When the urge is just too strong

The team – legal secretary Bayley Brown with the boss Bill Holland. Photo: Nikki South.

“I would love to keep her.” But he’s letting her go.

He’s lawyer Bill Holland. She’s his legal secretary – a star performer.

“In this company we encourage good people to progress, hopefully within the office.

“Because if they are good, then we want them to stay.”

So why is Bill cutting Bayley Brown adrift, setting her free, encouraging her to leave? Why isn’t he spicing up her employment package, giving her a reason to want to stay?

“Because it’s not in Bayley’s best interests, she’s best to look at the big picture, where she wants to be in five years’ time.” Loyal, trusted, talented – but he thinks she should go.

And her calling, where she needs to be, is teaching. “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” says Bayley. “I was just unsure when and where.”

When is now and where is Waikato University next year for study. She’s giving away the high flying corporate life working for one of the city’s pre-eminent law practitioners for the classroom. The temptation of journeying alongside some kids during the early years of their life proved too strong.

It’s about shaping wee minds – encouraging, inspiring and empowering.

And her boss isn’t one bit miffed – he’s delighted. “Isn’t she someone we need teaching?” says the   warm and charming law partner, TECT chair and community champion.

Bayley mentioned earlier this year that ultimately she would like to go teaching. But it was bad timing because a couple of illnesses in the firm made her even more indispensable. Bayley stayed loyal. But in August, at her annual review, she was still talking about teaching. So Bill started helping her out the door.

“The logical thing was for her to leave Holland Beckett Law early next year because she would get the start of the university year.”

The story only gets more serendipitous. Because Bill encouraged the 21-year-old former Rotorua Girls’ High student to apply for a Tauranga Tertiary Campus Charitable Trust ‘First-in-Family’ scholarship. “If you’re the first in your family to have a university education, then you can apply for this scholarship.”

Bayley is one of seven brothers and sisters. “I’m right in the middle and the first to go to uni. It’s not they couldn’t have gone. But it wasn’t pushed that much.”

Bayley didn’t need pushing – she applied for a scholarship and got one. She’s one of the inaugural recipients. “It’s a changing of the cycle,” says Bill. “It’s getting people into university education when they might not have done so. So I think it’s great.”

And Bayley has the opportunity to stay in Tauranga to study. ”Having Waikato University here in town is fantastic for people like Bayley,” says Bill. “It gives her the opportunity she wouldn’t have had.”

Ultimately, Bayley will be leaving Holland Becket Law. “She will go with our blessing, but in the meantime she is staying, sort of, also with our blessing.”

Because Bayley won’t have to go waitressing or bar tending to turn a buck and pay her way through her studies. “When she has her programme worked out at uni she can talk to our people about where she can fit in with some ongoing part-time work. So we aren’t losing her to a certain extent, but eventually we will.”

Bill sees this strategy as a minor triumph. “I always find if you can do something that works for everybody, then what’s the problem? Everyone wins, everyone benefits. Why don’t we do this more often, why do we have to make life difficult for ourselves?”

In the meantime there’s some succession management underway and the would-be teacher is already teaching – Bayley is training up her replacement, a Toi Ohomai legal executive graduate who has little practical experience. It’s going “extremely well” – for everyone.

“I will be sad to leave,” says Bayley. “I’m very grateful to have worked in Bill’s team. He’s a great boss and I’m not saying that just because he’s sitting alongside me. He really is.”

All the pieces in this real-life jigsaw are coming together for Bayley. She has a husband who’s a youth pastor at Bethlehem Baptist church, she definitely wants to have a family of her own one day and she’s a singer. It’ll only be time before those final pieces are slotted in and the puzzle completed.


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