About Be. Leadership

Set over 10 months and comprising 21 days, the programme nurtures leadership attributes and behaviours. Participants develop new frames of thinking around leadership through having new and challenging conversations with each other and prominent leaders throughout New Zealand. It is this generosity, authenticity and willingness to engage that creates the environment for deep conversations and critical thinking.

Speakers have included:

  • Dame Tariana Turia (former Maori Party leader and Minister for Disability Issues)
  • John Campbell (RNZ Checkpoint)
  • Mojo Mathers (Green Party MP)
  • Dr. Justine Cornwall (former Deputy Children’s Commissioner)
  • Kim Workman (Founder Rethinking Crime and Punishment)
  • Major Campbell Roberts (Salvation Army)

Developing self-awareness and personal leadership skills is a fundamental component of the programme. We give participants access to tools such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, themed workshops, readings and opportunities for deep self-reflection. Long-term relationships that continue to develop learning are built between members of each programme year and the 99 alumni who have been through the programme since 2011.

The programme is representative of the diversity of the New Zealand employment landscape. Participants are geographically scattered, bringing a diversity of experience, opinion and thought. We are intentional about growing diversity even further and welcome applications from all ethnicities.

The programme’s Directors, Lesley Slade and Philip Patston, offer participants individualised constructive feedback throughout the year. Participants value this feedback in their learning experience, as all good leaders do, as it enables them to test and evaluate new ways of being and acting in the world, as well as finding their authentic voice.

This is an advanced programme for those seeking deep inquiry into what they need to develop in themselves in order to be the best version of who they are. It isn’t a programme for people only just beginning to think about leadership or looking for superficial tips and tricks. The programme challenges participants to be intentional about how they lead in the space of accessibility and to be the change that they want to see in the world. We seek a commitment from participants to hold themselves accountable for creating change in their own environment, be it in their work, the community, civic engagement or in education.

Be. Leadership is a unique opportunity to realise and develop leadership potential, self-awareness and the skills and attributes needed to create effective social change.


The idea for Be. Leadership began in 2009, when a group of disabled leaders, organisations and friends came together to start a conversation about disability and leadership in Auckland City. At a series of community gatherings held over 4 months, more than 100 representatives of the disability sector and community explored the concept of leadership.

Most participants saw leadership development as fundamental to their futures. They wanted it to be explicitly developed, nurtured and resourced. wanted to create a disability leadership community that was strong, resilient and sustainable.

Minnie Baragwanath, Philip Patston and Lesley Slade were mandated to turn that vision into reality and Be. Leadership was born. Be. Leadership is a unique programme in New Zealand and is based on the highly successful Leadership Victoria, Leadership Plus and Leadership New Zealand programmes.

Continue to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)