Dublin, Ireland

Job title:

Technical project lead


Pivot Software Limited


Master of Human Resource Management

Moved to Christchurch:

September 2010, and moved to New Zealand in September 2009

Suzie Mitchell
Why did you choose to move to Christchurch?

I first decided to move to New Zealand after returning to Ireland from a small career break. On my return, I realised that work and career progression opportunities were not easily available to me.
I had contacts in Whangarei and arrived in New Zealand on a working holiday visa. After a few months of travelling the country I was offered a temporary role in Auckland, which led to a permanent contract in Christchurch.
In the time spent in Christchurch after the February quake, I think Cantabrians are the most resilient and helpful people I have met.

What does your company do?

Pivot Software helps organisations use technology to improve their control over complex and often emotional human resource processes. We develop, sell and support Software as a Service applications for Talent and Remuneration management to the Australasian market.

What does your job involve?

I am in a client-facing role where I aim to understand clients’ processes and requirements, and configure a web-based application to meet their needs.
I provide training to clients on using the software, write design documents and testing requirements for future developments and specify any complex custom calculations and reports for clients.

What do you enjoy about your job?

My work is a mixture of human resources (HR) and information technology (IT).
I really enjoy the technical nature of my job. I love to learn and am constantly learning new techniques in project management, client interactions and about IT in general.
My work environment is very relaxed. Our offices are based in an old villa with a full kitchen and a large back garden. We regularly hold team meetings outside when the weather permits.
The attitude here is very different – work/life balance is seen as a positive thing and important to management.

How do you see your career progressing?

Coming from an HR background working for an IT company, I aim to progress further in the IT and technical space.

Tell us about your lifestyle in Christchurch:

Fun at work:
I have met some great lifelong friends at work. I feel like my colleagues are the closest I have to family here in New Zealand.

Fun outside of work:
I am lucky to have some old school friends living in Christchurch who also moved here around the same time. We see each other regularly and are very close.
There is so much to see and do around the local area that there is lots for us to attend and we go on skiing weekends together during the winter.
I am a keen horse rider and have been able to progress further in this area. I have found a very good local riding stable and adult riding club and I now compete in national competitions. I would not have been able to afford this luxury in Ireland.

Family aspects:

I met my partner here in Christchurch – he moved to Christchurch from Ireland for construction employment. We have been together two years and have purchased a house.
Obviously it is difficult living so far away from my family; however, my family have come to visit and it is great to be able to provide them with a great holiday. They are very supportive and agree that moving to Christchurch was a good decision.

Life in Christchurch:

Life in Christchurch is amazing – we ski in the winter and go to the beach in summer.
There are lots of events organised by the local government and event companies. My favourite annual events are:

  • the Buskers Festival, which is a full 10 days of comedy, acrobatics and shows
  • Shakespeare in the park, where a local acting company performs a Shakespeare play outdoors in a natural amphitheatre
  • Cup and Show week, a local festival with a week of horse racing.

The local government is also very good at organising family friendly events in the local park – events range from kite flying to small music events.
Within two hours drive of Christchurch there is the amazing Hanmer Springs geothermal hot pools, ski fields, and Akaroa, a small beach town with a French theme with lots of walks and beautiful natural scenery.
There are lots of other events and things to see and do around New Zealand. While I have been living here, I have:

  • watched Ireland beat Australia at the Rugby World Cup
  • seen my favourite UK bands play in Auckland
  • learned to fish off the coast of Northland
  • tramped through the Abel Tasman National Park – with the best beaches in the world
  • learned to ski
  • regularly competed in horse riding
  • seen some amazing plays and festivals.

These are things that I would never have had the opportunity to do in Ireland, and I am very grateful.

Pivot Software