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

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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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active CEO Podcast Jennie Wyllie (Netball New Zealand) – Challenge Privately Support Publicly

active CEO Podcast #44 Jennie Wyllie Challenge Privately Support Publicly

Jennie Wyllie – Chief Executive Netball NZ

On this episode of the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Jennie Wyllie about growing up watching the New Zealand Silver Ferns netball team, coping with intense public scrutiny, challenge employees privately and support publicly, and leading a high performing team as Chief Executive of Netball New Zealand. We also discuss standing out from other graduates at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the impact of the Tanya Dalton Foundation, an internal review following the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and resetting the body and mind by taking family vacations to her kiwi batch at the beach.

Jennie Wyllie

Jennie Wyllie is a wonderful leader who has navigated some major transformations in a short period of time. In her current role of Chief Executive of Netball New Zealand, she has led the implementation of the ‘Whole of Netball Plan’ strategy, has managed the move back to a domestic elite competition and is using all her experience to implement the recommendations following a recent independent review into the National team.

She went to Pakuranga College in New Zealand, before completing a Bachelor of Commerce specialising in Accounting and Tax, from the University of Auckland. Today’s guest has also completed an Institute of Directors Companies Director Course, is a certified New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountant and has a Postgraduate Certificate in Management Studies at the University of Waikato.

Her career began in accounting and finance with roles, in New Zealand and the UK, at Price Waterhouse Coopers, Discovery Networks, GlaxoSmithKline, Orange and Telecom New Zealand. While at Telecom New Zealand she spent time as a Next Generation Marketing Offers Lead before returning to finance as Head of Finance, Strategy and Services at Netball New Zealand.

Jennie talks about:

  • What is your differentiator – ‘just be me”
  • Being able to relate to everyone from the CEO and Board down to the receptionist.
  • Being an authentic leader – I am, what I am.
  • To be high performing you need to wrap yourself with experts in the field.
  • Balancing working in the business versus working on the business is a major challenge.
  • Coping with the intense public scrutiny, especially when the team may not be playing well.
  • The independent review of the unsuccessful 2018 Commonwealth Games Silver Ferns.
  • If you are not living the values of the team, who is going to hold you to account.
  • Balancing a focus on participation versus the elite side of the sport.
  • Recognising all the hard work that volunteers do in the netball community.
  • Ensuring that the health and wellness of our coaches and employees are being looked after.
  • Coaches challenges are not so much different to the athletes.
  • “How do we support our female coaches?” because they are different from the men coaches.
  • We encourage staff to stay active including a wellness day, where it is all tools down.
  • Requiring a growth mindset in sport as it reinvigorates you to go for that next challenge.

Active CEO Wellness Tip

It’s Not About You! – You are here to SERVE, You are here to CONTRIBUTE and you are here to make a DIFFERENCE. As a leader you have to let go of the ego and make sure that everything that happens is about the team, is there for them and they can shine every single day.


“Weird natural high, a buzz, for me that’s when I know that things are clicking, you come up with ideas, you interact with people and bounce ideas off without fears of reprisal. That’s when I know!” Jennie Wyllie explaining her peak state of mind on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

“With an intense public scrutiny comes a level of engagement and ownership they have with the team… You have to back yourself to make good decisions, and be able to stand behind your choices and the decisions you make. ” Jennie Wyllie talks about coping with public scrutiny on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

“In high performance the environment for athletes is inherently unsafe. You can be selected or not selected at any one time. But for a high performing team you need to feel safe, vulnerable to share your strengths and weaknesses.” The high performance environment conundrum, with Jennie Wyllie, on the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Jennie Wyllie LinkedIn
Netball NZ www.netballnz.co.nz
Netball NZ info@netballnz.co.nz
NRG2Perform www.nrg2perform.com
Craig Johns craig@nrg2perform.com
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole Performance Coaching www.bengathercole.com.au

Recommended Reading:

Better Than Winning – Ben Gathercole

Kate Palmer (Sport Australia) – Changing the Game

active CEO Podcast #12 Kate Palmer Changing the Game

On this episode of the Sportspeople Recruitment active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns and Ben Gathercole talk with Kate Palmer about finding her dream job, where she combines her passion for sport, and desire to improve the health and wellbeing of a nation. We delve into her role of leading and catalysing the Australian sport industry to encourage more Australians to become more active, and shape the future of elite and grassroots sport.

We also discuss topics such as transformational change, reducing layers of compliance, the future of sport business structures, the new ‘move it’ campaign, and how she implements health and wellness into the team at Sport Australia.

Kate Palmer

Kate is one of the leading female CEO’s in the global sport industry. In January 2017, Kate took the reigns of the Australian Sports Commission, which has since been rebranded Sport Australia. She has a successful record in leading transformational organisation change, instilling good governance and providing excellent people management at organisations such as Netball Victoria and Netball Australia.

Growing up in regional Victoria, Australia in the town of Shepparton, Kate fell in love with sport playing netball, softball and was a keen waterskier. She studied a Honours Degree in Applied Science at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and a Masters of Sport Management at Deakin University. In 2014, Kate was awarded the AIS Sports Performance Leadership Award. Her passion for sport extends to governance roles at the Australian Commonwealth Games Association, Victoria Institute of Sport, Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, International Netball Federation and the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Known for her ability to engage a diverse audience, she values having different voices and opinions at the table. She knows that to influence a system you need to get inside it, be reasonable and don’t give up. As a leader she believes in working with people in a team, showing them a vision for the future and being truly authentic.

Kate talks about:

  • Her memories of sport as a young child.
  • Growing up in rural Victoria, in Shepparton.
  • The benefits of meetings in motion and walking meetings.
  • Sport providing the health of local communities.
  • Ensuring young children learn the basic movement fundamentals.
  • What inspired her to become a sport administrator.
  • Taking the reigns as CEO of Sport Australia.
  • Transitioning from being a CEO of employees to leading a whole industry.
  • The relationship between the Minister of Sport, the Office of Sport and Sport Australia.
  • Reducing layers of compliance and keeping it simple.
  • Why it is important for sport organisations to consider and adapt to new business models in the future.
  • Ensuring sport organisations have the structures and capability to be sustainable in the future.
  • Health and wellness of athletes, and how they transition into the ‘real world’ after life in sport.
  • Changing the lives of people with intellectual and physical disabilities.
  • Can we look at different ways of working in the sport industry as an administrator, coach or high performance management.
  • The significance of the ‘move it’ and ‘find our 30’ campaigns.
  • Changing the balance and ensuring that she reads, exercises and eats a healthy breakfast.
  • The Hugh Palmer scholarship and the “corporate handbag”.

Active CEO Wellness Tip

Ben and I talk about the importance of self-regulation and why it is such an important element of emotional intelligence. We talk about being aware of your emotions, how to manage and express them at the right time. Self-regulation is also about the ability to remain calm, consider all the possibilities and have a clear head.


“I am quite a practical person, pragmatic, and I can see things, I like to change things, and I like to fix things.” Gaining an insight into Kate Palmer, the CEO of Sport Australia, on the active CEO Podcast.

“Take responsibility and make a decision. If you fail or if you make a mistake we fix it, we will fix it together.” Kate Palmer on giving responsibility to employees, on the active CEO Podcast.

“I don’t think sports can look at us and say, you give us 80 to 90% of our revenue, and that’s a lot of money, but we are not prepared to improve our business.” Kate Palmer on investing in sport for the future, with the active CEO Podcast.


Resources Mentioned in this show:

Kate Palmer LinkedIn
Sport Australia www.sportaus.gov.au
Find Your 30 website
Netball Australia www.netball.com.au
Netball Victoria www.vic.netball.com.au
ASADA www.asada.gov.au
Australian Commonwealth Games Association website
Victoria Institute of Sport www.vis.org.au
International Netball Federation website
Melbourne Cricket Ground website
Deakin University www.deakin.edu.au
RMIT University www.rmit.edu.au
Sportspeople Recruitment www.sportspeoplerecruitment.com
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole Performance Coaching www.bengathercole.com.au

Recommended Reading:

Better Than Winning – Ben’s best selling book

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– Dr Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien (Rising Tide Africa) – Magic Happens Outside the Comfort Zone link
#9 – Mike DeNoma (KBZ Bank) Part #2 – Creating an Earthquake link
#8 – Mike DeNoma (KBZ Bank) Part #1 – Your Strengths are What Energise You link
#7 –
Trina Gordon (Boyden World Corporation) – Recruiting World Leaders link
#6 – Indiran Padayachee (RentCorp) – Winning Only Matters link
#5 – Suzie Hoitink (Clear Complexions) – Enemy of a Great Life is a Good One link
#4 – Rene Zondag (PBI) – People Are Our Greatest Asset link
#3 – Anne Gripper (NSW Office of Sport) – 6 C’s of Leadership link 
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#1 – active CEO Intro (NRG2Perform) Part 1 link