SHIFT Consultant Profile: Holly Barron

Holly Barron shares her journey of balancing client work with a dairy farming business in rural NZ, the joys of flexible working and what’s on her bucket list.

Tell us about yourself:

I grew up in Christchurch. After completing a Bachelor of Arts at Canterbury, I finished my law degree at Otago, and came back and worked in Christchurch in general practice. Then I went overseas and worked for an American firm in London specialising in distressed debt before moving on to an English firm working in the area of asset finance.

My husband and I came back to New Zealand and he announced one day that he thought he’d like to go farming. We moved to Matamata and purchased a dairy farm where we milk about 500 cows (when I say “we” I mean not me – I’m more in a support role).

I’ve got three children. Our oldest daughter is 12, my son is 11 and our youngest daughter is 8. Between the farming business and children, life is pretty full and pretty busy.

I also trained as a marriage celebrant. It was rewarding and amusing and has given me some great stories to tell.

I go to the gym and I play netball, we ski as a family and spend a lot of time over at the Mount.

My no. 1 passion (if I could pick just one) would be travelling. We went to Disneyland this year and I honestly think I was more excited than the kids. I really want to go to Iceland, but realistically it’s probably more likely to be somewhere closer to home!

What makes working with SHIFT great?  

I love the flexibility. The biggest thing for me – and more so post-Covid – is that geography is no longer a barrier, which it was for me living rurally. The benefit of working through SHIFT is that someone else is doing all the networking and finding the roles and it’s given me a real ability to choose the work that I want to do.

I can pick the hours that I can work, and I can work from home which suits my lifestyle and family commitments.

I’m at that stage of my career where I’m not striving to be a GC. I know that I’m good at my job and what I can give to people, and the SHIFT model is great because it recognises that and works in with the rest of my life.

What do you love about the job you do?   

I love that it’s not private practice – I’ve kind of done my time doing that.

I’m currently working for a software company. The application of the products is fascinating, the contracts are interesting, there are lots of different counterparties, there’s an international flavour to it, and the people in the business are great. It’s fulfilling work, and it’s challenging me to learn about an industry I haven’t previously been involved in. It’s worked out to be about 20 hours per week, which is perfect for me. I definitely feel like I’m part of the team – as they’ve made a real effort to involve and include me.

What’s the best book/podcast/show you have recently indulged in?

I recently finished Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. Sometimes by the end of the day I don’t have any brainpower left to be highbrow, so I’ve also been watching Schitt’s Creek – it just makes me laugh.

Favourite Restaurant or Café and any menu recommendations?

Alpino which is an Italian restaurant in the Mount. I do love Dimitris in Christchurch, the souvlaki shop. It’s a local institution – it’s been there since I was a kid.

Favourite way to unwind? 

I hang out with my dog Luna, an Italian spinone – preferably with no humans and a coffee!