Renowned Namesake Inspires Candidates at SLSNZ’s bp Leaders for Life

Monday, 20 November 2023

The latest Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) bp Leaders for Life workshop delivered an empowering and inspiring session with its proud namesake.


The workshop was part of the 10-month programme designed to upskill and retain people within SLSNZ, with the view they can lead their clubs and the Surf Life Saving movement into a sustainable and vibrant future.


This year, 16 emerging leaders from SLSNZ between the ages of 20 and 35 years old were chosen for the course.  On 11 November they gathered at Auckland’s Marine Rescue Centre for the two-day course.


Belinda Slement, SLSNZ National Education Manger, said, “We’re midway through the programme, and already I can see what a significant impact the programme is having on the candidates.  With patrol season well underway, they arrived in Auckland full of enthusiasm, fresh ideas, and perspectives from across the country.”


The main theme for this third workshop, was on managing conflict.  The team explored how to have difficult conversations, building confidence, effective communication, and negotiation strategies, particularly within the unique context of Surf Life Saving environments.


The workshop featured insightful talks by guest speakers including Lauren Williams, Surf Life Saving Northern Region Lifesaving Manager, and Sue Brewster, President of Bethells Beach Surf Club. 


One of the most engaging sessions was a Q&A panel with Laura Edmondson, bp Commercial Manager, and Fiona Wakelin, bp Convenience Growth Manager.  Alongside Jo Clark, SLSNZ Head of Commercial and Marketing, they shared invaluable insights into conflict resolution, shared their leadership journeys, including their biggest challenges, and offered guidance to the young leaders.


The Q&A panel stood out for many attendees.  One participant said, “For me, it was one of the best sessions.  It felt very real, and they gave some very interesting answers that helped expand my thinking.”


Another added, “During the panel with bp, I loved hearing about their individual journeys.  It really was excellent as each of the three wāhine had incredible stories to share.”


Reflecting on the experience, Laura Edmondson, bp Commercial Manager, said, “It was a privilege to be part of this session.  The candidates showed thoughtfulness and curiosity, leading to insightful discussions about the work Fiona and I do at bp.  SLSNZ should be very proud of these promising young leaders, and it’s obvious how much they benefit from this programme, which bp is honoured to support.  We look forward to watching them as they continue to grow.”


During the course, the candidates also tackled a few challenges that they’re currently facing at clubs.  This exercise allowed for collaborative problem-solving and provided fresh perspectives.  As one participant highlighted, “This discussion was fantastic as we got to know more about other clubs and the challenges that they face.  It also gave us new ideas to help solve some problems.  I found it inspiring and it gave me the push I need to start really putting ideas into action”.


The next bp Leaders for Life face-to-face course will be 2 March 2024 in Christchurch.