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We hold events for our alumni, friends, and the general public for people to connect with the important conversations in leadership.

Subject matter experts and prominent New Zealand leaders share their knowledge and engage with the audience, sparking new ideas and innovation as minds from different backgrounds converge and focus their energy on a salient issue or theme.

Forces That Shape Our Thinking

Written by Mary Camp, Business Development Manager at Education New Zealand

I can't wait - that's how I always feel when a Leadership NZ Programme session is coming up. Can't wait to be with the people, can't wait to learn more, can't wait to find out what crazy challenging activities we'll be doing.

I thought I might be distracted this time - our national conference was on at the same time. I was determined to be present. The first morning I wrote 'Be Here' on the steamed up shower door.

Gorgeous Spring-like days in Auckland. Lots of hugs and laughter. We missed our absent friends. Piano music drifted through from next door.

Dave Wild - legend. Wild by name, wild by nature, he navigated us through the radical design thinking process. "Be prepared to have weird ideas and put them out there. Allow others to have weird ideas." Empowering advice!

We went to look for the truth outside the building. I really enjoyed connecting with the students we interviewed, and those who came later to test our ideas. They were inspiring. So much more focussed and motivated than I was when I was at university. Don't know if that's good or bad. It's just how it is (hey, this mindfulness stuff has actually penetrated my mind!).

I will be trying to use a design thinking mindset. I love how it is based on empathy. I love how it gets you out of your own mind and invites you to think by doing. Something that really resonated with me is "perfection is the enemy of progress."

It was an intellectually demanding day. Just when you think you've been too much in your head, along come the My Lives to hit you in the heart. I am filled with awe and admiration for people allowing us to see their authentic and deepest selves. So much courage.

Friday morning found us at Q Theatre - a great venue. Louise reminded us about learn-grow-adapt and got us to do a "mind-curating experiment". I envy the person who knows they want to travel the world in a Kombi making goats' cheese. There's no vision as well-defined in my mind. But I would love to leap from 'steady as she goes' into the radical... one day.

The speakers spoke to head and heart. They are all storytellers. Wayne Hope argued that the connection between NZ media and our national identity is broken. Qiujing Wong is using film to create social change, to create "a story of hope". Lillian Grace defines data as numbers that tell a story about us. Who knew there have only ever been about 7 million New Zealanders! And Lisa Taouma uses the digital world to share Pacific stories. In the small group session, she told us how heartbreak had been a motivator for her.

We said goodbye to our old syndicates, and hello to our new ones. The day was nearly over. We did some work on wellbeing - thanks Rebecca and Imogen for leading that. Not quite sure exactly where it will lead, but that is ok. It will lead somewhere.

We have talked a lot about curation this time. Louise left us with some wise words (as always) - curate your own life. Do what you feel. Follow your soul. Find the golden threads.

I already can't wait for next time.