INTOUCH: Letter from America

Strong leadership around innovation and encouraging competitive spirit is what struck David McConnell most about his recent two-month stint in the United States.
The Committee for Auckland director and managing director of construction and property development group McConnell, was chosen last year as New Zealand’s top emerging leader with his acceptance into the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship in 2008. The Eisenhower Fellowship is headed by former US Secretary of State General Colin Powell and was founded in 1953 as tribute to Dwight Eisenhower.
“There seems to be freedom and sense to innovate. It’s common understanding that you cannot sit still, you have to continually invest and improve as it’s so competitive,” McConnell says.
The fellowship annually identifies 25 emerging leaders from around the world and brings them to America for two months to meet with the cream of leaders in their respective fields.
McConnell spent time at, among others, Intel where he was impressed by the sense of continual objective competition. “It’s go forward or die,” he says, adding that there is strong, and continual, awareness of the need to constantly embrace and develop new technology.
A former Mighty River Power director and TelstraClear Pacific trustee, McConnell has Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Honours) from Canterbury University, an MBA from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Chicago and is recipient of the Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award.
He will share more thoughts and lessons from his trip as keynote speaker at the NZIM Young Executive of the Year Auckland breakfast on July 29.

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