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Chairing In A Crisis And Leading Change Key Topics Of Latest Auckland Sport And Recreation Chairs’ Roundtable

Aktive’s latest Chairs’ Roundtable saw National and Regional Sport Organisation and sector organisation Chairs focus on ‘Chairing in a Crisis and Leading Change.’

Co-hosted by Aktive and Simpson Grierson and supported by Sport New Zealand, the event included a panel discussion with:

-Jo Brosnahan: Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors; Chair of Northpower Fibre (ultra-fast broadband); Chair of Maritime NZ; Chair of Harrison Grierson; Principal of Leaders for the Future; Chair of the Taitokerau Education Trust; a member of the Centre for Brain Research Advisory Board; and the Founder and Advisory Trustee of Leadership NZ,

-Mike Stanley CNZM: Chief Executive, AUT Millennium; President of the New Zealand Olympic Committee; and Chair of the Kauri Rescue Trust; and Chair of the Hobsonville Marine Sport and Recreation Centre Trust; and

-Greg Barclay: former Chair of Northern Districts Cricket; former director and Chair of New Zealand Cricket; current Chair of the International Cricket Council ("ICC"); director and former Chair of the Manchester based International Rugby League; Chair of a fintech and payments company dual listed on the NZX and ASX; and Chair of a major international log export and trading company and a large national environmental consulting practice.

Dr Sarah Sandley, CEO, Aktive introduced the distinguished panel, emphasising the importance of good practice risk mitigation, response plans and communication.

"Reputation is both valuable and vulnerable, particularly in a time of crisis," said Dr Sandley. "Communication and trust are cornerstones when it comes to leading in a crisis and during change."

Ms Brosnahan detailed this point: "It is imperative to always put people first and be guided by principles and values. When it comes to addressing a crisis, foresight and listening are key."

She gave an example of Board members mentoring executives during the COVID-19 crisis and explained her philosophy around leading change: "Create a safe, trusting environment and culture so people understand change is the norm and communicate, communicate, communicate to help build trust."

The importance of communication and trust was echoed by Mr Stanley.

"With sport and recreation, we are in the ‘people game’ and we add value to people’s lives. COVID-19 has taught us about the power of sport and what we contribute to communities.

"Clear communication is fundamental and it’s important to build a well of goodwill and trust that you can dip into in challenging times."

Further to this, Mr Barclay said: "It is critical to understand your strategy and the risks associated with it. In times of crisis, have a crisis management team, trust your management team and don’t be shy about taking advice, including legal and communications - share the problem."

He added: "Own decisions and communicate them."

Dr Sandley acknowledged Ms Brosnahan, Mr Stanley and Mr Barclay, noting another informative and successful Chairs’ Roundtable:

"On behalf of Aktive, I’d like to again acknowledge this inspiring and experienced panel. With insightful audience questions, this event unpacked the topics and provided valuable discussion and practical ideas to assist Chairs during a crisis and support them with leading change."

Aktive launched the Chairs’ Roundtable in 2016 to recognise the role of chairs as leaders in an important sector, to help their development, and to connect sport and recreation chairs. For more information visit

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