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New organisation to develop New Zealand’s leaders

New organisation to develop New Zealand’s emerging leaders

Concern among top New Zealand business and community leaders about the country’s lack of focus on and value of leadership has seen the launch today of Leadership New Zealand, a new organisation set to foster and develop our emerging leaders.

Leadership New Zealand has been formed to nurture and channel the leadership expertise of “mid career” New Zealanders through its one-year leadership programme.

“Leadership New Zealand isn’t a think tank and it’s not a course, paper or degree. It’s more than all those things; it’s about leadership for life,” says Vodafone CEO Tim Miles, who is an advisory trustee.

“It is the only leadership organisation to encompass all sectors of New Zealand, connecting a diverse range of people and organisations to create vital, lasting networks,” he says.

“We’re looking for talented New Zealanders from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s what you have to contribute.”

Leadership New Zealand has three key parts and its advisory board also includes TelstraClear CEO Rosemary Howard, Griffin’s Foods MD Tony Nowell, Waitakere City Mayor Bob Harvey, and CEO of ARC, Jo Brosnahan.

“Through its one-year programme, Leadership New Zealand gives emerging leaders the opportunity to learn by facing questions, issues and even people that they wouldn’t otherwise come across,” says Miles. “They’re learning vital 21st century leadership skills – listening, networking, understanding context – and putting those skills to use for the community through SkillsBank.”

SkillsBank will match programme graduates with non-profit and community organisations to provide valuable commercial advice and guidance on a pro bono basis.

The Leadership New Zealand forum will draw together the country’s current leaders to encourage a culture of leadership in New Zealand through regular conversations at a national level.

The Leadership New Zealand model is based on Leadership Victoria in Australia. Over the past 15 years, 436 people have gone through the year-long Leadership Victoria programme. Through it, they have formed permanent networks and participated in the SkillsBank programme making a valuable and lasting contribution to the whole State.

Leadership New Zealand is now inviting the country’s top talent in all sectors who are “mid-career” to apply for the 2005 Leadership Programme. There are 40 spaces available on the programme and applications close on 21 January 2005. Forms are available at the Leadership New Zealand website,

Editors Notes

Advisory Trustees include Tim Miles, CEO Vodafone; Bob Harvey, Mayor, Waitakere City; Fran O’Sullivan, Assistant Editor, NZ Herald; Rosemary Howard, CEO TelstraClear; Morgan Williams, Parliamentary Commission; Jenni Raynish, Raynish and Partners.

Trustees of Leadership New Zealand include Jo Brosnahan, CEO of Auckland Regional Council; David McGregor, Partner, Bell Gully; Reg Birchfield, Publisher, Profile Publishing; Tony Nowell, MD Griffins Foods; Pauline Kingi, Regional Director, Te Puni Kokiri; Mike Wardlaw, consultant; Sean Weekes, CEO ICONZ; Michael Barnett, CEO Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce; Lindsay Corban, MD Lindsay Corban Associates; Lesley Slade, Director Organisational Development, ARC; Louise Marra, Director Community Relations, ARC; Janie Lovell-Gadd, Director Business, ARC.

Key Partners include Vodafone, Accident Compensation Commission, and Raynish and Partners.

Supporting partners include Telstra Clear, JR McKenzie Trust, ICONZ, Bell Gully, and Profile Publishing.

Question One Who is behind Leadership New Zealand? Leadership New Zealand has attracted strong support across the business, government and not-for-profit sectors. Key people behind leadership New Zealand include Vodafone CEO Tim Miles, Telstra Clear CEO, Rosemary Howard; ARC CEO, Jo Brosnahan: Griffins Foods MD, Tony Nowell; ACC CEO Garry Wilson; Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Morgan Williams and Regional Director of Te Puni Kokiri, Pauline Kingi.

Question Two What is different about Leadership New Zealand to other leadership programmes in the country? The key difference is that Leadership New Zealand aims to identify and nurture leaders at all levels of society: community, business and government. It’s very much about “A Life in Leadership” rather than a one-off experience.

Question Three What are the elements of Leadership NZ? Leadership New Zealand has three parts to it; 1) The Leadership Forum, which brings the leadership debate to New Zealand through a nationwide network of those who are committed to developing leadership capability in NZ 2) The Leadership Programme – which is currently calling for applicants and 3) SkillsBank – which gives leaders the opportunity to give back to the community.

Question Four When you refer to ‘community’ what exactly are your referring to? We are referring to the Environment in which you operate. It is New Zealand as a whole, not excluding any parts, be that groups, activities or issues.

Question Five How do I apply for the Leadership Programme? If you go the Leadership New Zealand website you can download an application form.

Question Six Who should apply for the Leadership Programme? The Leadership Programme is aimed at leaders in ‘mid-career’ with ten to fifteen years experience in the workforce, who have already displayed leadership capacity either within the workforce or within their community.

Question Seven What are the criteria for the Leadership Programme? Panels will convene around the country and decide who will reach the interview stage, based on their previous experience and potential to provide leadership in the broader community in the future. Part of the selection process is ensuring a cross-sector of participants so there is a wide range of experience, views and sector diversity.

Question Eight How many people do you take each year? There will be up to 40 participants for next year’s Leadership programme.

Question Nine What is the cost of the Leadership Programme? Your organisation’s ability to pay will not be a barrier to being selected to take part in the programme. In arrangement with Leadership NZ, sponsorship will be sought. Organisations who can commit will need to pay a fee of $10,000 for your year in the Leadership Programme. There is also a personal commitment of $1,000.

Question Ten How many days over the year do I need to commit to the programme? Approximately 18 days over the whole year will be needed for Leadership New Zealand with most of these occurring during the working week, but some weekend involvement.

Question Eleven Will it involve work outside of those days? Participants will be given a suggested reading list prior to each event so they can be fully involved in discussions, but there isn’t any other work that needs to be completed outside of the events.

Question Twelve If I’m doing an MBA – can I do the Leadership Programme at the same time? We’d prefer that you didn’t because other parts of your life would be compromised by both of these major commitments.

Question Thirteen What happens at the end of the year-long Leadership programme? At the end of the programme, alumni become part of the SkillsBank where we will match your leadership skills with the needs for a not-for-profit organisation, according to your availability.

Question Fourteen How does the SkillsBank work? Essentially SkillsBank brokers requests for leadership assistance from not for profit organisations with the skills of the alumni of the Leadership Programme.

Question Fifteen What kind of projects could I be involved in with the SkillsBank? Alumni have a number of ways to ‘give back’ including; joining a board, providing pro-bono advice and support to a project team; mentoring a CEO of a not for profit organisation or facilitating school leadership programmes.

Question Sixteen How have participants found the SkillsBank experience in Victoria? The benefits of a SkillsBank involvement are two-way: Programme Graduates grow with insight into self and by exercising their talents in new and challenging settings. Organisations receive expertise and professional skill they could not otherwise easily access.

Question Seventeen Who will be the key speakers at the Leadership Programme? Who we have speaking will be dependent on the make-up of the individuals involved and the current leadership issues at the time. Our speakers will range from leaders in business, arts and culture, futurists, government sectors, ethics, religion and law and order.

Question Eighteen Who is involved in the Leadership Forum? The Leadership Forum is an active force pursuing a range of leadership activities, including providing information, case studies and research, as well as connecting people through resources such as websites, magazines and mentoring. The mentoring component will be a major link into SkillsBank.

Question Nineteen Where can I get more information about Leadership New Zealand? For more information go to

Skillsbank examples from Leadership Victoria

This year 200 Leadership Victoria Fellows will be involved in SkillsBank, assisting 120 not-for-profit organisations.

SkillsBank offers Williamson Community Leadership Programme graduates opportunities for continued personal and leadership development post-programme. It enables Fellows to put into practice their commitment to increase their level of civic involvement and make a positive contribution to the community.

Providing Pro Bono Advice and Support

Assisting an organisation with a particular project or problem is a core SkillsBank activity. Fellows with different skills form a team to advise and support the organisation.

The request: For over 40 years, Crisis Support Services has provided support and counselling to people facing personal crises. It offers telephone counselling through Careline, Mensline and the Suicide Helpline. SkillsBank was asked for help to relocate its services to new premises. The relocation needed to be cost effective and not disrupt the important service provided to the community by its paid and volunteer workforce.

Getting involved: Jim Liaskos (Williamson Community Leadership Programme ’91) and Steven Cohen (WCLP ’02) both have commercial experience of relocations and agreed to provide Executive Director Wendy Sturgess and her team support and advice. As they began to assist, they drew in other Fellows, such as Brad Matthews (WCLP’00) for advice.

The result: “Crisis Support Services Inc is delighted with our first experience of accessing the Leadership Victoria SkillsBank. Jim Liaskos, Steven Cohen and Brad Matthews have been fantastic to work with on our re-location project. Their collective skills, knowledge and patience with us has been inspiring - we have up-graded our project management skills whilst working to achieve the task. Thank-you to everyone who has made this possible!” Wendy Sturgess, Executive Director, Crisis Support Services

“The contribution from the WCLP Fellows in support of issues that were second nature to us but foreign to the environment within which CSS operated, was well received and allowed them to plan the relocation with more confidence in the knowledge that their decisions were made with the benefit of a wider reference group.

Working with the very professional team at CSS provided a new perspective on the issues that the counsellors and their support staff dealt with on a daily basis and brought home the very important contribution they make to those in need in the community.” Jim Liaskos (WCLP ’91) and Steven Cohen (WCLP ’02)

Board placements

Board placements are one of SkillsBank’s core activities. This reflects the desire of many Fellows to make a longer term contribution to one organisation and to practise their governance and professional skills in a board setting. For not-for-profit organisations, SkillsBank offers access to people with a diversity of high level skills and experience.

The request: The Australian Drug Foundation produces research, information and health promotion and delivery, all with the aim of preventing and reducing alcohol and drug problems in the Australian community. The Chairman approached SkillsBank seeking a person with legal skills to join their Board.

Getting involved: Patrizia Mercuri (WCLP ’99), an experienced solicitor, has agreed to join and has been accepted onto the Board.


A CEO An expanding area of SkillsBank is to provide the heads of not-for-profit organisations with a Fellow to be a senior colleague/mentor and discuss the leadership and management challenges of heading an organisation.

The request: Raymond Paterson had just been appointed Director of Wavecare, a counselling service based in the City of Monash when he approached SkillsBank. “I am learning that there are few opportunities to talk about my work and its challenges to anyone other than staff I am managing and/or committee members. I feel the need to be able to openly discuss my plans and my concerns with a neutral person who is skilled in this area.”

Getting involved: Barbara Young (WCLP ’95), an experienced business manager, agreed to meet with Raymond over a year and discuss the challenges of his new role.

The results: “I enjoyed doing the mentoring. It is a way to assist up and coming managers on the various issues a manager faces. For a new manager, they are transitioning from individual contributor role….Typically they want to hold onto those skills but need to understand that they are now directing/ influencing work to be done by others. There are many new skills to be learned. I enjoyed working with a group whose service was counselling – I learned a lot in return.” Barbara Young (WCLP ’95)

“Barbara has the skills of a good counsellor: she was able to listen in the initial stages with great patience, allowing me to verbally identify all of my perceived struggles. And then a structure and a strategy was set.” Raymond Paterson, Director, Wavecare

Leadership Plus mentors

For some time, Leadership Victoria has been in conversation with philanthropic foundations and disability groups keen to offer leadership development opportunities for people with disabilities. This year saw the establishment of Leadership Plus, headed by Williamson Fellow Stephen Gianni (WCLP ’98), dedicated to providing a suite of such leadership development opportunities.

One of their first programme initiatives is a mentoring programme in leadership for students with a disability who have been identified as having high leadership potential. The programme matches a student with a mentor in an occupation or field of work in which the student hopes to establish a career.

Fourteen Williamson Fellows have offered to become leadership mentors or have arranged for another person in their workplace to become a mentor. In a negotiated program over a number of months, the mentee observes the mentor at work in different leadership situations and discusses the leadership challenges of their role.

The results: “The partnership between the Leadership Plus Mentoring Program and Leadership Victoria is a key to the success of our programme during 2004. The Fellows who volunteered to be mentors are extremely self aware and have been able to articulate their leadership style and skills to our mentees as well as giving sound advice within their fields of expertise.” Sue Teese, Training and Development Co-ordinator, Leadership Plus.

“I think I am lucky to have Tony as my mentor. He is straight forward, funny and a caring person. I have learnt a lot about PWC and got to go to a few meetings where I met other important people. I was surprised that everyone at PWC is so wonderful and approachable…I feel privileged to have one of the partners give up some of his time to mentor me. Le Tran, mentored by Tony Peake (WCLP ’98)

School leadership workshops

With the support of the Hugh Williamson Foundation, Fellows have this year run 15 half-day workshops for secondary school students. The workshops explore with students the skills and qualities of leaders and encourage them to identify ways they can provide leadership and make a positive contribution to their school community. The workshops were run in the northern and western regions of Melbourne in schools needing supplementation to the leadership models available in their own communities.

“The speakers’ enthusiasm really helped encourage others and myself to get involved. I am going to take up the goal I suggested of cleaning up the school now that I know other people feel the same way. I can try and make some positive changes for our school before I leave.”

“I learnt just to get up and have a go whatever the outcome.” Students from Box Forest Secondary College.

“Despite the unglamorous surroundings of this public secondary college, the group of 30 Year 9 and 10 students was dazzling – enthusiastic, intelligent, understanding what leadership is all about and motivated to make a difference. I left another student leadership workshop again inspired by Victorian youth.” Kathleen Barker (WCLP ’00)

Workshops for not-for-profit CEOs

In the course of SkillsBank’s work many heads of not-for-profit organisations, particularly small to medium organisations, have commented on the lack of leadership development crafted for the not-for-profit sector. Also the highly operational focus of their roles affords them little opportunity to explore the strategic and leadership aspects of heading an organisation. Corrinne Armour (WCLP ’01); Muffy Hand (WCLP ’96); Peter McCormick (WCLP ’94) and Michelle Plane (WCLP ’00) responded to this need and developed and delivered a workshop for two groups of not-for-profit CEOs. The workshops involved experiential learning and smaller group discussion and explored: the not-for-profit leadership context; understanding self and working with others who are different; leading effective teams, including the Board; and building relationships in challenging situations.

“The programme addressed the head and heart of leadership with a clear focus on not-for-profits.” Chris Hall, Director, Centre for Grief Education.

Advice and ‘positive ripples’

Sometimes great SkillsBank outcomes come from a Fellow’s preparedness to give quick advice to help an organisation rapidly solve a problem or to make a phone call and introduce the right people.

Last year (through SkillsBank) Simon Westcott (WCLP '99) met with Aboriginal Tourism Australia, a peak organisation for Aboriginal tourism enterprises and promotion. His introduction of the organisation to Lonely Planet, with whom he works as Global Publisher, has led to plans for the development of a co-produced documentary series about travelling in Aboriginal Australia ( to be screened in 25 countries) and a 24-page insert to Lonely Planet's Australia guide, also exploring Aboriginal Australia.

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