The power of one – how leaders can drive or derail their company’s reputation


Waikato business leaders will be the first in the country to hear the findings of new Australasian research into leadership at a learning lunch in Hamilton this month.

Ngaire Crawford from media intelligence and insights company Isentia will present the findings from their new research series on leadership at CRUNCH (Crucial Conversations Over Lunch) on November 21 at Waikato Innovation Park.

Ms Crawford, who is head of insight (NZ) at Isentia, will lead a discussion about the impact of CEOs on their company or organisation’s brand and reputation in the media, and how they can be a catalyst for change.

The CRUNCH event will also feature a panel of local business leaders including Guy Howard-Willis, co-founder of Manta5 and e-commerce ventures Torpedo7 and; Mat Mclean, head chef of award-winning Hamilton restaurant Palate; Vanessa Williams, managing director of the Hamilton Central Business Association; and Heather Claycomb, director of award-winning public relations firm HMC Communications.

Panellists will share their insights and thoughts on leadership in the modern business environment and their tips on how to be an effective brand ambassador. The panel discussion will cover a range of leadership topics including the dos and don’ts of media engagement, leading through a crisis and the importance of ethical and transparent leadership.

Ms Crawford says that there have been more than 150,000 news stories about leadership across Australia and New Zealand this year, driven by events in politics and challenging events.

“It’s been a complex year for leaders,” says Ms Crawford, who cites the abuse of power in the legal profession and sporting organisations as one challenge for CEOs.

“The vast majority of the news we consume and engage with focuses on the negative traits and failures of individual leaders and institutions. This is then compounded by the negative feedback loop on social media platforms.

“The media’s focus on leadership and its importance to our lives has prompted us to think and analyse the nature of leadership more deeply,” says Ms Crawford. “We think there is an interesting discussion to have about how we measure our leaders and what we expect from them, and that’s why we are developing the leadership research, to create a platform for this discussion across Australia and New Zealand.”

HMC Communications director Heather Claycomb says leaders play an important role in shaping public perceptions.

“CEOs and business leaders are often the face of their company or organisation, and that’s both a responsibility and an opportunity,” says Ms Claycomb. “We see it time and time again with clients – leaders who are able to communicate their vision and tell their company’s story, whether it’s through traditional or social media, have a positive impact on their company’s brand.”

Ms Claycomb said that effective leadership also means having a voice during a crisis, and fronting up to the media. “A CEO has an important role in this situation, to communicate in an ethical and transparent way.”

HMC Communications launched its suite of CRUNCH learning lunches in late 2017 to support Waikato business leaders. The 90-minute sessions, which include a light catered lunch, are designed to help leaders navigate the pressures they face from sources outside their business that can impact its reputation.

The CRUNCH session on leadership takes place at Waikato Innovation Park on Wednesday November 21, from 12-1.30pm and places are limited to 40. Registrations can be made at

For more information on Isentia see


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