Dr Paul Wood
As an 18 year-old, Dr Paul Wood was completely off the rails. He wasn't coping with the impending death of his mother, he was dependent on drugs, and was an unemployed high-school dropout who was committing crimes to feed his habit.
Two days after his mother died he lost control when his then drug dealer attempted to sexually assault him. Paul was convicted of murder for this offence and then spent more than a decade in some of New Zealand's toughest prisons. During this period Paul became the first person in New Zealand’s history to progress through undergraduate and Masters degrees while in prison. He was also the first person to begin a Doctorate while incarcerated. Paul's educational pursuits dovetailed with a journey of personal exploration and change, both of which gave him a profound understanding of the ingredients required to successfully strive towards our potential, deal with the challenges of change, and build the mental toughness and resilience necessary to flourish in adversity.
On his release, Paul was able to translate this knowledge into strategies for improving leadership effectiveness and organisational culture. As a result, Paul rose rapidly through the ranks to become the senior manager responsible for Training and Development within the multinational professional services firm OPRA Consulting Group. Paul now runs his own practice and has served as a committee member and advisor to a number of boards.
Paul spends most of his time facilitating leadership and emotional intelligence focused programmes across the private and public sectors. He works with everyone from the Hurricanes to Central Agencies of government. His charitable interests see him visit prisons and act as patron for START Taranaki, which helps at risk young men turn their lives around. Paul is also a regular contributor to the media. For more on Paul’s thinking visit his Huffington Post blog or watch his viral interview on the AM Show.
Robert Ritchie is a highly experienced and innovative educator, academic and pastoral care leader, public speaker, and workshop facilitator.
Rob holds a Master of Education degree, a Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, and a Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing. He is also an accredited practitioner of the Strengths Profile (formerly known as R2).
As a member of the Wellbeing Team at The Southport School, Rob prepared and presented a school-based Certificate of Positive Psychology to the whole school teaching and corporate staff throughout 2015 and 2016, and continues to provide training to new staff. For his contribution to sustainably embedding Positive Psychology into the culture of The Southport School, and for his other contributions to curriculum leadership, Rob was nominated by the school for the 2016 Queensland College of Teachers' Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning Award.
In 2017, Rob worked as a sessional lecturer and tutor at Griffith University's School of Education and Professional Practice, and convened the Internship Program at the Gold Coast campus.
Since 2017, Rob has led the Parent Workshop that complements the Veteran Mentors' Junior Leadership Program. Conducted over nine life-changing days, this challenging program builds the resilience and self-belief of teenagers.
Rob also provides training for a growing range of educational and corporate organisations, and is regularly invited by schools to address staff for professional learning ranging from 2 hours to 2 days duration.
In 2018, Rob delivered training to ATSI aspiring leaders on behalf of the Queensland Education Leadership Institute (QELi). As well, he has partnered with Capricorn Enterprise to biannually deliver the Short Course in Positive Leadership to businesses in Central Queensland.
Paul is currently National Secretary of NZEI Te Riu Roa in New Zealand. Amongst his earlier roles he has worked as General Secretary for Finsec, the New Zealand finance sector union, Secretary of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and Director of the Organising Centre at the Australian Council of Trade Unions. He moved back to New Zealand ten years ago to his current role.
Paul also works at an international level with global unions, assisting them with moving into global organising and campaigning.