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Kendall Flutey (Image: Supplied)
Kendall Flutey (Image: Supplied)

PartnersFebruary 8, 2024

Kendall Flutey on focusing your ambitions

Kendall Flutey (Image: Supplied)
Kendall Flutey (Image: Supplied)

In the third episode of season two of Kiwibank’s This is Kiwi podcast, Kendall Flutey talks about ambition and defining her own success.

This is Kiwi podcast is brought to you by Kiwibank and The Spinoff Podcast network. Subscribe and download This is Kiwi wherever you get your podcasts, so you don’t miss an episode of season two.

Kendall Flutey is the co-founder and co-CEO of Banqer, a software used in schools to help empower students towards a future of financial wellbeing. Flutey was awarded the young Māori business leader of the Year at the Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards in 2018, and the following year named Young New Zealander of the Year. 

Despite these accolades, her measure of success isn’t profit or notoriety, but following her passion for helping kids and creating a better future for them. Flutey’s own passion for learning helped her to grow her business, and she says it’s also been important in her drive to stay ambitious. 

“I’m always really happy being a newbie to a craft, or taking those first few steps in a space. And it may not mean that I end up to be the master carpenter or the expert linguist, but I definitely enjoy that experience of learning. That in itself is ambition.”

Banqer has been a huge success, but Flutey’s ambition hasn’t always been aimed towards one single goal. Growing up, she wasn’t sure what she wanted her career to be in, so spent her school years instead just focusing on the subjects that made her happy.

“When the day to decide what happens after school came along – it comes around whether you want it to or not – I just followed the herd and leaned into a generic university degree, which was commerce.”

When her degree ended, Flutey became an accountant, which she quickly realised wasn’t the right fit. But this crisis of confidence ultimately led Flutey to reevaluate what success meant to her. 

“I had just been utilising a generic definition of success… But if that’s not right, for me, I’m never going to be successful in that world or that space. So I short circuited my midlife crisis, got it out of the way in my early 20s, redefined success, and from there on, I don’t want to be too dramatic, but my life definitely changed.”

Escaping from the confines of the expectations Flutey had put on herself led her to discover what she was really passionate about: financial literacy.

Now her company Banqer is used in schools across Aotearoa, and Australia. Simulating an economy in a safe way, Banqer lets kids learn about many aspects of money – from opening bank accounts, to buying assets like homes and cars. 

“Talking about money is actually one of the most powerful things you can do with your loved ones and your friends,” says Flutey. “[Banqer is] an online financial world that they can practise money behaviours within.”

As Banqer grows, and so do the thousands of children around the world that it has impacted, Flutey finds motivation in the stories she hears from rangatahi getting excited about their financial futures. 

“Every time I step foot into a Banqer classroom. Every time we receive a little bit of feedback from a teacher or a parent. Recently, we caught up with one of Banqer primary’s original graduates. She’s now through her university experience herself, and she was talking about her real life context and the things that she had done and the choices she had made and how that was informed by her experience on Banqer.

“These are all little bits of the puzzle that reaffirm to me I can change the world and Banqer can change the world and actually, anyone can change the world.”

The third episode of season two of This is Kiwi is out now. Subscribe and download wherever you get your podcasts.

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