Leadership Academy

Developing future Southland business leaders.

The purpose of this programme, which is completed over eight weeks, is to provide leaders with the opportunity to build leadership capabilities through their own personal development and by learning from the experience of others.

Exclusive to Chamber members, the Leadership Academy is for people looking at developing their existing leadership experience and who have the potential for holding senior positions and governance roles.

The participant, at the completion of the experiential and reflective learning sessions, will be better equipped and have a good understanding of what is required to be a significant leader in their own organisation and in the wider business community.

Each two-hour session is led by a senior executive from significant Southland - Otago based businesses or other organisations. The participant will benefit from the opportunity to interact with the presenter and build an ongoing connection with them, and other participants.

At the end of the programme, participants will graduate and be invited to become a member of the Southland Leadership Academy Alumni.


“We were provided with excellent speakers, all of whom shared their wisdom openly. Strongly recommend this short course to anyone wanting to improve their leadership skills” Lindsay Bowmar, Southland Regional Manager Calder Stewart

“The spread of presenters we had were of such a high quality, extremely interesting and very approachable - you left each week feeling invigorated and with more strings to your bow. Fantastic initiative and a definite must for the current and future leaders of our Region” Debbie Hodges, General Manager E Hayes & Sons

“The Southland Leadership Academy allowed me to challenge the status quo and utlise real life stories to learn valuable leadership learnings. Being in the rural sector it has widened my connections to more industrial and urban based businesses which are relatable and have similar challenges as those in the region. A great programme for realising where the gaps in your journey lie and widening your networks.” Olivia Ross, Extension Manager - Southern South Island Beef + Lamb New Zealand Limited

“Wow, what an amazing nine weeks with great people and presenters/facilitators. Feels like something is missing this morning…... Being able to hear leadership stories, learning and reflections from a selection of amazing leaders across Southland and Otago was a true privilege with SO many takeaways. The Leadership Academy is a must do investment for any organisation, including non-profits, to support any leader to lift their gaze and grow and strengthen their leadership skillset. Thanks to the Soutlannd Chamber of Commerce, presenters, sponsors and team on the course for making it such a worthwhile opportunity” Dave Gibbs, Regional Manager Graeme Dingle Foundation Southland

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Leadership Academy recently. The opportunity to upskill, challenge my thinking and meet like-minded people from different industries was invaluable. I work in the dairy industry and at first thought it would be hard to translate the learnings into our business but quickly realised that all leaders have the same issues and challenges and the course content was very relevant to our business. There were a wide range of industries/professions represented and it was fantastic to be able to build relationships with some great people from different industries that will be long lasting. The calibre of the presenters at all the sessions was outstanding, Southland/Otago has a lot of talented leaders which I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to meet and hear the stories of a few of the best. I would highly recommend the Leadership Academy to anyone who wants to meet likeminded people, challenge their thinking, learn from some of the best in Southland/Otago and most of all build relationships that will be long lasting” Peter Bruce, Senior Operations Manager Fortuna Group

“A fantastic interactive group of sessions with likeminded people from other industries. It’s great to hear from local leaders to see what they do and what ideas farmers can grab to add value to their businesses” Tim Driscoll, Director Southland Development Dairy Trust

The Leadership Academy is a highly valuable course, well worth the investment! The course is an awesome opportunity to learn from and be challenged by highly effective leaders in the Southern business network while forming lasting connections with likeminded people in the community. An incredible course that I would highly recommend to people wanting to challenge themselves in their leadership journeys” Alexis Wadworth, Bank of New Zealand

“Thank you for building our next leaders and taking a leadership role in the Southland Community” Robert Boekhout, General Manager Blue River Dairy LP


29 January 2021

Leadership Academy - FULLY BOOKED

Topic This programme will provide leaders with the opportunity to build their leadership capabilities. Click READ MORE to view the Leadership Academy Programme Guide.


12 February 2021

Leadership Academy (Te Anau)

Topic This programme will provide leaders with the opportunity to build their leadership capabilities.

Time 9.00am - 2.30pm


14 May 2021

Leadership Academy

Topic This programme will provide leaders with the opportunity to build their leadership capabilities.


27 August 2021

Leadership Academy

Topic This programme will provide leaders with the opportunity to build their leadership capabilities.

Past Events

23 October 2020

Leadership Academy Graduation - Intake Eight

Congratulations to our latest Southland Leadership Academy Alumni who graduated today

  • Nicola Wills, Cycling Southland
  • Anna Dix, Bank of New Zealand
  • Dallas Peters, Vet South NZ
  • Gillian Cavanagh, Southland District Council
  • Hamish Fitzgerald, Rayonier NZ
  • Iain Ward, Power Farming
  • James Wards, Your Corps
  • Mark Reece, Blue River Diary LP
  • Monique Morton, FANZ Private Wealth
  • Nicola McAra, Cycling Southland
  • Peter Bruce, Fortuna Group
  • Reece McDonald, Southland Copier Company
  • Jessica Domigan, Sport Southland
  • Bharat Guha, Ferhardi Limited

Thank you to our inspirational Inspirers - Dougal McGowan Otago Chamber of Commerce, Dean Addie EIS, Michelle Henderson Red Rabbit & Co, Richard Roberts Dunedin Airport, Jase Tee Tibble Ministry of Social Development, Mark O’Connor O’Connor Consulting, Stewart Hamilton NZ Aluminium Smelter, and Geoff Finnerty South Port NZ.

And special thanks to our sponsors - Blue River Dairy and BNZ Invercargill for supporting our initiative to develop Southland’s future leaders.