GoAbroad Interview

Nic Whitfeld - Course Director

Nic Whitfield - Course Director

As a coach, trainer and facilitator, Nic focuses on leadership and team development for Future Foundations. Throughout his career, he has had clients from education to corporate business to professional sports, always helping individuals and teams reach their own goals. His experience ranges from leading expeditions in Antarctica to managing the performance of the English Rugby League team. Australian-born, England based, and globally-operated, Nic relishes in helping people be the best they can be at whatever they choose, so they feel good about themselves and others.

How were you first connected with Future Foundations (FF)?

I was working with Katie Granville-Chapman from Wellington College who introduced me to FF. I’d been helping Katie with the Wellington Leadership Institute, running a few workshops for the students in team development and leadership. I instantly felt at home with FF, and knew the relationship would go deeper than purely professional; working with FF is more of a vocation than a job.

What inspired you to get involved with the organization?

Our intentions were incredibly aligned. We both wanted to help create the next generation of leaders. Very simple, really. Without that alignment, I wouldn’t have worked with FF because life is too short. The added bonus was that the people at FF were great fun and really professional. But, it wasn’t wasn’t frivolous fun; I’d say it was meaningful fun, enjoying what you’re doing, knowing that it’s making a difference.

Sunny day in Antarctica

You’ve conducted leadership trainings in and worked on nearly every continent. How do you use your professional experience to make Future Foundations’ GSL program a success?

I know the global nature of our work might sound alluring, but at the end of the day, people are people, no matter where we’re from. So the fact that I’ve worked in a few interesting places matters less and less when you get closer to the individuals in front of you. That said, I’d say the greatest gain from travelling and working abroad has been an increase in my awareness and appreciation for difference. I love diversity, so having a room full of open-eyed young people from many different countries is just so inspiring and exciting, imagining what’s possible.

What makes Future Foundations unique in your mind?

FF is incredibly genuine with its intention. There are plenty of well-meaning organisations around, so I’m not necessarily saying FF is the only organisation in this category. But I’ve been with FF for a few years now, and have seen it tested time and time again and each time it has remained true to its mission. I find that very impressive and inspiring.

Why should every student consider enrolling in leadership training courses?

At the very best, you’ll learn to lead yourself. The world is full of indoctrination, people, and organisations wishing to grab our attention, trying to pull us in their direction. The world has enough people blindly following the latest fad or guru, film-star, or popstar.

Learning to lead yourself breaks you free of containment and enables you to make decisions based on what your head and heart are telling you, letting your inner compass guide you rather than letting someone else direct you to where they want you to go.

I’m not talking about creating a bunch of mavericks or rebels; just a new generation that take responsibility for their own decisions, and are fully inspired by what they want to do, for the good of humankind. Now, if we get that right, inspiration and compassion will flow, and leading others will largely take care of itself.

Discussing about Micro loan

How do you help build confidence in each GSL participant?

There are plenty of skills they learn, which are great. There are loads of models and stories that give a new way of looking at the world and potential challenges they’ll face as leaders, which helps. But it’s the experiences that really transforms the participants on GSL, stepping out of their comfort zones with a loving and supportive safety net.

What is the biggest benefit of the GSL Program?

You are contributing to something bigger than you, having a great time doing it. I think we provide a great canvas, but the participants from all around the world give it colour. And the participants really get a sense of the big wide world.

Why do you love working for Future Foundations?

It’s a fun and meaningful adventure, with a great team who really care about what they’re doing. What more could you ask for.