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About Play CoLab

 Founded in 2016

Our Story

Play Contemporary Leadership CoLab evolved from an observation that despite a global spend of well over US$350billion* per annum in leadership development and training initiatives, leadership was the ever-increasing complexity of contemporary realities. Structural issues such as diversity and inclusion, gender equity right through to environmental sustainability and climate change remained something for the next generation of leaders to sort out. Organisational transformation efforts were reported to have a success rate of only around 15% and individuals were lapping up coaching and development courses but still left wanting.


What if the answer lay in how leadership development itself was delivered? For instance, providers were espousing the benefits of collaborative leadership but not embedding this into their own practice.


So, we embarked on a process of research, experimentation and discovery which has eventuated to a practice centered around group process, collaboration and a kaupapa of raising the consciousness of leaders. Our conversations span the deeply personal to the global, and in so doing, we fundamentally disrupt the worldview of leaders including how they view themselves as agents of transformation.


The work of Play CoLab incorporates leadership development, an understanding of systems and culture and a contemporary take on diversity and inclusion. While our nucleus is small, our participants and consultancy clients become collaborators in contemporary leadership practice so our work has a ripple effect.



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The Collaborators

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Sandy Burgham

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Jenny Devine

Jenny’s life work is about the conscious awakening, growth and development of leaders. She considers herself to be an evolutionary – one of many globally – deeply curious about how we evolve to be a more enduring and mature species that is better able to care for each other, our planet and our collective future. Jenny’s background includes holding leadership positions in the public health sector where her interest in leadership extended past management and leadership practice to the development of leaders. A move to the USA in 2003 enabled her to study directly under the tutorage of Debbie Ford, a pioneer of Jungian shadow work whose integrative approach made it accessible to all people. In 2009 Jenny returned to her native New Zealand to bring this work home. She currently resides at Waihi Beach, New Zealand where she enjoys being deep in the heart of nature. She frequently travels to the USA. Jenny has a B.A. Social Sciences and an M.A. Consciousness Studies. She is a certified integrative coach, an experienced consultant in The Leadership Circle 360 profile, a certified yoga teacher and a recognised mindfulness practitioner.

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Jane Horan

Jane is an economic anthropologist with expertise in the analysis of economy and the way this intersects with gender, political economy, and organisational structure. She is an exacting and academically rigorous social researcher and critical thinker, who is skilled at responding to research briefs in nuanced, but pragmatic and innovative ways. She has worked extensively over the last 20 years in contract research and evaluation, designing and conducting research projects for corporate organisations, NGOs, government, and in academia. As a commercial researcher, Jane has been contracting to the business sector where she works with organizations keen to more fundamentally understand the social construction of markets and business contexts, and how the powerful shifts occurring politically and culturally impact not only commercial approaches, but also their social license to operate. Jane is Tangata Tiriti and is a research associate at the James Henare Māori Research Centre at the University of Auckland and collaborates with various research agencies as well as Play.

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Jenna Wee

Jenna’s life work is emerging as the study and integration of  "eastern" philosophy into "western" frameworks and structures.  She made the intentional move from a decade-long career in marketing management toward a more multifaceted and holistic way of being that includes her collaboration with Play CoLab as Operations Manager and Mentor and Facilitator of cohorts in their 20s and 30s. In addition to being a Certified Coach and having experienced two Play CoLab leadership programmes, she has expertise in facilitating and engaging in conversations specific to the experience and expression of the Asian identity in a Western context - both academically (she has recently completed a Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies) and creatively (through founding the podcast Asian in Aotearoa). Being of Chinese, Japanese, Pākehā and Melanau descent, Jenna provides a unique insight into how those of the minority may navigate and “play” in the world we work and live in.

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Precious Clark

Precious is of Ngāti Whātua, Waikato and Pākehā descent and was born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.  She is the Managing Director of Maurea Consulting Ltd, an organisation that shares Māori culture globally so that it shapes and informs a modern world. Precious is the creator of Te Kaa – a unique Māori cultural competency training programme that brings the Māori world to life in a fun, safe and exploratory way. She holds a number of governance positions including Ngāti Whātua Orākei Whai Rawa Ltd, the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board and is the Chair of the Auckland War Memorial Museum Taumata-ā-Iwi. She is a Trustee of both Foundation North and the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust as well as being a Member of the Institute of Directors and the National Māori Lawyers Association. Precious feeds her creativity as a singer, songwriter, performer and dancer and is often called upon as a cultural practitioner by her iwi (tribe) and others to lead ceremonies in accordance with traditional Maori values. In 2011 it was Precious who had the honour of performing the karanga at the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup held in Auckland. It is from this base of strength that she draws confidence to teach her culture, and also to challenge perceptions within and of her culture.

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Yolande Dewey

Alongside her 25 year career in the creative sector in which she became one of Australasia’s most experienced Executive Producers, working globally, Yolande has nurtured her keen interest in social advocacy and building community networks. This eventuated in her becoming a trained volunteer crisis counsellor for Lifeline Australia and a role with the NZ Red Cross Refugee Program supporting new arrivals. Her leadership has been recognised in both the film industry where she currently serves on the executive committee of the NZ Advertising Producers Group (NZAPG) as well as the not for profit sector when in 2017 she was invited to become a trustee of The Funding Network NZ, a registered charity supporting positive social change work in New Zealand. Yolande is an alumni of a Play CoLab leadership programme, and in her ongoing collaboration with Play, provides pastoral care support to all course participants.

Sandy’s 30+ year working life has afforded her leadership positions in four completely different sectors – communications, research, retail and leadership development. Through these experiences she became curious that every sector had patterned approaches to change, strategy and culture and predictable characteristics amongst those who were typically awarded leadership status.  This led to the founding of Play CoLab, a deliberate practice in collaboration and a living enquiry into contemporary leadership approach.  Sandy is a widely experienced strategist, researcher and group facilitator. She is also a certified leadership coach. She has been for many years a social commentator, columnist and public speaker on social trends and issues including diversity and inclusion, innovation and reinvention.  Her  academic interests pertain to the role of gender in systems which lead to a mid-life BA in Gender Studies and History, with first class honours.  She considers her identity as a half Japanese half Pakeha New Zealander critical to her mindset and worldview.  Sandy is based off-grid on Aotea, Great Barrier Island.

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