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
Subscribe to active CEO Podcast on Itunes
active CEO Coaching
Craig Johns Keynote Speaker
NRG2Perform www.nrg2perform.com
Craig Johns craig@nrg2perform.com
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recommended Reading

He’ll Be Ok – Celia Lashlie Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men
4 Day Week – Andrew Barnes Order Now

Four Basic Fundamentals Of Being A High Performing Leader Read Article
How To Be A High Performing Leader In 2020 Read Article
active CEO Lessons In 2019 Read Article
Four Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness In 2020 Read Article

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High Performance Leadership

active CEO Podcast #49 Alex Baumann High Performance Leadership

High Performance Leadership

On this episode of the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Alex Baumann about overcoming tragedy to win two Olympic Gold swimming medals, transforming coaches of high performance into high-performing coaches, high performance leadership, and his new role as Chief Strategist High Performance at Swimming Australia. We also dive into being a swimming parent, balancing wellness and performance, the importance of empathy and building trust, and the principles of high performance leadership.

Alex Baumann

Alex Baumann sets very high standards, doesn’t settle for mediocrity, and has a proven record in leading successful teams and sport organisations. He is one of the worlds’ leading sports administrators, International Swimming Hall of Fame inductee, husband to Australian swimmer Tracey Taggart and humble sporting parent of two International swimmers.

He was born in Prague Czechoslovakia, however grew up in Canada winning two swimming gold medals and setting two world records at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Alex holds an Honours degree in Political Science from Laurentian University, a Graduate Diploma of Education from the University of Queensland, and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Laurentian University.

His career has included working as a sports administrator in Canada, Australia and New Zealand with roles as CEO and Executive Director roles at of Queensland Swimming, Queensland Academy of Sport, Canada’s Road to Excellence Program, Canadian Olympic Committee’s Own the Podium, High Performance Sport New Zealand and is currently the Swimming Australia’s Chief Strategist, High Performance.

Alex talks about:

  • When you have some success early on you want more.
  • Swimming with the Dr. Jeno Tihanyi and the legendary coach James ‘Doc’ Counsilman.
  • Winning the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games 200m IM and 400m IM swimming gold medals in World Record times.
  • Coping with the tragedies of losing both his father and brother.
  • A majority of Gold Medallists have had to deal with some sort of trauma.
  • The pressure of being the current world record holder going into an Olympic Games.
  • Balancing athlete wellbeing and high performance.
  • Transforming coaches of high performance into high-performing coaches.
  • You get the best out of athletes when you can empower them.
  • Winning when it matters to inspire a nation.
  • Embracing pressure, rather than seeing it as a negative.  
  • How Wilma Shakespeare guided his introduction to sports administration.
  • The ability to challenge in a way that doesn’t offend people.
  • The differences in High Performance leadership in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
  • How a CEO or leader balances resources versus being resourceful.
  • Sometimes we get too complex to get that additional 1%.
  • There was not one word of winning in the Swimming Australia High Performance strategy.
  • One of my challenges is ensuring I have enough balance between work and family life.
  • The importance of urgency and the need to react quickly.
  • You have to keep doing new things and reinventing yourself through new things.
  • What drives each individual?
  • Once you think you know it all, you are dead in the water.

Active CEO Wellness Tip

Commitment To Excellence – Own where you want to go, constantly work at it, have the discipline to strive for excellence around how you are going to do it and why you are going to do it and make sure you put that plan into action. You need to commit to excellence if you want to be excellent.


“Pressure is a positive thing as ultimately it gets the best out of us. Obviously if there is too much you get stiff, you just cant perform, The negative thoughts come into your mind and the pressure gets to you. Embrace it versus letting it consume you.” Embracing pressure with Alex Baumann, on the active CEO Podcast.

“When I got to the Olympics I had been through it all. You could throw anything at me and I would still be able to perform.” Alex Baumann on overcoming adversity, on the active CEO Podcast.

“I can’t worry about external things. I have to just concentrate on what I have to do. I have done the physical preparation, I am psychologically ready, I’ve competed against all these guys and I have beaten them.” Alex Baumann understanding the pressure of being an Olympian, on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Alex Baumann LinkedIn
Alex Baumann Wikipedia
Swimming Australia www.swimming.org.au
International Swimming Hall of Fame Bio
NRG2Perform www.nrg2perform.com
Craig Johns craig@nrg2perform.com
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recommended Reading:

Swimming With Alex Baumann: A Program for Competitive and Recreational Swimmers link