Leadership NZ Alumna (2015)
Jade first became involved with the Leadership New Zealand Programme in 2013 when they asked her to be a guest speaker, to share her experiences and insights as a young social entrepreneur, for a session on creative leadership.
Jade says, “At the time I hated public speaking so I was very nervous. But when I arrived, I immediately felt comforted by the warmth of the group and it was a great experience. The participants asked such interesting thought-provoking questions! It made me to see the depth of discovery the Leadership NZ Programme provides and I immediately thought ‘One day… I want to do what these people are doing and be part of the Programme’!”
Therefore in 2015, not yet 30 years old and Director of a successful Auckland design & creative agency which she co-founded a few years prior, Jade joined the Leadership NZ Programme as a participant. When asked if the Programme had lived up to her expectations she replied “It was so much more than I ever could have imagined. Participating in the Programme has enhanced my life immensely both on a personal and professional level.”
Jade confesses that prior to being on the Leadership NZ Programme she was ambitiously pursuing a 15 year plan which she had meticulously mapped out for herself. Jade now admits, “… was a little bit dorky and unrealistic. The Leadership NZ Programme showed me that if I were to stick to my original plan, it was going to limit my potential. Instead, there is greater value to embracing and enjoying the uncertainty of the journey of life.”
“Through my involvement with the Programme, I have learned to open up and trust myself much more, to appreciate and embrace change. It reminded me that I don’t always have to be in control. It awakened my potential and I’m definitely more mindful and mellow now.”
When you first meet Jade you notice her high energy level so it is hard to imagine this is a ‘more mellow’ disposition from previously. Her exuberance is also admirable given the fact that she is the mum of a one-year old and juggling a number of professional positions and projects at the moment. Jade stepped out of her role as Co-Director of Curative in December 2016 and Co-Host of CreativeMornings/AKL in early 2017 to enable her to take on more challenges and is now currently the Deputy Chair of Auckland Council’s Ethnic People Advisory Panel, a Design Lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, running her own independent design consultancy working with University of Auckland’s CAI and Foundation North’s GIFT , and part of social innovation ventures and creative side projects such as Leadership Mastery, CareerMum, 100 mums project and OnTheGrid – to name just a few.
When asked how she keeps her energy up to be involved in so many things, Jade responds, “I take time out and purposely create a space to think, feel and reflect. This was one of the most important aspects I learned from the Leadership NZ Programme as it creates the space and time for you to stop, to reflect, to digest and think about the bigger picture in a strategic and systematic way. I’ve incorporated that practice into my life now. I’ve learned to value myself, my time and my energy, to be thoughtful, intentional and not so reactive to external pressures. I also realised that I have an absolutely incredible support network… My husband, my family, my friends, even our neighbours… It takes a village to raise a kid after all.”
Jade says that a turning point for her in the Programme came through the session that focused on ‘Worldview Reflection’ held at Kohewhata Marae. She says, “As a designer, meeting different people and understanding different perspectives have always been important to me. However, that session prompted me to look at my own unconscious biases, my cultural history, how it developed into who I am and what I bring to this world. I learned that I’m not only what I do, but who I am and how I am is just as important. I want to be open for new things to emerge, creatively adapting to the new challenges by bringing my whole-hearted self to the world now. “
When reflecting on this year’s Leadership NZ theme Jade says,
“Awakened Leadership to me is: empathising with the people and community you serve developing authentic, deep and vulnerable relationships cultivating a culture of creativity and embracing change, working hard, staying humble and being kind (to yourself and others).”
Anyone who connects with Jade knows that she is passionate in anything she takes on and certainly emulates these qualities above. She seems comfortable to go wherever the current in the journey takes her and refers to the famous Heraclitus quote the only thing that is constant is change. She says, “In these times when things are changing so quickly, you can either embrace the unknown, try to adapt, learn and grow from it, or not, and then get left behind.“
Jade is not going to be one to be left behind. She will continue on flowing with the current – expanding out her own potential and spheres of influence – initiating and leading when it feels right. Jade has a maturity and wisdom that is much beyond her years. She is committed to the field of ‘design for social good’ so we are lucky to have her as part of our changing times. Jade is certainly a great role model of awakened leadership that we can all learn from.
Originally published in the Leadership NZ's LEADERS magazine, July 2018