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Our purpose is simple. Increase the number & diversity of women in leadership in Aotearoa.

Change requires challenge, collaboration, and connection. We’re dedicated to working together to break the barriers in organisational culture that stand in the way of workplace equality, as well as equipping, inspiring and empowering women to lead well.

Our founders

 Started by experienced former CEO and leadership expert, Dr Sue Watson and executive leadership coach and working parent expert, Jayne Chater, Leaderful combines our years of expertise to amplify our impact on women in leadership. 


Dr Sue Watson

Sue is an experienced leadership development specialist, committed to ‘putting the ladder down’ to help women move into leadership and governance positions through highly engaging and effective coaching and development programmes. With a varied career journey across a range of business, educational and not-for-profit organisations, Sue combines her personal leadership experience and a reputation for ‘keeping it real’ with a strong foundation of knowledge and expertise in leadership development and best practice learning design. Sue is a professional director, with current directorships in the community housing sector governing large housing developments across Auckland. She has also been a director of the Breakthrough Leaders Programme for Global Women. Her leadership experience includes CEO roles in the business and not-for-profit sector, including as the Global Chief Executive of Kea. She has also been a consultant to the World Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sue has an academic and teaching background, holding a Doctorate of Education from Victoria University of Wellington. She has taught and undertaken extensive research and evaluation projects in both New Zealand and the United States of America where she was on the Faculty at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also been the senior facilitator leading the Aspiring Female Leader Workshops for Diversity Works, and the senior facilitator for Women and Leadership Australia and New Zealand.


Jayne Chater

Jayne is a leading Executive Coach and Leadership Development specialist who is passionate about supporting people to self actualise their lives and careers. Well known for her expertise in working with professional women to enhance their careers and developing women into leadership, Jayne has over 20 years’ experience across many sectors, different organisations, and varying levels of leadership. A compassionate challenger, Jayne creates space for people to discover their own unique thinking and behaviour style that defines and drives them to be their own version of success. Jayne is a staunch working parents advocate. Her own journey inspired her to create and deliver programmes to support new mothers, and organisations as they navigate this important transition back to the workplace and beyond and as mothers, manage the ongoing struggle of the juggle. She has developed a well-known return-to-work programme, Reconnect, that is used widely across organisations and sectors. She is the author of ‘A Slight Detour’, a resource on how to successfully navigate your family and career. Jayne also works with leaders navigating authentic or as she calls it, 'real' leadership. She focuses on the value of effectively leading and developing others, versus being a technical expert in a management role.– a focus she wished she had for her first leadership roles. She believes in the power of coaching as an everyday approach that can be embedded into business-as-usual. A leadership competency she believes all leaders need to develop. Jayne lives and breathes the juggle every day - as a mum of three teenager young women and two bonus children, she navigates the integration of many roles in her career and life.

The story of our logo
Tēnā koe, he mihi nui ki a koe

You might recognise the stylised feathers in our logo as white-tipped huia feathers, from the extinct bird of Aotearoa. For Māori, huia were considered sacred and their feathers were worn by chiefs and high-ranking women. Though huia no longer exist today, their significance is not forgotten. The inspiration for our huia feather logo started just after our first lockdown, in June 2020. My friend, Jeanine Clarkin, invited me to her art studio on Waiheke Island for a showcase of artist Haley Lowe’s work from O Te Motu Creations (Ngai Tūhoe, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāpuhi). From the moment I met Haley and heard her tell the story of the huia, I knew she had created something remarkable. Working from her studio in Kohukohu, Hayley crafts huia feather earrings using recycled bicycle inner tubes. Huia signify leadership and strength, and Hayley had found a way to modernise that symbolism in a way that highlighted both womanhood and nobility. I was reminded of my tuakana, Wendy, who is Ngāti Raukawa and a strong leader in her community, and I bought her the pair of earrings. To me, this moment with Haley encapsulated the fierce and beautiful power of women supporting and empowering one another. When building the Leaderful website with our designer Simon from Envisage, we wanted to invoke a sense of community and strength. When we first saw the images of feathers that you can now see on our website, they resonated with the powerful experience I had when I met Haley and saw her huia feather earrings. We decided that native birds would be our symbol for this Movement. We love the way birds travel in flocks, their uniqueness and beauty, and their status as treasured taonga. For me as a tauiwi woman and fifth generation New Zealander, the huia is a symbol of women’s leadership–powerful and precious–which has been gifted to us by tangata whenua. It is our way of honouring the women who have come before us in Aotearoa, and laying the ground for future women leaders. We asked Simon to design a logo of two huia feathers to represent Jayne and my collaboration in building The Leaderful Movement. We are committed to this partnership and this Movement because we know, as women, that we are stronger together. He mihi nui ki a koe Haley. Thank you for your work as an artist in bringing this precious taonga to life.

Sue Watson and Haley Lowe
Read about Haley here

 Let's kōrero about how we can support you or your organisation to move forward. 

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