Aspiring student leaders from schools across Auckland recently spent the day walking in the footsteps of business greats as part of the AUT Business and Law Schools’ Shadow a Leader programme.
Now in its fifth year, Shadow a Leader matches a year 13 student and an AUT business or law student with a business leader.
On 4 July, 78 students from 40 schools across Auckland and 78 AUT Faculty of Business, Economics and Law students were exposed to the day-to-day workings of leadership in action, including strategy meetings, negotiations, videoconferences, team building meetings and client sales presentations.
Students were selected based on their leadership capabilities, potential and overall achievement.
“We piloted Shadow a Leader back in 2012. Very bravely we had four teams made up of four high school students, four Business and Law students and four leaders,” says Dean of AUT Faculty of Business, Economics and Law Kate Kearins.
AUT Business, Economics and Law Schools wouldn’t have been able to grow Shadow a Leader to more than 150 students without the generosity of business leaders prepared to share their time and expertise, Dr Kearins says.
“AUT’s close connections with business offer the next generation of leaders a unique insight into what great leadership looks like.”
Richard Keys, CEO of listed company Abano Healthcare Group which owns New Zealand’s largest dental network, Lumino The Dentists, attributes the support of business colleagues to his success.
Keys says, “I was very fortunate to have strong mentors and people who have been very generous with their time and advice, and this has been a key to me succeeding in my career goals.”
Keys, who has been at Abano for more than 15 years, the last two as CEO, says that building great teams of talented people is the most essential role of a good leader. He was lucky to be exposed to a business environment from an early stage and involved in different areas.
“This really opened my eyes to the different opportunities within businesses, seeing what makes a business tick and the creation of successful teams and culture.”
Bradley Hagan, an AUT Business School student and co-creator of Beta Energy, a healthier energy drink option, says his day with Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin taught him that becoming a leaders isn’t easy.
“You have to work extremely hard to get there and not only be skilful, but be a role model and team member.
“It was great to see the corporate world in real life instead of relying on what we imagined it to be. The experience has motivated us to work harder to strive towards being leaders who do important work and inspire others to be their best as well,” says Hagan.
The launch of Shadow a Leader day was an opportunity to recognise Mike Marr, entrepreneur, owner and group CEO of TPT Group, which owns businesses in the electronic security, SaaS, technology, finance & leasing, asset inspection, and commercial industrial property sectors.
Marr was awarded a Medallion for Entrepreneurship from global business honour society Beta Gamma Sigma – one of only two in the world given out this year.
Roger Stokell, Associate Dean, International and Engagement at AUT Business School says the Medallion for Entrepreneurship celebrates those who contribute significantly to our economy and our society and who display the characteristics of an entrepreneur in so doing.
Shadow a Leader is on social media channels: @AUTuni #AUTSAL
Photo: Roger Stokell Associate Dean, International and Engagement with Mike Marr, TPT Group.