assumed significant leadership positions from a young age, including New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Singapore at 27 and regional director SSEA for Education New Zealand at 30. By 37, she was a member of four boards. Jalil is often the youngest, one of few women, and the only one of her ethnicity appointed to these roles.

She is currently a consulting partner at SenateSHJ, an independent communications and public relations consultancy. Jalil joined the business in 2016 and has worked with clients across a diverse range of sectors including agri-business, defence, education, finance, professional services, large-scale retail and the public sector. She transitioned from a full time partner role to a consulting partner in 2018 to run her own consulting practice as well. In 2019, she grew her client portfolio by 55% and increased revenue by 74%. Almost all her new business has come from existing clients, former business contacts and referrals. One client calls her “indispensable”.

Jalil is a fierce advocate for equity and inclusivity. As a Kiwi Fiji Indian woman, Jalil identifies as much with Asia as she does with the Pacific, and uses her journey and personal background to engage clients and others. In the last year, Jalil published several articles and spoke at more than 35 events advocating for diversity and inclusion. She has worked with the State Services Commission and Ministry of Women on growing diversity amongst New Zealand’s public sector leadership; the New Zealand Institute of Directors and Public Relations Institute to promote the need for diverse skills in boardrooms; and launched the New Zealand chapter of Māia, the network for Kiwi women working in and with Asia to support their growth. Jalil presents regularly at tertiary institutions and mentors young professionals, many from Māori, Pacific and Asian backgrounds who are underrepresented in the industry.

On top of this, Jalil has received several awards for her work promoting New Zealand trade and education in Asia. In 2019 she trained five groups of senior Asian government officials on study tours to New Zealand. Jalil is also a board member of Cancer Society Auckland Northland and co-founded a yoga and meditation app, Myyodaa.

Exceptional female talent from the APAC marcomms industry 


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