The continued adventure of establishing a bold event brand in NZ.
Last week was the third Creative Leadership NZ (and second time) at, NZ’s new Institute of Creativity, Te Auaha. It was another sold out affair hosting nearly two hundred humans exploring the intersection of creativity and leadership.
The feedback has been very positive with the general theme of ‘warmth’ coming through. The speakers modelled this in their talks and delivery plus openness to connect in the breakouts, as well as the eagerness of the delegates to embrace the opportunity to share their stories whilst participating in the sessions and / or conversations with others.
As you can see from above, over two thirds of attendees have female names and anecdotally the average age is about thirty-five to fourty.
This year over eighty cross sector organisations and brands were represented, aiding the variety of discussions and connections made in this community of leaders. In theory, the experience and learnings will be taken back to the seven and a half thousand people managed by the delegates.
CLNZ truly bucks the trend of other leadership conferences, away from the pale, male and stale.
What an amazing array of folks we had this year. Tried really hard to again balance the breadth of arenas in the two respected focusses of the conference and the delegate feedback has reflected that aim.
This year I put together a speaker guide which simplified communications of all the aspects of the conference whilst also outlining expectations.
Thanks to these good humans below—a pure delight to collaborate with.
David Bill (keynote / masterclass) : designing empathy at scale,
Emily Chang (keynote / workshop) : The Power of AND – unlocking new ideas by finding the intersection of seeming juxtapositions,
Greg Broadmore (keynote interview) : leading at the intersection of cutting-edge technology and creative processes,
Kaila Colbin (keynote / masterclass) : why courage is the new leadership skill (via Brene Brown),
Samantha Gadd is Founder and Managing Director of Humankind, a business with the vision to create the best employee experiences in the world. Humankind (formerly HR Shop) was a 2015 Deloitte Fast 50 winner, and named fastest growing services business in the Wellington region in the same year.
Samantha is obsessed with Employee Experience and the difference it can have on business performance. Samantha has advised hundreds of organisations over the last 15 years on leadership, culture, performance and all things people. She is passionate about the future of work and the importance of modern leadership to attract and retain top talent. Samantha is currently focused on growing Humankind and recently launched Kin (sister company to Humankind) and building an exemplar employee experience in both organisations. In 2018 Samantha also launched the first Employee Experience Awards programme in New Zealand. Also Mum to three young boys, Samantha is experienced at blending life and work.
Sarb Johal (keynote / workshop) : Making space for creativity: Leading yourself well
Savannah Peterson (interviewer / workshop) : millinial management
Selina Tusitala Marsh (keynote / workshop) : the power of poetry,
Topaz Litman Adizes (keynote / masterclass) : courageous conversations,
Trent Yeo (keynote / workshop) : how sustainability ignites creative thinking,
DK (Master of Ceremonies)
As an aside, one of the overseas speakers pulled out with three weeks to go before the event due to a board meeting timing change which they had to be at. This added thousands to the costs with all the flight changes which had to be made. A fun little hurdle to get over although after a couple of days of panic it all came good.
Sponsors / Partners
This year was the first time CLNZ took cash sponsorship. The Institute Of Management New Zealand (IMNZ) was the founding sponsor and with that got featured heavily in all promotions, received a bunch of VIP passes to share to staff and clients plus also had the opportunity to run an interaction to engage with the delegates. The monies received enabled some additions to the conference (see below in ‘extra costs’).
The second sponsor was for our technical side of the event and enabled the recording of the main keynote talks for the first time (which will be released in the new year). NW Group stepped into this role and looking forward to releasing the videos early next year of the main keynotes.
The other partners contributed either cut-rate services and / or free plus financial grant support for specific speakers.
Finances / Extra Costs
As with previous conferences CLNZ19 was profitable and very pleased to again increase the profit margin from last years event.
All speakers were remunerated financially plus many of them had their expenses covered. When a significant promotional support didn’t transpire I had two invest in a third party agency to assist in the marketing and sales. Other costs included:
- Reprint of event brochure due to design error (click the above for pdf version);
- Banner for arrivals and video backdrop;
- Massage therapists for interactions;
- Carpet tiles to make speaker rug;
- Recording / editing of all keynote talks.
Over half a dozen folks registered who then didn’t pay / attend which equated to over four thousand potential profit lost so next year will have to think how to manage this.
As with the first two years, did a lot myself, including: speaker curation, PR content (like the example above, here are the rest of them: David Bill, Emily Chang, Kaila Colbin, Greg Broadmore, Samantha Gadd, Sarb Johal, Savannah Peterson, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Topaz Adizes, Trent Yeo.), event design, partner / sponsor negotiation / management, website manager, majority of marketing and sales, delegate invoicing, event management, MC’ing etc.
Even though we sold out the week before, definitely need help in the area of ‘Sales’ as have no interest in this area (so feel free to reach out if you can assist for 2020).
The video above played when delegates arrived into the main theatre and was crowdsourced from the registration process. It served to prime the audience and get them situated into the subject matter of the conference.
The massage therapists I have seen and done in previous events so was a lovely addition to this years offering and was constantly utilised.
Our main sponsor IMNZ installed a Christmas tree and invited delegates to write a future message to themselves along the lines of the event theme of ‘nurturing courage’:
At the opening of the second day, I ran an exercise exploring where delegates ‘stand’ on certain topics and get them in the interactive and exploration mindset for the masterclasses:
Lessons / Future
Last year the three future aims for the 2019 event were to gain sponsorship (tick), record videos (tick), build an ongoing community opportunity (ongoing).
For 2020, the focus will be on:
- Building out the interactions both in the main theatre and break out spaces to promote connection through conversation;
- Been approached to explore hosting the event in Auckland by an attendee who is from a major institution up there so will explore that;
- Further financial sponsorship which amplifies the conference values and offer.
Due to the positive feedback specifically relating to the venue have already booked in next years event which will be Monday 30th November & 1st December 2020, put it in your diaries now!
Photos – Day One & Two
So did you attend and if so how was it for you? Are you a creative producer who can answer some of the challenges I have above? Any other observations for me?
Related posts: Creative Leadership NZ 2017 | Reflections & Insights plus Speaking with Purpose 2017 | Reflections On Running A Successful Conference
Feeling lucky to be a citizen of a country when the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, says stuff like:
If I could distill it down into one concept that we are pursuing in New Zealand, it is simple and it is this: kindness.
In this time of hollow nationalism and fracturing distrust, a call for compassion, togetherness, thinking of the other truly is unusual and all the more important as we struggle forward in these dark times.
Sign me up for ‘team kindness’. Who else is with me?
Come on over.
Since arriving over five years ago, Aotearoa definitely feels like home.
Due to the international audience and network I’ve been luckily enough to accumulate over the years, here’s a couple of ways to get your bums over here, live the dream and add value to this progressive little nation:
If you’re in the tech industry then *Looksee Wellington gives you no excuse to explore opportunities in the creative capital. If you’re free 8-11 May 2017 then hurry and submit your details to the site:
“…we’re bringing 100 of the best people we can find to fill 100 great tech jobs right here in Wellington. It’ll be four days of pre-arranged job interviews, meet-ups and exploration, with all flights and accommodation paid for. At the end of the week there’ll be offers to jobs you never knew existed in a place with a lifestyle you never thought possible.”
*Edmund Hillary Fellowship is the brainchild and result of the good work my pals at Kiwi Connect has been doing. Be sure to check the small print though as applications can set you back $850-$3,000 if applying from overseas (although this is cheaper than other visa routes):
“Global Impact Visas (GIVs) is an innovative new visa programme that aims to give visionary entrepreneurs, investors, and startup teams a platform in New Zealand to build, incubate and support ventures with global impact potential.”
Oh and you can always buy your way in like Thiel.
*Looksee is not exclusive to overseas folks and will be taking applications from anyone outside the Wellington region and Edmund Hillary Fellowship is also taking applicants from NZ residents also.
Raising the skill set of presenting / public speaking / storytelling.
A one day conference for those looking to increase their public speaking confidence and hungry to develop their storytelling techniques.
The event will feature inspirational keynotes plus masterclasses and workshops so attendees can broaden their professional skill set.
Inspired by my recent tenure overseeing nearly 200 events in fourteen months, there’s an opportunity to assist and develop presenters here in Wellington, the wider region and New Zealand as a whole.
Have seen so many folks stand and speak about their particular topic then struggle with the storytelling aspect of their message. Or suffer with nerves and other nuances which detract from the talk in some. Or fail to understand the importance of a well crafted slide deck in assisting their delivery.
This conference is for them.
It’s the wrong time to be announcing any kind of new initiative, let alone a medium-sized conference, however, just couldn’t keep it under wraps till the new year.
Check out the current impressive line-up who will be sharing their wisdom (more to be added soon):
The early-bird offer along with the 25s-and-under registrations rates are currently active under a first-come-first-served scheme*:
As already mentioned, the day will include a mix of keynotes and workshops focussed on deconstructing presentation styles, understanding the psychology of what makes a good talk, exploring models of speaking, other good practice insights and delivery methodology. On top of the usual food and refreshments and networking opportunities.
*At the time of writing, over half of the early bird spots have already been registered, so please act quick.
Would truly appreciate you sharing the above announcement:
- with team members, colleagues, friends, family members etc.;
- via any newsletters, blogs and / or communities;
- through your online social media networks.
Thank you and hopefully see you there,!
An attitude and invitation.
When I first gained the TEDx license for Wellington, one of the best illustration of this great community came from the then license holder of TEDxQueenstown. Was attending their first event and commented how much I liked something they did, here was the response:
Take the idea. Make it better. Give it back.
It’s become a utility phrase for so many creative situations and always provokes a positive response.
Thank you Cesar.