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University of Auckland Alumni Leadership Fellowship

2016 Fellowship Announcement

Lieutenant Colonel Esther Harrop is the 2016 fellowship recipient

NZLI and the University of Auckland Alumni Relations and Development Office congratulate Esther on being selected as the successful candidate to be awarded a fellowship to participate in the NZLI Leadership Mindset Programme.

In her application statement Esther said she is "keen to develop to a different leadership paradigm - learning from those who have leadership experience outside of a military organisation."

Esther's Biography

Lieutenant Colonel Esther Harrop joined the Army in 1994 after graduating from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Commerce. As a Commissioned Officer in the Royal New Zealand Army Logistics Regiment, Esther has fulfilled many roles in the New Zealand Army both within New Zealand and overseas in her 22 years of service.

Of note, she spent time on operations with the New Zealand Truce Monitoring Group in Bougainville as a Supply Platoon Commander and later as a Patrol Commander under the Australian led Peace Monitoring Group. She has held leadership appointments with the New Zealand Army in HR, training and logistics at the tactical, operational and strategic levels, as well as working with the Ministry of Defence in delivering new equipment and capability into the New Zealand Defence Force. Esther spent 12 months in Virginia, USA in 2006 where she completed a Masters in Science in Logistics Management, from Florida Institute of Technology.

Over the period 2009 to 2012 Esther served three years with the Canadian Forces managing the Canadian Forces Light Armoured Vehicle fleet both in Canada and on operations in Afghanistan. Esther was recognised as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the 1999 New Years honours list for her service in Bougainville.

Esther’s current role as Director of Land Equipment Management sees her responsible for all NZDF equipment that is utilised in the Land environment both in New Zealand and overseas on operations. From clothing, vehicles, weapons, communication equipment and everything in between, her team of 120 staff are charged with ensuring the right equipment is available, safe and operational to support the NZDF outputs at all times.

Esther is married to Stephen, and they have four sons.


2015 Fellow Phil Light

Framing Leadership Differently

In 2015 Phil Light was awarded the University of Auckland Alumni Leadership Fellowship to participate in the NZLI Leadership Mindset Progamme.

Phil applied for the Fellowship because by undertaking the leadership programme, he could see huge potential for his organisation to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and was determined to make it happen.

“It has opened my eyes and mind to the capacity to learn and grow. The programme framed leadership in a different way; that leadership is a collective capacity and that people from across a team or organisation can contribute” says Phil. The programme “re-energised” his desire to learn and develop.

Phil works as Manager, Tamariki Outcomes Initiatives, National Hauora Coalition. He and his team of clinicians and health professionals deliver health care services to 24,000 children across 61 schools in South Auckland. He believes the organisation is innovative, highly-skilled and passionate.

“However, I can see that smart people, technical expertise and good ideas don’t necessarily equate to great outcomes. It requires strong leadership to harness collective talent and effort from across a range of key stakeholders – funders, service providers, communities and whanau.”

Phil says that the programme has given him confidence to confront issues and challenges. He now has a different perspective on how to do leadership work: “Leadership is really about changing the status quo. I’m much more attuned to the fact that effecting change and sustaining it is very much a non-linear and discontinuous process. I’m more inclined to view challenges that previously might have felt insurmountable as works in progress.”

One aspect of the programme that he found especially valuable was hearing the perspectives of the other participants, who were from a diverse range of disciplines and backgrounds.

“Hearing first-hand about the leadership challenges of these smart and engaging leaders was hugely insightful.”