Becoming her own boss: Wilhelmina Shrimpton

Two redundancies, a separation, the launch of her business, yet multimedia master Wilhelmina Shrimpton is thriving, writes Metropol Deputy Editor Nina Tucker.

“Hectic” is normal programming for Wilhelmina. When she lists the number of things she’s working on daily, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. Broadcasting and reporting, fill-in hosting at various newsrooms, media trainings and meetings with spokespeople and corporates, MC gigs, writing, managing PR clients, and creating social media content are all things Wilhelmina can be found doing, at no specific time of the day, or location. Just a few weeks ago, she sat next to me at Breast Cancer Cure’s Christchurch Fashion for a Cure show. The next morning she was already back in Auckland. Throw in taxes and accounts, hitting the gym, fulfilling hobbies, seeing friends and family, and it’s a wonder how anyone could squeeze it all in.

That’s the result after everything that could change in a person’s life… does. She was up against two redundancies with no passion strong enough to commit to anything else full-time. Backed into a corner, Wilhelmina had to put faith in herself. She launched Wils & Co. Media, and it turned out to be the best thing she could have done, for both her career and herself. “I decided that a whole bunch of smaller things put together actually made up the big thing, and that it would be an incredibly smart move given the seismic shift, change and uncertainty within the media industry.

“If you create multiple revenue streams, then you’re less likely to feel the blow when one falls over.” Always afraid of starting her own business–and doing her taxes, she soon found broadcasting opportunities and PR clients coming in. “It was a huge and daunting move for me to go out on my own, and one that I never would have considered were it not for the closure of Today FM,” she reflects. The road has been long and winding, and will continue to be, however, Wilhelmina knows people will always crave stories and content.

Diversity of skills was key in such a seismic media environment. “I’m a broadcaster and journalist by trade, but so many of those skills are transferable to other areas.” Plus, her life and career are entirely at her discretion now. “The added bonus of running your own business is that the only person who can make me redundant now is me,” she laughs. Wilhelmina untilised the networks she built throughout life as a journalist and in other areas. “There’s a lot of value in their knowledge and often all it takes is an hour and a cup of coffee, or a spicy marg [margarita], to hatch a plan and get a bit of direction.”

The turbulence of the current media and journalism industry is something she thinks about often, mourning the cuts at multiple media outlets. “It feels awful not being in the trenches right now to support my old mates and colleagues while they navigate this incredibly tough time.” While the landscape shifts, so does she, to keep up with each change. “I often find myself now grieving the good old gnarly industry I once knew and loved,” she says.

Life as an investigative journalist for the now shutdown Today FM was no picnic, and managing her own business has taken it up another notch. “For some people being pulled in so many directions would be an absolute nightmare, but I find myself in a state of complete flow when I’m bouncing at my limit.”

From that journalism career, she wears some impressive accolades. A Voyager Media Awards and NZ Radio Awards finalist, having won both Best News Journalist and Best Long Form Video at the latter in 2023, and again for Best Long Form video this year, Wilhelmina soared in only a short time at Today FM. “It was such a privilege that so many people opened up their homes and lives to me and trusted me with their stories. The thing with news is that no story is too big or too small, and there’s so much power in giving people a voice.” Losing her role as Investigations Editor and host, her dream job, felt impossible when each story was such an emotional investment.

With resilience and a strong support network, Wilhelmina wiped her tears after each setback. “Through all the light and brilliant experiences there were some really dark times where I honestly believed things wouldn’t be okay.” Having built the life she always dreamed of, Wilhelmina says she’s the happiest she’s ever been.

A life in the public eye hasn’t been all glamorous. Sometimes, being glamorous was a bad thing. Wilhelmina says there is a misconception that comes from loving fashion. “Some people’s perceptions are that if you’re a bit glam, you can’t be taken seriously despite news often being a visual medium and the expectation being that you present yourself well,” she explains. It’s a shame because fashion is her creative outlet. Determined to foster a change in that narrative, Wilhelmina says, “You can wear bright colours or a sparkly dress, and be an entrepreneur, a scientist, politician, doctor or a serious journalist; these things are not mutually exclusive.”

Referring to him as the “love of my life,” Wilhelmina says she and new partner Ben O’Keeffe are each others best friend and biggest fans. She tells me that their two insanely busy schedules mould well. After walks, swimming, and cooking, they’re happy with a movie night and “a few dirty beige snacks”. Just spending time together is more than enough,” she says. With a house so close to the beach, they’re anticipating a summer spent largely in the water. There’s more to come, but for now, Wilhelmina is focused on being her own boss at

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