NZLI partnership with DB Breweries builds community of practice

Leading Light Group photoAs one of our founding partners, DB Breweries has had a long-standing association with NZLI. DB first offered the Leading Light Scholarships in 2014, an initiative that has since seen 25 leaders from across the South Auckland region be awarded a place on the Leadership Mindset Programme.  As passionate, committed leaders with a real heart for the South Auckland community, DB and NZLI saw a unique opportunity to connect them with one another and to engage them in conversation.

So we partnered with DB once again who, in keeping with their ongoing commitment to sustainability, opted to use this opportunity in service of one of the charities they support, Big Buddy. This organisation does amazing work in the community, providing a free mentoring service to fatherless boys. Members of Big Buddy’s Executive team came along to present a leadership issue they are currently facing – the challenge of attracting volunteers to become mentors. The group then engaged in a collaborative session to offer an outsider’s perspective on what they were seeing, how the problem or challenge had been framed, what assumptions might need to be surfaced and possible approaches for the senior team to consider.

This initiative was driven by a desire to connect our Leading Light scholars with one another, provide an opportunity for them to refresh and consolidate their learning from the Leadership Mindset programme and apply their learning and insights to a community endeavour. Joseph Liava’a, a Leading Light recipient from 2015, felt inspired leaving the session. “It was great to reconnect with old cohort members and to meet others – you don’t realise how much of a mind shift this programme produces in yourself until you reflect back on the journey and where it all began.”

Paul Burns, CEO of Big Buddy, was heartened by the energy, creativity and leadership the participants brought to the session. “The day was incredible and a privilege to be involved with so many clever people with such big hearts. We have gained a number of key insights that we are able to use in our planning over the next few months”.

To learn more about Big Buddy or find out how you can support their important work, go to

For more on DB’s sustainability programme, visit

New Leadership Development Manager appointed

DrSue WatsonWe are delighted to announce Dr Sue Watson has been appointed Leadership Development Manager at NZLI. She will oversee our programme portfolio and lead the facilitation team while also being involved at the coalface of programme design and delivery.

Sue was previously Global CEO of the expat organisation Kea, as well as chief executive of the Asia Pacific enterprise of the Commonwealth Education Trust. She brings strong business networks and a proven track record in strategy and business development as well as developing and facilitating leadership development workshops.

After earning a Doctorate in education, Sue accepted an academic post and gained experience in research and lecturing at the tertiary level in both New Zealand and the United States, specifically the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at The University of Pennsylvania. Her previous education experience also includes being co-founder of an export educational publishing company and consultancy.

Out of the office, Sue has also served in several directorships and is currently Chair of CORT Community Housing, a large social housing trust, as well as Judge of the New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards.

Dr Watson says, ‘I am delighted to be joining the team at NZLI to support the development and delivery of leadership programmes to grow leadership capability throughout New Zealand. After a career as an academic and then in business and not for profit leadership I’m committed to bringing the best of applied leadership research and practice together.”

Vicki Watson, NZLI Director, says "Sue’s national and international experience will be invaluable to building a strong facilitation team delivering relevant and impactful leadership development programmes. This combined with her knowledge of CEO and executive roles as well as those of governance will also enable her to identify with our clients’ needs. We’re really looking forward to Sue starting with us."

Sue will officially take up the role in January 2018.

 NZLI merger will strengthen and enhance New Zealand leadership

Jayne VickiAfter a close relationship spanning 14 years, we are excited to announce that NZLI is merging with the University of Auckland Business School, a founding partner of the Institute since 2003.

NZLI already has its physical home within the Business School and the merger will create a much stronger foundation of resources and services, and enable closer working relationships with other UABS departments and centres.

“The merger formalises and strengthens our existing relationship,” says Business School Dean Professor Jayne Godfrey. “It will allow us to capitalise on synergies by drawing on the great work conducted within both NZLI and the Business School, itself a thought-leader in this field.”

NZLI works at the forefront of leadership research and development. NZLI Director, Vicki Watson says the institute will continue to run its open and customised leadership development offerings, including its flagship Leadership Mindset and Executive Leadership Mindset programmes.

“The merger will, however, enable us to develop new programmes for University students and staff, add to our portfolio of programmes for business as well as enter exciting new sector projects such as those in the not-for-profit, governance, and youth worlds,” she says.

“NZLI’s mission is to see New Zealand’s business and communities thriving under effective, courageous leadership. That is reflected directly in what the Business School is wanting too in cultivating enterprising and enlightened leaders.”

The merger is effective from August 14, 2017.