August 29, 2018
Kevin started life in Lancaster and talks about his early formative years in the north of England, choosing not to be a prefect, sport and entrepreneurship and working for strong women early on.
He discusses many themes including leadership vs. management, freelance talent, innovation, failing fast and niche growth areas. Opening his corporate career with the high profile London fashion house Mary Quant. He moved through two of world’s leading fast moving consumer concerns Gillette and Procter and Gamble working in Europe and the Middle East before becoming Chief Executive of Pepsi-Cola Middle East at 32 years of age. He was promoted to a similar role in Canada and made a distinct impression in the Cola wars before coming to New Zealand in 1989 to head Lion Nathan driving the brewer to a dominant market position in New Zealand and Australia.
20 years from 1997 until 2014, as worldwide chief executive of global creative giant Saatchi and Saatchi, lead the thinking in marketing, brand and communications. His acknowledged dominance as a leader in the sector saw him assume global roles and receive numerous honours from organisations, universities and academics. He was honoured also by his adopted country New Zealand being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and the community. A director, author, speaker and business ambassador he is known and followed by many in countries too numerous to mention.
Often described as a colourful and entertaining speaker he has a distinct frankness and direct style that highlights key messages. Those messages focus around leadership and impact, about the here and now and around building high performance cultures. Indeed one of the books he co-authored “Peak Performing Organisations” deals with the lessons to be learned from sports teams that have developed the habit of winning. Unlike many leadership gurus – whose approach is purely academic or often based on one event or change – the pointers that come from our guest are from lessons learned in hand to hand combat in multiple challenging environments that each represent a fascinating case study.
August 8, 2018
True Grit. An innovation and disruption story. Character and Culture key ingredients to move from start-up to business valued in excess of half a billion dollars within only 7 years
This is company founder inspiration and required listening. The story so far and where to next. What keeps you up at night? Naomi describes the journey through the lonely moments, of being brave and backing yourself and your team plus what it takes to go from a start-up up to a “step up” company. She describes in detail the influence of character and culture on growing a start-up.
Themes of customer outcomes, building culture, diversity, innovation, bootstrapping it and scaling a “family business” are explored. How to transform and dominate your industry through putting people first. What to do when you make mistakes. On being a role model and putting back.
Partners Life has recently received its third tranche of a $200 million investment into the business by US-based Blackstone and reported a record underlying insurance profit, increasing 76% over the past 12 months alone.
An only daughter in a family of five children with a Pacific heritage she grew up in a family environment that was not privileged and had its share of difficulties. Indeed this has been pointed to by some as the key to her intense drive to succeed. It has almost certainly shaped her view of family which is inclusive. At an early stage, while still in her teens, Naomi decided to desert university study and get a job to earn money and marry. She applied for a role in an industry that was totally foreign to her and she not only learned it from the ground up but set out to dominate innovative thinking inside the space.
She did that with spades. For her services to her chosen sector she received the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017. Having built a career inside a corporate she took her own theories to market and started and grew not only one business but two successively and successfully in the same sector. She is not simply seen as a successful woman but as a successful serial business builder and accomplished chief
executive. She is without question a role model for any man or woman who aspires to reach the top in their chosen field.
Naomi Ballantyne, managing director and founder of Partners Life Insurance has been described as “arguably the most experienced person in the New Zealand life insurance industry.” The lessons can be applied to many industries.