2021 Annual Review | 2022 Strategy / Guesswork

After 8,760 hours of 2021, my take on that which made me smile / think plus some ‘finger in the air’ stuff on what’s ahead.


Well I’m patting myself on the back (and you should also) for making it round another orbit of the sun. Putting, the global situation of the continual pandemic, terrible institutional leadership regarding climate change, crypto capitalistic insidiousness, global elite tax avoidance which went unchallenged, silly Web3 proclamations, aside, this year has been one of exploration and action, misery and laughter, heartache and gratitude.

From moving between the different domains of my clients disciplines to some explorations of my personal creative agency, storytelling has been the thread between all the activities, along with the desire to add value to the world through collaboration. It’s been a year of internal revelations and a renewed hunger to try new things in a future which is starting to glisten with potential.


To enable me to pay the rent, services were delivered to the following superb array of entities:

…plus individual speaker coaching sessions took the total to 35 clients for 2021—an honourable haul in current climes and very much appreciate deeply each and every opportunity.

In terms of what services were delivered, it comes out something like this (‘speaking’ includes talks as well as my ‘purposeful storytelling’ beginners and advanced full-and-half-day masterclasses for leadership groups):

How that equates to monies earned:

A couple of the choice highlights have been:

MC’ing the monthly online Teulo Talks whereby I get to interact plus learn from internationally renowned architectural and construction industry talent. Hearing how these leaders are exploring new computational approaches plus putting the climate crisis at the heart of their designs is wonderfully hope inducing.

Producing a three-day ‘purposeful storytelling’ learning experience with the good librarians of the Christchurch Libraries was a joy. Spending a repeated amount of time with clients is rare so it’s very much cherished when it occurs. And hearing after about the positive impact of aiding those to embrace their stories with the skills to share them makes me soul sing.

And here’s what a few folks said about me in other realms of my delivery (which makes me shift in my seat and feel odd although am trying to get better at celebrating myself more):

“I recently had DK run the ‘presenting engagingly online’ session at a virtual conference I was managing for our organization. We had many great speakers, but based on the feedback (and my opinion too!) DK’s was the highlight. The session included tangible take aways that I use daily while presenting and was fun and energetic. Coordinating the session with DK was a breeze (even with the time difference), and he tailored his approach to fit the group I was working with. Could not recommend enough!”
June Kinloch, Lead, Digital Products, The HIVE at IBI Group

“When in lockdown, at Pharmac we asked DK to deliver a zoom presentation on ‘presenting engagingly online.’ Our objective was to give staff an opportunity to connect virtually after we had all shifted to working from home and we had few opportunities for a shared experience. We used DK’s prepared session to shift from presenting in this new medium (zoom) to how we adapt generally, with shifting mediums as a metaphor for the broader pressure on all of us to adapt and change in response to our external environment. The latter part was progressed via a moderated Q&A session. Staff really enjoyed the session – both parts – and I consider DK’s role as catalyst to have been really helpful.”
Mark Woodard, Director of Corporate Services/CFO, PHARMAC NZ

“I have had the great pleasure of inviting DK to work with our team for 2 enjoyable and valuable sessions so far: an in-person (those were the days!) public speaking and storytelling workshop; and a virtual Presenting Engagingly Online session.
These were both very highly rated by our team and we’re looking forward to having DK come and share more magic with us to help us continue to hone our skills and confidence. On top of that, DK is one of the kindest, most compassionate and generous people I know. He builds an environment of trust, confidence and care, role modelling respectful feedback and gently supporting people to build confidence and strength with public speaking, storytelling and presenting. I cannot recommend DK highly enough.”
Kimberley Gilmour, People & Culture | Health & Wellbeing, Uneeq


A layering of operational challenges on top of the extremely uncertain COVID situation meant the team decided to cancel TEDxWellington 2021 and I also took it as an opportune time to ‘retire’ from the license holder position plus step down from the charitable board established to oversee the endeavours. It was a very bittersweet decision for many reasons.

The above was my first pass at the ‘delegate experience’ which was a result of a few sessions with the interactions team which I was leading this year. My aim was to inspire and guide the group to craft a creative experience for the 2,000 attendees which surprised and delighted whilst tapping into the subjects explored by the speakers and also literally recording plus increasing the nature of the chosen theme of the event, which was ‘hope’ (the speakers were already chosen by this stage as well as the theme, and after the event was cancelled were ‘gifted’ over to a new license and event TEDxPipitea to continue with).

TEDxWellington was so aligned to my purpose and I gave nearly a decade of pro bono time to it. Even though it nearly broke me a few times and constricted my ability to explore paid work, what an amazing 9 years selling out every event, giving many an opportunity to speak on a TEDx stage to catapult their stories into the world and a chance for many more to volunteer on a world-class initiative (many of which have leveraged in their own personal / professional journeys). I feel blessed to have had the experience which included:


Image credit

“My heart is a beautiful mess of things, like an Hieronymus Bosch painting, full of magic and weird characters plus brilliance and terror!”

Something I tweeted

Have been taking the time to go inwards and explore spirit versus ego, values and character, trauma and healing. It’s been long overdue and I know will never be a completed exercise as my ‘bastard brain‘ still pops up and does its usual thing. But there’s an emergence state occurring as a wider range of literacy regarding my emotions are being accessed.

There remains a deep reverberating ache for companionship, and that’s okay. I have a high level of trust in this longing which sparks an odd but familiar hopefulness in me. I have bared my calon and the outcome was the opposite of what was hoped for but I am proud of me for making the it known:


As evident in the 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 digital breadcrumbs offerings⁠⁠—the good stuff I tweet collected into cohesive and more snackable monthly blog posts⁠—my curiosity is still sharp and I delight in having a wide view on the world. Between those and a modest blogging offering this year I will continue to seek out a wide-ranging media diet and delight in the brilliant intersections I see in most things:

first 25 Creative Welly episodes image

This year I continued my Creative Welly activities along with my collaboration partners, and produced fourteen episodes featuring 28 bold humans (read the end of year review here). It continues to be a unique visual approach to the medium and keen to build off the wholly independently produced venture as still have a big list of people to get to.

Earlier in the year I got to making⁠—have designed and developed a working prototype focused on amplifying human connection (born out of a failed attempt at an ebook on the same topic which I’m revisiting for the new year in a different form).

After lots of cardboard cutting and glue gun fun, a friend helped with the final ‘cut file’ to get it fabricated, and over a thousand bucks later I had the chance to fit it all together and… it works!

Have pitched the concept to a couple of agencies for use in the New Year (fingers crossed).


Extrapolating from the types of services plus financials more speaking opportunities will be sort along with consulting, however, I’ll be dropping the in-person MC offerings (as actually know better practitioners out there I can pass on my inquiries to).

The self-care and self-awareness values have been ignited after being in dormancy which has sparked so many cognitive and emotional reactions in me that I know it’s important. Tenderness, kindness and grace have become often cited and lens by which to navigate this crazy life.


We’re all grown-ups and know that planning is guessing, shallow attempts to manifest best intentions, action is key.

Throw in a layer of doing things which serve my spirit and purpose, plus creative collaborations with other impressive people, then that’s an action list I want to chase down.

My purpose remains the same:

“I’m driven to enable people find and have voice.”

via justadandak.com /about

Beyond continuing to offer my current speaking / coaching services, my desire is to give attention to projects which raise eyebrows, both individually and in collaboration with others (centered around the above purpose statement). This will manifest in the following actions (no particular order):

  • as described above regarding the prototype, been researching for about 9 months and developing out a product around augmenting gathering experiences, so intending to go live in the first quarter with a few paid service offerings and one free informational offer;
  • also in the first quarter, will launch a series of online course offerings relating to presenting online (a deeper dive from what I’ve been delivering this past year or so to many clients);
  • Creative Leadership NZ (which ran in 2017, 2018, 2019 then paused due to the pandemic) will make a return at the end of 2022 to “connect visionary humans and creatives into a community to solve contemporary challenges” and is already in development mode (venues, curating speakers, exploring partnerships);
  • Creative Welly will continue to be my pro bono project and more episodes will follow soon enough (as an aside, the “Welly” in this title does not stand for “Wellington” as most assume, read about it on the about page);
  • artistic expressions through sound, artifacts and visuals (not NFTs because they are mainly a ponzi scheme which hurts the world);
  • and finally, have an audacious moonshot documentary project brewing which is titillating the senses and aiming to close the deal this year.

Also want to throw a big hope and that is to visit the family back in Wales and then other friends in other countries during the trip. With the current state of the virus who knows, am doing my best not to miss people / places and recognise in gratitude where I am and what I have also.

As for the more personal side of things, am keen to craft a ‘theme’ for the coming year and have settled on:

Radical creativity responsibility.

Towards the end of the year I unfollowed a bunch of people and entities on Twitter / Linkedin which were constantly creating a negative response in me and it triggered the realisation that it is up to me to define my state (or at least do my best to react to the world in the positive). Integrating traumatic experiences and sad-inducing moments I will take personally and treat them like adventures to be grateful for.

So, how was your year and what guesses / actions do you have for 2022?



  1. Wonderful post DK. A great gathering of past projects and future hopes, mixed in with a bit of humble self promotion. I’m inspired.

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