The ‘Influence of 8’

“In today’s uncertain economy, the success or demise of businesses is in the hands of their people.

My business ethos has been built on the belief that building a sustainable business begins with everyone from the shop floor to the boardroom being treated with dignity, compassion and respect.

I believe the key to ensuring people and businesses achieve their true potential is to ensure that well-being, psychological safety and building healthy workplace relationships is a top priority.

Being part of Rata’s ‘Influence of 8’ Group enables me to work with others who put people front and centre and who share a common set of values and ethical business practices.”

Gail Page

“The world is changing at an exceptional rate and businesses have to step up to keep pace and keep growing.

My business ethos is founded on the belief that people in an organisation are pivotal in making the difference between the organisation (barely) surviving or prospering and thriving.

These people need to be valued, cared for and given opportunities to develop their strengths and capabilities.

Being part of Rata’s ‘Influence of 8’ Group means I work in an environment that mirrors this ethos, that is, one of ethical, value-based attitudes, intentions and practices.”

Dr Lesley Petersen

“I love people who are passionate about something and I especially love people that are passionate about making a positive difference in the world.

Rata demonstrates these qualities and has brought together a diverse range of people for the ‘Influence of 8’ Group who also fall into that category.

The chance to share our knowledge and experience openly with the aim to work together to disrupt some of the current work practices which are not putting people at the heart of things – was too interesting to resist.

I hope to work alongside these other practitioners to collectively look for ways where we can use our knowledge to drive things forward and for the betterment of people.”

Melissa Crawford

“People are our greatest resource.

Developing awareness and understanding of the human behavioural drivers of attitudes to workplace health and safety is critical in today’s disposable culture.

I am most pleased to be working with Rata and the ‘Influence of 8’ Group which, through its highly ethical approach, provides a medium in which important messages may be delivered to people with the power to create change.

Businesses will benefit from a fresh approach to workplace culture by applying drivers which influence worker attitudes and behaviour – thereby, improving their job satisfaction and productivity for the employer.”

Peter Simunovich

“I believe that people are the reason for work and they always work for a reason.

Without the people or the business being healthy, committed, engaged and safe – work will fail. People are our business, and our business should be our people.

Working with Rata and the ‘Influence of 8’ Group will allow involvement in constructive thinking and the chance to influence business around sustainable workplaces built on the back of putting people everywhere at the ‘centre of everything’.

Ethical, sustainable business requires all people it interacts with to be able to observe the behaviours and actions that underpin that.

Rata can help start to move people and business with education, discussions and building better understanding and I want to be part of that.”

Steve Symonds

“Our young people are our future workforce. In these challenging times, our young people need help entering the world of work.

A mismatch between expectations and fewer roles available mean that young people are finding it increasingly hard to enter paid employment.

In talking regularly with young people, we hear how they are struggling with the transition from school to work, how they have lost confidence in themselves and their abilities, and how they don’t know what career pathway is right for them or they feel lost.

Being part of Rata’s ‘Influence of 8’ Group enables me to work with others who have a common desire and willingness to create sustainable change in our workplaces and communities.

In bringing together our collective expertise and passion, we can achieve far more than if we were working as alone.”

Tania Gough

“As an HR specialist, I am a firm believer of values driven leadership,

whereby we take personal accountability for our leadership decisions, understanding that our choices impact real people, real families and real communities we all operate within.

It is vital that we, as national and global leaders, take a genuine ethical and values driven approach to our businesses and organisations, ensuring our next generation of leaders have a strong foundation to build upon.

Rata’s vision of helping to build an ethical and sustainable business community resonates with me deeply, placing people at the heart of all we do – whether they are customers, employees or the wider community.”

Tom O’Neil

“As a topic, Sustainability is similar to Climate Change – it is huge and difficult to comprehend.

We are however, coming to grips with it as a society and an understanding that it presents enormous challenges for the Business Community.

My own journey with V-Formation and specifically around Values Alignment challenged my thinking of how I viewed the relationship between Sustainability and Business.

Rata’s ‘Influence of 8’ Group, is a concept that connects a focussed and experienced group from diverse backgrounds to focus on a topic that often exists more as window dressing rhetoric than it does as reality.

This alone made it an easy decision for me to join the ‘Influence of 8’.”

Vaughan Winiata

“I have worked and collaborated with Rata for five years now.

I first hooked up with them due to a genuine, shared interest in sustainability and how it should be focussed on ‘people’.

Rata impressed me with their commitment to create positive change in the business community and is an organisation that I have complete trust in because of their strong ethics. I found that Rata never gives up. They keep their promises and actually care about our fellow human beings and the planet we all live on. Refreshingly – they are 4Real. Rata – I felt, represents the true, authentic voice of the rapidly evaporating ‘fair and decent New Zealand society’ that I signed up for.

Over the following years we presented our shared thinking, often opening people’s eyes to a new way of viewing the issues they are facing. By opening people’s eyes and promoting new ideas of thinking – this helps to rid the ‘same old, same old’ approach which results in ‘little to no change’. And – now we have the current crisis, and the opportunity presents itself to actually fundamentally change our thinking and the world to make a true difference.

The ‘Influence of 8’ initiative attracted me as I wanted to be part of this group along with the other partners to encourage further change.”

Chris Till

“I am who I surround myself with and Rata, along with the ‘Influence of 8’ partners, can only inspire and motivate me to be the best version of me.

Empowering and motivating our people of Aotearoa to love what they do and who they do it with, creates the belief that they are a priority and the necessity to focus on their health and well-being will lead to happy and healthy sustainable lifestyles.

We are all unique and we all have a purpose and through this connection – we can: #wakeupandlive!”

Danielle Paki

“People, culture and brand. These three things should be at the core of everything we do, should do and everything we should aspire to be as people and as businesses.

Without a strong sense of culture and hardworking people, you do not have a business, regardless of whether you are one or many. Strength of brand and trust then comes as secondary to great people and a great working environment. Rata’s ‘Influence of 8’ initiative is something I wanted to be a part of as they are actually DOING something that is going to have long term benefit on New Zealand businesses.”

Eve Lawrence

“It all started following a Newstalk ZB interview during COVID, with Kerry McIvor, on finding work.

The topic resonated with Sandra Pringle, Director of Rata Professional Services, so she made immediate contact, and we got talking.

And isn’t this the way it goes sometimes – serendipitous moments and wide ranging conversations, that lead to great decisions!

Sandra explained the reason for the ‘Influence of 8’ and I was struck by the sense of higher purpose this group aspires to achieve.

Having been in and out of the doors of thousands of businesses over thirty years in the people profession – there’s not just room for the impact of this group, but recent times have shown there is an absolute critical need. The ‘people as assets’ days – are over.”

Jane Kennelly

“Through my work as a finance broker, I get to see the results of people’s money decisions.

Often, poor outcomes are due to a lack of knowledge or understanding and I believe that is due to a gap in quality information being available.

Money may not buy happiness, but debt cycles and poor spending choices can certainly contribute to significant amounts of unhappiness.

And, I believe that as a community we will be far better off if financial literacy is raised across the board.

The synergy between Rata’s passion for sustainability, both for the environment and for the people at all levels of a business, along with my passion for ensuring that resources are available to help people make informed decisions for a brighter future mean that our complementary skills work together to offer a balance of resources to bring the very best out of your team in all areas.”

Jemma Ross

“As an entrepreneur I have long believed in and frequently benefited from the power of collaboration.

In Aotearoa we use the word daily however practice it’s principles infrequently. As the social issues in Aotearoa get deeper and more complex, they are no longer purely the domain of Community Groups and Social Workers. The Wellness of Aotearoa rests with all of us. Being part of Rata enables me the opportunity to contribute a strength that when combined with the strengths of others becomes potent. ‘Not one of us knows more than all of us’.”

Katheren Leitner

“Leadership is not a dirty word – despite what your experience or the media suggests.

Leadership is a skill that has a compounding effect on every part of your life; it requires resilience to be mastered. But we were told that leaders are born and so live a life of conformity.

We hide in the shadows – pretending – to ensure we do not offend. We walk the easy path because no one has shown us the true path. The truth is, leaders are made, it’s just that the ‘recipe’ was a ‘secret’.

My path to leadership has been, and remains, long and winding and now I work with individuals and businesses to share that ‘recipe’ and ‘secret’.

The ‘Influence of 8’ Group is a catalyst and accelerator, bringing together experience and focus from a wide range of backgrounds to a direct challenge that New Zealand and, more broadly, the world faces. I am honoured to play my part.”

Stew Darling

“A chance meeting with Sandra and Warren at a function in the Hawke’s Bay over a decade ago

resulted in me a few years later becoming an independent auditor for the Rata Certification Programme while it was trialed in the marketplace over a number of years.

Since then, we have bounced ideas around together about developing a network of meetings around New Zealand to pull business leaders together to share ideas and learn from each other.

I want to assist businesses to help them become ‘more equal’ than their competitors by creating a significant point of difference.

Therefore, I naturally wanted to become involved in the ‘Influence of 8’ Group to work with Rata and the other partners to add my skills and knowledge into the mix.”

Tony Hocking

The ‘Influence of 8’ focuses on the importance of recognising and understanding why people matter in organisations, their personal lives, the wider communities they live in and how these are all inter-connected.

This initiative brings together like-minded people and organisations who have an abundance of ideas, experiences and industry knowledge, who have a common thread and a willingness to share with the business community to create change – both professionally and personally.

Together, we bring strength to the message.

Rata’s dream, with the support of our partners is to create positive change for employees, their families, wider communities and ultimately, within businesses which will add tremendous value to overall health, well-being and productivity in New Zealand.

Rata is the centre of the ‘ripple effect’, radiating positive energy to create positive change. Like us, dream weavers are leaders – who can really make a difference if we collaborate with a positive vision to amplify the overall message.

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Our Eight Foundation Partners:


Dr Lesley Petersen







Our Eight Ambassador Partners:









To learn more, a three book information pack is available on request.

Each book covers different aspects of what we’re trying to create. The books are:

  • Book One: How It Works
  • Book Two: Module Sessions
  • Book Three: Meet The Team
Request More Information

To join the ‘Influence of 8’ LinkedIn business group page to be inspired and informed click here:

'Influence of 8' LinkedIn Group