Reflections on Marianne

Blog | 2021-06-17 | By: The Digital Council for Aotearoa
Marianne Elliot, Co-founder of ActionStation and The Workshop.

Reflections on Marianne

With the public release of our report on trust in automated decision-making, our colleague Marianne Elliott has decided to call time on her tenure with the Digital Council.

As one of the Digital Council’s inaugural members, Marianne has stamped her mark on our group. And we acknowledge her expertise and immense contribution to our work. 

Marianne has been a driving force in developing and delivering the ADM report, alongside Colin Gavaghan. “I would bet that the thing you hear most about Marianne is her passion. She is a warrior for the causes and the people she cares about, who throws herself heart and soul into them. She is also unfailingly honest - she just doesn't do biting her tongue! This meant that some important matters were raised that the rest of us might otherwise have overlooked - and made meetings a bit more lively,” says Colin. “She is also a fine academic. She pushed the Council to make sure that our recommendations were rigorously supported by research and evidence. A hard act to follow!”

Kendall Flutey adds, “Marianne has left her DNA embedded deeply within the Digital Council, what it stands for, and how it ensures inclusive processes and mindsets. She has contributed immensely through community informed and evidence-based research which has set a high standard for the Council to continue forward from. Her continued commitment to amplify the voices of those who often are not heard reflects the care she places in societal betterment.”

“Her contribution to the Digital Council was invaluable,” says Roger Dennis. “By focusing on evidence, and placing people at the center of the discussion, Marianne ensured that the Council released exemplary research.  Marianne’s passion for championing disadvantaged communities will be missed.”

“Marianne and I usually stood on the opposite sides of the fence in terms of our opinions, but I respected her stance and values,” says Nikora Ngaropo. “They always kept me personally honest and created robust discussion.”

"Marianne contributed thoughtful perspectives and robust debate around our work's relevancy to minority groups, as well as ensuring a measured approach to our work,” adds Rachel Kelly.

“I am overly delighted with the team’s comments about Marianne,” says Mitchell Pham, Digital Council Chair. “They very much reflect my own experience of working with and learning from her. I would also add that it’s not just the Digital Council members but also our Secretariat team, the partners we work with and the communities who inform our work as well - we are all going to miss Marianne’s presence on the council.”

In response, Marianne has left us with a touching message:

"I am sad to come to the end of my time on the Digital Council, but the demands of parenting a toddler led me to reassess whether I could deliver in this role at the level the people of New Zealand should expect from the Council. It has been a great privilege, responsibility and joy to work alongside the other members of the Digital Council, the Secretariat and all our research and community partners and I am really proud of the work we did together in our first year, especially our research on trust and trustworthiness. I remain committed to the work of ensuring that digital and data driven technologies increase equity and inclusion, well-being and community resilience in Aotearoa, and look forward to supporting the work of the Council from the sidelines."

Marianne, you have left big shoes to fill as we continue with our work program. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours, and no doubt we will be crossing paths again soon.