Dr Ellen Joan Ford (Nelson)

Dr Ellen Joan Ford (Nelson) is terrifyingly ambitious about changing the working world, for the betterment of people and organisational performance. And when you see her track record for tackling the seemingly impossible, and bringing people along with her, you will find it difficult to fault her logic. As a speaker, facilitator and consultant in the leadership space, Ellen helps organisations to improve staff wellbeing, retention, leadership, productivity, innovation and business performance. Ellen provides a fresh perspective, delivered authentically with high energy, for how leadership can be done differently.

Ellen’s life story is rich, and her deep expertise and practical experience is in leadership, as well as gender, well-being and the future of work. She has served in the NZ Army, completed an MBA and PhD in leadership, runs her own business, is the co-lead for a nationwide leadership project in New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, and is raising two little boys. Ellen has spoken at TEDx, numerous corporate and government organisations, including the NZ Army, FMG, Fulton Hogan, KPMG, EY, IGA and more, and her research and ideas to improve the working world have been published internationally multiple times. She is deeply passionate about improving the working world, and has used her research and leadership experiences to start the #workschoolhours and #belongingautonomypurpose movements.

Ellen is a force to be reckoned with. Her volunteer team evacuated 563 people from Afghanistan to New Zealand. She is the Kiwi Bank New Zealander of the Year 2023 ‘Local Hero’, and was also awarded Person of the Year 2022 - Manawatu Standard.

Speaking topics

An inspiring and fresh perspective on leadership - #BelongingAutonomyPurpose

Dr Ellen Joan Ford (Nelson) shares her inspirational experiences as a military leader, academic and leadership researcher, business advisor, businesswoman, volunteer (supporting the evacuation of 100s from Afghanistan) and Mum, to demonstrate the impact of #BelongingAutonomyPurpose. Ellen shares her passion for leadership: improving social outcomes, while simultaneously improving organisational outcomes.

The leader’s role is to create an environment where their staff can thrive, where they have belonging, autonomy and purpose, and then direct that thriving energy at the task that needs to be achieved.

The audience will learn:

  • How to create an environment where their staff can thrive
  • The importance of belonging, autonomy and purpose
  • How to direct that thriving energy at the task that needs to be achieved

This talk is ideal for aspiring leaders right through to executive leaders and into the boardroom

The Importance of Authentic Leadership – the best version of you is you!

Throughout our childhood and working lives, we have absorbed so many images and messages about what a ‘good leader’ looks like, and how a ‘good leader’ acts and behaves. In so many cases, this stereotypical ‘good leader’ is very different to how we see ourselves. Dr Ellen Joan Ford's (Nelson) research and incredible leadership experiences in the military and beyond, demonstrate that the best leaders are those who are true to themselves.

The audience will learn:

  • The value of diverse leadership approaches to an organisation
  • The leader’s role is to create an environment where their staff can thrive – this is unique to each individual leader
  • How to be a truly authentic leader, and why this benefits everyone

This talk is ideal for aspiring leaders right through to executive leaders and into the boardroom

The Future of Work… it’s not 9-5 at the office!

Dr Ellen Joan Ford (Nelson) shares her incredible PhD and post-doctoral research, focused on the experiences of women and also parents, in the workplace, as well as her remarkable leadership experiences in the military and beyond, to demonstrate why her movement, #workschoolhours is commercially smart.

The audience will learn:

  • The principles of #workschoolhours (focus on outputs and on flexibility)
  • How to apply the principles to make improvements in any work setting
  • How to enjoy commercial gains through applying #workschoolhours principles

This talk is ideal for aspiring leaders right through to executive leaders and into the boardroom

If you want to increase the representation of women, you need to fix the system

We need to stop trying to ‘fix’ women, and start fixing the system. And the exciting part? Doing this is also good for men and also good for organisational performance. Dr Ellen Joan Ford (Nelson) shares her incredible PhD and post-doctoral research, focused on the experiences of women and also parents, in the workplace, as well as her remarkable leadership experiences in the military and beyond, to explain how we can remove the barriers facing women in the workplace.

The audience will learn:

  • The subtle barriers that are preventing women reaching senior leaders at the same rate as men
  • What and how the ‘mum penalty’ works
  • How to remove the barriers
  • How to create inclusive workplaces that benefit ALL genders, and the bottom line

This talk is ideal for aspiring leaders right through to executive leaders and into the boardroom.

Testimonials

Ellen demonstrated a passion for leadership to transcend the ordinary and deliver the extraordinary. Ellen’s openness, honesty and positive energy was in itself an inspiration for our farming leaders.
Reuben Casey, CEO, Craigmore Sustainables

Ellen absolutely nailed it… It was a powerful and compelling. I would highly recommend her for any future conference or speaking event. View Letter
Mike McRoberts, Journalist (Newshub), Presenter and MC

Ellen’s presentation at BCITO’s Construction Summit was absolutely on point. Feedback from our 120 industry representatives present was extremely positive.
Greg Durkin, GM – Te Kāhui Whakawhitinga (Transformation), BCITO

Ellen was a fantastic speaker… thought-provoking, stimulated significant discussion amongst attendees and was delivered with good humour.
Peter Chew, Director, KPMG

Ellen’s passion combined with the research she has completed made for an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable session. Ellen is an excellent speaker.
Eric Chapman, Director, EY

An engaging speaker, Ellen held the room completely and led the conference in her open and honest manner through numerous and related subjects.
Lieutenant Colonel Cory Neale, Commanding Officer 2nd/1st Battalion, NZ Army Reference Letter

Ellen’s presentation style is highly engaging and she shared her expert knowledge with passion.
Honiana Love (ia/she/her), Tumu Whakarae · Chief Executive, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ellen is an inspirational speaker with a unique and engaging presentation style… your presentation absolutely hit that mark.
Helen Garner, Chief Executive, Business Whanganui

You were the hit of the day Ellen– you’re a star!
Raewyn Bleakley, Chief Executive, New Zealand Food & Grocery Council

Ellen’s engagement and candour were outstanding. Her knowledge, passion, and ability to connect with an audience are truly remarkable.
Jane Yee, head of podcasts, The Spinoff

Your session was thought provoking, courageous, current and inspiring… your delivery was engaging, honest and energetic and you shouldn’t change a thing.
Jason McLean | General Manager NSW/ACT Metcash Food

Dr Ellen Joan Ford (Nelson) speaker

Speaker Video

Speaker Showreel | Dr Ellen Joan Ford (Nelson)

Speaker Showreel | Dr Ellen Joan Ford (Nelson)

Local Hero finalist for KiwiBank New Zealander Of The Year 2023. Dr Ellen Joan Nelson

Local Hero finalist for KiwiBank New Zealander Of The Year 2023. Dr Ellen Joan Nelson

Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year - Local Hero 2023. workschoolhours and belongingautonomypurpose

Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year - Local Hero 2023. workschoolhours and belongingautonomypurpose

Ellen Joan Nelson - Belonging Autonomy Purpose

Ellen Joan Nelson - Belonging Autonomy Purpose

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