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
Time to get clicking and fill your eyes / brain / heart.
Boris Johnson’s threat of a no-deal Brexit will not break EU unity, says the the Brexit coordinator for the European parliament.
Seven of the top carbon emitters are being sued for their failure to protect New Zealanders from climate change, in a new High Court proceeding.
Facebook launches ‘clear history’ tool – but it won’t delete anything.
Electric scooters aren’t as eco-friendly as they seem, study finds.
“For the first time in a thousand years, I have no path”:
Official 10 Hour Version of a track which is scientifically proven to chill you out:
The hope generator that is TEDxWellington (full 2019 event review here):
This online collaborative effort to name every color in the RGB/web space.
Image credit: Photo by Alfonso Ninguno on Unsplash
Building a community of creative leaders.
The mission is to build a network of pioneers who share the ability to respond to change, identify opportunities and act on them to better shape our collective creative future here in New Zealand and beyond.
To continue the process of learning out loud, here’s my review:
It was another sold out event with nearly 200 leaders attending from 85 entities (most represented above – in 2017 there were 150 leaders from 70 cross-sector organisations).
One third came from outside the Wellington region (in 2017 it was only 15%) and nearly two thirds have female names (similar to last year which was 65%). It’s also interesting to note the reach in terms of how many humans the delegates accumulatively lead: 7,295 (an average of 40 per delegate).
Taking the feedback from last years event, the intention was to create more reflection time and space to connect. Therefore we had nine speakers rather than the thirteen in 2017, simplified the workshop offerings and added in generous time for morning / afternoon tea and lunch (plus networking at the end of both days – click the above image to download the full event brochure).
What was amazing this year was having five volunteers / event assistants (last year I had two plus some venue staff). Was also more vocal about the aim of the conference beyond the usual learnings and networking, this was about building a conscious and hungry community of leaders who are seeking out creative insights, literacies and skills sets.
Probably one of my favourite parts of this process is finding / choosing / liaising with the speakers. Nearly all of the speakers I had a previous relationship with so the focus was ensuring diversity and nuance to compliment the ‘intersections’ theme.
All but one of the speakers were paid for their time and involvement plus all expenses were covered. This is a continued attempt to shift the culture in NZ of paying for talent at events (which is not the usual). Each speaker got a plus one also.
As with the first event last year:
- this was privately funded venture and delivered under the Creative Welly initiative;
- financial grant support was secured again from the US Embassy and Australian High Commission who provided funds to cover the expenses for Aaron, Butterscotch and Tim (respectively);
- further partner support came from Wellington Chocolate Factory who offered gift packs for the speakers / facilitators, MOJO in providing coffee / tea refreshments for both days for all breaks (plus an espresso coffee from downstairs in their cafe), QT Wellington Hotel donated rooms for our overseas guests (with a reduced cost for others), and finally a small but appreciated discount from our caterers, The Lab.
Overall, the event profit doubled from 2017, a result of applying learnings, smaller venue cost and having less speakers to pay.
Audio and visual (AV services), catering and venue hire are always chunky fixed costs, and this year, there was the addition of some ‘CLNZ’ letters to ensure the stage looked great.
There was also the speakers / partners meal the night before plus everyone who attended got given a printed brochure / agenda, notebook, pen and badge (plus espresso coffee voucher for the cafe downstairs – see ‘partners’):
Again with last year, as a solopreneur all aspects of the event are produced by me, which includes:
- website design / copy;
- speakers curation / negotiation / support;
- invoicing delegate registrations;
- partner / venue / catering liaison etc.
The design of the brochure / agenda was a trade with a local supplier for a couple of delegate spots.
Marketing & Sales
Other activities were time intensive in terms of taking time to reach out specifically to folks in my network although it yielded results. The event details got featured in about half a dozen email newsletters of other networks which definitely raised the profile as well.
My interest definitely lies in crafting and curating the experience rather than promoting and selling it.
As the focus was on creating a community through conversation and connection, there were no exhibits or distracting activities other than one: at the beginning of the event the delegates were asked to write down a creative or leadership challenge they are currently dealing with. These were collected in and stuck on one of the walls which became the ‘wall of wisdom’ where throughout the rest of the event, others added their responses to the questions posed.
Also, during the final reflection session delegates were asked to write a ‘letter to self’ – these will be posted early in the new year as a reminder of the experience and commitment they made to themselves.
This year I decided to MC the event. Was very overwhelmed and will be doing things differently in 2019 to ensure the pace is kept solid whilst freeing me up from most of those duties.
As it was the first time in the venue there are lots of opportunities to hone the experience from dressing the spaces and ensuring the flow of delegates are positive. Still gathering delegate feedback although wonderful to see some offering their insights and creative reflections:
- Gina Rembe: “One interesting take-away was that a few of the speakers all spoke to the importance of reading widely from people who don’t look like them.”
- Sarb Johal:
Photos – Day One
Photos – Day Two
Am going to be working on three things to ensure legacy:
- sponsorship – looking for one major financial sponsor whose brand values align with CLNZ;
- videos – capture and editing of main keynotes will allow further reach (which the sponsorship will allow);
- ongoing community opportunities – already working on a February satellite event (invites will only be available to CLNZ delegates to continue to build the community).
Onwards to Creative Leadership NZ 2019!
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?
After many months of development am honoured to announce Creative Leadership NZ:
Two days of ideas / insights into inspiring and managing the creative process / people which leads to innovation.
The pedigree of the speaker / facilitator line-up is brain-tingling impressive:
Investor – Founder – Advisor
Former Executive Director at Lonely Planet, Co-founder of SneakySurf, Director at Roshambo, Entrepreneur in Residence at Vic Uni.
Bop Murdoch / Sarah Tuck / Jody Burrell
Creators of Wellington’s first Gym for mental wellbeing, the CoLiberate team are leaders in personal and professional mindhealth.
Director Te Auaha
Making safe spaces for creative types to flourish at Te Auaha – New Zealand Institute of Creativity.
Pavani Rao Boddapati
CG Supervisor at Weta Digital
Pavani has over 12 years of experience in visual effects for film and has worked on numerous projects including Avatar, Planet of the Apes and The Hobbit trilogy.
MC / Design Strategist
Collaborator in residence for design-focused leaders and currently consumed as an accidental entrepreneur at StrataMap.
Aithan Shapira, MFA PhD
Founder + Leadership Strategist
Founder @ Making to Think. Lecturer @ MIT Sloan. Aithan builds leaders’ creative instincts using time- and science-tested techniques from the arts to expand perceptions and accelerate solutions.
Designer-in-residence at Google.
Producer / Speaker / Advisor
@TEDxWellington licensee. @swpconf creator. @creativewelly founder. @amadigital mentor.
Design, customer insight, and strategy, also interested in collaborating, teaching design and innovation.
Gareth Parry is a partner in PwC’s Experience Centre. Gareth has experience in architecture, learning design, digital advertising, infography, human centered design, and event creation.
Ruth Keiry runs PwC’s Wellington Sandbox. She’s framed, designed, and facilitated dozens of collaborative spaces.
Founder of BeWeDō® + Senior Lecturer at Massey University, School of Design. #BeWeDō is a unique motion-led creative leadership experience.
And here are the cheap-as-chips prices:
See you there and please assist in spreading the news to your colleagues / friends / peers / family / communities etc.
What would it take for Wellington, the city and region, to be the best in the world?
I gave a talk at the Rotary Forum 2017 this week. Unfortunately, due to technical issues my presentation video / audio wasn’t captured, *so recorded the above version.
As you’ll hear / see, my response was to challenge us to think about Wellington becoming:
The most creative little capital in the world.
A lofty goal.
Raising the creative literacies of a city / region to ask better questions sounds impossible although wonderfully audacious.
Something I’m working towards with (the two “common soon” projects of) Creative Welly and Creative Leadership NZ (reach out if you want to know more or subscribe to blog posts on the right hand side there).
Thanks to the event organisers for the opportunity to have voice:
DK gave an inspiring address to the Rotary Club Forum: “Achieving the ‘Impossible Dream’ for Wellington: the city and region” on Tuesday 1 August 2017. His themes included creativity, innovation, compassion, empathy and branding. He challenged the audience on achieving a “creative Welly”, connecting the creative capital, providing leadership across the sectors, an independent collective and a community that is simultaneously globally minded and locally focused. He personifies the quote of “Life’s too short not to be audacious.” He set the stage for a Forum that was bold, diverse and audacious about achieving ‘Impossible Dreams’ for Wellington.
Dr Roger Blakeley Chair, Wellington Rotary Club 2017 Forum
*not the same flow and impact of a live talk so apologies for the lack of intonation and delivery (I’m much better in front of a live audience).
Speaker line-up / order
- Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk
- Sharing City Seoul – Solve Urban Problems Through Sharing
- Raising the voice of compassion throughout the city – Compassionate Atlanta
- NYC Driverless Future challenge
- UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)
- Norway Transparency
- NZ Wealth Disparity
- 1600 deaths attributed to cold houses each winter in New Zealand
- Youth Suicide in NZ
- These are the cities that climate change will hit first
- How Moken children see with amazing clarity underwater
- Images credited on slides.
Coming soon for the creative capital…
…a conference focused on inspiring and managing the creative process / people which leads to innovation.
A two day cross sector / industry event aiming to amplify creative literacies via keynotes, workshops, masterclasses.
Held at the end of 2017 for those looking to accelerate their personal and professional development.
Interested? Sign up to receive the blog post updates via email (on the right hand side there).
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,!
HUGE thanks to Michelle and KiwiBank for filming and allowing me to share this presentation on ‘speaking with purpose.’
Twenty minutes, full of advice, sometimes contradictory and hopefully some useful.
It’s a concentration of learning from a decade of public speaking experience, what we do with our five/six week coaching course for TEDxWellington (which is where the presentation starts, after I showed the latest review video from the 2016 event) and some stuff borrowed (like an artist) from others.
What did I miss out? What do you agree / disagree with? What were the takeaways for you?
We were very privileged to have DK present to Kiwibank as part of our Knowledge Cafe series. His presentation highlighted tips and tricks for improving as a public speaker, and I was very impressed with both the presentation and his advice.
As someone that fears presenting, his tips provided easy yet elegant advice for how to overcome that fear.
I would unhesitatingly recommend DK for anyone that is looking for either a presenter, or a coach. His techniques are excellent and he is inspiring to work with.
Michelle Farrell, Knowledge Manager at KiwiBank
In the last six months I’ve been lucky enough to secure some paid coaching work around public speaking. The first was a three half day sessions for a major production studio in the capital, the second with a science communicator sharpening her delivery and confidence, plus the latest is a set of one-to-ones with senior executives and public sector officers for an important NZ-based government-led symposium early next year.
Think it may be time I updated my website to include this in my offer to the world.