Gates inspires Warehouse boss

Blake Medallist Sir Stephen Tindall wants to see us win the America's Cup again.

Sir Stephen Tindall says he would like to see a shrinking of the gap between rich and poor. Photo / Natalie Slade
Sir Stephen Tindall says he would like to see a shrinking of the gap between rich and poor. Photo / Natalie Slade

Tell us about someone who has inspired or been a mentor to you?

My best mentor, although he hasn't realised it yet, has always been my father who is now 85. I've also been inspired by the work done by Bill and Melinda Gates in dealing with world poverty and disease.

What was an important lesson you learned on your way up?

In the words of my mother, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones".

What was a low moment in your leadership journey and how did you deal with it?

Failing School Certificate on the first attempt. I put it behind me, tried again the following year and was successful.

How would your colleagues describe you?

When I asked them this question, they said, "Always exploring new ideas, entrepreneurial, passionate, empathetic, generous with his time, expertise and empathy and a proud New Zealander."

What does a typical day "at the office" look like?

I spread my time between The Warehouse Group, The Tindall Foundation and K1W1, which is the company we use to invest in New Zealand technology businesses focused on export. My day involves meeting many people, both in the office and out and about.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Doing more of the same, but spending more time with our ever-increasing family. I have four granddaughters to date.

Who would you love to invite over to dinner, living or dead?

Sir Peter Blake, Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates and Neil Finn.

What do you think will be a significant business or societal issue in the next decade?

Lanzatech, a New Zealand technology company K1W1 has funded, which turns carbon monoxide into ethanol and other valuable chemicals. This is a win-win as it cleans up air pollution and provides clean energy.

Who is a leader that you admire and why?

Bill Gates. Due to the fact that he has not only changed the world, in terms of the way computers and the internet have made us all more productive, but for his enormous generosity along with his wife Melinda.

What is a trait of an ineffective leader?

Somebody who tries to do everything themselves and destroys the ability of their colleagues to deliver.

What is your current dream?

I have been involved behind the scenes with Team New Zealand for a long time and I saw what winning it did for the rebuilding of Downtown Auckland. So winning the America's Cup is my big dream for New Zealand.

What has been the best part about being a Blake Medallist?

I spent my school years with Tony Blake, Peter Blake's younger brother, and watched Peter, who was three years ahead of me, closely and later became involved with the America's Cup through him. I am enormously proud to have been honoured with the Blake Medal and to be part of the Sir Peter Blake Trust network.

As a leader, what's the secret to getting people to support and share your vision?

If people feel fully supported, and you deal with them with unconditional respect and empathy, they will always go beyond the call of duty for the cause.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?

We deal everyday at The Tindall Foundation with disadvantaged people in New Zealand society and see the severe effects of poverty. I would like to see a shrinking of the gap between rich and poor.

What annoys you most?


How would you like to be remembered?

As a lover of New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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