The word ‘values’ comes up a lot when you’re with Vic Crone. Whether she’s talking about the values instilled by her parents or the values she has brought to her working life and now Auckland Mayoral campaign, the word clearly resonates with her.
‘My parents were big on family values and working together as a team, ‘ she says, sipping a very healthy looking chilled green concoction at 8.30 on a recent Monday morning.
‘My sisters and I were taught the value of hard work. We were brought up to do everything around the house, whether it was mowing the lawns or making the dinner.’
Those early life lessons in Lower Hutt have stood Vic in good stead. As a 42 year-old single mother of two girls (11 and 17) and, until she stepped down at the end of March, CEO of accountancy software firm Xero, Vic works hard in all spheres of her life. ‘I get a lot of enjoyment out of that,’ she says. ’I come from a long line of very independent women. My great grandmother had a farm in the Marlborough Sounds which she ran on her own six days out of seven and she raised seven children.’
Growing up in Lower Hutt, the daughter of community minded parents and with a father who was a Lower Hutt City Councillor, it’s clear Vic has public service in her blood. ‘I have such strong memories of family time spent making club sandwiches and asparagus rolls for one community event or other.’
At school she did athletics and played netball and tennis. She also loved music and is classically trained on the piano, completing her Licentiate Trinity College, London Performance Certificate, but didn’t feel the calling to become a concert pianist: ‘I was more motivated by business.’ And in fact she set up her own piano school to earn money through her university years as she completed a Masters degree in Commerce and Administration.
Nowadays you’re more likely to find The Muse and Lorde on her Ipod than classical music but her love of sport – and in particular endurance events – has continued. ‘My proudest moments in my personal life are completing the Abel Tasman Coastal Classic (36km adventure run) four years ago and doing a Half Ironman. And of course my children always make me proud as a person and a mum.’
So what does a typical weekend look like for Vic these days? ‘It’s a mix of my girls’ training schedules for gymnastics and underwater hockey and campaign events,’ she says. This leaves precious little time for the Muriwai bolthole but she is still out on the water either swimming or kayaking or on her jetski when time, and campaign schedules, allow. ‘If I can, I fit in a walk with my Retradoodle, visit mum and dad, go for a run.
‘My proudest moments in my personal life are completing the Abel Tasman Coastal Classic (36km adventure run) four years ago and doing a Half Ironman. And of course my children always make me proud as a person and a mum.’
‘I don’t really have time for the theatre or movies at the moment but my perfect night out would be drinks with friends, dinner out and then onto an event.’
Campaigning for the Auckland Mayoralty is a long way from turning out asparagus rolls, but Vic Crone has carried her core values of hard work and community service throughout her life.
‘In my working life I haven’t had as much time to give back as I would like. I’ve been building my career and raising my children, so now that they are getting older I’ve been looking at ways to participate and give back to the community.’
She is currently Director, Chair or Trustee of several not-for-profit organizations, mostly in the tech world, as well as President of her daughter’s gymnastics club.
‘I like talking to many different communities and understanding how I could make a difference,’ she says. ‘I think there is a really good fit between my work experience and the challenges in building Auckland into a strong, innovative city.
‘If I could solve someone’s problems, their traffic problems for example, then that is a problem solved not only for that person but maybe also for their family, and that is what excites me.’
In the move from business into politics Vic is very conscious of keeping her leadership style and lifelong values intact. ‘I’m strong and driven but human-led and fair. I look forward to displaying strong leadership while putting people at the heart of decision making’
Words: Suzy Fraser