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January 2016 Issue
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Future leader

Gemma Parkin oversees the outdoor experiences of thousands of young children

Gemma Parkin oversees the outdoor experiences of thousands of young children, writes Graham Seatter

In the one year Gemma Parkin has been centre manager of Hillary Outdoors Great Barrier Island,  she has become established as a very effective leader.

Gemma runs a centre that provides outdoor education experiences for around 1000 young people each year from up to 40 different schools with programmes varying from five days to five weeks. She’s responsible for the quality of all programmes across a diverse range of activities with safety always being the paramount factor.

Our school clients have been fulsome in their praise of the work that Gemma has done and the leadership she has provided. The consistent message has been that she is quietly effective and thorough in ensuring things run smoothly while also ensuring the young people have great learning experiences with elements of personal challenge and adventure.

Gemma oversees up to eight instructional staff in any week with a combination of full-time and part-time employees. She’s an excellent leader of her team, effectively balancing staff independence and decision-making with appropriate support given the dual challenges of the two natures – human nature and mother nature – along with the challenge of living and working in a very remote location.

Gemma has established a strong presence and is demonstrating excellent potential as a future leader of the outdoor sector.

– Graham Seatter is the chief executive of Hillary Outdoors