The Blacksmith Team

Kate Billing


There is no other single thing we spend more of our waking hours doing than being at work. So why are so many of us prepared to declare that ‘dead time’, simply exchanging it for money to ‘have a life’ in the few hours between working and sleeping? What if we could all become better people through our experience of work, and do GOOD in the world as well as create business, career and financial success? Those questions occupied my mind for years while I moved from job to job and country to country – playing the same game as everyone else.

My career path has been a twisty turny one that has seen me develop a unique mix of experience and skills in service and brand-experience driven businesses internationally, two of NZ’s top corporate law firms and powerful global brands such as Coca-Cola. I took the road less travelled in 2007 and left the corporate world for the thrills and spills of building a business. I thought I’d give it a year and see what happened. Short answer – I love it! Working in an external partner role with multiple businesses, I can enable far more change than I ever could on the inside. No two days are ever the same and I’m learning and evolving every day. My clients are amazing people who I love seeing deliberately shaping their businesses through strength of purpose, conscious leadership, genuine connection and the performance power of their people.

Together we’re making our world a better workplace.

Paul Leacock

Paul Leacock

Like a lot of kiwis, I grew up in a small town in provincial New Zealand and after returning from four amazing years of travel overseas I got my big break in Auckland and landed a role at IBM. The learning curve was intense – I didn’t know what cut & paste meant and here I was working for the biggest IT Company in the world.

When I think about that time and why I was successful, I have to attribute it in part to having a great manager who connected with me and channelled my passion and enthusiasm into the results that mattered. Unfortunately I have found that generally this is the exception not the norm.

Having managed teams myself, I understand the frustration and isolation one can feel when there are limited resources and support for how to get the best out of your team and align them to the overall business strategy, purpose and brand promise. This is why I am so excited about being part of Blacksmith and the results I know we have delivered for clients across New Zealand by doing just that.

Fiona Hewitt

Fiona resized for website

With a career spanning almost 20 years in senior management and executive roles working for a number of high profile New Zealand organisations, I have observed and experienced how the little things done daily in the business can make a significant difference to both your organisation and your people. 

That perspective has helped me understand the key ingredients required to deliver profitable returns, improved ways of doing business, and ensuring high performing service and people cultures.

My journey and experiences has motivated my desire to add value and make a difference for our clients at Blacksmith. If  that contributes to making a better world through by creating better workplaces then that just makes my work all the more rewarding - each and EVERY day.

Anneke Pinker

Over the last 10 years I have established my career in the dynamic area of capability development, gaining my skills and experience in specialist roles across a broad range of organisations, most recently within the New Zealand public service.  I understand that investing in people starts with the leaders of a business who are entrusted with engaging their teams to perform at a high level.

My experience includes developing and implementing competency frameworks; analysing development needs at the organisational, team, and individual level; coaching managers to fulfil their responsibilities as people managers; facilitation; and designing and delivering innovative learning opportunities that translate into real-world, on-the-job improved performance.

I bring with me a unique energy that enables me to bring out the best in others and build rapport with both senior leaders and business-wide. It is rewarding to work with businesses committed to helping its people recognise and achieve their potential through a personal connection with a shared purpose. As such, I have a strong connection to our mission at Blacksmith – to make the world a better [work] place.

Jo Anderson


We often spend more time at work than we do with our families! I’ve been very fortunate over the years to work with some outstanding, unique personalities and fantastic organisations. Despite that, I’ve also sucked a lemon or two as well! We all know that the wrong roles in the wrong organisations can make life incredibly miserable. It was during one of those lightbulb moments, many years ago now, at I decided that it was never going to happen to me again and I’ve lived and work according to my principles ever since.

I have over 30 years of Executive and operational management experience, and I’ve got a pretty good idea of how a successful workplace should function. Along with my colleagues at Blacksmith, I share a passion for healthy workplace dynamics and behaviours. I’ve seen how getting rid of “stinking thinking” can totally rehabilitate a workplace which in turn leads directly to happy people and bottomline profit.

I’ve got a real interest in human behaviour and love nothing more than to “peoplewatch!” I’m really interested in why people do what they do and also in what motivates them to make those decisions. Through my work at Blacksmith I am lucky enough to be in a position to spread our message in order to make both individuals and organisations be the very best that they can be. LIFE IS AWESOME!!!