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Kiwi work tool wins Branson project approval

28 August 2019

Two New Zealand disaster recovery experts have secured international recognition for using their Christchurch earthquake experience to help companies strengthen staff resilience, wellbeing and performance.

Elizabeth McNaughton and Jolie Wills have been recognised in a book released yesterday by Virgin Unite, founded by Richard Branson. The 100% Human at Work initiative brings together case studies of new ways of working from businesses around the world.

The book features a case study of how their company, McNaughton Wills applied their unique “Resilience Genie” tool to work with Ravensdown staff.

The Genie is a set of methods, embedded in 100 cards, that empower people with tools that deal with stress, uncertainty and pressure.

Jolie Wills says the Resilience Genie is needed now more than ever, to help people deal with a wide range of stressors in the world from climate change to rapid technological change, shifting and emerging industries, and health and relationship challenges.

“We have applied learning from disaster and crisis situations and cognitive psychology, to create something useful in all organisations.

“The Genie empowers people with the tools to deal with stress and gives staff strategies to cope, adapt and thrive in increasingly complex and uncertain environments,” says Jolie.

Katrina Benedetti Forastieri, Ravensdown’s General Manager Culture and People, says the Resilience Genie cards were an integral part of the co-operative’s working style.

“We like to be innovative about how we work with our teams, and the cards encourage staff to rise to tasks and challenges in ways unique to them and our company culture,” Katrina says.

McNaughton & Wills is now rolling out the wellbeing system in Australia and New Zealand alongside nationwide training for corporate and government organisations.

Jolie and Elizabeth met while they were both working at the Red Cross. Elizabeth has worked in disasters around the world and Jolie is a cognitive psychologist and lived through the Christchurch earthquakes. They were recently selected as Edmund Hillary Fellows (

“We are very proud to be seen as a business that is helping people achieve their highest potential and purpose, which is the drive behind 100% Human at Work,” says Jolie. “We are enthusiastic supporters of Richard Branson’s philosophy that in any organisation it is people who drive success, so it is important to strive to maintain a healthy and happy culture and create environments in which everyone can flourish.”


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