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Meet the people behind the leadership framework project

The future success of sport and recreation in New Zealand depends on great leadership and better collaboration. The sector must ‘work smart’ to deliver value in a way that meets increasing participant expectations, and to compete for talented people to work and volunteer in the sector.

That’s why the Sport and Recreation sector is currently collaborating to develop a world-class Leadership Framework – one that’s being developed by the sector for the sector and aims to ensure we can attract and develop world-class leaders.

Overseeing this work is a Governance Board from various parts of the sport and recreation sector.

The Governance Board members are:

Robyn Cockburn (Chair), Lumin

Jim Ellis, Sport NZ

Lesley Ferkins, AUT

Phil Gibbons, Sport Wellington

Chris Morrison, HPSNZ

Trevor Shailer, Sport Manawatu

Neil Sorensen, NZ Rugby

Tanya Winter, Westland District Council

The Leadership Framework is on track for completion by end 2016 and implementation in 2017. Read more about it here.

For further information, contact Gretchen Young, Principal Advisor Commercial and Capability, gretchen.young@sportnz.org.nz or phone 021 597 427

The Governance Board

Jim Ellis, Sport NZ

Jim Ellis is the Manager, Expertise and Development in Sport NZ’s Community Sport Team. Prior to this, Jim was the CEO at Equestrian NZ (between 2007 & 2014) and before that he was Executive Director at University Sport NZ for three years. Before coming to New Zealand, Jim had a number of roles within the British sport system.

Lesley Ferkins, AUT (PhD, MA(Applied), BA)

Lesley Ferkins has 18 years’ experience as an academic in sport management in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining AUT in 2015, Lesley was Associate Professor at Unitec, senior lecturer at Deakin University, Melbourne, and previously Postgraduate Head in the School of Sport and Recreation at AUT. Her teaching involvement spans postgraduate and undergraduate courses that include sport leadership and governance, strategic sport management, sport organisation, and work integrated learning.

Lesley’s area of research specialisation is the leadership and governance of sport organisations. In this, she has worked closely with the boards of national sport organi sations in New Zealand Football, Tennis, Squash) as part of action research interventions to develop board strategic capability. In Australia her research involved global sport governance and work with Australian state and national sport organisations in developing governance capability. She currently has an ongoing programme of research in board leadership and governance, and the evaluation of action research impact that encompasses projects in New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Lesley currently supervisors a stable of masters and PhD research students whose topics contribute to research and practice in leadership, governance and management of sport/sport organisations. Her preferred research approach and expertise is in action research with a strong qualitative orientation.

Lesley is published in the world’s top sport management journals, is an editorial board member of the Journal of Sport Management and Sport Management Review, and has 25 peer reviewed publications and 14 invited book chapters. As an invited speaker to sport management conferences in Taiwan and Germany, Lesley has also presented at numerous international conferences in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. Lesley was President of the Sport Management Association of Australia and NZ (SMAANZ), a board member for six years, and has sat on/advised to eight different non?profit and sport boards.

Prior to academia, Lesley held leadership positions within the sport sector in New Zealand. She was Executive Director of the New Zealand Recreation Association, and Executive Director of the newly formed netball franchise, Netball North Harbour/Northern Force (now Northern Mystics). She also worked for the government agency in sport (then Hillary Commission now Sport NZ), and for Tennis New Zealand. Based at AUT Millennium within the Sports Performance Research Institute of NZ (SPRINZ), Lesley’s current focus is to advance the Institute’s research and practice contribution to sport leadership, management, and governance within the sport sector.

Phil Gibbons, Sport Wellington

Phil Gibbons has had a lengthy career in the New Zealand Defence Force before taking up his role as the CEO of Sport Wellington. During his time in the military he had a number of leadership and management roles. In the latter part of his military career Phil was promoted to the rank of Brigadier and assumed the appointment as the New Zealand Army’s Land Component Commander and in 2007 Phil took up the appointment of Deputy Chief of Army. In May 2009 he assumed the appointment of head of the New Zealand Defence Forces Strategic Commitments and Intelligence Branch. In Jan 2010 he took up the post of Head of the New Zealand Defence Staff in London. On his return from London in 2011 Phil assumed the role project manager for the development of the New Zealand Defence Force Institute for Leader Development.

Phil has had two operational postings. He commanded the 3rd New Zealand Contingent deployed to UNPROFOR Bosnia from July 1995 to January 1996. His second operational posting was as Chief of Operations for the United Nations Transitional Authority East Timor and Senior New Zealand Officer in 2000.

Phil has undertaken education and training with the British, Australian and Malaysian Armed Forces. He is a graduate of the Malaysian Command and Staff College, the Joint Services Staff College in Australia and the Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom. He has a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (Massey) and another in International Relations (Canberra). In 2009 Phil became a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

In April 2012 Phil resigned from the New Zealand Defence Force and took up his current position as CEO for Sport Wellington.

Away from work Phil has always had a lifelong passion for sport and recreation. He has represented Army for over thirty five years in rugby both as a player and as an administrator. He has also played representative level rugby for Canterbury Maori and Wanganui and has successfully completed three marathons, two half Ironman’s and a full Ironman. In more recent years he has successfully completed a number of cycling events and been an independent director on the boards of YMCA Wellington, Manawatu Rugby and Bike New Zealand.

Chris Morrison, HPSNZ

Chris Morrison works for High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) with a focus on developing the capability and connectedness of High Performance Leaders in targeted National Sports Organisations in order to assist these leaders to maximise the performance potential of their sport.

Chris has more than 25 years of personal and organisational development experience in the corporate world including senior change management and human resource general management roles with ANZ Bank, Electronic Data Solutions, Hewlett Packard and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Chris commenced in his current role with HPSNZ in October 2012 to better align his career vision with his personal vision that places significant value on the role that sport plays in creating healthy and connected communities. Chris is a former NPC rugby player and senior coach, but now focuses his personal sporting energies on coaching his respective daughter's (Sophie – 14 and Caitlin - 10) football teams.

Trevor Shailer, Sport Manawatu

Trevor is currently the CEO at Sport Manawatu & Deputy Chef De Mission Rio 2016. He has developed a huge range of skills and experience working in health, sport and advertising.

Work History

  • CEO - Sport Manawatu
  • Deputy Chef de Mission - New Zealand Olympic Committee
  • Director Community Partnerships – Draft FCB New Zealand
  • Olympic Ambassador - New Zealand Olympic Committee
  • Director - Waimihi Solutions
  • Member of the Board - Waka Ama New Zealand
  • Partner/General Manager - GSL Network
  • Brand manager - Health Sponsorship Council
  • Olympian 1992 – Boxing
  • Commonwealth Games bronze medallist
  • Manawatu Sportsman of the Year 1994
  • NZ Maori Universities Sportsman of the Year 1994

Honors & Awards

  • MNZM - Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit - Awarded for contribution to Sport and Community

Neil Sorensen, NZ Rugby

Neil (Sos) Sorensen (54), grew up in Hawkes Bay. He studied in Palmerston North for a few years before completing a long rugby playing career when he moved to Wellington in the early 1980's. Sos played over 100 first class games for Wellington and represented New Zealand in the New Zealand Secondary Schools (2 years), New Zealand Colts (2 years) and captained the New Zealand Junior All Blacks as well as three All Black trials.

With business careers at Fruit Distribution Limited (Distribution Manager for seven years with New Zealand’s sole fruit importer) and four years managing New Zealand’s TAB’s Sports Betting Division, Sos eventually joined the New Zealand Rugby Union in 2001 as the Competitions Manager and saw the game move into the professional era.

Early highlights were the operational oversight of the highly successful British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 2005 and New Zealand win the hosting rights to the Rugby World Cup for 2011.

Sos was appointed General Manager of Professional Rugby in 2006, where he led the development of the New Zealand Rugby High Performance Plan, led critical industry projects such as; New Zealand Domestic Competitions, the expansion of the SANZAR Competitions and the re-negotiation of the Collective Employment Agreement.

Recently he assumed overall responsibility for all of New Zealand Rugby when he was appointed General Manager of Rugby which entails leadership of not only the professional division of New Zealand Rugby but leadership of the Community (Amateur) division as well.

Sos who leads the organisation in the CEO's absence, is well known for his unique leadership style based on an authentic, self-awareness framework and regularly speaks on his leadership experiences.

Tanya Winter, Westland District Council

Tanya Winter has been Chief Executive at Westland District Council for over 3 years. She is the first ever female chief executive and the first person from outside the council to be appointed to that role in 60 years. Tanya has a B.Ph.Ed and a B.A in English literature, and has worked in local government for 18 years in Hastings, Oamaru and Hutt City. She started her local government career as a summer lifeguard at the Wainuiomata Pool, and was Wairoa Sports Co-ordinator at Sport Hawke’s Bay and a Project Officer at the Hillary Commission (now Sport NZ).

Until becoming Chief Executive her local government roles have been based around community facilities, services and programmes. This has included libraries, art galleries, museums, opera houses, swimming pools, recreation centres, pensioner housing, youth centres, cemeteries, community houses, economic and social development and community grants.

Tanya has completed two ironman events, two marathons, two 9-hour Spring Challenge adventure races, and numerous half ironman’s, including the Lake Wanaka Half Ironman on 20 Feb.

Robyn Cockburn (Chair)

  • Bachelor of Physical Education (Otago) (1982)
  • Master of Arts (Applied) in Recreation Administration (Victoria University of Wellington) (1987)
  • Graduate Certificate in Athlete Career and Education Management (Victoria University of
  • Melbourne and Australian Institute of Sport) (2001)
  • Accredited Recreation Professional, New Zealand Recreation Association

Professional awards

  • Fellow, New Zealand Recreation Association [Recognition of significant contributions to the Association]
  • Fellow, Physical Education New Zealand [Recognition of significant contributions to the Association]
  • ‘Outstanding Research, Policy and Planning Award’ New Zealand Recreation Association,presented for Searchlight, Community and Market Analysis. 2011
  • Maunsell NZRA Scholarship Award, New Zealand Recreation Association, supporting research on “Enhancing the Work Satisfaction of Recreation Administrators”. 2007
  • Mark Mitchell Award, New Zealand Recreation Association, Recognition of outstanding contribution to the field of recreation. 1996
  • 'Outstanding Recreation Project' Award, Recreation Association of New Zealand [Recognition of applied component of the MA(Applied) in Recreation and Leisure Studies programme and its contribution to the development of people for the profession.] 1990

Current work and professional contributions

  • Director, Lumin Ltd, (2008 -­ present)
  • Lecturer, Museum and Heritage Studies, Victoria University of Wellington (2016 – present)
  • Board member, Australia New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies (2010 -­ present)
  • Member, NZRA’s Community Recreation Advisory Group (2008 – present)
  • Member, NZRA’s Accreditation Board (2010 – present)
  • Skills Active Senior Assessor Mentor and Roving Assessor (2008 – present)

Previous leadership and management positions

  • Chair, Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (2005 -­ 2008)
  • Member, Karori Normal School Board of Trustees (2007 – 2010)
  • Director, Algate Enterprises Ltd, (1988 -­ 2008)
  • Chair, Footnote Dance Company Board of Trustees, (1997 -­ 2002)
  • Member, Hillary Commission Women's Advisory Group, (1994 -­ 2000)
  • Board Member, Sport, Fitness and Recreation Industry Training Industry Organisation, (1995 -­ 1997)
  • Chair, New Zealand Recreation Association Board, (1992 -­ 1995)
  • Chair, NZ Schools of Dance and Drama Premises Management Trust Board, (1992 -­ 1995)
  • Chair, NZ School of Dance Trust Board, (1990 -­ 1996)
  • National President, Physical Education New Zealand, (1986 -­ 1990)
  • Consulting Trainer, New Zealand School of Training for Trainers,(1988 -­ 1993)
  • Lecturer, Recreation and Leisure Studies Group, Victoria University, (1988 -­ 1990)
  • Acting Director and Physical Recreation Officer, Recreation Service, Victoria University (1982 -­ 89)
  • Manager, Dance=Arts, an Otago University dance group, (1981 -­ 1982).

A selection of project involvement

  • Directorships and National Board experience
  • Culture change projects
  • Facility needs assessment and feasibility
  • Organisational and project reviews and development
  • Curriculum design for tertiary institutions and on-­job training
  • Development of volunteer recruitment, selection and training resources and programmes
  • Training needs analysis and development of competency-­based training programmes
  • Mapping of career pathways and design of qualifications
  • Facilitation of leadership workshops
  • Mentoring emerging and established leaders
  • Planning advisor to groups organising special events
  • Experience with a range of people who have special needs (Gender Equity, No Exceptions
  • Disability Strategy)
  • Lecturing at universities and polytechnics
  • Research and development of recreation and physical activity plans
  • Design and implementation of management systems
  • Training workshops
  • Facilitation of organisational planning and development, team building

Recent projects

  • (2015) Indicators of Success, LandSAR
  • (2015) Developmental review of the Leading People Programme for Victoria University of
  • Wellington
  • (2015) Aquatic Facility Management Manual, New Zealand Recreation Association
  • (2015) Leisure Facility Management Manual, SportNZ
  • (2015) Facility needs assessment for Alex Moore Park, Wellington City Council
  • (2015) Aspiring Women Olympic Leaders programme, facilitating leadership careers for retired
  • Olympians, New Zealand Olympic Committee
  • (2015) NZ Recreation Association, Strategic Plan development
  • (2015) NZ Women in Leadership programme evaluation
  • (2014) New Models of Operation for the Stadium Trust and Wellington Hockey Association
  • (2014) Governance Diversity programme, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Institute of Directors,
  • Treasury
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