IMNZ Young Executive of the Year 2016

The finalists for the 2016 IMNZ/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year Award have just been announced and IMNZ’s CEO Steven Naude says the caliber of entrants this year sets the bar very high.

The award, which has been going for 20 years, recognises talented young New Zealand professionals who are making a significant impact in their role, industry, or business. This Deloitte Top 200 award showcases executives under 38 years of age who are on the road to being the leaders who are changing the face of New Zealand businesses both now and in the future. The five finalists for 2016 are:

  • James Bergin, chief architect (GM architecture, strategy and innovation) at ASB.
  • Kimberley Bray, national service manager at Ravensdown.
  • Sasha Lockley, head of operations at Avanti Finance.
  • Andrew Slater, chief executive officer at Homecare Medical / The National Telehealth Service.
  • Michael Stribling, general manager strategy at Spark New Zealand,

So what drives these young leaders? As part of their entries into the award, they were asked what they think is the most important quality of being an impactful leader.

James Bergin of ASB says that being able to encourage and drive diversity of thinking through active listening and managing a compelling vision and purpose is the most important quality.

For Kimberley Bray of Ravensdown, it is about courage. “Courage helps you to shatter expectations; to not be limited by your job title; to step beyond your area of expertise and try new things; to lead with humility; to speak honestly and to build real trust with those that you work with and, most importantly, to take risks and be able to use them as learning experiences.”

Sasha Lockley of Avanti Finance says you must be yourself “and do what you say you are going to do. If you aren’t consistent on those things then people won’t trust you and won’t follow you”.

Andrew Slater of Homecare Medical / The National Telehealth Service believes the most important quality is being authentic with humility. “Without authenticity it is very difficult to lead from the heart and inspire and motivate people to achieve what you believe in, underpinned by the right behaviours.”

For Michael Stribling of Spark New Zealand, it was to always keep sight of what he and his team aspire to be and to keep working together to raise the bar toward that aspiration. “I think that requires working together to agree on a vision and aspiration which is owned by the team and then empowering people to own that path. It requires faith in your people, and the ability to support and coach them to keep moving forward, as well as the ability to recognise and celebrate the victories along the way, which is critical to a sense that the end vision is achievable.”

All entrants were also asked what was their top tip for overcoming adversity?

Bergin says: ‘’Always try to work with a team that can help you tackle problems from different angles, support you when you struggle, and celebrate with you when you succeed.”

Bray sees it as having the right mindset. “How we choose to view the world and how we choose to frame both the triumphs and tragedies of our lives is entirely up to each and every one of us. It is not what happens to you, but how you respond that is important. Overcoming adversity is impossible when you are making excuses or blaming someone or something else. You conquer excuses by taking control, taking responsibility and viewing the world as a series of great learning opportunities. Choose a courageous mindset and everything else will follow.”

Lockley says:  “Have a few close friends who know your darkest fears and your wildest dreams. Talking about them makes your fears less real, and your dreams more achievable.”

Slater says: “Reflect on your own contribution to the situation and then find a way out!”

Stribling says: “Take time out to make sure your head is in the game (I often go for a walk, sort my thoughts and plan) and then break the challenge down and create achievable milestones that motivate and empower you.”

The winner will be announced at the Deloitte Top 200 Awards in Auckland.

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