Earlier this year, we identified an opportunity to take ZEST – the Eastern Bay’s young professionals network – and reimagine it, with a renewed focus on balancing social connection with professional development.

Our plans took a slight break as we all buckled down to deal with COVID. But if COVID showed us anything, it’s that there’s an even bigger need for people to come together and form connections, learn, and share ideas. 

So we’ve officially relaunched and rebranded the initiative as THE LADDER. EBOP’s premier (and only) network for young professionals.



They say age is nothing but a number. But if we had to put one on it, we’d say we’re for those in the 25-40 age bracket. That said, THE LADDER is more about a mindset. We’re for everyone from senior managers and business-owners to young-guns and up-and-comers. If you want to connect with like-minded pros, then we want to connect with you.



We’re a small group of twenty and thirty-somethings hailing from Whakatāne District Council, EBOP Chamber of Commerce, and private businesses. We love our community, and we want to see its young professionals thrive. We’re a mix of everyone you meet around here. Born-and-bred-ers, recent arrivals, and back-home-to-settle-down-ers. The one thing we all have in common is that we want to create opportunities to meet interesting people, and learn about cool stuff.



We plan and host events where the Eastern Bay’s professional under-40s can gather and share ideas, advice, and connections. We aim to provide a blend of networking events (like BBQs and lawn bowls) and professional and personal development opportunities (like seminars and presentations).

Our goal is to provide local young professionals with a platform to launch their success.



The Eastern Bay of Plenty has a surprisingly large population of young professionals, attracted to our stunning region through roles with large employers. We also have a whole heap of homegrown talent in management positions, and plenty of young business-owners and entrepreneurs who are currently lacking networking opportunities.

We recognise that for people in the first half of their careers, support and development from an outside source is invaluable – in both a social and professional context. THE LADDER is

a group where up-and-comers and young business leaders can connect in a fun and casual setting. At one event you might sample some local craft beers (or lemonades) while debating whether next year is in fact the Warriors’ year. At the next, you could be invited to hear insights from one of New Zealand’s biggest business leaders.

We aim to keep talented locals in the area, and encourage new arrivals to stay for good.

To jump on our mailing list and stay in-the-loop on upcoming events send your details to theladderebop@gmail.com