Graduand Biographies

Class of 2017


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Aimee Barwick
Mott McDonald

I hold a Masters of Resource and Environmental Planning and my professional background has largely focused on resource management and transport planning within local government. I have 15 years’ experience in transport, land use and infrastructure planning and delivery, and am currently responsible for the mass transit project to deliver the business case for route protection from the city to the airport. I am also responsible for the integrated infrastructure component of the Council’s housing infrastructure fund proposal and the associated development agreements to support the housing outcomes. I lead a multi-disciplinary team of experienced development, design, planning and commercial experts to ensure integrated investment for large-scale infrastructure to support growth. One of my career highlights was securing the designation for the city rail link project.

The Leadership NZ Programme couldn’t have come at a better time for where I am at in my personal and professional growth and development. The tools and practices I now embrace have become such an important part of my daily life to be able to transition and understand the potential for myself, others and importantly my children.
Louise spoke many times about life trying to teach you something and from that perspective, it enables more clarity to enjoy and ride the highs and lows. Many times I have drawn on the work we have done to be more inquisitive and seek insight for things that challenge me.
The makeup of the diversity in the group has been such a great eye-opening opportunity. To hear others share their stories and insights allows all of us to see people more than who they represent. I have truly treasured this experience and will continue to practice throughout my leadership journey.

Skills offered: Director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, Northern Football Federation Board.
Current community involvement: Change management, facilitation, governance, organisational development, project management, strategic planning, mentoring, relationship management, people development, process improvement, coaching, risk management.
Location: Auckland

Alice Montague
General Manager - Marketing, Fundraising and Communications, Red Cross

I have spent most of my working life at not-for-profits in the UK, Australia and now New Zealand. I am passionate and committed to making a difference in the community I live in, the country I call home, and overseas. I currently work at New Zealand Red Cross as the general manager for marketing, communications and fundraising and have just passed my ten year anniversary with the Red Cross movement, here and in the UK at the British Red Cross. I’m now a proud Wellingtonian and am never happier than when outside in the hills or beach with my whanau and dog. I want my children to grow up in a tolerant and equal society, where differences are celebrated and the environment is protected for future generations.

It is such a privilege to have been one of the participants on this year’s Leadership NZ Programme. It has been an incredible year as we’ve travelled the length of Aotearoa to a range of beautiful and varied settings to hear from some awe-inspiring speakers. The length of the Programme has enabled us to build trust within the group and many of us have made friendships that will last a lifetime. The diverse topics have provoked plenty of robust conversations and reflections on the challenges and opportunities that face New Zealand today. We’ve grappled with some of those ‘wicked problems’ and reflected on what great leadership means in today’s chaotic world. As the Programme draws to an end, I feel a sense of determination, calm and excitement about where I can now most make a difference in our beautiful country.
Thank you Louise, Sina, Annette and Judy, it has been amazing.

Skills offered: Environmental campaigns.
Current community involvement: Fundraising, strategic planning, relationship management, communications.
Location: Wellington

Andrew Jary
Head of Production and Experience Services, Auckland War Memorial Museum

My early years were based in Nelson, where I connected with the region’s stunning outdoor environment and began to explore my creativity through art and music. I studied architecture at Victoria University, and after graduating was attracted to the museum sector, with the opportunity of working a rich cultural context and engaging with a multi-disciplinary creative sector. I now work at Auckland Museum where I lead a talented team in the planning, design, build and delivery of the public experience projects. I am motivated by the belief that inspirational experiences have the power to influence deep change.

This Leadership Programme has been a powerful, unique, challenging, compassionate and awakening journey for which I’m deeply grateful. I’ve relished our explorations into the key issues that sit at the edge of leadership in Aotearoa. I’ve soaked up the opportunities, the conversations, the inspirational people and places, the shared challenges that we’ve uncovered along the way. I’ve noticing my awareness shifting, quietly expanding at the edges and an emerging re-connection with my truth and authenticity. I’ve also experienced an awakening of heart, creativity, aroha and learning how this can be integrated into the context of social and organisational dynamics.
One of the key learnings that have emerged for me has been the theme of integrative leadership… the expansiveness of plural rather than binary thinking, inclusion of multiple viewpoints and worldviews, the practice of sitting with uncertainty, working with the alignment of values, energy, action and potential, nourishing culture, allowing disruption and emergence.

Skills offered: Project management, relationship management, process improvement, technical production, experience design.
Location: Auckland

Anjum Rahman
Trustee, SHAMA (Hamilton Ethnic Women's Centre)

Words that best describe me: pioneer, changemaker, activist, advocate. I’ve teamed up with so many wonderful people to create and work with organisations which bring communities together, support women to reach their full potential, give marginalised people a voice through multi-platform broadcasting, raise awareness of human rights and the importance of consent in personal relationships, making submissions to central and local government, fundraising. I’ve been a political candidate, a member of the legal aid review panel, part of an ACC advisory group and a Police ethnic advisory group. I’m a public speaker, a media spokeswoman, a spoken word poet, a (retired) blogger, a protester, a mother. My paid work is as a chartered accountant, providing support to small and medium businesses, farms and NGOs. It’s a full life and I’m grateful for all of it.

I’m now most of the way through the Leadership NZ Programme and I’ve found it to be challenging, inspiring, motivational, educational, frustrating and a whole lot of fun. I love the new techniques and skills that I’ve learnt. It has been an incredible opportunity for self-reflection and personal development, an internal journey and exploration. This has helped me to be stronger, and more sure of myself. I feel able to stand more firmly in the world. Just as important is rethinking the way I see and interact with others. The “My Life” sessions have been so profound, as others share things that have impacted them and made them who they are. I’ve also been challenged by others whose viewpoints are very different to my own and struggled with experiencing and explaining marginalisation and vulnerability as a person who doesn’t conform to many societal norms. The best thing, though, is the  connections I’ve made, the closeness and joy I’ve felt working with a group of lovely people.

Skills offered: Chartered accountant (tax, financial and business advisory skills), governance, media spokesperson, public speaking, community engagement.
Current community involvement: Governance Board Member of Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand; Shama (Hamilton Ethnic Women’s Centre); Waikato Community Broadcasting Charitable Trust and Women of the Waikato Muslim Association; Member, Waikato Interfaith Council; media spokesperson, Islamic Women’s Council. I have worked on sexual violence prevention, and stood for both central and local government.
Location: Hamilton

Anna Palmer
Corporate Services Manager, Foundation North

My British partner and I have been based on Waiheke Island for the last 10 years raising our 11 year old twins. I also an older son based in Berlin. I have a very diverse family with biological, adoptive, stepparents and my partner’s family spread across the world. I have had a varied career in the public and private sectors across many industries providing training, research, communications, procurement, IT services and facilities management. I have lived abroad in the UK for a quarter of my life and travelled extensively during and between roles. I made the move from private sector to not-for-profit and began working with Foundation North 12 years ago. I have been in my current role as Corporate Services Manager for the last four years supporting the work that Foundation North does –engaging with its amazing communities in Auckland and Northland.

It has been a total privilege to be part of the Leadership NZ Programme. This year has forced a well overdue powerful inward journey of reflection and self-discovery. I have been challenged in many ways and it surprises me to say that I have even begun to enjoy being pushed into my discomfort zone. Special thanks to the wonderful Leadership NZ team. Louise and Nicola, you both have made this year incredibly special and I thank you for everything you have shared and exposed me too. Annette, Sina and Judy you are all gems. To the 2017 cohort, where do I start? I have loved the camaraderie we have shared, the conversations, the openness, honesty, acceptance, humour and non-judgment. What a fantastic bunch you all are. I have enjoyed the diverse and outstanding speakers - my perspectives have been widened with topics very relevant to New Zealand. This has been a very transformational year for me and I genuinely don’t want it to end. Whakawhetai me te aroha ki te rōpū.

Skills offered: Relationship management, organisational review, fundraising, project management, event planning. 
Location: Auckland

Avinash Murthy
Operations Manager, North Tugz Limited

I was born and raised in Hyderabad, India. Being the eldest of three boys I had a very interesting childhood and my leadership journey had started. I have been a seafarer most of my life and travelled extensively during this time. Working with diverse people from varied nationalities was the best part of the journey. Lead by example is the mantra I always followed. I am a relatively recent immigrant to New Zealand. I moved here in 2013 and New Zealand is home now for me and my family.

The Leadership NZ Programme has been an amazing journey so far, leadership with a difference I would say. Every session has taught me distinct aspects of leadership. I can already feel the difference in my personal and professional life. One of the gifts of the Programme is the amazing and diverse set of people it brings together. Experiences and knowledge shared by the speakers, facilitators and the participants have contributed immensely to my personal development. I am very happy that I secured the opportunity to participate with the cohort of 2017. It has been a very enriching experience. The Programme solidifies my notion that many people from various walks of life and industries come together to collectively contribute towards a greater good. This Programme has allowed me to explore avenues I wouldn’t normally reach out for, which has definitely enhanced my leadership journey. I am excited to see how the journey progresses with my new friends.

Skills offered: Project management, organisational review, training, mentoring, operations management.
Location: Auckland

Brook Turner
General Manager of Supportive Housing, VisionWest Community Trust

I believe the meaning of life is found in the service of others. I have twenty years’ experience in non-profit work where I have honed my skills in youth work, public speaking, project management and executive leadership. After founding and pioneering Zeal Education Trust as one of the country’s leading youth organisations, I have recently turned my attention to solving the inequality in New Zealand by tackling the issue of social housing. I am currently the GM of Supportive Housing at VisionWest and am involved in a groundbreaking programme called ‘Housing First’ which aims to eliminate chronic homelessness in Auckland.

At the first Leadership NZ 2017 session, we were privileged to hear from Sir Bob Harvey on his lessons in leadership. In this session, Bob talked about developing your ‘leadership landscape’. This has been a term that has guided my year and proved very valuable.
I have worked tirelessly and at times in frustration to develop the interior landscape of my leadership. This journey has included an exploration of my values and worldview and resulted in a more enlightened approach to my leadership. Essentially, I am learning to lead from my authentic self.
My life has fundamentally changed. 
Thank you.

Skills offered: Change management, strategic planning, public speaking, fundraising, organisational development.
Current community involvement: Board Member, Zeal Education Trust (National) and the Bishops Community Trust (Wellington).
Location: Auckland

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Candice de Villiers
Marketing and Communications Manger, Q Theatre

I was born in South Africa and lived in a number of cities and countries growing up. This experience has made me appreciate what a privilege it is to be able to now call myself a New Zealander.
The performing arts have been part of my life from a very young age. I value the positive impact that arts and culture can have on a community and my role as Marketing and Communications Manager at Auckland’s Q Theatre allows me to share that with tens of thousands of people each year. Midway through the Leadership NZ Programme, I became a mother for the first time. This incredible and life-changing experience has strengthened my desire to be a strong role model and leader in New Zealand for the benefit of the next generation.

2017 has been a significant year in my life both personally and professionally. I began the year unsure of whether or not I could step up to the challenge of a year long Programme like Leadership NZ given all that I had planned for the year.
However, I believe choosing this particular year to participate in Leadership NZ was the right decision. It has taught me that being a great leader is all about acknowledging every part of your life and experiences into your leadership style in an integrative way. The process has been hugely valuable and I look forward to continuing to learn from the experiences and people on the Programme in years to come.

Skills offered: Communications, audience development, arts marketing, digital marketing, community engagement.
Current community involvement: Plunket Volunteer.
Location: Auckland

Cornelia Walker
Manager, Business Enablement, ACC

For the past eighteen years, I have never been far from IT. I have traversed both public and private sector commercial management roles and have spent the last five and a half years at ACC. ACC has provided me with an environment where the world is my oyster and I could experiment with my career, which is why I now find myself managing the Business Enablement Team. I enjoy building new capabilities and watching people grow, I also believe in creating environments where people can have fun and enjoy what they do.
I have a wonderful husband Dave, and we have a beautiful daughter Savannah. My other children consist of 2 cats and a dog. I would have a miniature pig and some chickens if I could; however, that would require further negotiation with Dave.

I will never forget the first day and the anxiety mixed with excitement. I had no idea what I was walking into and quickly found that neither did the rest of my cohort. It was the perfect way of starting a journey together. This Programme has challenged my heart, body and mind in ways that I never expected a leadership Programme to do. Where were the  auditoriums, course books and exams? Instead, we had refugees, diverse communities, acting, gang fights (long story), drumming, being one with nature and mindfulness training. What a year! It is one that I will never forget, not just because of what we have explored, but because of the change that I have experienced and will continue to experience over my journey ahead. I want to thank my fellow partners in crime, who opened their hearts and their minds to me and I to them.

Current community involvement: Relationship management, strategic thinking, people development, partnership, commercial negotiation, stakeholder engagement.
Location: Lower Hutt

Curtis Tohiariki
Senior Advisor, Government and Executive Team, The Earthquake Commission

I am roughly a 12th generation New Zealander. Something I become prouder of each year. I love our society and the increasingly integrated feel it has about it, but I think we have a greater responsibility to each other than we are currently demonstrating. To that end, I am thinking about what my bio could be in 5, 10, 30 years’ time. I would like it to be less about building an impressive CV, but a testament to that positive impact I can make in people’s lives.
I have been working in the insurance industry, both private and public, for the last 10 years. Within that area, though, I have managed to have multiple roles and take on a magnificently broad range of learnings. I anticipate that the next few years will be equally diverse and I can’t wait to dive into the unknown.

It’s difficult not to write this without a degree of melancholy. We are now well into the second half of the Programme and the conclusion is just around the corner. This year will stand out as one of the most meaningful and important in my life. The Leadership NZ Programme is something special. It takes a group of strangers and turns them into a whanau, but it also provides you with a compass and asks three big questions. Where are you right now? Where do you want to be, and who do you want to be when you get there? These aren’t always easily answered, but sometimes the enquiry is enough.
I will be forever grateful for the friendships I have made make this year, and as my career progresses I expect that my fellow alumni will be integral to its direction. I also hope that there is a modicum of support that I can provide to each of them.
Thank you Leadership NZ. You’re not too shabby.

Skills offered: Policy development, governance, stakeholder management, coaching/mentoring, organisational culture.
Current community involvement: Junior Golf Coach.
Location: Wairarapa

Dylan Newbold
Area Manager, Kiwibank

The majority of my career has seen me employed in the financial sector in both consumer and commercial finance with the last 15 years of my career as a leader. My real passion is transforming and growing great teams and then watching them learn and succeed. My current role at Kiwibank provides me with a rare opportunity to help build a bank which is both challenging and rewarding at the same time and fortunately carries little risk of becoming mundane any time in the near future. Outside of work, I have a passion for the outdoors and enjoy recreation in our forest park and on our beaches as well as conservation work to preserve them for the next generation.

The Leadership NZ Programme has provided me with an amazing opportunity to interact with a diverse range of leaders from a range of sectors around New Zealand. Many of these leaders come from backgrounds and industries I would seldom be exposed to and working alongside them in 2017 has given me the chance to challenge and test my own paradigm. I have been able to take new insight and a fresh perspective on a number of key issues back to my team and this has helped challenge and evolve the way they operate and the way I am as a leader. The content of the Programme continues to challenge me to review the way I employ a number of critical disciplines such as self-reflection and mindfulness which are once again part of my routine. The benefits have also extended beyond my work life enabling a new angle of reflection and helping me to introduce some fresh perspective into my own personal life.

Skills offered: Change management, sales, relationship management, process improvement, coaching.
Current community involvement: Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust and local school boards for Primary and Middle schools.
Location: Cambridge

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Edna Novak
Senior Director, Partner Engagement, Asia Pacific, Teach for All

I am originally from New York, and moved to New Zealand six years ago, fulfilling a lifelong dream I’d had ever since studying abroad here during university. Today, I live in Auckland and I lead the Asia Pacific region of Teach For All, which is about developing collective leadership to improve educational equity across the globe. I initially began my career as a participant in Teach For America, thinking I would teach for two years and then attend law school. Fifteen years later, I have ended up with a management degree instead of a legal one, and I feel very fortunate to have stumbled into a career that gives me the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world every day, through people and leadership.

I came into Leadership NZ seeking to build and deepen my connections with New Zealand – with the land and sea, with the people, and with new organisations and communities. My experience with Leadership NZ has exceeded all of these expectations. I am grateful to be among such a diverse and inspiring cohort of leaders who have such great energy and wisdom to contribute to our community, and to the world. In each of our sessions, I have been overwhelmed by the depth and the strength that my fellow participants have demonstrated through their personal stories and through their leadership. I have also learned so much from the wide-ranging perspectives of the speakers and organisations we have had the opportunity to meet with throughout the year. Leadership NZ has done much more than deepen my connections with the people and land of New Zealand. It has reminded me of the strength and energy we can generate when we share and grow in our journeys together.

Skills offered: Coaching, facilitation, leadership development, organisational development, strategic planning, fundraising.
Current community involvement: Advisor to Teach First NZ.
Location: Auckland

Greg Hartwell

A lifetime living and working in Auckland, with two grown-up daughters, two young energetic sons, plus a grandson. I have had a focused career in aviation and emergency management in both employed and volunteer applications. Both environments have encapsulated a strong teamwork emphasis, which thrives on regulation, structure, and well-rehearsed procedures. I have embraced team environments all of my life, trained firefighters from across the country and the Pacific, progressed through my trade to station management. I have an impulsive need to organise, give, care and help others. I enjoy seeing others reach potential in themselves, feel open to diversity, can be seen as gregarious and enjoy life in general to the full. So when offered the Leadership NZ Programme, what more could I learn or explore, my life events had taught me well, or so I thought.

Arriving for the Leadership NZ interview tugged nerve strings; will I be good enough, am I too old, set in my ways? Nervous anticipation got worst as the first retreat became reality. I left it feeling like I’d been hit by a lightning bolt, awoken. I had an inquiry in which I had never felt or pondered before. Was this real? This year’s ride was about to take off and each retreat intensified, producing different emotions and questions.
Words cannot explain what we feel and experience on this Programme, the amazing speakers, the challenges, the self exploration, listening and discussion. However, it appears we all had similar questionable journeys going on within ourselves. I have dug deep for the first time, questioned my life journey, discovered my values, questioned and expanded my empathy and leadership skills. I have grown in confidence, opened my mind to worldviews, chased dreams and found solace in myself. The door has swung wide open now, chapter two begins, what a rollercoaster ride. Thanks, Leadership NZ.


Location: Auckland

Helen Goldstraw
Clerical Operations Manager, Counties Manukau Health

I was born in West Yorkshire, United Kingdom where I lived until 2006 when I immigrated to New Zealand. I am married with three teenage children and have worked most of my life in the health sector. I have had various roles since leaving school, receptionist, medical secretary, personal assistant, clerical supervisor and clerical project lead. I currently work for Counties Manukau Health as Clerical Operations Manager for Women’s Health, a role which gives me the opportunity to further my leadership skills, passion for diversity and empowering others to grow.

The Leadership NZ Programme has been an emotional journey, but one that I feel privileged to have travelled. The whole year has given me an opportunity to connect with a talented cohort of individuals, coupled with an amazing array of speakers, challenging experiences and exposure to differing opinions highlighting diversity and integration in an eye-opening way. The structure of the Programme has enabled me to take a look into my own world, pause, consider and think about my future/values, but also to consider the issues facing New Zealand today and what I can do to make a difference. Thank you to the Leadership NZ Team who are truly inspirational and the 2017 cohort for being amazing. The journey into integrative leadership has only just begun and I am excited to continue to learn and share my experiences with my team.

Skills offered: People management, process improvement, recruitment, people development, communication.
Current community involvement: I continue to host homestay students from overseas to settle in New Zealand, providing a safe, caring environment to learn and grow.
Location: Auckland

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Ian Williamson
Director, Management Consulting, KPMG

I am a British and Australian-raised Management Consultant that has spent the last 10 years living and working in South East Asia, before moving to Auckland in 2015. I am a big fan of hiking and horse riding and have only begun to scratch at the surface of the many amazing experiences New Zealand has to offer. After two years I still am amazed by the little things (like walking down the dairy aisle at Countdown). As a Partner at KPMG, I am privileged enough to work with many of our large and small organisations and communities every day, helping increase their prosperity, and in turn New Zealand’s.

Putting thirty-six people with very different backgrounds and viewpoints together to discuss issues that impact our people and country is a monumental task. At the beginning of the Programme I really didn’t believe we would make much progress expanding our perspectives, given how polarised we all were – and for a time that was true, at least for me. As everyone bonded however, and with the truly exceptional coaching of the Leadership NZ team, something very special began to happen. During a discussion, between the usual battle and frustration, someone with an equally impassioned but opposite viewpoint says something that sinks in. It sinks in not only as a result of the strength of their argument, but because now you know them. Because something they said in the past makes more sense. Because you’ve been through a lot with them, and because of that both of your defences are down. And just like that you finally realise there’s a different way - and you expand your perspectives.

Skills offered: Strategy and operations, digital and analytics, process improvement, project management, business and financial planning.
Location: Auckland

John Hodgkin
Regional Manager, Ravensdown

I am a proud Kiwi, raised in a rural farming community in West Otago. It was here that I was exposed to the agriculture sector, and developed a passion for the whenua – its importance and the opportunities it created for local rural communities, and the wider benefits the primary sector has on NZ.
I have been with Ravensdown for 14 years, holding various roles, and Regional Manager for the central South Island for the past seven. This is a role which I cherish, as I am able to be involved in the community and visit farmers, and have opportunities to deliver on the company strategy and have involvement in key decisions.
I’m happily married to Emma and have three gorgeous children, Madison seven, Lachlan almost five and Cameron almost two.

The Leadership NZ Programme has enlightened me and challenged me in new ways. The unique nature of the Programme is like nothing I have experienced. Interacting with other members of the 2017 cohort has been great. Growing up in a rural environment and spending all of my professional career in the primary sector in the South Island, I feel privileged and have enjoyed interacting with different businesses, cultures, backgrounds and beliefs.
We all live in an amazing country, as a group, we have an awesome opportunity to make Aotearoa an even better place to work, live and play!
As the year has progressed I feel as though the 2017 cohort has developed a unique bond which has been pulled together through the richness of the stories, the great camaraderie and having an absolute blast along the way!
I’m trying not to think about the fact there are only two sessions left. However, many lifelong friends have been made which will continue to deliver the 2017 Leadership NZ legacy into the future.

Skills offered: Event planning, change management, relationship management, coaching, culture change.
Current community involvement: Coach junior football.
Location: Christchurch

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Jolie Wills
Founder and Managing Director, Time of Your Life

I am a cognitive psychologist with a background in disaster recovery, mental health, disability and older person sectors. 13 years ago I founded a social enterprise that publishes life stories — valuing the lives of older people and creating a bridge between generations. After the Canterbury earthquakes, working for New Zealand Red Cross, I developed psychosocial programmes for the people of Canterbury, supported those working in recovery in other disasters and helped to contribute to the ongoing shaping of how disaster recovery is practised. I am currently developing a social enterprise that explores storytelling and its applications in the areas of disaster recovery, connecting generations, and other community settings. I live just outside Christchurch with my family.

Leadership NZ is helping me to explore the interconnected realities, challenges and opportunities we face as a nation, and what I might add through my leadership. I’ve learned how more deeply knowing ‘me’ translates to a better contribution to the collective ‘we’.
Wonderful things can emerge when uncertainty and complexity meet courage and tenacity. Leadership NZ and the wonderful people I have journeyed with have helped me tap into a well of courage.
My sincere thanks.

Skills offered: Staff wellbeing and resilience, psychosocial support, disaster recovery, storytelling, community development.
Current community involvement: Mentor and support for personnel within the areas of disaster recovery, preparedness and community development.
Location: Christchurch

Kaan Hiini
Senior Designer, Curative

Born and bred in Tāmaki-Makaurau, I whakapapa back to Rotorua and Northland, Te Arawa and Ngā Puhi. My father’s family names are Hiini and Rogers, my mother’s, Marsh and Beazley. I’m proud of my Māori heritage but growing up in Auckland I feel I have lost connection to it, and am in the process of exploring and reconnecting with my cultural identity. I’m a graphic designer, art director and video producer, passionate about using my creative skills for good. I do this day to day at Curative, a creative agency working to change the narrative of complex social issues using the tools of creativity, connection and collaboration. Having worked at Curative for five years now, I’m committed to using co-design in my creative process, and truly listening to audience insights to guide design and creative decisions.

Leadership NZ has been a privilege to be a part of. It has challenged and stretched me in the best ways. The conversations we have had over the year have felt important and rich, really underlining the many experiences, cultures, challenges and beliefs that make New Zealand what it is. It has been essential to the development of my understanding of our national identity and the many things to take into consideration when it comes to tackling the issues we face.
The cohort has been amazing to be a part of, supportive and inclusive, creating the perfect space to explore what it means to be a leader in New Zealand. Personally, it has motivated me to be a better person, reconsider my thinking on many issues, and encouraged me to explore ways to better enable the people and communities I am surrounded by. The lessons have been wide-ranging and thoughtful, and as I continue on my journey to become a better leader I know I will cherish the perspectives and tools encountered through Leadership NZ.

Skills offered: Event planning, communications, community engagement, content creation, creative direction and design.
Current community involvement: Contributing writer for Design Assembly, organiser of CreativeMornings, a monthly creative inspiration lecture series.
Location: Auckland

Katherine Short
Partner, Terra Moana

I am an ecologist, a marine fisheries conservation and sustainability innovator having worked with WWF, the Marine Stewardship Council and ecosystem-based management of fisheries around the world since 1996. Whilst returning home to Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2011, I completed a sponsored Masters at Imperial College London researching seafood sustainability and ecosystem service models. Now I run F.L.O.W. Collaborative Ltd (Fisheries.Livelihoods.Oceans.Well-being) and Terra Moana Ltd, a business partnership with Tony Craig, a seafood industry expert. Together we bridge worldviews and bring collaborative natural capital approaches to primary industry, including supporting the largest Maori seafood company, Moana New Zealand in its sustainability transformation. Our work spans governments, ENGOs and investing in developing Fish4all, the responsible recreational fishing app. I am a keen hobby potter, in a civil union with Nadine and we have two dogs, Bettie and Charlie.

This Programme rocks! It is far more than I’d hoped for and I love being surprised! Having spent more than half of my life outside Aotearoa/New Zealand I chose to do the Leadership NZ Programme to enable me to better anchor my sustainability leadership in Aotearoa/New Zealand. I recognise that in our emerging post-settlement nation, we must heal our relationships with the realms of Tangaroa, Papatuanuku and Ranginui, and each other, especially as we become a more diverse society. The clever Programme structure and approach merge our diverse disciplines and backgrounds. The depth of exposure to key issues, worldviews, and ways to explore and understand, are excellent. I am feeling a shift to a deeper confidence and clearer focus for how I can better contribute, including understanding my own sustainability needs. I’ve have had some life crashes and the truth in the wellness tools and careful methodologies the Programme trains us in is humbling. I will be a grateful, proud and active alumna. Thank you!

Skills offered: Conservation and sustainability, governance, community engagement, mentoring, public speaking.
Current community involvement: Member of Wellington Potters Association, volunteer at conservation events.
Location: Wellington

Keryn Bristow
Team Leader, Attendance Services, Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services

Tēnā koutou katoa, nei rā ngā mihi matakuikui kia koutou ngā kai pānui. Ko Keryn Aroha tōku ingoa, he uri ahau nō roto o Te Hiku o te Ika rāua ko Te Whare Tapu o Ngāpuhi.
I have worked for the past five years at Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services supporting the families of young people who have been disengaged from mainstream education.
Having grown up in a family that truly valued the importance of education, I am passionate about my job and ensuring young Māori people are supported and able to access high quality educational experiences.

I have truly enjoyed my time with the Leadership NZ Programme. I love the style of teaching and delivery and I couldn’t bear the idea of missing a single session. I have faced personal challenges throughout the duration of the Programme and I have witnessed my personal development as a leader. 
Each session provides me with food for thought and deepens my ability to listen, to practise compassion and to extend myself beyond my own barriers. I have met some amazing people over the past 10 months who I am proud to call my friends.
I have acquired some great skills over the past year and implemented them in my personal and professional life. This has resulted in not only my own growth but also the growth of the team I serve in my day to day working life. Thank you so much for this opportunity, I truly have been blessed!

Skills offered: Relationship management, people development, community engagement, event planning, facilitation, governance.
Current community involvement: Trustee, Tauteihiihi Marae in Hokianga; Board Member, Te Runanga Nui o Te Aupouri; represent our interests on the Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust; Trustee at my son’s Kura Kaupapa.
Location:: Mangonui

Kirsty Marlow

I am a Civil Engineer and over a twenty five year period, I have contributed to the construction and maintenance of critical assets on three continents. Having somewhat “shed my technical skin” over the years, I have developed a passionate interest in the safety, well-being and development of those in our workplace; I am inspired by seeing the glint in an eye or the puffing out of a chest when someone discovers their potential. I’m also Mum to Alex who is at the middle of my world. I love to have fun inside and outside of work, running (or rather plodding) for fun with the Frankton Harriers and playing the cornet again after a thirty-year hiatus.

We are approaching the end of our Leadership NZ experience, but in many respects, it is just the start of the rest of the journey. We have spent the year setting firm foundations, connecting with how we view the world, what is important to us, what’s important in society. We have learned to be resilient, and to be brilliant. We’ve been challenged, we have inquired, we have reflected, deeply. We have made friends for life; our syndicates and triads constellations of shining stars with connections that will endure in the night sky of the cohort. We have laughed, cried, hugged, or not hugged, argued, supported, listened, respected. The most exciting part is still to come, and as I move on from this point I’m looking forward to contributing as part of the Leadership NZ whanau, continuing to grow as an individual, and to applying my particular gifts and strengths for the greatest good that I can.

Skills offered: Facilitation, project management, strategic planning, public speaking, people development.
Current community involvement: Chairperson, Te Rapa Junior Rugby Club.
Location: Hamilton

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Manoj Ragupathy
Privacy and LGOIMA Manager, Auckland Council

I’ve worked in local and central government for over a decade. My career has mainly consisted of policy, legal and project management roles. If I had to describe my current career path, I would describe myself as an explorer of the challenges of public accountability, public good and the role of the public sector in an increasingly complex and diverse society. The public sector, especially local government, is also facing a huge challenge around falling voter participation rates. Reversing this trend will require a fascinating congruence of technology, politics and public engagement. I’ve previously been involved in a number of community and sporting organisations. My current community involvement is limited to coaching cricket and soccer at local clubs. I am looking for opportunities to contribute at a governance level in community organisations dealing with complex and long-term social challenges. If that’s you please get in touch.

I started the Programme not knowing what to expect, but I was confident I would learn more skills, meet inspiring people and progress another step in my leadership journey. The Programme has re-programmed me. For me, Leadership NZ is not in the business of teaching new skills or delivering a course. They are in the business of taking people on a journey of self-discovery guided by amazing people and experiences so that participants reflect on and question their most fundamental leadership qualities such as values, purpose and beliefs. When I started the Programme I wasn’t sure if it was the right fit for me. The group was an eclectic mix of individuals, experiences and backgrounds. I soon discovered that the diversity of the group is its strength and I’ve been truly blessed to share the journey with an amazing cohort. If you are in the same boat and are sceptical, apprehensive or undecided, you’re in the best frame of mind to jump on in and enjoy the journey.

Skills offered: Change management, community development, legal, policy, project management, advocacy.
Current community involvement: Coaching soccer and cricket at local sports clubs.
Location: Auckland

Mark Langdon
Director Business Assurance, NZTE

I am a husband, a father of two and an immigrant to New Zealand. I have over 15 years’ experience in working mostly in the private sector, and mostly in financial services, focused on internal and external auditing, and risk management/advice. Recently, I have joined New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and have discovered a love of cause-driven public service. At NZTE, I am the Director Business Assurance, which means I lead a small team with the goal of helping NZTE make better decisions. Although my team is small, my work takes me across our whole organisation and my impact relies mostly on influence, rather than line management responsibility.

I started the year believing I would learn how to be a better leader. As it turns out (cliché alert), my experience of the year is a journey to being a better person. I can see in myself a broadening of my worldview and awareness of the greatness of, and challenges facing, New Zealand and New Zealanders. I travelled, physically, emotionally, intellectually, to places far removed from my daily life. I wouldn’t otherwise have so deeply explored my values, beliefs, behaviour, nor would I feel so in touch with what matters to me.
The people I have met, heard and talked with have had a profound effect on me. I have worked closely with some wonderful people and have been inspired by the grit, determination and nous of those tackling the challenges of our time. Through sharing our experiences and growth, I am more in touch with what is authentically me. These people have grown me as a person, as a leader and our bonds will endure.

Skills offered: Governance, organisational review, coaching, risk management.
Current community involvement: Junior cricket.
Location: Wellington

Mele Wendt
Consultant, Director, Governance Facilitator

I came to Aotearoa to attend university after spending my childhood in Samoa and Fiji. My career has centred on education – first as a high school teacher and then in tertiary education for 19 years – as founding Pacific liaison officer and manager of student recruitment at Victoria University, and then as CEO of Fulbright NZ. Since 2015 I have had a portfolio career, doing a mix of governance and consultancy work in a number of areas. I’m also involved in community and leadership groups and mentoring. Our super diverse country has some challenges (and opportunities) and I’m keen to help ensure better outcomes for Pacific people, Māori and minority groups, especially in leadership, management and governance.

I enrolled in this Programme for its personal development aspects to become a better person/leader, to test my ideas about and experience of leadership, and to connect with a variety of leaders. The Programme has more than delivered on all counts, and it’s been an awesome year! I’ve loved visiting different parts of Aotearoa, hearing from a diverse range of amazing leaders sharing their experiences, wisdom and ideas, and discussing some really important issues that we as leaders ought to know and act on. I have formed deep bonds with 35 incredible fellow participants who I’ll miss when the year is over. The Programme provides much food for thought, inspiration, challenges/‘learning edges’, a range of emotions (including tears), and fun! I encourage everyone on a leadership journey to apply. Fa’afetai tele lava, Leadership NZ!

Skills offered: Governance, Pacific development, diversity, scholarships, organisational capacity building, community engagement.
Current community involvement: Member, P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A.; organiser of monthly breakfasts for Pacific women’s professional development; mentor; Member, Wellington Pasifika Business Network; Chair, Pasifika Education Centre Board; board member, Te Kura and the ASH Foundation.
Location: Wellington

Natalie Morris
Continuous Improvement Manager, Airfield and Emergency Operations, Auckland Airport

Although I’m a first generation immigrant, I consider myself a Kiwi. My family relocated to Auckland from Johannesburg, South Africa when I was quite young. I grew up in Auckland, and after college explored Europe. I returned to New Zealand and continued to study and work. When I finished my studies it was time for a change/a new challenge. I moved to Berlin, Germany where I lived for a couple of fantastic years. I’ve always enjoyed creating things or getting outside. In summer it’s mountain biking, hiking or attempting to surf and in winter it’s skiing or boarding. Conservation is important to me and something I look to become increasingly more involved in.

Going through the Leadership NZ Programme has continued to intensify my desire to find solutions and synergies on a deeper and broader level, taking a more integrative focus to Aotearoa and our international environment, not just focusing on what is immediately in front of us.
I am excited about the opportunities that our 2017 cohort can pursue along with the Leadership NZ Alumni. The cohort has a perfect balance of alignment and diversification, I hope as we continue on this journey past the end of the Programme, we are in turn able to help nurture growth and a more integrative society through our leadership in whichever sector we operate in and with the protection of NZ’s natural resources in mind.

Skills offered: Financial, project management, process improvement, strategic planning, mentoring.
Current community involvement: Forest and Bird Volunteer – Central Auckland.
Location: Auckland

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Nicky Vella
Producer, Last Tapes Theatre Company

I am an Auckland based theatre producer, and a proud member of the Last Tapes Theatre Company team. In 2016 our work included producing the Last Tapes ‘First Steps’ season including three original works by debut writers, a deaf scriptwriting workshop series, and The Actors’ Program graduate play. I also work as a learning consultant, designing and delivering learning initiatives for a range of public and private sector organisations. I feel passionate about the importance of great storytelling, and how shared live performance experiences have the ability to start conversations, and move people to more deeply empathise with the people and world around them.

This year with Leadership NZ has been a fulfilling and thought provoking journey of discovery. The opportunities to travel throughout New Zealand, and be welcomed into the lives and perspectives of others have deepened my understanding of the world around me. Knowing myself as I really am, while deeply considering the world and people around me is the work of a lifetime. I’m grateful to Leadership NZ for giving me the time and tools to begin this work. I’m hugely grateful also to my husband, daughter, and Last Tapes whanau for their support and love.
Reflecting on the year, I find myself feeling a sense of purpose, not because of the answers I have found, but because of the questions I have been gifted. Questions I know I must ask myself in the face of my biggest decisions as well as my everyday choices. The answers to which reveal my authentic self, and the most beautiful next step in the face of complex challenges.

Skills offered: Project management, producing, strategic planning, training, people development.
Current community involvement: Member, Stimmung choir.
Location: Auckland

Nigel Thomson
General Manager Corporate Services, Landcare Research

I am a proud father of two children and I have spent the majority of my life as a finance professional, first in an accounting firm and then in the energy and research sectors. In 2014 my wife and I moved to Canterbury where we are able to expose our kids to a rural lifestyle. My past passions include tramping and cycling. Most of my spare time is spent with my the family and on our 10-acre block. Giving back to the community is important for me and it has started in a small way through the kids activities - sports and education.

The Leadership NZ Programme is unlike any other leadership programme I have done and has had a huge impact on my personal growth. It provides a fuller picture of New Zealand, the challenges and opportunities. The Leadership NZ team are exceptional in their skills, knowledge and compassion and they have made us confront and discuss leadership and societal issues. Looking back I have seen subtle changes in the way I listen and lead, and the journey has only begun. It’s been a privilege to be on the Programme with an amazing cohort, refreshing tools, gaining new experiences and friends.

Skills offered: Financial, governance, strategic planning, mentoring, relationship management and risk management.
Current community involvement: School Boards and sports organisations centred around our kids.
Location: Christchurch

Peter Thomas
Chief Credit Officer, Bank of New Zealand

My heritage is an intergenerational South Island family. Having studied at both Lincoln University and the University of Auckland, my chosen career to date has been in commercial banking. Previous roles have been in relationship management centric, which has provided the opportunity of honing my skills for advocating for the customer and their ultimate success. My role of Chief Credit Officer requires a more pragmatic and adaptable approach of balancing competing objectives to achieve sustainable solutions. This has taught me that real leadership comes by effecting change through other people. As well as having a fulfilling working career, for me, giving back to the community is just as important, and I am a board member of the MPHS Community Trust in West Auckland. When not at work I enjoy the outdoors with my two sons.

What makes the Leadership NZ Programme unique are the tools it’s taught me work both at personal and organisational levels. The Programme has been a journey of discovery, challenging both my own views and biases. Ultimately it is making me a more resilient leader, developing my perspectives on ‘our place in a civil society’, and how those views can become a limiter on how I think about; people, communities, organisations and society, or collectively ‘my worldview’. Most importantly, it has taught me that every problem, issue, or point of conflict, is an invitation to learn, and learning occurs best when I am at the edge of discomfort. What has become clear, is that to advance society, collectively we need to collaborate to create more soulful organisations with greater levels of consciousness. Finally, the Programme has taught me how to be more readily able to process information to facilitate better decision-making, whilst providing clarity about my responsibilities and accountabilities to effect change.

Skills offered: Accounting, corporate finance, strategic planning, risk management.
Current community involvement: Board Member and Treasurer, MPHS Community Trust in West Auckland.
Location: Auckland

Pieter Tuinder
Acting Director of Partnerships, Department of Conservation

I am a first generation Kiwi from Dutch parents. I have worked in local and regional government for much of my career focused on resource management, balancing development with community needs and environmental sustainability, particularly in Tāmaki Makaurau. The last 10 years have been with the Department of Conservation - it is a privilege to work with such passionate and dedicated people across Aotearoa, both within DOC and the huge number of organisations and community groups that devote their energy to restoring our nature. My other passions are supporting my whanau and expressing my creativity through art and poetry.

The Leadership NZ Programme has been quite a journey. Like many on the Programme, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I did not expect to resolve my identity and roots. Te Tai Tokerau called me back when we travelled up north, affirming this immigrant son as one their own. This followed with a menu of interesting places representing different aspects of Aotearoa and the diversity we need to celebrate. My social conscience expanded into a pressing need to examine my own contribution and I sit with that challenge. I have met a bunch of great people and we have immersed ourselves in deep learning: inspirational speakers, debate, creative challenges and meaningful korero in syndicates and triads. This Programme has been highly disruptive but motivating. It is also just the start of further exploration into self and society, which is a gift to be embraced.

Skills offered: Environmental sustainability/conservation, relationship management, coaching, change management.
Current community involvement: Conservation volunteering - various locations.
Location: Auckland

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Richard Small
Manager Client Services, Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation

I am driven to find ways to help others be all they can be in the workplace and in life. I believe all people have a valuable contribution to make and for me to have a part in that gives me energy and a sense of fulfilment. I have recently changed role to now being the Manager, Client Services for Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation, and so now I am able to help serve some of our most vulnerable members of society through this new opportunity. I am driven to find new and better ways of doing things, to develop and never stand still. I believe that through collaboration and diversity we can do much greater things, especially for those that struggle in our society.

The Leadership NZ Programme has been a journey of reflection, confirmation and growth for me. Reflection about my style, my values and how truly inclusive I am; confirmation that being me and being open and authentic is ok, and that I can contribute as I am; and growth in my sense of personal confidence, openness to welcoming true diversity of thought, and how to maintain a balance of service and giving with self-care.
The Programme has been an amazing opportunity to develop new friends and networks, to share my challenges with others, and to support and contribute from my own experiences. The speakers have provoked thoughts and reflections for me. When I have agreed with a comment, I have learned to examine my own response, rather than just reacting. The mix of discussion, speakers and practical activities has inspired me, challenged me and helped me grow. This year has felt like the start of the next chapter in my life as a leader, with much more growth to come!

Skills offered: Change management, governance, organisation development, strategic planning, mentoring, people development, process improvement.
Current community involvement: I lead a church management team as chair of the board and music leadership, and the manager of client services for Laura Fergusson Rehabilitation.
Location: Auckland

Rui Peng
Co-Founder and Creative Director, Critical Design

Ko Puketapapa te maunga. Ko Pacific te moana. Ko INCEDO te waka. Ko Gao toku tipuna. Ko Peng toku tipuna. Ko Manchu toku iwi. Ko Han toku iwi. Ko Roskill South toku marae. Nō China ahau. Ko Gao Ming raua ko Peng Xiao Liang oku matua. Ko Rui Peng toku ingoa. I hold in my ancestral identity the tension of the Manchu, the ruling tribe of the final Qing dynasty with the Han tribe, from which my great-grandfather was a runaway communist activist and excommunicated political leader. We crossed the Pacific Ocean 23 years ago as immigrants from China. Now Puketapapa is my Mountain. INCEDO is my waka and Roskill South my community. My name is Rui Peng.

I’ve learnt that it takes an honest friendship with our most vulnerable neighbours in difficult circumstances to re-imagine a daring and deeply compassionate vision for the future. I’ve learnt that by making the struggles of my neighbour my own, I am compelled to an action that will last. I’m learning that it takes sheer determination and a dogged perseverance to overcome the loneliness and exhaustion of trying to bring about something new. I’m learning to grieve the social and economic cost this journey has brought on my family as it unfolds. I’ve learnt that it takes the care of a village to guide, nurture and convince me out of feelings of absurdity, states of self-doubt and brushes with depression. As I write, I am drained yet I am hopeful. I am frustrated yet full of joy. Standing on the shoulders of the giants who have gone before me, gives me perspective. And if my family and I were to rewrite this story - a few sentences may differ but the narrative would remain the same!

Skills offered: Architecture, industrial and systems design, entrepreneurship, robotics and digital fabrication, community development, storyteller.
Current community involvement: Co-Founder, Critical. - the social enterprise design studio operating out of Wesley Intermediate school; Board Member, Project PETER - A collective impact organisation focused on solving education, training and employment readiness in Mount Roskill.
Location: Auckland

Sarah Anderson
Manager Customer Experience and Engagement, Licensing and Compliance Services, Auckland Council

I am an American with a Kiwi accent and a proud public sector worker. I have spent almost 10 years working in local government and am committed to making a difference in Auckland. Working for Auckland Council provides challenges that motivate me and goals that make me proud. My passion is finding hidden talents in people and bringing out the best in people. Prior to local government, I enjoyed being a youth worker and less enjoyed being a banker. Outside of work, my time is committed to family, friends and surprisingly - off-road running, a new joy.

The Leadership NZ Programme has been wonderful. I have learned that leadership is also about looking after my mind. That the best way to listen and lead is to bring the best me. Through the year we have been armed with many with processes and tools to keep growing as leaders. I have been challenged by these tools in my personal life, and how mastering these concepts will make me a better leader.
I believe that New Zealand boasts amazing talent. I want to be a part of growing that talent and making a difference. My time with Leadership NZ has strengthened and broadened that commitment.

Skills offered: Change management, communications, facilitation, organisational development, strategic planning, training, mentoring, leadership development, public speaking, relationship management, people development.
Location: Auckland

Shona Meyrick
Manager, Business Process Manager, ACC

I came to this wonderful country eight years ago, after 12 years working with PwC UK. After only intending to stay for two years, the people and opportunities have kept me here. When I walk my dog around Wellington harbour and or through the hills surrounding, I feel lucky to call New Zealand home. I’d like to be able to give something back. How we reorient services to meet the needs of citizens today and for the future is the question that drives me and I now lead a business process improvement team at ACC enabling me to fulfil my passion for public service innovation.

I’ve found Leadership NZ is like doing a jigsaw puzzle without understanding what picture I’m trying to create. Each piece of the Leadership NZ puzzle has challenged me and required me to look at things from a variety of perspectives. Countless times, I could connect pieces only by working with my inspiring Leadership NZ cohort. I’ve also had to put some of the pieces down for a while and come back to later them later.
I’m just starting to get a sense of what I might be creating but it will be some time until I know what the full picture looks like – if I ever do! Leadership NZ has encouraged me to let go of the need to know where things are headed and I’ve found joy in the art of puzzling! My challenge is to continue on the path I’ve been set and I feel very lucky to have connected with a fantastic group of people who will be with me well beyond this year.

Skills offered: Strategic planning, organisational review, process improvement, relationship management, people development.
Location: Wellington

Sonia Isaac
Director, KPMG

I reside in Wellington having started my professional career with KPMG in 2000. As one of the leaders of the Wellington audit division, one day is never the same as the other which keeps the role interesting and challenging. My role requires a variety of skills from coaching, project management, financial management, business development and educating. In my role, I get the most satisfaction from coaching and supporting so many passionate and talented young New Zealanders. Outside of work you will found me in our large garden harvesting vegetables and fruit or relaxing in the Wairarapa.

Having grown up in rural Southland in the 80’s and 90’s and then to work in a big city corporate environment, I have had limited exposure to different cultures and socio-economic differences within New Zealand, prior to the Leadership NZ Programme.
The Programme has given me the opportunity to obtain a small insight into what challenges some of New Zealand’s citizens are facing on a daily basis and the broader issues facing New Zealand. From a personal perspective, the Programme has taught me the benefits of slowing down, reflecting in order to move forward successfully and it has given me the confidence to continue my leadership journey with insight and the courage to make an impact.

Skills offered: Financial, people development, process improvement, risk management, mentoring.
Location: Wellington

Sue Quirk
Head of People and Culture, Te Papa Tongarewa

My career background has been fairly pure in that I have worked in the same field that I studied – Human Resources. I am strongly motivated to enable and create workplaces where people can fulfil their potential. I am privileged to work for such an important national institution as Te Papa Tongarewa. Prior to Te Papa, I have worked for Fisher & Paykel, WCC and Ministry for the Environment. What all these organizations had in common was they were at a transformative stage of their organisation development, and the biggest learning is that truly sustainable change takes time to embed and that it relies on people and culture to be successful. I am a proud Mainlander from Otago who has lived in Wellington for 18 years. Outside of work I am a Director for St Mary’s College Board of Proprietors and enjoy travelling and tramping.

From a professional and personal view, the Leadership NZ Programme is truly experiential and is superior because of the way the NZ context is woven through and the bi-cultural nature of Aotearoa is front and centre. What I have really appreciated is the time to reflect and recognise that I have first to develop self to enhance my leadership. Through the Programme, I have gained a better understanding of my emotional self. The sense of place is important to me and I love how the Programme takes us to different parts of the country through the year. The diversity of thought that we are exposed to has been enriching and the challenges that NZ faces can be improved if we respect those differences and seek a way through. He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

Skills offered: HR, organisational development, mentoring, coaching.
Current community involvement: Board of Proprietors, St Mary’s College.
Location: Wellington

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Tim Jones
Assistant Director (Innovation), Defence Excellence, Office of Strategy and Governance, NZ Defence Force

Innovation has always been a passion of mine; I believe innovation will be the key to New Zealand’s success in the twenty-first century. In my role I have the privilege to merge my interest in innovation and my service to New Zealand and the NZDF. I started this role halfway through 2017, when I began Leadership NZ in January 2017 I was the Army Innovation Manager. There is so much potential in New Zealanders and I really enjoy drawing out this creativity and providing frameworks to allow people to come up with their innovative solutions in areas of their own expertise. I firmly believe that innovation is born at the ground level of an organisation and must be supported from the top. The outdoors is another passion of mine and I love getting out tramping, hunting and fishing on the weekends.

If there is one feature of Leadership NZ that stood out to me it has to be the incredible aggregate knowledge and experience of my peers who have taken part in the 2017 Programme. This has been a fantastic learning opportunity for me, allowing me to engage with and learn from people I would not have met otherwise. The sessions offer a huge range of opportunities to learn new skills and explore new ideas. There is an amazing sense of community around Leadership NZ which means that the participants are never afraid to ask questions or explore new ideas and concepts.
This has produced an incredible environment that is highly conducive to learning. The sense of community also means that there is always someone who can offer advice or guidance both inside and outside the formal sessions. I know that the new skills and tools I have been exposed to on this Programme will allow me to become a better leader, which will benefit my organisation as well as New Zealand as a whole.

Location: Wellington