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Aug 23, 2018

Thank you for investing in our futures | Liam McLeavey

In conclusion, this was an amazing trip which I thoroughly enjoyed and I loved my time with the Magnificent 7! Thank you to all the supporters of this trip and thank you for investing in our futures!

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The Young Enterprise Business Leadership Tour to Brisbane was an great experience, and I feel truly privileged to have been selected to attend from the Manawatu-Whanganui region. The goal of the trip was to gain exposure to businesses operating abroad, develop and refine our leadership skills that we can take back to our own businesses. As part of the visits to other businesses we were able to network, and really gain an insight into international business development.


At the beginning of the trip we were asked to set goals. I set two goals:

  1. Gain exposure and understand the makeup of Australian business

  2. Learn as much from our business leaders as possible


Well I definitely achieved those goals. The trip was refreshing and invigorating for me. To come from small Horowhenua to Brisbane was definitely a change of scenery for me. I came home to Levin with a different perception on leadership, and how to best respond to challenging situations when I encounter them on my business leadership journey. One of the biggest things that really hit home for me, is that you have to learn how to lead and be your best self, before you can lead others. At the beginning of this year, after years of being in leadership roles I quit my prefect role because frankly I was not comfortable to lead and I wanted to spend time on improving myself and my skills. This trip re emphasised my decision and it was a good one to make. I also felt at ease with my approach to networking, strong handshake, have a purposeful yarn and follow up afterwards. The trip gave me confidence to continue to take on every single opportunity that comes my way. Most importantly of all, in order to look after yourself and lead - you need to surround yourself with your tribe, people that care about you and people that believe in what you do.


The first stop of the trip was a visit to Stuart Kerr at NZTE (New Zealand Trade and Enterprise). They are a New Zealand Government department with an important role. That role is to support NZ businesses to expand into overseas countries. Stuart’s role is to support businesses wanting to expand into Queensland and Stuart’s extensive networks and understanding of Australian business is important. When we were chatting at dinner, Stuart talked to me about the level of understanding businesses need to have before exporting. Businesses need to understand there is significantly more regulation as there are three different governments; federal, state and local and each one can have a different role that could affect business success. Stuart was a strong business leader with a strategic mind focused on getting good outcomes for New Zealand businesses.

Another standout visit we had was with Professor Brad Jackson of Griffith University. Professor Jackson is the Director of the Policy Innovation Hub and the Professor of Social Innovation at the Griffith Business School. We had discussions on the 10,000 different definitions of leadership. He gave us his personal definition of leadership which is, “An interactive process involving leading and following within a distinctive place to create a mutually important identity, purpose and direction”. Upon significant reflection, this is the definition I believe truly defines leadership. Professor’s Jackson’s comments really resonated in my personal leadership story, and really motivated me to continue taking risks and influencing change within my community.

After arriving in Brisbane on the Saturday night, our first day (Sunday) was attending a Business Leadership Development Workshop with Jethro, the CE of Future Leaders. The space this workshop was held in was a co-lab space called Fishburners, which is funded by the Brisbane City Council. We conducted a leadership self-assessment, discussions about our goals, we learnt how to understand business and employment types, the qualities of a leader and we learned different ways of dealing with situations.Jethro was brilliant.

Another highlight for me was meeting and interviewing the Founder of Grand Company - Dhawal Nayak and his team. As I am involved in the education to employment space in Horowhenua, visiting a education to employment start up was great! Grand Company help students connect to further employment utilizing a strengths based approach through technology. They are partnered with the Victorian Government and they work closely with

secondary educators and businesses to bridge the gap between education and employment.


In conclusion, this was an amazing trip which I thoroughly enjoyed and I loved my time with the Magnificent 7! Thank you to all the supporters of this trip and thank you for investing in our futures!