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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.”

Speaking | Masterclass

Funny, irreverent, en pointe, engaging, challenging with actionable takeaways. Invest in your team's mental wellbeing with Sally's Bio-hacks to wellbeing.

Travel has a profound impact on our mental well-being. It provides an escape from the daily grind, allowing us to recharge, reflect, and nurture our mental health. When we travel, we give ourselves permission to step away from our responsibilities and prioritize self-care.
  • 1 min read
Travel is not just about visiting new places; it's a transformative journey of self-discovery. Stepping out of our comfort zones and immersing ourselves in different cultures, landscapes, and experiences allows us to broaden our perspectives, challenge our assumptions, and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
  • 1 min read
Teams are the beating heart of any organization, and their success relies heavily on effective collaboration, communication, and trust. But in today's hyper-connected world, constant distractions and digital overload can hinder team dynamics. That's where retreats come in as a powerful tool to nurture and strengthen these crucial relationships.
  • 1 min read