Leading Healthy Sustainable Systems

active CEO Podcast #78 Hilary Poole Leading Healthy Sustainable Systems

Leading Healthy Sustainable Systems
Hilary Poole – Deputy Chair High Performance Sport New Zealand

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Hilary Poole about leading healthy sustainable systems; working with outstanding leaders Teresa Gattung CNZM and Jack Welch; the privilege of leading Hockey NZ and Netball NZ; building a team of trusted relationships, and her four pillars of governance.

We also discuss the differences between governance and operations, working through the CEO, understanding the key priorities, the importance of being an active CEO, and why whom you select as your partner is the most important decision of your life.

Hilary Poole – Leading Healthy Sustainable Systems

Hilary is an awarded sports professional who has 25 years of experience in a variety of leadership and governance roles within the sport, finance, food, education, and not for profit sectors in New Zealand, Australia and London. She is a leader who thrives on a changing environment, loves being active with Yoga, skiing, Stand up paddle boarding and golf, and can be found pottering around the garden.

She has completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and Economics, and a Bachelor of Physical Education majoring in Sociology of Sport and Leisure from Otago University, leadership and executive studies at the London Business School and is a Chartered Member of the NZ Institute of Directors.

Her career commenced at the Bank of New Zealand and including numerous executive roles including head of Marketing and Distribution. She moved to London as the Strategic Marketing Manager for GE Capital, before spending a decade advising CEO’s and Boards through her business Poole + Associates. Between 2009 and 2016 she successfully led Hockey New Zealand and Netball New Zealand as their Chief Executive. Since 2006 she has giving back in numerous governance and Chair roles at Prolife Foods, Diocesan School for Girls, Just Life Group Ltd., Martin Jenkins Ltd, The Clubhouse NZ, Sport New Zealand and is the Deputy Chair of High Performance Sport New Zealand.

Hilary talks about:

  • Leading healthy sustainable systems.
  • Why her mum, a PE teacher, has been her greatest teacher.
  • Teresa Gattung being an incredible leader, bringing talented people together, at BNZ.
  • Joining BNZ after the NZ stockmarket crash in 1988.
  • Differences between BNZ and GE Capital culture.
  • Working with Fortune magazine’s “Manager of the Century”, Jack Welch at GE Capital.
  • Her desire to become an advisor and consultant to CEO’s and Boards with Poole + Associates.
  • Building a career to work with lifestyle and needs of family.
  • Advising the CEO of the NZ Lotteries Commission, on strategy.
  • Why the Chief Executive role at Hockey New Zealand was her steepest learning curve.
  • Creating assets that you can sell for commercial gain.
  • Incredible privilege of leading NZ’s largest female participation sport, netball.
  • Being a guardian and filling a stewardship role as CEO of a national sport organisation.
  • Understanding what your players and participants need to thrive.
  • Being in Board roles of Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand.
  • The fundamental shift for sports over the next 30-50 years.
  • Understanding priorities, practicing yoga and meditating daily.

Active CEO Performance Tip

Dedicate Time To CEO Exercise – Why should a CEO dedicate time in their busy schedule to incorporate exercise into their daily routine? A CEO with low energy poses a big problem for a company, as they create a stress environment each day. Creativeness, decision-making and attention suffer as a consequence. Family relationships and social life will be impaired, as they will take longer to complete tasks and will have less energy, than a fit CEO, to use after work has finished for the day. For CEO’s and leaders to maintain high levels of integrity, think strategically about the future, have clarity when making decisions, be energetic and have the confidence to lead a high performing team, they need to be healthy. This means they need to be attentive to regular exercise, fuelling their body with the right food, freeing their mind and recovering with purpose.


“It sometimes may feel lonely, but you are not walking alone.” The intense media pressure as CEO of Netball NZ with Hilary Poole, on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Hilary Poole LinkedIn
Hilary Poole Instagram
High Performance Sport New Zealand www.hpsnz.org.nz
Sport New Zealand www.sportnz.org.nz
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Craig Johns Keynote Speaker
NRG2Perform www.nrg2perform.com
Craig Johns craig@nrg2perform.com
Craig Johns LinkedIn

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