Acushla Dee Sciascia
Director, Māpuna Consultants
Business Consultancy, Wellington
Kim: Dee is a great example of a creative and agile business owner who can see the value in coaching as the business goes through a rapid period of growth. Business coaching isn’t just for struggling businesses!
As Māpuna Consultants is in-demand, we didn’t need to prioritise our time on finding customers. Instead, we moved quickly to adopt a bird’s eye view of Māpuna – around strategy and action. As many wahine Māori do, Dee wears many hats, and puts everything into every area of her life.
The timing of our work was spot on. I acted as a sounding board while diving into a holistic strategy and then into tactics. This involved everything from reviewing and auditing their marketing strategy and website, to measuring customer perception and then making those adjustments to power up Māpuna’s magic.
We really anchored what the business needed to support growth, and how to ensure that essentially the business continues to stay tika and pono to the over-arching reason of why they do what they do.
We talk a lot about prioritising because, for Dee, whānau comes first, and it was a pleasure to help Dee to reflect, which often centred on asking the right questions. Dee embraced clear and courageous advisory to focus on showcasing her many skills in the best areas for the business.
Dee is highly-motivated, highly educated and driven, and she appreciates having a sounding board to bounce off ideas. We have a remarkable openness and frankness which Dee is grateful for, and we both get immense value from our meetings because she knows I consider myself part of the Māpuna team and I want to see them succeed.
Dee: I connected with Kim professionally in early 2021 through Wellington NZ, who are a client of ours, and the Wellington Regional Business Partner Network, to access some business mentoring.
We needed to think more strategically about the direction we wanted to head in and what we could be doing better.
One of my challenges was the administration and the coordination of the business. We’re client-focused, bringing on contracts, doing the work, but we needed some solid systems underneath, to enable us to perform at our optimum.
We were in something of a ‘fight or flight’ mode to some extent – like many businesses, figuring it out as we go, finding it hard at times to let go, but Kim's helped us to take a few steps back and reassess what's working well and what's not, establishing some clear systems to enable smoother practices, and then offsetting some of that work to others.
Running a business can be lonely. It’s just my husband and me, and it can get a bit old having strategic conversations between just two people. We have a young whānau, which adds a whole other dynamic of complexity in trying to perform as a parent and a businesswoman. She's very mindful of that. Our whānau is our ‘reason’ and our ‘why’ – better systems and structures in our business, for example, help us have more time with our children.
Kim’s also helped us with our online presence and how to welcome both Māori and Pakeha into our space, because we want everyone to see us as an open and loving whānau that clients can be a part of.
She’s also guided us around our value proposition and how we value ourselves, especially as a Māori woman and pricing my work. For example, I've been charging the same hourly rate for two years, and it’s not out the gate to charge ‘x’ dollars an hour for a particular piece of work. I have the experience and expertise to do that, and again, speaking with Kim, she makes you appreciate the unique skills and the worth you can bring to clients.
Reputation and relationships are everything to Māori and how we maintain that reputation and credibility within our community speak volumes. So, if we're not delivering or following through on what we say, that affects who we are as members of the community and our whānau. We’re very much immersed in a Māori world and we never have to explain that to Kim. She gets it.
We’re on the cusp now. Do we grow? Or do we stay bespoke? This is the challenge we are facing now, and it’s much easier to face having Kim around.
Kim exudes expertise, professionalism and general positivity. She’s such a powerful person to be around, and I come out of each hui feeling energised, motivated and ready to go. I want to be the best version of myself for her.
She’s respectful enough to be honest and provides opportunities to test boundaries, but safely and comfortably. We can have really meaty discussions and smile at the end of them.