Shadow a Leader

The aim of Shadow a Leader is to give Auckland secondary school students and AUT Faculty of Business, Economics and Law students the opportunity to follow a business leader and to understand what it takes to succeed in the leader’s field of endeavour.

Download a Shadow a Leader brochure

Teams of three

Each team consists of a business leader, one secondary school student, and one AUT Faculty of Business, Economics and Law Student. 

Students are selected based on their leadership capabilities, potential and overall achievement. Secondary school business teachers and Heads of Department nominate their business students deserving of this initiative. AUT students bring their experience as tertiary students and expertise of their chosen areas of study to Shadow a Leader teams. They are charged with guiding their younger student team members.

The day

Responding to flexible working environments, Shadow a Leader is now delivered across an entire week, allowing for business leaders to choose a day in the designated week that suits their schedule and onsite activities.

The day begins directly at the organisation. The students are given the responsibility and independence to meet their business leader at the organisation.

Shadow a Leader team activities may include:

  • Strategy planning, sales, finance, or marketing meeting
  • Client meeting
  • Board meeting
  • Videoconferencing
  • Product manufacture or factory tour
  • HR consultation
  • Team building

Feedback from participants

From 28 June – 2 July 2021, 164 students from 40 schools across Auckland and AUT’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Law were exposed to the day-to-day workings of leadership in action. A number of students and business leaders shared their feedback with us afterwards.

High school students

Sophia Lim, Macleans College

Shadowed TPT Group Holding (NZ) Ltd (Advanced Security)

"My leader was extremely inspiring. I really enjoyed learning about his background and the journey he went on to get to where he is now. The day was engaging and I gained a lot of insight into what it would be like to be a CEO for a day."

Shaniya Singh, Kelston Girls College

Shadowed Foodstuffs North Island

"I loved that I could take back from the experience and it gave me insight on how I would potentially want my future career pathway to look like! The conversations and wisdom that I received from this day from several educated individuals genuinely matured me and developed my mindset in several aspects. I would want anyone that is confused about their career pathway or has an interest in business to receive such opportunities so that they are able to grow and learn from what they would like to achieve for their future."

Brinda Lad, ACG Sunderland

Shadowed Auckland Transport

"I enjoyed the fact that the Shadow a Leader day was a very one-on-one experience. Although I was paired up with a uni student as well, the small group allowed me to ask more questions and understand the structure of an ordinary business day at Auckland Transport more. I also loved how the team at AT was very warm and welcoming as at first I was a little nervous but as soon as I met them, I clicked with them immediately."

Kate Blackwell, St Marys College

Shadowed The Warehouse Group

"To be able to see theories I have learnt in class incorporated into a professional environment, and how things I have learnt in class influence decisions."

AUT students

Zeal Gandhi, Bachelor of Business – double major in International Business and Marketing

Shadowed CEO Jolie Hodson, Spark New Zealand Ltd

"There were lots of excellent parts to this day. However, one of the most unique parts of this day was meeting directors from departments and learning about their journeys. Jolie is super amazing. She planned the day so perfectly. She ensured that directors from different departments had kept allocated time free so they can meet us. We were fortunate to meet the directors from Spark Sport, Spark Health, the manager from the Innovation department, and the managing director of Marketing. I viewed this as a fantastic opportunity to learn from different individuals, the current projects they are working on, and learn about their career journeys. The passion and the fire they had in their hearts were really depicted in the discussions."

Alisa Innes, Bachelor of Business – majoring in Finance

Shadowed CEO Jon Lamonte, WaterCare

"I’m very grateful for the opportunity to shadow Jon on the day, observe, listen and learn from a highly respected leader in the industry. It was an amazing experience to get an inside view of the organisation which provides an essential service to the Auckland community and learn about the team which makes it all happen. Thank you to everyone involved for organising such an interesting day at Watercare."

Megan Scott, Bachelor of Business (majoring in Marketing) and Bachelor of Communication Studies (majoring in Public Relations)

Shadowed CEO Richard Conway, Pure SEO

"I thoroughly enjoyed learning about all different roles that existed within Pure SEO and the way all of the staff work together to achieve amazing outcomes for businesses in New Zealand. It brought me great and unexpected insight into the areas of marketing that I would like to pursue in the future - I am very grateful for the experience."

Business leaders

Don Aue, Associate Director - Audit, RSM Audit

"We live in a great place here in Aotearoa and it is important that we continue to support programmes such as Shadow a Leader. I am happy that our discussion on leadership resonated with the students. I believe we all have natural characteristics of great leaders, our challenge however is to nurture and develop this through practice."

Brendan Drury, Managing Director, Orbit World Travel

"Thank you so much, Annie – really appreciate the enthusiasm. This is a fantastic programme."

Sinead Boucher, Chief Executive Officer, Stuff

"We really loved having you yesterday and several of my executive team remarked how lovely it was to have two bright young women join us. It gave everyone a boost for the day."

Rowena Brice, Head of People Operations, Systems and Reporting, ASB

"The students are very lucky with AUT; Annie did a great job too, reaching out and connecting us. I was very impressed with the team. The students were attentive, curious and eager to learn."

Shadow a Leader is proudly supported by:

AUT Bachelor of Laws students Shania Amolik and Olivia Mason with Alfriston College student Cassandra Collamat and Macleans College student Shaheer Riswan
SPARK CEO Jolie Hodson with AUT Bachelor of Business student, Zeal Gandhi and Kelston Boys High School student, Ryan Vegar
Coca Cola Amatil General Manager of People and Culture, Susan Lowe, General Manager of Strategy and Brand, Wendy Rayner with AUT Master of Business students, Janisa Fernandez and Krishna Mulangath Unnikrishnan and St Cuthbert’s College student Ashleigh Mackay and Westlake Boys High School student Thomas Liang
NZME (New Zealand Media and Entertainment) CEO Michael Boggs and Managing Editor Shayne Currie of NZ Herald with AUT Bachelor of Business student Theresa Ulrich and Botany Downs College student Saraya McLean, Onehunga High School student Josh Sutton and St Mary’s College student Abbey Sterne

Contact us

For more information on how to get involved, contact:

Nirisha Niranjan
Partnerships Manager
Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 5809
Mobile: +64 21 07 00 901

Melanie Barr
Director Student, Business and Community Partnerships
Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 9336

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