Forum experience inspires commitment to others

Bachelor of Commerce alumnus, Sam Dobbs, has a new sense of commitment to others, thanks to an inspiring forum led by influential New Zealanders.

Professor Jane Bryson and Sam Dobbs stand together in front of yellow patterned wall.
Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane Bryson, and Wellington School of Business and Government alumnus, Sam Dobbs.

Sam, who recently completed a Bachelor of Commerce, attended the Aspiring Leaders Forum (ALF) in July, with support from Wellington School of Business and Government.

The forum was an opportunity to gain new experiences and a new understanding of leadership. Held at Parliament annually, ALF brings together young people with the mission to inspire future leaders, exploring a faith and values approach to leadership.

“I never considered myself as being in a leadership position,” says Sam. “But the forum showed me that my knowledge and privilege places me in a position of influence. This gave me a sense of duty beyond myself.

“Coming from a professional cycling background, I became conditioned to focus on myself and what I can achieve. This also carried over into my time at university and at work ̶ much of these experiences have been self-fulfilling. ALF made me rethink; how can I make New Zealand a better place through what I do day-to-day?”

The forum hosted influential speakers from a range of areas, including arts, business, politics, and sport. Sam reflected that this was key in growing an appreciation for the value in diversity and varied experience.

This was also reflected in the delegates that Sam connected with at the event. In facilitated group discussions, Sam remarked that the difference in how each person unpacked information was eye opening, as were the similarities between them.

“Although we talked about topics in different ways, we ultimately wanted the same outcomes. It really created a feeling of oneness.”

This was echoed by actor Pio Terei, a speaker at the event, who discussed the importance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and understanding other cultures to develop a sense of unity and inform actions we take.

Sam looks forward to pairing this experience with his professional and academic skills to make a positive impact on those around him—and has already begun implementing what he has learned in his consulting work at PwC.

“Instead of being focused on pushing my abilities in my work, my primary focus is doing the best I can for the client. I am here for a reason ̶ to help others.”

Sam is looking forward to nominating others to attend the forum in future and hopes to continue his involvement in the forum as a facilitator.

“I am very grateful to Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Bryson, and the Wellington School of Business and Government, for funding my attendance to AFL. It was such an amazing and impactful experience.”