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Canterbury Leaders Reflect on Recent Complex Times

17 October 2022

Over 150 Canterbury business leaders came together last Wednesday evening to listen to panellists discuss Leading During Complex Times at the UC MBA Thought Leadership Series presented by the UC Business School and Brannigans Recruitment.

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Over 150 Canterbury business leaders came together last Wednesday evening to listen to panellists discuss Leading During Complex Times at the UC MBA Thought Leadership Series presented by the UC Business School and Brannigans Recruitment. The evening’s panellists included Ben Gough (Founder and Managing Director at the Gough Family Office and Gough Investments), Graham Grant (Chief Executive at Seequent), Catherine Drayton (Professional Director), and Kirsty Tyro (CFO at Lane Neave and one of three 2021 recipients of the Ben Gough Family Foundation Leaders Scholarship). The Panel was chaired by UC MBA Director Dr Elsamari Botha.

The panel tackled such questions as What is the new normal in your organisation (if there is one), and what key trends have you observed that you think will continue into the future?.  

“Covid has shown that one event can affect us all quite differently,” said Ben Gough.

“Shocks accelerate change,” said Catherine Drayton. “Some changes are going to occur anyway, but it is the rate of change [that has been affected]. So it’s about being agile.”

“One of our learnings over the past two years, if nothing else, is the power of human connection,” added Graham Grant. “[As leader] you care for the whole individual. And you think about when someone shows up at work, they bring their work face on, but they bring home with them. So we must think about the human, which means thinking about their family, and have great regard for those things. So we have to expend far more effort doing that than we did in the past, because we unconsciously ignored that in the past. And that demands a wholly different leadership approach.”

Graham also added that, “It’s about purpose. And … create[ing] a deep sense of meaning about why you are doing what you are doing. Most humans strive for meaning, they just never admit it.” A full recording of the discussion is available here.

“The diversity of leadership presented by the panel was incredible and the quality of the panellists as well as of the audience made for an excellent Q&A session at the end. At the UC MBA programme we are very fortunate to be able to connect our extensive industry networks with local and national leaders for events like this,” says UC MBA Director Dr Elsamari Botha.

The event also launched the 2022 Ben Gough Family Foundation Leaders Scholarships. The Ben Gough Family Foundation Leaders Scholarship programme supports rising talent to undertake their MBA with the University of Canterbury. In addition, students gain access to an exclusive leadership and mentoring programme that accelerates their growth as a leader and expands their thinking.

Ben and Penny Gough have a strong interest in promoting the commercial economy of Aotearoa New Zealand within a framework of “Taking the best of Canterbury to the world and bringing the best of the world to Canterbury”.


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