Inspiring the next generation of local leaders

Leadership legacy . . . Lauren and Alan Stewart standing by to support emerging local leaders.

In 1955 Bruce Stewart and Lance Calder started out building a house near Milton with little idea that over 65 years their initiative would grow into a team of more than 400.

Leadership takes many forms and for Bruce Stewart ONZM, it was focused on relationships, opportunities and believing ‘‘whatever you do, you have to do it properly’’.

The Calder Stewart co-founder was an avid contributor to Tokomairiro, with an impressive legacy built on family values and a humble leadership style.

On reflection he was grateful for a good start in life and support he’d had to pursue his dreams, and at the time of his passing, Bruce still lived near the first home he built.

The Bruce Stewart Leadership Programme launched on February 16, 2021, and has already supported emerging leaders in the Tokomairiro region, including bachelor of agricultural science graduate Laura Scanlan, who grew up in Milton and attended Tokomairiro High School.

Laura felt her degree taught her theory and knowledge but she wanted help to bridge the gap between university and working life, to develop her relationship-building and leadership skills and help her prepare for the future.

The Bruce Stewart Leadership Programme supported her participation in the Classic Outward Bound development course.

‘‘It was a fantastic, life-changing experience that challenged me with rock climbing, sailing, kayaking, and running a half marathon. Outward Bound skills helped me have confidence in myself, to stop worrying and getting in my own way and just be willing to learn and give things a go. I’d recommend it to anyone,’’ she said.

The programme also supported Dean Gordon, who began his leadership journey in the early 2000s at Tokomairiro High School as deputy head boy and captain of the First XV.

Now a deputy principal at Dunedin’s Fairfield Primary, Dean had his attendance at a course focused on leading adult and team learning in school environments funded by the programme.

For Dean, the Bruce Stewart Leadership Programme helped him understand how to foster growth in the leaders around him.

‘‘Like the Stewart family, I have close ties to Milton. I really appreciated the chance to build my leadership alongside others in similar roles from all over the country. It was a great initiative.’’

Established by the Stewart family on Bruce’s wishes to promote leadership and development, the programme involves an annual fund of up to $50,000 with two funding rounds each year for the benefit of people connected to the Tokomairiro region.

Bruce Stewart’s granddaughter Lauren Thornhill manages the programme and loves to see the range of vocations and ages of those who apply.

‘‘It’s a huge privilege to carry on granddad’s legacy, giving back and supporting the next generation of leaders from our region.’’

Applications are now open via the website .