NZ Army leader Dr Ellen Nelson worked night and day for almost a year to help evacuate 563 Afghan Defence Force allies and their families after the country fell to the Taliban in 2021.
Nelson started her career in the NZ Army, with deployments including Afghanistan, Antarctica, the UK, Australia and the Pacific. She completed a PhD in 2019, focused on the leadership experiences and wellbeing of women in the workforce, and used these findings to help the army reduce the barriers women face.
She continues to work in leadership training, with her post-doctoral research aimed at reducing stress for working parents.
Ellen Nelson is a finalist for Local Hero of the Year at the 2023 New Zealander of the Year Awards.