CEO of Sovereign and Hunger Project Partner Wins UN Award for Leadership

March 23, 2015

Above, Symon Brewis-Weston with Hunger Project staff and partners.


Symon Brewis-Weston, CEO of Sovereign, received the UN Award for Leadership–one of only five CEOs around the world to be recognized for his progressive approach to workplace diversity and community engagement.

Brewis-Weston, who is only the second New Zealand CEO ever chosen for the honor, received the 2015 Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP) CEO Leadership Award at the UN headquarters in New York City on March 10, where Hilary Clinton provided the keynote address.

Brewis-Weston has been a advocate and supporter of The Hunger Project. In his nomination, Brewis-Weston was also recognized for the importance he places on leadership training and personal development of staff, including an innovative, New Zealand-first collaboration with The Hunger Project.

Together with The Hunger Project, Sovereign is developing a pioneering cultural leadership program that will drive transformational leadership. Over three years, 10% of Sovereign’s staff will travel to India where they will learn from women who have empowered themselves in the face of adversity to create positive change for their communities.

“While it’s humbling to have won this award, the truth is that I never set out to purposely create a diverse workforce. What I always want to achieve is a team that represents our customers, our community and has the skills to deliver amazing work,” says Sovereign CEO Symon Brewis-Weston.

The Women’s Empowerment Principles is a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact aimed at empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors. The awards recognize global business leaders who have demonstrated leadership on gender equality.

Over the past two years, Brewis-Weston has addressed diversity and gender imbalance, which was reflective of the male dominated financial services industry, by initiating a program of change that has included re-setting organizational structures, communicating a compelling vision: ‘Being the difference in life’s moments of truth’, introducing innovative leadership training and championing flexible working hours.