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“The research is very clear: when we want retention of learning we need to create a memory for learning to attach itself to.”

Sally’s 30+ years’ experience spans a career in the New Zealand Defence Force, as the director of her own leadership training business, and as the owner of Makahika Outdoor Pursuit Centre. 

Along with an insatiable appetite for understanding the neuroscience of leadership and excellence, and armed with the knowledge of how our environments affect our ability to absorb information and effect change, Sally brings Experiential Architecture to the business and corporate worlds so that organisations can change the way in which they grow leaders.

Sally’s affinity for leadership development started during her time with the New Zealand Defence Force, where she led and contributed to the formation and development of high-performance teams. It became clear to her that lessons were best learned when team members could see and feel the effects of their behaviours on others. With those eyes, Sally looked at the corporate training world - of classrooms and whiteboards - and found a huge deficit in the delivery of meaningful and consequential training that genuinely changed people’s behaviours and mindsets.

This is in part what inspired Sally, with the support of her former RNZAF Pilot and Senior Military Officer husband John, to purchase Makahika Outdoor Pursuit Centre in the foothills of the Tararua Ranges and to make it their home and livelihood. Learn more about award-winning Makahika OPC. 

With wind whispering through tall trees, sun dappling the fronds of native ferns, and the ever-present sound of a chortling stream to fill her surroundings, experiential learning for executives and leadership teams became a focus for Sally. Offered through various immersive methods, Sally began to design several iterations of leadership programmes that would disrupt the status quo, which she now delivers on-site at Makahika, at purpose-built Arete, or on location with various clients - as long as there’s not an office block or training room in sight. 

“The privilege to do what you love, and gain financial independence through that passion, is an extraordinary gift. I am excited, inspired and deeply fascinated by the neuroscience and physiological response to stress and high performance. To be able to design and deliver bespoke leadership programmes, using the outdoors and Makahika as the conduit for the learning and experiences that affect participants’ personal and professional lives deeply, is a gift that I will never take for granted.”

  • 6 min read

Winter is upon me and I have two major projects to complete.

#1 is the engagement and completion of my Oxford Executive Leadership Programme; about 15 hours a week of learning models, theories and articulating thoughts on leadership. #2 is completing the writing of my next book. This one is a Big Book. THE Big Book.

So, I thought I’d share a sample of where I’m at, my DRAFT introduction and the start of Chapter 1. Enjoy!

  • 7 min read

Some of you will still ponder the descriptor that I use, Experiential Architect.  And yes, I do get some phone calls now and then asking for me to design amazing, interesting houses.

This particular ‘title’ came from a coaching moment with a fine Australian leadership coach, Dan Collins. We were at a Thought Leaders Conference - in Sydney some years ago, and Dan was helping me narrow down ‘what I did to help people’. 

  • 5 min read