The LG Executive Leaders Programme: Developing the next generation of Local Government leaders using brain based science.


The LG Executive Leaders Programme, developed in conjunction with the Continuum Consulting Group, uses the latest in brain based science and leadership effectiveness to get results and drive behavioural change. It does not look to duplicate or even emulate previous developmental experiences; its focus is on the `who` of leadership, not so much the `what`.

As these leaders will have been on many previous training and development events, this programme focuses on leadership self-awareness and tailored learning. It is a cohort based experience balanced with the emphasis on meeting the development needs of the individual.


As a result of ongoing discussions with senior people across the Local Government sector, a need emerged for the development of managers who are `near-CE ready`. With 78 local councils across NZ, the sector offers huge potential for leadership careers. To date, around 80 percent of Chief Executive appointments have been candidates from outside the employing Council, 85 percent of whom were taken from a pool of leaders with local government experience.

This programme has been designed to meet that need, producing leaders who have the ambition, aspiration and skillsets to be credible candidates for Chief Executive roles. They will be senior leaders who are self-aware, can balance people leadership with tasks and outcomes and who have an understanding of strategic and operational context.

The LG Executive Leaders Programme complements SOLGM’s LGLeadershipPathways – it is one of several initiatives specifically for those in senior positions in the sector. The Programme is stimulating and designed to develop the skills and knowledge needed to transition from senior team member to transformational leader.

Who Should Attend

The LG Executive Leaders programme is designed for executives who are already in positions of influence and who are ready to accelerate their learning, stretch their capacity for high performance and broaden their horizons. Participants will be those that aspire to positions at the highest levels of Local Government.

Applicants to the programme must provide a form signed by their current Chief Executive, who commits to remain a sponsor throughout the programme. They also need to supply an individual application outlining why they want to attend, what they will bring and what they hope to achieve.

SOLGM will also consider applications from those who have extensive leadership experience at the Tier 3 level, have attended the LG Accelerated Leadership or equivalent programme, and have the support of their manager.

Programme Dates

The 2019 progreamme will commence with a 3 day residential event at Wallaceville House, Upper Hutt from 6-8 November 2019, with the follow up workshops in 2020 taking place 12 February, 13 May and 9 September.

Applications are now open for the 2019/20 cohort.

Programme Outline

Cohorts of up to 18 participants take part in the programme. The components of the programme are:

  • a three day `immersion` and residential component where cohort members come together to explore the operating context, the leadership required for the future and what they need to develop individually and collectively.

Over the following months there will be:

  • three one day residential workshops which will combine speakers and topics relevant to this group, with Action Learning and Brain Based Learning and development.
  • two one-on-one coaching sessions by Skype or phone to agree personal goals. This can be followed by monthly or every other month individual coaching if requested by a participant (these additional coaching sessions are not included in the programme's standard fee).
  • The programme finishes with a review.

This is all underpinned by personal learning which could include secondments, acting roles, shadowing, site visits, courses, reading and job swaps. Participants will be strongly encouraged to create reflection habits as a learning tool.


Applications for the 2019/20 cohort are now open, click here to download the application form.


For more information about joining this Programme, please contact our Manager, Professional Development, Fiona Purchas,

Programme Presenter

Jennifer McDonald

Director, Continuum Consulting Group

Jennifer is a senior leadership development practitioner, specialising in the Neuroscience of Leadership. She has a business background, having begun her career in the City of London, as a shipbroker and member of the Baltic and Mercantile Shipping Exchange.

She has held senior roles with the global organisation P&O Nedlloyd and her career has been internationally focused, encompassing London, Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand. She set up her own consultancy in 2007 in New Zealand where she works with government and private sector organisations.

Her work is primarily in the areas of:

  • Development, design and delivery of long and short term leadership programmes.
  • Development and delivery of neuroscience of leadership programmes and workshops.
  • Using neuroscience principles to design and support organisational change.
  • Leadership development consulting solutions for organisations.
  • Consulting to organisations to increase organisational buy-in to change initiatives.
  • Senior executive coaching; working with individuals and senior teams to support them in becoming more effective leaders of people and results.

Jennifer has a passion for effective leadership, believing that a combination of evidence and practical application leads to learning and behaviour change.

She qualified as a Shipbroker in the UK and holds a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management from Victoria University in New Zealand, as well as an MSc in The Neuroscience of Leadership from Middlesex University, UK.