Travel and Learning Award for Nerida Kennedy
Borrin Foundation Travel and Learning Award
Nerida’s travel and research award will be used to deepen understanding in an area close to her heart—the importance of leadership within the context of the LGBTQ+ community. Mental health is a constant theme with lawyers and in the LGBTQ+ community—with both communities disproportionately represented in statistics. The LGBTQ+ community is also disproportionately represented in other areas: homelessness, suicide, and inequity. Nerida encountered homophobic attitudes regularly when growing up and during her studies. Some of these attitudes were encouraging “remaining closeted” in order to succeed and reach full professional potential. A key turning point for Nerida was meeting gay leaders in the legal community who were unapologetically out and proud.
Nerida will use the funds to attend the Victory Institute’s International Leaders Conference in Washington DC in November 2022. At the conference she will be able to network and build skills from international leaders – particularly, the role leaders can play in promoting equality and positive outcomes for the LGBTQ+ community. She will take the lessons from the conference and meet with local Aotearoa LGBTQ+ charities to share and discuss. Nerida will then summarise lessons with an Aotearoa specific lens and distribute to interested LGBTQ+ charities.
Nerida grew up on a dairy farm in rural Hokonui in Southland. She studied at the University of Otago before relocating to Wellington. Nerida is currently a commercial lawyer at Datacom in their Wellington office. Nerida has worked in procurement, financial services and commercial law—her prior role working on aid and development matters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Nerida is passionate about equal rights and access to justice, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community. Nerida has been involved in a governance level for a LGBTQ+ charity as well as being an active member of diversity committees at all her prior workplaces. A consistent focus for Nerida is how better access to knowledge, representation, and justice can consistently improve LGBTQ+ outcomes. In her spare time, Nerida likes to spend time with her wife, Eve, and her toddler, Olive.
$9,889 in 2022 to support travel
“I’m thrilled and humbled to receive this opportunity from the Borrin Foundation. Aotearoa has come a long way, but there is a lot more mahi to be done in bettering LGBTQ+ statistics. Leadership can be a powerful tool for this.”