New announcement. Learn more

How LeadWell came to fruition and what drives Simon

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t you're right” 

I think Henry T. Ford nailed it.  The attitude we choose plays a big role in leadership.  I know from personal experience, strategy & high-performance leadership are a balancing act, not always easy or comfortable. Done well, leadership is a roller coaster ride worth taking. I'm happy to openly share my experiences & help others get through the twists, turns & difficult decisions leaders must make, so you can enjoy more of the ride. I know first hand the value of having quality, experienced support around you. 

I enjoy providing that for other leaders and I love helping others to be at their best.

My Why

I believe everyone deserves the opportunity to work in environments where they can grow and be a part of creating success. Leaders have an instrumental role to play in that.

I love the opportunity LeadWell provides for me to give back by working with leaders who share a passion for continual improvement.  That stems from my own growth mindset, bringing a learners attitude to life and is always underscored by a desire to serve others and "win as a team".  

After 20+ years in leadership roles and with insights from attending World leading business schools, I’m now drawn to sharing that experience and using it to help others.

LeadWell work is definitely "my business born from passion" and I love working with leaders that have a shared belief in the value of investing in their business, their team and themself. If that rings true for you, lets connect.

What really underpins the impact LeadWell can have with you and your team is personal connection - how we relate to each other 

We're human beings not human doings - more than just what we do, it's often how we do it that matters to bridge the knowing-doing-understanding gap.  That's why finding the right fit between who you choose as an advisor or facilitator is critical.

We get it too, so if you're still curious about the "who" of LeadWell, read on to get a better feel for "who" Simon is : 

Simon's Personal Values that Drive LeadWell:

The LeadWell "ways of working" stem from Simon's personal values - what’s important in this work is making sure we:

  • Add lift & minimise drag - sometimes less is more

  • Engage as a servant leader - more your navigator, not your captain

  • Apply commercial minds with people at heart 

  • Make progress over perfection - continual improvement

  • Use straight-up language - not “management speak”

  • Bring real-world application - tried and tested methods (not theory)

  • Bring a growth mindset - focus on solutions 

  • Work with those that believe in the power of people (the businesses I work with know they too are people businesses, we're not robots)

If that sounds like a good fit let's connect and start some face-to-face dialogue to discover more about working together

When I'm not working, you can usually find me here:

  • With my son Jake and wife Helen - often scuba diving together. When we're not underwater we’re often sideline at Cambridge FC co-manging a team or supporting some other local sport, cheering on Jake & his mates

  • Taking slow drives with “Daisy” my 1941 Farmall B tractor - she reminds me it’s good to slow down occasionally & enjoy being in the moment

  • Making the most of the great outdoors - in winter volunteering as a Ski Patroller on Tukino Skifield

  • Participating in anything water-based: sea kayaking, wake-boarding & water-skiing (quite poorly).  Salt is in my veins, soaked in there during some epic adventures like the Sydney-Hobart yacht race and the Round North Island two-handed yacht race 

  • Spectating at live sport, music, or performing arts. I'm a fairly average campfire guitarist so I'm always inspired by watching others perform at their best

Some personal achievements : 

  • Being bestowed with the New Zealand Olympic Order, the NZ Olympic Committee’s highest honour for services to sport and the Olympic movement. I've been fortunate to work for the NZOC across almost 20 years of service, 12 years on their Board as a Selector since 2006 and Chair of the Selection Panel for several Winter & Summer Olympic Games teams & Commonwealth Games teams   

  • I was humbled to be named a Laureate and inductee in the West Auckland Business Hall of Fame for services to business and the community

  • Competing in (and finishing thankfully!) the Sydney-Hobart Yacht race and arguably New Zealand’s toughest yacht race, the Round North Island two-handed Yacht Race. Both were great tests of physical endurance and mental resilience, against the elements

  • Fundraising $35,000 for the Mental Health Foundation through off-road trail running adventures

  • Recognition of the investment made in people & teams I have served through various leadership roles.  Most Improved Large Business in the NZ Best Workplaces Awards;  the 2013 Dale Carnegie International Leadership Award (1 of only 4 awards made globally that year), a finalist in the West Auckland Business Awards for Employer of Choice & Corporate Social Responsibility

My Own Leadership Journey

I’m so grateful to many people that provided me with opportunities to grow. Early lessons in leadership through life, sport and school gave me the drive and background for my own leadership journey. 

These experiences ultimately led to my first (of 5) CEO roles, at Yachting New Zealand.  Aged 28, it was leadership in the deep end, so I started swimming!

Some 20+ years later I’ve had the pleasure of holding the CEO reins in several industry sectors.  Working alongside some truly great people in leadership, management, and governance.  I feel fortunate to have served on several high-performing Boards, including the New Zealand Olympic Committee.  Attending some of the World’s leading international business school programs I've gained personal, business and leadership insights  - I'm always interested in learning from others.

All of that I now love sharing through LeadWell.

Simon's Executive and Governance Career Highlights

If you're wanting to know more about his credentials, here's some more detail on Simon's Executive and Governance career highlights to date including roles held and some awards won along the way.

You can also connect with Simon and view his LinkedIn profile using the LinkedIn button on the bottom of this page.

New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC)

I served 12 years on the NZOC's Board, several as Deputy Chair. 

I continue to give back as Chair of the Games Team selection panel  - with close to 20 years of service on the clock proudly selecting the New Zealand Summer and Winter Olympic Games teams, Commonwealth Games Teams, and various youth Olympic Games teams. 

From the 2006 Winter Olympics through to the 2024 Paris Olympics, it's been wonderful seeing New Zealanders succeed on the world stage.

Transforming business as CEO of one of NZ's largest liquor retail and hospitality groups

With a team of circa 450 employees across 40 trading businesses in retail and hospitality and an investments portfolio (property and equity funds circa $100M).  We grew profitability, turned around team engagement (from 11% engagement to high-performing benchmarks), and enabled greater Giving Back from our commercial business to our community.

Together, through strategy, leadership, and culture the team eclipsed past financial and people performance measures in a business turnaround and transformation. 

Recognition of the transformation included awards for Most Improved Large Business in the NZ Best Workplaces Awards (based on independent employee engagement survey data); the 2013 Dale Carnegie International Leadership Award (1 of only 4 awards made globally), finalist in the local Business Awards for Employer of Choice & Corporate Social Responsibility & a finalist in the TVNZ Marketing Awards.

Our retail businesses became industry-leading (winning Retail Store of the Year at the HNZ Excellence Awards 2015 & 2017). 

What I am most proud of is the investment in our people through training and development programs that had a massive impact on our leadership, our culture and our people - both at work and at home. 

CEO of New Zealand's Most Utilised Stadium

Building The Trusts Arena's operating business from year one to an industry leader in facility utilisation and ROI in the venue and event management sector was a blast.

Through strategy, we built a commercial business model, growing profile and revenue streams to create a financially sustainable multi-purpose events centre, conference centre and commercial fitness centre (gym).

Growing the trust of our investment partners by delivering leading ROI was a highlight in this privately Trust owned facility - a great example of the public-private investment partnership model in action, as it continues to be today.

CEO of Yachting New Zealand

Preparing for high-performance success & managing a high-profile organisation in the public eye was relished.  Appointed at 28 years of age the learning curve in the first 90 days was almost vertical. 

We built future champions to compete on the World stage (Olympic Games and World Championships) whilst growing participation and advocating for the 128-member clubs interests. 

The role involved significant amounts of media interaction including fronting the most scrutinised Olympic selection decisions of the time which went all the way to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport - fronting and coordinating that was fun!

CEO Roles Leading Professional Service Firms

I've been proud to lead locally owned and operated professional service firms in the Mighty Waikato. That includes my current role as CEO of Harkness Henry - Specialist Lawyers - I split time between this and my LeadWell commitments.

Prior to this, I was CEO of the business advisory and accounting firm, Baker Tilly Staples Rodway (Waikato).

Governance & Board Appointments in High-Performance Sport and Tourism

  • Auckland Tourism (Director)

  • New Zealand Olympic Committee (Board member & Deputy Chair)

  • NZOC Selector & Games Teams Selection Panel Chair

  • High Performance Sport New Zealand (Director) 

  • NZOC Audit and Finance Committee (member)

  • NZOC Governance Review Committee (member)

  • Gymsports New Zealand (Chair)

  • NZ Talent ID & Development Taskforce (member)

  • World Netball Championships Venue Management Group

  • Rugby World Cup Auckland Venues Working Group 

  • Ambassador for Don Oliver Youth Sports Foundation (former selector)  

Personal Honours and Awards

I was humbled to be personally inducted into the West Auckland Business Hall of Fame for services to commercial and community enterprise.

Equally humbling, in 2022 I was awarded the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s highest honour, the New Zealand Olympic Order - for services to sport and the Olympic movement in New Zealand. 

Following many years of service on their selection panel, I was proudly honoured as an 'Ambassador for Life' of the Don Oliver Youth Sports Foundation 

Business Related Recognition & Awards

  • Recognition of the transformation at West Auckland Trust Services Limited included awards for : Most Improved Large Business in the NZ Best Workplaces Awards;  The 2013 Dale Carnegie International Leadership Award (1 of only 4 awards made globally); finalist in the local Business Awards for Employer of Choice & Corporate Social Responsibility ; finalist in the TVNZ Marketing Awards. Retail Store of the Year at the HNZ Excellence Awards (2015 & 2017)

  • During my tenure, The Trusts Arena was recognised as a Finalist in the Hospitality and Tourism Award and the Employer of Choice Award at the local Business Awards ; We proudly won the Metro Magazine's National Award for Stadium of the Year

Executive Education Programs

Stanford University (Silicon Valley. USA)
- Senior Executive Program

IMD - Institute for Management Development (Switzerland)
- High Performance Leadership Program
- Advanced Strategic Management Program

Harvard University (USA)
- Leadership In Law

Mt Eliza Business School (Melbourne)
- Advanced Management Program

Ready to connect?

If you are ready to connect let's get together

Or want to know more?

I suggest we start with a ”discovery” meeting, face to face where you and I can download and discuss what’s going on and where you want to go next.  It's also a chance to explore if we’re the right fit for each other (that’s essential).  Over 30-60 minutes, on a no cost no obligation basis, you’ll get a feel for “how” the LeadWell approach works.  When you're keen to progress, we'll propose ideas & agree with you how to best work together to shift the dial and help add lift to what you do.