The Contemporary Leader – Course Info

A transformational programme for late 20s / 30s managers & leaders

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a lifetime of conversation”


If the global pandemic has taught us anything it is that the future belongs not to the generation currently in power but those in their 30s or perhaps even late 20s who have reached a certain level of management where they are experiencing first-hand the realities of leadership. But it is likely that these people feel a little disillusioned with what is happening in the world and perhaps a little out of their depth regarding what they might do about it.

What many miss is that the core of leadership is about mastery of Self; leadership is not a role, but a moment by moment way of being that enables one to separate out Ego from the job at hand. It is only from this place that this generation of leaders can truly step up to their own potential and that of the organisations, communities and groups in which they lead.

We have carefully curated what we have experienced to be the most relevant and impactful techniques to activate leadership in real-time from our Leadership@Play programme where we work with established leaders in their 30s +, and now present a specific programme for those who have started some sort of career but want to make a contribution in a more impactful or simply a different way.

While our process has a strong emphasis on understanding one’s egoic identity, this is not about theory. There is a strong emphasis on how participants play in between sessions and not only provide coaching support but tools that can be utilised immediately are seamlessly integrated into the programme. While life situations become clearer for participants, challenges inevitably continue to arise but the deeper understanding of self means they are more able to hold their own, and less likely to be thrown off balance or overwhelmed. 

Simply put, we aim to build a strong foundation not just from which to lead but from which to live, work and play.

Might this be you?

  • You are in your late 20s – 30s and are in an established job where career progression is important to you. Any professional development you have experienced has been limited to your industry or networking events and seminars.
  • While you might doubt your own ability in some areas, you already have responsibilities that require thought and/or people leadership, despite you still being unsure of what leadership might really mean for you. The Contemporary Leader course suits people to whom current leadership frameworks or even leaders themselves might not fully inspire.
  • You also may be stuck due to self-doubt, fear, repeated patterns tripping you up, feedback that has left you flummoxed or simply need guidance on where to go next.
  • You could do with some sort of ‘toolkit’ for immediate use to enhance how you play with others and perform in the workplace.

Desired Outcome

A more expansive leadership mindset and readiness to play in a far bigger way, and a new extended collegial network that’s with you all the way.

The Group Process

“I have attended a few trainings, conferences etc to develop my skills, but can honestly say that I have never had an experience like this. I have been searching for ways to develop myself further and I have definitely found that in Play. Learning so much more about myself reminding me of a Māori whakataukī ‘Titiro whakamuri, kōkiri whakamaua’, ‘looking back and reflecting, so we can move forward’. Thank you for opening my mind to the journey I am on to returning to myself in order to be the best leader I can be in whatever space I find myself in.” – Aneta, CEO, Te Whanau Rangimarie Trust.

“Words can’t describe how overwhelmingly significant this course was for me as a leader and as a person.” – Holly, Marketing Manager, Media & Entertainment Sector

While it may feel that one is navigating this world alone, we are social beings. Because of this, working within a group process accelerates growth and Play CoLab has developed an expertise in optimising “group process” which is supported by individual coaching and mentoring sessions.

The course is staged over a few months with the facilitators holding the group more intently in the early stages i.e, as the course progresses there is less dependence on the facilitators and the peer group itself starts to provide a supportive and learned perspective that extends beyond the course itself.

Note the groups are curated in a particular way. While there is diversity of sector and backgrounds, there will be a commonality in life stage or organisational position.


The Key Facilitator is Jenna Wee, a twice Play CoLab course alumna and certified coach who facilitates each module with support with one of the Play CoLab facilitators as noted in the Course Guide.

Meet the rest of the team, here.

Course Guide

Session 1: Authentic Leadership (5pm-9pm) 
Facilitators: Jenna Wee with Sandy Burgham, Jenny Devine, Yolande Dewey

The evening before the course begins, the group experiences a facilitated introduction to one another and the Play CoLab team. This session also explores contemporary leadership and where you sit within it considering questions such as: What is leadership anyway? How much is ‘being yourself’ actually a risk to your progress? What about this word “purpose”?
Session 2 & 3: The Inner Game (9am-5pm, 2 day module)
Facilitators: Jenna Wee with Jenny Devine

This session nails the real habits of being that are keeping you both safe and stuck. It explores questions such as: How come certain people and situations trigger you? How do you get a handle on this? This session explores the concept of ego in relation to self, who you really are. This is not about what you are doing as a manager or leader but who you are being.

All participants will undergo a 360 evaluation using The Leadership Circle Profile to understand their leadership strengths and further clarify key de-railers. We use the Leadership Circle Profile 360 extensively, because it is the only 360 that is set in a context of adult development.

This workshop unpacks the Leadership Circle so you fully understand which habitual ways of being will potentially propel you forward and which will hold you back.

> 2 week break
Following day: Individual debrief with Jenny Devine or Sandy Burgham
Session 4 & 5: The Outer Game (9am-5pm, 2 day module)
Facilitators:  Jenna Wee with Sandy Burgham

So how attentive are you regarding the world in which you live, work and play?  Human beings are social beings who are in a constant state of communication with others. But communication is a learnt skill and to really have lasting impact with less effort we must learn to a) ask the questions that count b) listen to more than what is being said and c) hold a space through our presence. This highly experiential two day workshop gives you the tools to step into courageous conversations that have the power to transform any situation.

> 3 week break
Individual coaching with Jenna Wee
Session 6: Group Coaching and Mentoring Workshop (9am-5pm, 1 day module)
Facilitators: Jenna Wee with Yolande Dewey
This module aims to stretch your understanding of how groups (and thus teams) actually work. You explore the core difference between coaching and mentoring and start to plan how you might want things to pan out. 

> break
Individual creative planning session with Yolande Dewey
Session 7: Integration (9am-9pm)
Facilitators: Jenna Wee with Yolande Dewey 

Our final session looks to integrate all concepts explored and challenges each participant to show up and be seen in a far more authentic light than ever before. This part of the course ends with a celebratory dinner. 

> 4 week break
Groups Coaching Follow Up sessions x 3
Facilitators: Jenna Wee with Yolande Dewey 
After the main part of the course ends the group stays together for at least 3 x 90 minute facilitated group coaching sessions using an online platform.

Coaching & Mentoring

There are three one-on-one sessions built into the programme – each with a different emphasis. Each participant has:

  1. A specific Leadership Circle evaluation debrief with either Sandy Burgham or Jenny Devine.
  2. A one-on-one coaching session with Jenna Wee.
  3. A one-on-one creative mentoring session with Yolande Dewey, where they start to sketch out a desired future.

Note that:
Yolande Dewey also has a pastoral care role for Play CoLab.
Peer-to-peer coaching is also integrated into the programme to embed learning and after the course ends there are three follow up group coaching sessions.


Cost per participant

Auckland: $6,250 + GST
Includes coaching, workshops, and all other admin expenses.

Note that we speak with all candidates and their executive sponsors before confirming their participation to ensure the workshops are the right leadership development approach for them.

Play CoLab, Level 8, 187 Queen Street, Auckland CBD


We are able to provide you introductions to Play CoLab alumni. Here are a few more comments from those in the generation we reach with The Contemporary Leader programme:

“The past six months has seen me develop more as a leader than I ever expected. I have taken a leadership position on issues that are culturally important to me, driven these, and been recognised for the organisational change I have affected. This would never have been as authentic or clear without sandy, her collaborators and my wonderful peer group on my Play course. This is not some textbook leadership development programme -you will expand your world view, hone your perspective and challenge your inner beliefs. I cannot recommend Sandy and team highly enough.” – Jane, Director, Professional Services

“I was recently nominated as an emerging leader in the New Zealand Women in Governance Awards. Part of the nomination called for my thoughts on the importance and value of gender diversity. From the work we did at Play and most importantly Sandy’s guidance and thought-provoking challenge, I was able to write an incredibly authentic application on my point of view in this space. I used the feedback from Play to hone my thoughts on what leaders of my generation have to offer regarding diversity and the increased awareness of the challenges in this space gained from the specific Play module on diversity gave me a solid basis for my view. I personally gained so much from this – and apparently the change has been noticed! So thank you! It has literally been life-changing.” – Karen, Manager, Corporate Secretariat, Public Sector

“Sandy and Jenny’s Conscious Leadership course was the catalyst of a profound, positive change in me. Like an X-Ray, it revealed what was hidden below the surface that needed healing in order for me to move forward. The group dynamic was an integral element to faster diagnosis, and greater insight into why we’re all in this together” – Kathleen, Sales and Marketing Lead