Participant Testimonials

Putting up her hand and doing things differently


Emma Bowmast talks about her Leadership Mindset Programme experience and what she is now doing differently.

Emma Bowmast, Head of Compliance, Operations & Risk, ASB 

Scholarship opportunity leads to creating greater impact

IMG BarbaraNgawatiA DB Leading Light Scholarship recipient in 2014, Barbara Ngawati, a middle leader at Manurewa High School, says "the Leadership Mindset Programme challenged my professional and personal beliefs, values and understandings of leadership.

The outcome has informed the evolution of my own educational leadership practice as well as influence staff and students so that together we are making a greater impact in our school and community."

Barbara Ngawati, Middle Leader, Manurewa High School

Open mind helps open more leadership opportunities

SueKeatsI came along to the Leadership Mindset Programme not knowing what to expect. During my pre-course phone call I was advised that it wasn’t a ‘traditional’ structured programme and I should prepare to feel confused at times, so I decided to go in with an open mind.

While the programme did challenge my thinking at times, I look back and see that it all made perfect sense. I certainly didn’t have a moment where it all fell into place, but I’ve noticed changes in the way I think about and approach issues.

I wasn’t sure if it was noticeable, but several of my managers commented that they had seen me ‘showing leadership’ and this has led to further development opportunities in my role. I’m very grateful for that support.

One of the things I enjoyed most was interacting with the other participants. We had a diverse group of people from all sorts of backgrounds so it was interesting to hear about and discuss leadership in so many different contexts. While the programme involved some quite in-depth discussion we also had a few laughs while navigating the ‘maze’ and drawing on the windows!

Sue Keats, Portfolio Manager, Guidance & Standards, WorkSafe NZ

Practicing leadership in real world challenges

keith linforth2This programme is probably one of the most practical learning experiences I have had in my career and this is saying something from someone who is sceptical about the value of some development programmes. The programme is delivered by a team of enthusiastic practitioners who guide groups of people through the different leadership constructs, which challenge the traditional views of what has been taught in management schools around the world.

This experience is coupled with great practical exercises throughout the programme that provide a safe and fun environment to explore, reflect and learn. In addition, a number of excellent guest speakers ground the whole experience in real world examples which serve to re-enforce the developing ideas.

Finally, I was surprised how much I could take immediately into my challenging real world and start applying even before the end of the programme and this is the true test of its value.

Keith Linforth, General Manager Customer Operations, Vocus Communications

Lasting leadership development

Lynette Herrero Torres PhotoLynette Herrero-Torres reflects on the Leadership Mindset Programme more than a year down the track.

The Leadership Mindset Programme made a lasting impression in my work and personal life. More than a year after the course I still employ some of the tools to great effect. I find the identity and boundary concepts particularly useful to frame issues in a way that open up discussions, as well as to increase understanding of road blocks and ways forward.

The nugget of wisdom for me was redefining leadership as the unchartered territory, to accept uncertainty and work in that space where there is no clear path.

Looking back in my career, recognising that space as where most of the development and learning has happened for me. This is when challenge as an opportunity became more meaningful to me.

Looking forward, the focus is taking people with me on the journey. Encouraging them to accept uncertainty as opportunities to create their own leadership development space.

With so much focus on developing leaders it was reassuring to reflect on management and leadership as not mutually exclusive, but complementary.

Lynette Herrero-Torres, Centre Manager, Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education, University of Auckland

Moving the small things

Leilani UnasaWhat’s really stuck the most for me from the programme – is the concept of movement.

I began the programme carrying quite an elusive leadership challenge before me that seemed to float up in the sky; completely out of reach. I hadn’t figured out how to jump up into the sky to solve the problem!

With others in the programme, we realised that leadership work can be about really small things instead of grand gestures. This seems to be where my leadership work exists right now – calling people in to see how we can do our leadership work together.

Leilani Unasa, Settings Coordinator Manager, Healthy Families

Bringing the heat to leadership

Katy GlenieStretch. Confusion. Lightbulb moments. Opportunity.

The Leadership Mindset Programme is all these things and more. It is not a place where detailed tool kits are outlined, along with a list of tick-boxes and step-plans for success. It is a place where your thinking is challenged to the extreme, and the standard beliefs of leadership suddenly appear flawed and entirely ineffective.

Unexpected lightbulbs for me included the benefits of “bringing the heat” to workplace conversations, the value of mavericks, separating expert and management behaviour from leadership, the power of loss, and seeing leadership coming from the most surprising places.

The programme brings together people from a wide variety of organisations and management levels, creating a space for thought-provoking discussions and real-life examples. The group becomes an ongoing support network – this leadership stuff can be challenging to put into practice!

Due to a long-term relationship with the New Zealand Leadership Institute, Outward Bound has put a number of people through the programme. The benefits have been significant. Ritualised meetings with hollow status-quo outcomes are slowly being removed. Our management team now share a common language of leadership, enabling us to get to the heart of issues and opportunities.

Thank you for the opportunity to experience this life-changing course.

Katy Glenie, Marketing Manager, Outward Bound

Out there doing it

Nathaniel Wilson profile photoFor Alumni Fellowship recipient Dr Nathaniel Wilson, the most important "take home" message from the 2014 Leadership Mindset Programme was how to segment problems in order to solve them, taking into account the views and needs of the different people involved. At the core of this is gaining an understanding that management and leadership are not the same thing.

Read the full article published in Ingenio magazine 


Leadership Mindset Programme creates a pendulum swing 

craig hudson profile photo2A former professional rugby player who took part in the Leadership Mindset Programme began identifying changes in his leadership during the early stages of the course. Craig Hudson, as Commercial Manager at McFall Fuel in Tauranga, said his colleagues were quick to recognise and comment on his development. “All of my team have identified that there’s been a pendulum swing in the right direction.”

Read the full article about Craig's experience