Dream academy would inspire young people to become great leaders, not famous ones.

What is your first memory of being a leader?

At school, being given the responsibility to report back to other students, teachers or at assembly. It was that feeling of having to speak on behalf of everyone else that felt like a call to leadership. I always looked for opportunities to take ownership or the lead from a very early age, including bossing my two younger brothers around.

What does a typical day at work look like?

It starts very early, getting my family organised out the door, dropping kids off to various locations and then finally getting to work each morning. I work full time and my day involves a lot of events administration and keeping things on target and budget. I often try to go for a walk or run during my lunch hour to stay sane!


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

Get people on board, make them feel part of your team, respect and listen to their ideas. Encourage positivity and let people know that we may not get it right, but at least we can give it a go.

What was the best piece of career advice you ever received?

Always be on the lookout for new opportunities to grow and learn, and to think before I speak.

What is the biggest risk you've ever taken?Starting up National Young Leaders Day in 2001 and wondering if it would ever work. I even had schools say to me good luck and see if you can keep it going longer than two years. But I was just determined to prove that inspiring our young students would have a long-term positive effect on our country.

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

Good, strong, honest leadership, both here in NZ and globally. The decisions we make today will either set us up or make it harder for the generations to come. The more uncomfortable conversations we have in the office, and around the board table, are going to help and challenge us to be better at what we do.

Who is a leader that you admire?


Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, for the way she encourages women to break out of the stereotype and challenging them to have the will to lead and become great at whatever they do, at the same time not missing out on being there for your children and family.

What is a dream that you have currently?

To set up a leadership academy for school students, which is purposeful about teaching great leadership and ways we can encourage and inspire young people to become great leaders, not famous leaders!

Who is a New Zealand leader that you think has the "Blake Factor" and why?

Sam Johnson, founder of the Student Volunteer Army. Until the Christchurch earthquake very few people knew of Sam. The fact that Sam put his hand up and gathered a group of young people to contribute so positively to the local community is leadership at its best. Putting others before yourself. Now Sam is travelling around the world, helping other countries with their disaster relief systems, and telling the stories of what they achieved in Christchurch.

What is the best part about being a Blake Leader?

Being part of a humble and genuine group of great New Zealanders who are passionate about New Zealand and the future of this country. It has also personally opened up a lot of wonderful opportunities for me in my own leadership journey.

If you could give your 15-year old self some wise advice, what would it be?

Be kind and be generous. Put others before yourself. Take every opportunity and learn from your mistakes. It is okay to trip up along the way, but the key is to get back up and have the guts to keep going.

Annette Fale

Annette Fale is events manager for the Parenting Place and founder of National Young Leaders Day.

In 2001 Ms Fale became general manager of the Halogen Foundation, an organisation dedicated to inspiring young people to recognise their leadership potential. In 2010, the Halogen Foundation merged with the Parenting Place, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to positively affecting New Zealand families.

Through the foundation, Ms Fale has led the annual National Young Leaders Days, which gives young Kiwis the chance to learn from and be inspired by New Zealand leaders.

Ms Fale also initiated the Women of the Pacific Charitable Trust to inspire, motivate and equip women of the Pacific in New Zealand and has worked closely with World Vision New Zealand for eight years.

In 2007, Ms Fale received a Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Award.