Sunday, June 8, 2008

Social Entrepreneurship

Today's BIY is not an article, but rather a thought. I would love this to be the start of a discussion.

Over the last 2-3 years, I have been working on a couple different start-up companies. As a result, I have taken a lot of enjoyment from studying the markets for products--particularly consumer goods and internet services. When I started this blog, the idea was to eventually become a non-profit run in a for-profit business model. This week, I came across a Design 21 Competition called Power to the Pedal.

"The DESIGN 21 series challenges designers of all disciplines to find solutions to social and global issues. It’s guided by UNESCO’s premise that education, science, technology, culture and communication are tools to spread knowledge and information, build awareness and foster dialogue."

Inspired by the plot, I think this can be taken to the next level to create a phenomenal project in social entrepreneurship. Read on...

Providing innovative solutions to everyday problems in poverty stricken regions.

When people believe in ideas, they do not need to be monetarily compensated for their effort. Think Wikipedia. Think the translation of Facebook. With this in mind, I want to create a worldwide network to design and develop products that will solve everyday problems in poverty stricken regions.

People in poverty stricken regions face countless problems that those in developed nations take for granted--access to food and water, transportation, medical supplies, power supplies, shelter, and many more categories come to mind. Creative minds around the world have a plethora of ideas to help solve these problems economically. This business will connect the two.

1. Use an open social platform to create a network of product designers who will create solutions to everyday problems in poverty stricken regions.
2. Take investment to develop the best solutions--as decided by the network.
3. Create an e-commerce solution to sell the products before manufacturing, and mass manufacture based on demand. Products will be purchased by people around the world for those in poverty stricken regions. All revenues over manufacturing costs will be put back into the company for product development.
4. When enough units of a product are ordered to create economies of scale, manufacture using an approved facility in a developing nation and distribute in the specified regions.

1. To begin, one full time person to coordinate all elements. This person must be able to build and maintain both the networking platform and the e-commerce solution. He/she must also be able to oversee the production and distribution of products. As we start to manufacture more products at the same time, more people may be necessary.
2. Marketing Department: Members of entrepreneurship clubs worldwide
3. Designers: Worldwide volunteers interested in seeing their designs developed and manufactured
4. Manufacturing: Approved facility in developing nation

I believe this project can begin under $100,000 and become self-sustainable thereafter.


There are tons of charities out there--too many to count. For a person who wants to give to a charity, it is very difficult to decide. Moreover, when giving to a charity, it is even more difficult to know where your money is actually going. This project would be completely transparent--every cost would be broken out and made readily accessible to the public. For every purchase someone made, they would see exactly how much money goes to the manufacturing and distribution of a product, where the product is going and how it is helping, and how much money is going to future product development.

So, this is a fairly brief synopsis of the idea. But, what do you all think? Ridiculous or realistic?

Monday, June 2, 2008

NAACP Detroit Deputy Director

Who: Donnell White
Age: 31
What: NAACP Detroit Deputy Director

After a week-long hiatus, BIY is back with a great story about the NAACP Detroit Deputy Director. This story is from The Detroit News.
Be sure to check out the blog as well, where we just installed a great google gadget pulling stories about people making a difference.

Monday, June 2, 2008
Desire to make a difference runs in the family
Detroit NAACP deputy director represents next generation of leaders.
Candice Williams / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- During the mid-1980s, young Donnell White watched as the city's elite arrived for meetings at his great-grandparents' home in the historic Boston-Edison neighborhood.

Shelton Tappes, a former United Auto Workers executive board member, and his wife, Louise, also active in the community, opened their home to the likes of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, civil rights activist Rosa Parks and former Mayor Coleman A. Young.

Even with a family heavily involved in community activism, it wasn't always apparent to White, who today is deputy executive director of the Detroit NAACP, that he would follow the same path. But, at 31, he's quickly building a reputation as an emerging leader in Metro Detroit.

"I used to want to be a pediatrician, on the SWAT team, and my real passion was to work for an accounting firm," said White, who had a change of heart when he began volunteering at the NAACP. "I found everything I wanted to accomplish careerwise I could do here. The work we do really makes a difference."

Since becoming deputy director last year -- the youngest in branch history to hold the position -- White has led event panels and helped organize the Detroit NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner, which draws 10,000 people to Cobo Center each year.

Friends, co-workers and community leaders describe him as informed, kindhearted and a voice to be heard.

"He is a perfect representation of the next generation of leaders," said Tonette Bryant-Carter, senior development officer for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. "He's very involved in the community."
Making his own job

White's career path began as a volunteer in 2001 at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Detroit branch, the country's largest.

"He was pretty impressive because he created a job for himself," said Heaster Wheeler, branch executive director. "I was wondering why he kept showing up. I said, 'Since you're sitting there, you may as well answer the phone.' And all of a sudden, we learned that he had very good skills with people."

White worked as an office assistant for a couple of years. Then he became director of youth and education programs and coordinated a youth competition, ACT-SO, which stands for the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics.

He was promoted to deputy executive director shortly after working on a campaign against Proposal 2, a state constitutional amendment that banned affirmative action in Michigan's university admissions and in government hiring. The position had been vacant for a couple of years.

In this role, White oversees the branch's day-to-day operations, meets with community members and is branch spokesman.

"If I decided to move on, I would feel very comfortable that a power succession would be in place," Wheeler said, adding that White brings balance to the organization.

The 21-year age difference between them is an asset, she said.

"We view our lives and community through different eyes," Wheeler said. "His way of viewing the world helps bridge what would have been a generational divide."
Encouraging others' activity

Recently, White visited Westside Academy, where he talked to a group of high school students at about racial profiling, prison population growth and expansion and the importance of being active in the community.

"I told them, 'If you don't join the NAACP, join your block club. If you don't join your block club, join one of the auxiliaries at church,'" he said. "And if it isn't one of those, just try something that you're fed up dealing with and make a commitment that you're going to make a difference about that."

Albert Jones, a member of the parent group at Westside, said it's inspiring for the young people to see White in a high position at the NAACP. Jones has known him for about 10 years.

They attend Fellowship Chapel in Detroit, where White is a worship leader.

"We have some boys that haven't been so good," Jones said. "They're beginning to see some men they want to look to as role models. (White) is one of those persons."

Born during a family trip to Chicago, White lived briefly in Detroit, grew up in Taylor and graduated from John F. Kennedy High School before earning a finance degree from Michigan State University in 2001.

Last year, White led a group of about 100 Metro Detroiters to Jena, La., to protest the treatment of six black high school students accused of beating a white classmate. Months before, in August 2006, nooses were hung from a tree at the school. In January, when the master of ceremonies couldn't make it to a Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the Charles H. Wright Museum, officials turned to White to bail them out.

"He stepped right in and didn't miss a beat," Bryant-Carter said. "He stayed on task. He asked the right questions of the panelists. He was there as ... a guest, but then he put on another hat and did his thing."

When asked if people are dismissive because of his age, White notes that King became involved in the civil rights movement in his 20s.

As for the future, White would consider running for a public office. City clerk, county clerk or secretary of state would be a good fit for him, he said.

"I come from a family that wanted to make a difference," he said. "That makes the work I do worthwhile."

You can reach Candice Williams at (517) 552-5504 or

Monday, May 26, 2008

WWF Volunteers

Who: Martina Lippuner
Age: early 20's
What: WWF Volunteer

This week's story is about a WWF Volunteer in Madagascar. Martina took part in the Simpona Project, Andapa, Antsiranana, Oct-Dec 2007. There is also a great video in the link. Enjoy.


I am in my last year of Environmental Engineering with focus on Environmental Education. As part of my studies we are allowed to go abroad to get some practical work experience. The WWF Explore Programme offered me exactly what I had hoped for. Having traveled a lot in southern Africa, I was very keen on getting to know more of that corner of the world. And also did the “Projet Simpona” give me the amazing opportunity to see first hand how environmental education works in a developing country. I couldn’t believe it when I got accepted. An amazing experience was about to start…

My advice

Volunteering with the WWF is a once in a lifetime chance. You get to see places a normal tourist hardly ever sees. You meet people you would not, if it was not for WWF. You really get to know how conservation works in a country very different from yours. And last but not least, you gain unforgettable memories and – if you are lucky – friends for a lifetime.

To share is a basic principle of Malagasy life and you will learn that even a poor person may invite you for dinner. Expect to have a funny tummy most of the times – but learn not to concentrate too much on it. Be sure to be fed up with rice at some point – but look forward to how much you can enjoy a plate of pasta after a while.

Do not be scared that you will face a mountain of work – rather plan what you will come up with when you have to wait. Do not expect people to tell you what you should do, you will have a lot of freedom to participate and be creative.

You are not guaranteed to see wildlife at its best – the WWF works where there is need, so you will see a lot of threatened landscapes and maybe no lemurs.

You can be sure to learn a lot of Malagasy – if you want to. But do not think you can have a philosophical debate with a wise old person in this language. Expect to see shocking things but do not let people see that you are shocked. Be prepared to meet people that might change your life, and be aware of the possibility that you change a person’s life, too.

Do not expect to change the whole world though, especially not in three months. Be prepared to slow down big time and focus on only a few goals, those that mean most to you. Expect to deal with misunderstandings – not only with the local people where the language barrier might be big – also within your explorer team everyone comes from a different country.

Be prepared for an incredible experience and so much inspiration for your future!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Video Friday: Youth All Stars

This week we bring you a quick video about youth volunteers in Minnesota.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Seminar focuses on youth sports

Who: Coaches
Age: Various
What: Making the Youth Sports Experience Better

This article isn't about the youth and what their doing, but it is about what Coaches are doing to make Youth Sports experience even better. Coaches gathered for this seminar getting to learn how to better enrich the Student-Athlete experience--which I think is vital for our youths of today and thought that it would be a little different change of pace BIY article. This article can be found at The Times Tribune.

Seminar focuses on youth sports

With the motto " Helping Coaches, Helping Kids," the Joe Bocchicchio Foundation, formed at The University of Scranton, hopes to better edu­cate coaches to serve their stu­dent athletes.

"The foundation is our ini­tiative to promote coaching education to all levels, particu­larly the youth sports level," explained Dr. Jack O'Malley, professor of sports psychology at the university.

With this in mind, O'Malley organized Tuesday's seminar in Brennan Hall at the Univer­sity of Scranton.

There, several faculty mem­bers and representatives dis­cussed the benefits of the involvement of the American Sport Education Program ( ASEP) for high school sports and youth sports in Northeast­ern Pennsylvania.

Simultaneously, on another level of Brennan Hall, coaches trained for eight hours to receive coaching certification.

ASEP provides classroom workshops and training for those who wish to coach throughout the United States. O'Malley and the university are helping to "get the ball rolling" in Pennsylvania's District 2.

"Our dream is to ask people to be trained to be ASEP instructors and be volunteer teachers," O'Malley said. " We're not addressing a prob­lem. The goal is to do this to enrich the student-athlete expe­rience as much as possible, to make the most positive stu­dent- athlete experience possi­ble. It's not like we have all these problems we have to solve. That's not the perspec­tive."

O'Malley invited superinten­dents and other administrators from area high schools, includ­ing Pam Murray, principal of Abington Heights High School, to discuss ways to implement the program within the region. " We're looking to better serve our student- athletes," Murray said. " The program would be a tool in which we could educate our coaches with the philosophy, again, to put student athletes first, wining second, and to better serve our student-athletes."

An administrator and the ath­letic director from Abington Heights received the training Tuesday as well. Murray said they would "go back and discuss the information" once training and the seminar had ended.

ASEP focuses not just on the " x's and o's" of coaching, explained Robert Buckanav­age, the executive director of the Pennsylvania State Athlet­ic Directors Association.

"We all believe that if you better prepare your coaches, you're going to have a better opportunity that the student will have a positive sports expe­rience," Buckanavage said. " It's about training, educating and learning."

The five aspects of the pro­gram, he continued, include coaching principles, psycholo­gy, pedagogy, training princi­ples, and risk management, like first aid and AED operation.

"If ( coaches) learn those things, they're building a good foundation," Buckanavage add­ed.

Several superintendents expressed concern about the amount of time or the cost that such a program would require. According to Buckanavage and Jerry Reeder, a national pro­gram consultant for ASEP, the cost for the program would be $ 60 a coach. As compared to some clinics that require upward of $ 300, O'Malley add­ed, this inconvenience is mini­mal.

ASEP also offers an online course for training to be com­pleted at a coach's own leisure. That option eradicates the face- to- face instruction that Reeder felt was necessary for training. In workshops, veter­an coaches, new coaches and other staff members interact with one another.

"That's the one thing you cannot duplicate in an online course," Reeder said.

Other University staff mem­bers started to build that strong foundation on the first floor of Brennan Hall. University of Scranton women's basketball coach Mike Strong, for example, aided in the discussion and led training for the coaches receiv­ing certification.

"The more we get together, the more we share," Strong said. " It's not like one person knows more than someone else. It's all about giving back to your sport. It's this Jesuit school: It not only personifies, but it promotes this."

ASEP, founded by Rainer Mar­tens in 1981, believes that coach­es hold the key to making the sports experience a positive one for student athletes. The Joe Bocchicchio Foundation and District 2 schools are looking into how to continue this mis­sion through its sports programs in the coming school year.

"This region has a real dis­tinct opportunity to make a dif­ference," Buckanavage said. " It's going to be different, but it'll be very special. Every region has traditions. This northeast region has deep tra­ditions in sport, and the com­munity identifies with that."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Young Leaders in New Zealand

Who: Young Leaders in New Zealand
Age: Under 35
What: Leading the Way in NZ

This week's Sunday article is about young leaders in New Zealand who are changing the face of business and doing good while they are at it. From Find Articles.

COVER STORY : 35 BELOW - Young leaders to watch
Ruth Le Pla

These 17 young leaders are just the tip of an iceberg of talent. They, and others like them, will shape our country's future. They front up. Dig in. Speak out. Give back. They see the future and go make it happen. They challenge assumptions and galvanise change. Their vision ripples out into their communities.

They represent a cultural smorgasbord running the full gamut of leadership styles: From unassuming, consultative, introspection to dynamic, full-frontal assault. Some lead through quiet action. Others dream audacious dreams and magnetise those around them to their cause.

To select these young leaders we went out to organisations that have robust mechanisms in place to spot, assess, nurture or reward our nation's emerging leaders: The Sir Peter Blake Trust, Leadership New Zealand, the New Zealand Institute of Management, the Aspiring Leaders Forum, Creative New Zealand and Excelerator. It's our part in the inaugural New Zealand Leadership Week which kicks off later this month.

The final selection of these leaders remains ours. While there is a strong tilt towards business, their involvement spans every niche: from working with at-risk youth, to the environment, politics, education, cross-cultural communications, design, sport, law, art and even aeronautics.

Most remain refreshingly open and receptive. They are keenly aware they've still got lots to learn. Some are being nurtured, stretched and challenged on formal leadership programmes. Others are going it alone, shoulder tapping people they admire to mentor and guide them.

They are all aged below 35. We present them here in a gloriously random order.


As its general manager, Kim Acland heads up the "fervently New Zealand and artistically adventurous" Auckland Theatre Company.

Admirers say she is not afraid to confront challenges, address them and move on. In a testing environment she focuses on the long- term good of the organisation and has the courage to make important and difficult decisions. All this on an ego the size of a pinhead.

In her few years in the role she's already placed the company on a much firmer financial footing. She has managed the company's recovery and ensured its survival. Importantly for the company's long-term prospects, observers say that she works in a genuine partnership with the Auckland Theatre Company's artistic director Colin McColl.


Described by one observer as compassionate and a woman of stature, Emeline Afeaki-Mafileo sees a need and gears up for action. People who know her say her humble and unassuming approach belies her strong convictions and ability to get things done. Afeaki-Mafileo's forte is her ability to gather people around her, encourage, train and then mobilise them for action.

She's making a significant contribution to the economic transformation and development of young people in South Auckland through her company Affirming Works, a Pacific youth mentoring and training organisation.

Afeaki-Mafileo, who now has a Master of Philosophy majoring in social science from Massey University, first hit the streets as a youth worker when she was 19.

Her work has also led to the establishment of the Fofola Consultancy which contributes to policy development and played a vital part towards the Pacific Youth Development Strategy for Auckland which Prime Minister Helen Clark launched last year. Afeaki- Mafileo is now being asked to help write policy internationally for Pacific Island nations and is said to be highly esteemed by our current Government.

Afeaki-Mafileo also takes a leadership role in the Pacific community by serving as an advisor to a number of community organisations: Community advisor to the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Phil Goff; member of the National Advisory Committee to the Ministry of Social Development, Family and Community Services; Youth Court and Youth Court Pacific Community Liaison Service; and Pacific representative on the Youth Mentoring Association.

Most recently she's been working as a "youth collaborator" as part of a government-funded response to growing gang problems in South Auckland's Mangere, Otara and Flat Bush, where a man was killed last November.


Renowned for his compelling speeches and great motivational skills, Marcus Akuhata-Brown has spent much of his working life addressing the needs of young people.

He has travelled extensively internationally as both a national and international representative and delegate on youth-related concerns. He was a director on the international board of the World Alliance for Citizen Partnership (Civicus), an international organisation which focuses on strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world.

From 1998 to 2001 he headed the Commonwealth Youth Caucus whose programmes help young people play a greater part in economic and social development. And he has led a number of other innovative alternative education programmes addressing the learning needs of youth at risk and young offenders.

People who know him praise his uncanny ability to connect with, and motivate, people from varied backgrounds. A qualified teacher, he is seen by some as a strong role model with a highly developed social conscience. He has the ability to think strategically and is a creative problem solver.

Akuhata-Brown grew up on the East Coast. His father is Ngati Porou (Tuwhakairiora) from Te Araroa on the East Cape and his mother has English and Welsh ancestry.

Now back in New Zealand, Akuhata-Brown founded Tukaha Global Consultancy in 2000 and is currently involved in speaking and consultancy work, land development in Te Araroa and personal studies through Te Wananga-o-Raukawa.


Openly and refreshingly ambitious, Anushiya Ayingaran's leadership style is empathetic and inclusive. She's already made a big impact at the not-for-profit Nurse Maude Association where she's general manager corporate services. Ayingaran has cut through a cocktail of conservative attitudes and funding and political pressures to re- energise staff and win respect.

Notable achievements include a process improvement project within the association's Homecare Service and the development of the association's strategic plan.

People who know her say she's got outstanding training, staff mentoring and communication skills. Her positive and action-oriented approach won Ayingaran the NZIM Young Executive of the Year Award two years ago. Since then, in a move that will ensure her a place in Nurse Maude's annals, she's broken free of 110 years of history and launched the association's first ever branch outside its home territory of Canterbury.

After three years in her current job she's now making no secret of her desire to take on a more senior role. Ayingaran has just been elected to the board of NZIM Canterbury.

She's on the record as stating that she wants to become a CEO or GM of an innovative organisation and in 20 years' time is aiming for directorships in organisations where she can serve the community.


Privahini Bradoo has packed a lot into her eight years in New Zealand. She quickly notched up a biomedical science degree from Auckland University and topped it with a PhD in neuroscience. She also cottoned on to the yawning gap between the worlds of business and science and has spearheaded two initiatives to help bridge the divide.

In 2003, despite her lack of business knowledge at that stage, she was chosen to become the inaugural CEO of spark*, a University of Auckland venture aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship. Bradoo also co-founded and led the establishment of biotech innovation network Chiasma.

Her reputation as a hard worker means that Bradoo leads by example. She is said to engage people with her enthusiasm and modesty, and her leadership is genuine, natural and authentic. Her enthusiasm helps her build momentum for ideas in an atmosphere of possibility and success.

She won the inaugural Dean's Excellence Award in 2004 for outstanding leadership and innovation in the development of an entrepreneurial culture amongst staff and students.

That same year North & South magazine profiled her as one of eight promising young New Zealand entrepreneurs.

Bradoo heads off next month on a US$100,000 Fulbright Scholarship to crack into a Harvard MBA. She has signalled that she intends to come back to New Zealand. Her stated dream is to set up a New Zealand biotech enterprise that will take Kiwi ingenuity to the world.


Steven Carden's potential was publicly bookmarked last year when the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards judges named him as one of their six emerging leaders.

For one so young, Carden has been quietly plugging away at making stuff happen for a significant proportion of his adult life. Back in 1998 he set up the First Foundation to help talented but financially disadvantaged youth. It has since blossomed into a substantial non- profit organisation with operations in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Since then he's been working in the United States for McKinsey and Co and has set up two other organisations: KEA Boston - a chapter of the Kiwi Expatriates Association; and Friends of CCE - a US-based non- profit group that raises funds to help rehabilitate inmates in Ecuadorian prisons (where Carden worked as a volunteer in 2003).

From a very young age, Carden has had a reputation for big picture thinking and for convincing those around him that his vision for a better future will work. One contact describes him as "one of those quiet determined leaders".

Carden is due to return to New Zealand later this year and has made it clear that he intends to settle. Current projects include a book on New Zealand's ability to cope in a changing world. It is due for release in June next year.


Enthusiastic and motivated, Ben Green has been described as a servant leader; giving his time for others and wanting the best for those around him. His reputation is for seeing beyond career and money to the pursuit of a better society.

Based in Auckland, he is passionate about his home city. Through his work he wants to see New Zealand businesses grow and compete successfully on the international stage. Through his personal life he aims to help create a city where people love to live and bring up their children. He is known to be keen to use his position of influence in business to also be influential in the community.

Green has a Masters in Commerce (first class honours) from Auckland University. After working for IBM in Auckland and London, he came home in 1999 to co-found Grey Lynn-based multimedia and film production company Zoomslide Media. He is now the marketing manager for business solutions at Microsoft.

The company has nominated Green to take part in the Committee for Auckland's two-year Future Auckland Leadership Programme which fosters leadership and a knowledge of the region within a group of young Aucklanders.

Green is also a mentor with the First Foundation whose vision is to assist academically talented and financially disadvantaged New Zealand students achieve their potential through tertiary education and to prepare them to positively influence and benefit their communities. It is another conduit for him to connect with other future leaders and pass on his knowledge, skill and encouragement.


While still at high school Ben Irving set up the On the Edge Charitable Trust: a youth-run volunteer organisation encouraging and developing leadership in high schools. It now operates throughout Wellington, Kapiti and Wairarapa schools and there is talk of it rolling out into Auckland and some Pacific Island nations.

An observer describes Irving's leadership style as participative. He encourages volunteers to take ownership of the conferences and forums they run. This approach is said to have won the approval of the Ministry of Youth Affairs which is believed to see Irving's work as a model of youth participation.

Irving uses mentors extensively and is known to shoulder tap people from whom he wants to learn. He also encourages the people he works with to tell him whether his approach is working for them or not.

Irving has represented New Zealand in sailing and is co-owner of the Ski & Camp retail store in Wellington.


Born in Vietnam of Chinese descent, Gia Nghi Phung arrived in Australia as a refugee at the age of five and grew up with access to multiple cultural experiences. On the way she's gained a BCom and a Master in Art Administration and has worked in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Phung was director of Sydney's Asia-Australia Arts Centre (Gallery 4A) before shifting to New Zealand a few years ago where she is now an ethnic advisor at the Office of Ethnic Affairs, Department of Internal Affairs.

Phung sees her role as an ideal platform to influence change and make New Zealand a better place for diversity to flourish. She's committed to the development of empowered and self-determined ethnic communities that will contribute to a stronger New Zealand.

Phung is very alive to the concept that leadership is not just about being on top of the hierarchy. She believes that leadership is about finding the moral courage to address prickly situations and say things that not everyone is comfortable with. She's also a firm advocate of the need to listen and learn from others.

People who know her say she can engage with, excite and motivate a huge range of stakeholders in any given project. She is also known as a reflective, creative and forward thinker. Reputed to be very enthusiastic. A high energy get up and go person.


Known as one of the younger Mr Fix-Its of Maoridom, Rewi Spraggon is the quintessential 'go-to' man. Described by one insider as possibly the most well-connected person they'd ever met. He's a Maori consultant, chef, master carver, curator, musician, event manager and radio broadcaster.

Spraggon was a national board member of the Museums and Art Galleries Association of New Zealand and a head researcher for the Waitangi Tribunal Land Claims in South Kaipara. A renowned Maori carver with commissions worldwide, he's currently Kaiwhakahaere Maori (Maori manager of libraries) for Waitakere City Council. Also a director of Auckland and Mt Maunganui-based company Te Aratoi which provides Maori experiences and event management. Plus he's a Maori consultant and advisor for Maori Television.

Reputed to be an inspirational person for many communities. Brought up by his grandparents independently of his immediate family, Spraggon speaks fluent Te Reo. Shaped by early experiences which include having been placed in a leadership role from a very young age. He speaks on behalf of his iwi.

Described as a gentle person with amazing mana.


By far the youngest of last year's Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards six emerging leaders, Samara Sutherland's initiatives have exposed thousands of young New Zealanders to the issues of marine conservation.

She graduated from Northland Polytechnic in 2001 with a diploma in conservation and environmental management. Since then, she has developed (in conjunction with former polytechnic tutor Vince Kerr) an educational programme called "Experiencing Marine Reserves", formed a charitable trust that enables her to deliver her programme to schools and the community, and is training coordinators around the country so the programme can be offered in other regions. She has also designed education resources including videos and CD Roms, and is developing a website for her programme.

Sutherland clearly wants to make a difference and is said to lead through her deeds rather than words. Others have slowly started to pay attention to her ideas. A bubbly effervescent personality. Sutherland was named the 2004 Whangarei Young Person of the Year.


A director of web design company Shift, Che Tamahori is very attuned to the notion that good leadership is many-faceted. Believes that successful leaders often engage with society on many levels and that this, in turn, helps them to bring a breadth of vision to their roles.

A creative and broad thinker. His ideas are said to have been profoundly shaped by the last couple of years of his high school days which he spent at the United World College in Canada and where he studied with international students and read philosophy.

Tends to act as a facilitator when in groups. Tamahori is known to be very receptive to new ideas, insightful and a good listener. Those close to him say he is very respectful of other people's ideas and thoughts. Generous with his time, resources and expertise in helping other people.

A graduate of Wanganui Design School, Tamahori has worked in creative and strategic leadership roles with clients including Tourism New Zealand, the Sir Peter Blake Trust, The New Zealand Institute and the Alcohol Advisory Council.


Overcoming personal challenges, such as the loss of her father (who was her mentor), and living with diabetes since the age of three, Nicki Taylor takes time to input into those coming up behind her and continues her work in the community along with a busy law career.

Taylor is reputed to have left a top job with prestigious law firm Russell McVeagh because she wanted to pursue her dream of a better New Zealand. Described as a courageous, strong and compassionate leader, Taylor is seen by some as a young lawyer making a difference to New Zealand law and society.

She leads the policy and legal team at the Auckland-based independent think-tank Maxim Institute. Taylor and her team aim to make a significant contribution to law and policy in New Zealand in areas such as education, democracy, family issues and freedom of expression.

She has won the prestigious Lowndes Jordon prize in corporate law and in 2004 was awarded a University of Auckland Scholarship to complete her LLM in public law.

Taylor is frequently approached by policy makers and politicians for advice, opinion, information or key contacts in critical areas of New Zealand policy. She also presents legal submissions on behalf of the Institute and is frequently asked to provide comment on law and policy to the media.

The Institute was recently the first New Zealand think-tank to be awarded the prestigious Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award, ahead of 70 other nominations from think-tanks around the world. Taylor led the team that researched, wrote and produced the award-winning education policy reports.

She remains involved in her community and in 2004 was elected to serve as a representative on the Mt Roskill Community Board.


Vicky Taylor has been carving out a name for herself as a marketer in the demanding and high-profile fast moving consumer goods arena for some time now. A regular contender on the awards circuit, last year she was one of two finalists for the nation's top award for an individual senior marketer: the prestigious FCB Marketer of the Year Award.

She's now country manager New Zealand for Coca-Cola, having moved on from Griffin's Foods where as marketing director she fronted work on iconic household brands such as Toffee Pops, Mallowpuffs, Cookie Bear and ETA.

Taylor's take on leadership is broad and balanced. Leaders who will make a difference must have an appreciation of the community as a whole.

Her own style is thoughtful and group focused. People who have seen her in action say she prefers to listen up front, suspending judgement until she has gathered in all relevant information. She's reputedly very accepting of new perspectives, people and new ways of thinking. And will courageously push her own boundaries and those of others around her.

Taylor has served on the council of the Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA) and has been a director of MOTAT (The Museum of Transport and Technology) since 2000.


As general manager corporate services for the NZ Rugby Union, Therese Walsh was a finalist for the 2005 NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year Awards (part of the Deloitte/Management magazine Top 200 Awards). At the time, the judges praised her strong leadership skills and her ability to create effective teams - building on an excellent base of good management processes.

She holds her own in the blokey business of rugby and has spearheaded a serious amount of change in a tough hard-nosed environment. Key initiatives include revamping, modernising and consolidating key parts of the Union's corporate services: everything from finance and HR to legal compliance and international relations.

Earlier this year she joined the board of Save the Children.


Best known in business circles as a driving force behind some of the most noteworthy changes to the worldwide McDonald's brand in New Zealand. The fast and timely reimaging of the company's 140 restaurants, McCafe brand development, and links with sporting legends Sarah Ulmer and Hamish Carter are all his work.

By the age of 30 Grant Watson was already on the McDonald's New Zealand senior management team where he's currently vice president, operations.

Insiders admire his inspiration and vision. His strengths include an ability to build strong teams. Good at managing the fine line between building strong working relationships with his team members and expecting outstanding results from each of them.

Winner of last year's NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year Award. He told guests at a recent NZIM Auckland networking event that in planning his career he tries to always look not one but two steps ahead. Since winning the award he's decided to switch tack. At the end of this month Watson and his young family head overseas for an extended look-see. He'll also be scouting for business ideas. Expect him back and in another business in New Zealand.


Watching Star Wars in a darkened Auckland cinema is reputed to have set the then five-year-old Karen Willcox on a trail-blazing journey for women in the engineering and science sectors. A former Dux Scholar at St Cuthbert's College, she went on to complete her BEng at the University of Auckland followed in rapid succession by a masters and PhD at the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.

Willcox was still only in her late 20s when she was appointed associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. Her thesis and current research is in collaboration with Boeing and NASA: Boeing's futuristic blended wing-body project - testing the viability of one giant wing replacing the traditional model of wings and fuselage - and a quiet aircraft technology project with NASA. This Kiwi is flying high.

Willcox heads her own research team and is noted primarily for her quiet, understated and consultative style of leadership. This is matched by an ability to be decisive, determined and forthright when required.

Her clear vision of what she wants to do helps her achieve in what is still a very male-dominated and hierarchical environment. Observers say she has the ability to create momentum towards a shared goal.

Although now based in the United States, she continues to maintain strong ties with Auckland University. New Zealand may have to work hard to hold on to Willcox. Logically, the big opportunities for her are likely to be offshore. Nevertheless, she's made it clear that she'd like to come home one day. The most obvious drawcard would be a top notch job at a New Zealand university.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Video Friday: Art of Living Youth Initiative

One of the success stories of Art of Living's youth initiatives in Ivory Coast.

This video has some wise words--reminding me of the old saying that many hands make light work.