Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Lead judge: Best Plain Language Turnaround

Head of Marketing and Community Investment, WBS, Masterton, New Zealand

A love of language passed down on the land

I grew up on a farm in rural Wairarapa, New Zealand. My sisters and I spent endless hours riding our horses around the farm, mustering sheep and cattle, with Dad as our faithful guide. Dad loved words and language, a love that he shared in the many hours we spent with him. That’s more than likely where my love of language was born.

Discovering the benefits of plain language

After several years working in the communications industry, in 2014 I had the great fortune of securing a role as a plain language consultant at Write Limited in Wellington. Through this role, I developed a solid understanding of plain language and its benefits for Write’s clients, and indeed for everyday people everywhere. The more I learnt about plain language, the more I was blown away by its benefits. Plain language can certainly change lives: I witnessed that regularly at Write and through the Plain Language Awards.

Life moves in circles

After 7 years at Write, including several years as coordinator and then project manager of the Plain Language Awards, I moved back to my hometown of Masterton. Most recently I’ve moved into a senior role at WBS, the Wairarapa Building Society. WBS is a mutual building society and our profits stay right here in Wairarapa. We use these profits to help grow people’s savings and investments, and to invest back in our local community. For me, as someone working for WBS, that gives me plenty to smile about.

I’m honoured to be returning to the judging panel for the 2023 Plain Language Awards.

Read Melissa’s blog on creating well-written sentences

Meet the judges for the Plain Language Awards

How the judging process works