Speakers

The Emerging Leaders Summit is packed with expert professional speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The summit attracts a fantastic mix of inspirational speakers and leaders from successful businesses sharing their own case studies and stories.

Would you like to be considered as a speaker at future ThinkTank events? You can submit an application here.

You can find full details of confirmed summit speakers below:

Sir John Kirwan

Humbled and honoured – they’re two words Sir John Kirwan (known to most as “JK”) often uses to describe how he feels about his contribution to a campaign to raise awareness about depression, but they’re also the same words he uses to describe his knighthood.

The former All Black and 1987 Rugby World Cup winner became a “Sir” in 2012, joining a list that includes other well-known former All Blacks. However, unlike his fellow All Blacks, Kirwan was recognised as much, if not more, for his contribution outside of rugby; for services to Mental Health, having been for several years at the forefront of the campaign to heighten public awareness of depression, an illness he has suffered from himself.

JK’s willingness to share his mental wellbeing story from surviving to thriving has gone a long way to removing the stigma that surrounds mental health here in New Zealand.

Sacha Coburn

Sacha Coburn is a Waikato based leadership consultant who combines her love of coaching other leaders to leadership mastery with active involvement in her own family-held company, Coffee Culture. Sacha has also worked closely for over 20 years with the Les Mills International group, coaching and developing teams all over the world. Her obsession with unlocking the latent potential within everyone has transformed the way thousands of people turn up to work.

Sacha’s side-hustle with Tonia Cawood, The Company You Keep, offers two day immersive programmes that accelerate leadership development and growth as well as bespoke executive coaching. Working with senior and emerging leaders, the focus is on getting right to the heart of what matters most for high performance. Coffee Culture is a New Zealand group of boutique coffee shops with 300 staff in 20 locations. Sacha is the C.O.O and walks her talk every day delivering messages that matter, and leading her team with humanity and humour. A former lawyer with a masters degree in education, Sacha is uniquely qualified to talk about the challenges of leading from the inside-out.

A recent recipient of a Prime Minister’s Business Scholarship, Sacha is currently enrolled at Harvard Business School and is passionate about sharing what’s she’s learnt

Sam Johnson

Sam Johnson is one of New Zealand’s most inspiring young citizens. His relentless energy to mobilise people around ideas has a magic ability in building movements that matter! Farm boy turned social entrepreneur, Sam’s work is on the leading edge of using the collective to overcome the bureaucratic – shifting our belief system about what is possible when teams, organisations and communities authentically connect and build empathy.

Sam became a household name in New Zealand when he started what has become New Zealand’s largest volunteer movement-the internationally acclaimed Student Volunteer Army. What started as a small social media page after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes has been mirrored across the globe as a movement for impact, not an organisation for ego.

Awarded Young New Zealander of the Year for his leadership, Communicator of the Year for his honest media commentary and a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award to remind him never to rest on success; in Sam’s world, there is no moment worth missing out on.

Sam is the Founder and Chief Executive of the Student Volunteer Army is most well-known for his entrepreneurial ideas that continue to make significant differences to the lives of others. Sam leads the charity’s staff team who design and operate projects that impact over 65,000 volunteers each year in New Zealand. Sam’s latest example with Covid19 saw his organisation partner with New World supermarkets to design, develop and deploy an end to end shopping service for people most at risk from the virus within a week. Sam oversaw his team scaling from a team of 7 to 98 and building capacity to contactlessly deliver groceries for up to 10,000 households a week. Sam and the SVA team are continuing to make the most of the crisis, as every organisation must do, by rapidly testing new initiatives, and evolving their business model to fit the challenging times we are in.

Sam developed a social enterprise in 2016 to connect generations and end social isolation in New Zealand. His venture joined forces with Mycare in 2017, reforming the home care sector through an AirBnB model of community support. Sam is now Head of Community Innovation at Mycare and helps recreate mutually beneficial models of community where they utilise Mycare’s powerful technology to help realise ideas.

Sam is also engaged with the international community and shares his experience regularly with governments, agencies and business on unlocking the latent capacity we have to help others. This work extends into his local advocacy and governance work with the Australian New Zealand Leadership Forum and as a member of Westpac Bank New Zealand’s Sustainability panel. Sam is also a trustee for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales New Zealand trust, ‘The Prince’s Trust.’

Sam is an Adjunct Fellow in the School of Education and Leadership at the University of Canterbury and teaches occasionally into the new degree, the Bachelor of Community and Youth Leadership, which was created as a response to the Student Volunteer Army’s popularity.

In spare time, Sam rests, goes to bed early and stays away from any screens. As anyone recovering a head injury can attest, the journey is long. He’s currently writing a book called “Don’t Hit Yourself In the Head with a Hedge Trimmer and other bits of life advice” which will make you laugh, cry and be thankful for all the good things in life.

Suzi Mcalpine

Suzi McAlpine

Suzi specialises in leadership development, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand. An experienced author and mentor, Suzi writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to inspire and improve leadership in individuals, teams and organisations.

Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in many guises. As a self-renowned ‘leadership geek’, Suzi’s years of experience includes being an executive search consultant, associate director, executive coach, and a practice leader for a division of the world’s largest HR consulting firm.

Most recently, Suzi launched The Leader’s Map. The blended online leadership platform provides organisations wishing to equip their emerging leaders with the necessary leadership capabilities for success.

Suzi is the author of the book Beyond Burnout: How to Spot it, Stop It and Stamp it Out, published by Penguin Random House NZ with a launch date of 9 February 2021. https://suzimcalpine.com/beyond-burnout/

Based in Nelson, New Zealand, Suzi lives with her husband and three children.

Rob Hoult (masterclass facilitator)

Rob is the founder and principal of Team Leader Leadership Development Limited and provides specialist leader and team development services to a wide range of organisations in New Zealand.

Prior to establishing Team Leader, Rob completed a thirty-year career as an officer in the New Zealand Defence Force. Rob’s career as a professional leader allows him to talk to other leaders with credibility. His experience leading diverse teams in multi-national settings has provided a depth of practical ability that he can back up through extensive knowledge on the science and art of leading teams. As well as having extensive practical leadership experience, Rob spent over a decade of his service leading the design and delivery of leader development programmes for the New Zealand Defence Force and his contribution in this field was recognised through the award of the Distinguished Service Decoration in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Since establishing Team Leader in 2012, Rob has built a reputation for his ability to engage with a diverse range of leaders, teams and organisations. Rob is at home in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors and build a reputation for successfully developing leaders and teams whether this be at board level, first level supervisor, or champion sports teams. Rob is especially sought after for his expertise in developing leaders and teams that work in high-stress and dangerous situations. He has board experience and is qualified as a Chartered Membership of the NZ Institute of Directors.

Rob is married to Karen and has two adult children. He is based in Christchurch and interests include reading, tramping, mountain-biking and flying.

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