First Five Rungs names Becky Dawson as chair; Zoë Macdonald-Mair appointed deputy chair

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First Five Rungs names Becky Dawson as chair; Zoë Macdonald-Mair appointed deputy chair

Comms Council Industry support group, the First Five Rungs in Auckland is rounding out 2021 and heading into the new year with a new chair and deputy as well as three new members.


Becky Dawson (Mango Communications), previous deputy, has been named the chair of the First Five Rungs committee following the recent departure of Lloyd Thomason (TRA), while Zoë Macdonald-Mair (Quantum Jump) has assumed the role of deputy chair.

The committee has also welcomed three new members over recent months, including Emma Hopgood (Mango Communications) to the Auckland team, as well as Tate Boden (VMLY&R) and Jeremy Sinniah (Clemenger BBDO) to the Wellington team. First Five Rungs is now a 14-strong team across Auckland and the Capital, working to connect with and support new talent in the communications industry.

Industry development director of the Comms Council, Marlen Smith, is excited about the new appointments and the direction for the committee in the year ahead: “Lloyd was instrumental in leading the committee through COVID, where he applied all his strength, energy, strategic thinking skills and most importantly his ability to draw people together for the greater good. He and Becky became such a purposeful team, which is why we’re delighted to see Becky step up into the role of chair. Becky has been part of the First Five Rungs for the last couple of years and I’m excited to see the work that she, Zoë, and the rest of the team bring to life.

“We’re very proud of the work that the First Five Rungs continues to do and are thrilled to have members with experience across the industry including media buying, content creation and PR, in addition to the suits and creatives of the advertising industry.

“The expertise they’ve gleaned from the first five years of their career will provide the team with important insights to help develop their support tools for new talent.”

New chair of the First Five Rungs, Becky Dawson, is proud to be working alongside such a driven team and is looking forward to what 2022 brings: “I’m extremely honoured to step into the role and fill the big shoes left by Lloyd. We have a raft of exciting initiatives coming in 2022 and I couldn’t be prouder of the team’s passion and energy.

“The last two years in a pandemic have been extremely challenging for those just starting out in their careers. Over the last 20 months we’ve made it our mission to check-in and support those industry newcomers and hope to continue that important connection into the New Year.”

New deputy chair, Zoë MacDonald-Mair of Quantum Jump has been committee secretary for the last year and is excited to leap into the deputy chair position: “I’m passionate about giving back to the First Five Rungs, as the committee helped me so much when I moved to Auckland just before Covid took hold. We’re striving to help newcomers to the industry during such a challenging time, and I am privileged to be working so closely with Becky, and the rest of the team.”

Bridget Welsh (OMD) takes over from MacDonald-Mair on secretary duties for the Auckland contingent.

The First Five Rung members come from a variety of sectors within the industry, all with different experiences and levels of expertise, bringing invaluable insight to the committee as it ends a strong year and begins 2022 planning.

The First Five Rungs is a Comms Council initiative made up of young people across the communications industry, whose mission is to help industry newcomers receive the best possible start.