5 minutes with our team: Robin Ferguson

Behind the scenes at The Parenting Place is a team of fantastic, passionate, fun (quirky) people. We wanted to introduce you to some of these family-loving people across our various departments. This week, meet one of our most treasured, longstanding Toolbox staff, Robin Ferguson.

What do you do at The Parenting Place?

I am the Toolbox administrator.

How long have you worked here? Tell us a favourite memory.

11 and a half years. Many many staff meetings that involved heaps of humour but also lots of wonderful devotions shared by many staff over the years. So a lovely mix of laughing and crying sometimes. Some of the staff events have been a highlight. They usually involved dress ups or funny themes. Basically times where we had an opportunity to get to know one another on a deeper level and have fun outside the work day.

What is your nickname at work? And why?

Zane calls me Robbitty Bob because I was silly enough one day to admit to him that it was a name I am sometimes called by family or friends. More recently Shona and I have been referred to as Fairy Godmothers. I think the coordinator team think we magic things into or out of existence. I really want a sparkly dress and wand to go with the name though.

Tell us a bit about your family

John and I recently celebrated our 30th Wedding anniversary. Wow, that actually is amazing to write. He is wonderful guy. We have two beautiful grown children, Emily, and Jeremy, who has recently married Chloe so we have a beautiful daughter in law. Our family is also enhanced by a number of young adults we consider to be family – Peter and Holly, Joy and Rob and their gorgeous little girl, Ella, who John and I are Nannie and Pops to. So family and friends come and go to our home all the time, which I love!

You are known for your love of dress-ups. What is your all-time favourite outfit and why?

My favourite could be an outfit I researched and made for my nephew’s Star Wars 21st party. I created an outfit for Yarna d’al Gargan (who is an actual Star Wars character). She was a luscious well endowed woman. My outfit was slightly more modest than the movie version. It was a great party! I am working on ideas for the Fairy Godmother dress at the moment.

Everything is a competition. What does this statement mean to you and what have you won lately?

Well, it goes way back a number of years, to when we had an end of year competition for each department to decorate the various office spaces (when there were office spaces!) in a Christmas theme. So Toolbox (mostly me) went all out to decorate our area with a Christmas Kiwi camping theme, complete with a huge beach banner, thanks to Gill (then Toolbox Manager), and as much camping and beach paraphernalia that could fit into our three office spaces. We even had a tent partially pitched in the area, while still managing to work. Even if I do say so myself, it was a stunning effort. Of course, the catch cry around the office at the time, and especially from Bruce (then CEO) was, “It’s not a competition, Robin” – which of course it was!

The phrase has stuck but there are not may folks here now who would remember the significance of it. I didn’t think I was competitive, but actually I think I am. Perhaps maximiser is one of my strengths. I tend to do things on a big scale when given the opportunity. I haven’t won much lately, but I did enjoy styling Jem and Chloe’s wedding recently, which was minimum effort for maximum effect – a huge project but heaps of fun.

Two truths and a lie about yourself. Go.

I have something in common with the late actor, Robin Williams. I was born about two months prematurely and weighed only 1.4 kg at birth. I really hate anchovies.

Attend a Toolbox parenting course

Toolbox courses inspire and equip whānau. They are bursting with great advice, humour and encouragement, offering practical strategies and insights into developmental stages. Parents leave reassured that challenges are common to all families and that they’re not alone on their parenting journey. The courses are run over a number of weeks in a relaxed and conversational small group setting with a trained facilitator. The five courses – Building Awesome Whānau, Baby and Toddler Years, Primary Years, Intermediate Years, and Teenage Years. Find out more and register here.