Inspiring Leadership Tour USA

May 04, 2017 at 1:57 PM

With thanks to Year 13 student reporters, Ekaterina Lieshout and Kate Fouche

The Inspiring Leadership Tour to the USA during the April holidays was an incredible experience for our students with exclusive, behind the scenes visits to some of the most intriguing and successful businesses in the world today. The students who undertook the tour returned inspired, saying it enhanced their understanding and opened their young minds to the infinite opportunities the business world has to offer.

Year 13 students, Ekaterina Lieshout and Kate Fouche reported on behalf of the students:

On our tour, we met with top executives from major companies to inspire and share their wise words, learned from the difficulties they have faced during the day to day setting up and running of their businesses. Our trip began in San Francisco and finished in Los Angeles with both cities providing the chance to meet many successful company founders and employees.

Spending only five days in San Francisco proved to make our schedule very demanding. We spent 1-2 hours at every place we visited and drove approximately 2-3 hours a day, as we moved around the area visiting the following companies: Air New Zealand, BladeMed Technologies, Microsoft, Google, the Co-Founder of the multi-billion-dollar company NVIDIA, JLabs, Facebook, the Kiwi Landing Pad, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Twilio as well as visiting Stanford University.

As we made our way through Silicon Valley in the first few days, no matter which company we visited, we began to realise that these unbelievably talented leaders had similar words of wisdom to describe their vast variety of journeys. Some of the most memorable were: ‘fail quickly; be creative; good choices come from bad choices and experiences; take risks; and communication is crucial.’

This trip opened our minds to a world we never knew existed. San Francisco was an incredible place to visit as we were really immersed in both the feel of the city and the ideas around Silicon Valley. Within all the companies we visited in San Francisco, the ones located in Silicon Valley were always so willing to share their information with us. We will all carry the memories of this amazing experience with us as we aspire to be as great as the employees we met on this unforgettable journey.

Our last half of the trip took place in Los Angeles. These few days were jam packed full of unique and inspiring talks by many different leaders in their specific career fields. We visited many places including the Warner Brothers studio, Vista group, the University of Southern California, and many more. One of the standout visits we had was to US-based Kiwi entrepreneur, Claudia Batten’s house. Here, Claudia shared her many experiences and life lessons, explaining her journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Coming from a New Zealander, these wise words were reassuring and allowed us to hear what it takes to become a successful leader.

The Vista group talk was also very interesting and inspiring. Here, we talked to four different employees of the Vista company, who shared with us their upbringing and what they contribute to the company. All from many different countries and childhoods, they all shared the same passion and motivation for both their job, and the company.

Along with these inspiring talks, we were also able to have some downtime in places such as Santa Monica Pier, the Angels baseball stadium in Anaheim and Universal Studios. These relaxed activities allowed us to catch our breath and reflect on our trip  while showing we New Zealanders some American culture.

Saying goodbye on the final day to Steve and Sandy (our tour guides), and Kim (our bus driver) was truly hard due to the connections we have gained over the past 12 days. However we are very grateful for the time they had all given up to be on this amazing trip with us, and the effort, organisation, and passion they shared with us to make this trip unforgettable and inspiring.


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