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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.”

Let me transport you: having spent all day with our special force instructors, learning how to make an emergency shelter out of ‘bush treasure’, we observe 12 senior managers from a national construction company, working quietly and (sometimes) effectively to build their shelters for the evening. Rain wasn’t forecast, but we are snuggled in a valley in the lower reaches of the Tararua Mountain Ranges, and there’s always a 65% chance of evening ‘mountain mist’. Not rain, just very heaving dew – you can probably read my sarcasm dripping like the leaves…
  • 5 min read
Life is challenging enough at the best of times; add in a little global pandemic, lots of financial uncertainty - keep in mind our personalities - and we can create a perfect storm in our minds. Some of us will have excited ninjas and talking pandas coursing through our excited minds, others will conjure up deadly conspiracies, evil governments and too many cows with flatulence – always choosing the worst-case scenario. (Negative Bias Preference) 
  • 5 min read

During the Middle Ages, rats were responsible for the transfer of fleas that carried the deadly Black Plague. A bounty was placed upon each rat that was caught. It was not necessary to produce the entire rat as proof of capture; the rat's hind quarters were cut from the body - leaving only the tail and the "arse". The amount paid by the local governments was approximately equivalent to a penny a dozen.  The rat’s arses would be presented as a bundle and exchanged for money.  However there became so many rats the price dropped incredibly low and they were almost worthless. 

Hence the phrase -"not worth a rat's ass" – “don’t give a rat’s arse”. 

  • 4 min read

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