“It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start.”

“It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start.” John Cage, innovative composer. 

When I was awarded the Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year, I was thrilled. An acknowledgement of my work towards the industry in front of my professional peers was huge. The award is particularly special due to the knowledge gaining prize that goes with it.

The award is sponsored by NZRA to send the Emerging Leader to Australia the following year to the Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) Conference. It was here that I stood up with our new Australia Generate Chair, Eve Haskins (pictured) and spoke about Generate in New Zealand. I was proud to be able to relay the programmes and initiatives, events and successes of Generate to an Australian audience just waiting to get started. Their enthusiasm was incredibly inspiring.

Getting the chance to see a personal Parks Hero of mine, Mitchell J Silver (NY Parks Commissioner), speak at the PLA conference was inspiring. I learned public speaking skills from Bernard Salt, and I went along to turf planning sessions and aquatic facility planning sessions. I learned from the networks I was creating in Australia. It was amazing.

This kind of prize should not be underestimated. NZRA is further building the skill and confidence of their aspiring young leaders in a tangible way. I’d like to thank the NZRA Staff and NZRA Board for their contribution to our future workforce.

This year at the NZRA Recreation Conference, I passed on the baton to the new Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year, Julia Watson. It was a proud moment for me to see another young professional shine who has shown international and national prestige in her own right. My conversations with Julia have always left me more passionate about what we can do for young professionals in New Zealand. She is a star!

I would encourage other young people around NZ to keep putting their best foot forward. Each great innovation starts with a decision, but it matters that you start the journey.

And for organisations that are working towards starting to support the young professionals in their organisations, or are wanting to do more, again…

“It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start.” 

I would encourage you to push in – find the mentoring programmes, look for the budget to spend on young professionals, sending an encouraging email, share your staff around. Pick one. Pick seven. Every effort counts.

I support you, and I salute you for your efforts, wherever you start.


Chair, Generate Network

2016 Emerging Recreation Leader of the Year


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