Sam Johnson, Young New Zealander of the Year 2012, is very much in demand. Speaker engagements, presentations, TV shows…he’s met the Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton, and danced with Camilla. Not bad for a guy from a farm from Mayfield, mid Canterbury. (If you’ve been under a bushel for the past two years and are wondering who on earth he is check out his website .) Here at Victoria, we are about to recognise our Victoria Plus Award recipients at a ceremony next week. All these students have developed leadership skills through extra-curricular involvement in volunteer and student support work at university and in the community. It is fitting that last week TV1 screened an episode of NZ Story featuring Sam Johnson. As founder of the Student Volunteer Army, Student Volunteer Arm Charitable Trust and Ministry of Awesome, Sam firmly believes in grass-roots volunteering in communities and how important it is for young people to get involved. In the TV programme he, and others around him, talk about the skills he has needed to achieve his aims. He describes himself as a big picture person who likes to act rather than get bogged down in processes. However he recognises the need to surround himself by a team of people who have the skills he doesn’t to get the job done. (For example, his sister manages his hectic day-to-day schedule.) Most leaders have that enviable charismatic quality that draws people towards them and Sam has this in spades. He is able to relate and talk to anyone, has boundless energy and comes across as very genuine and credible. What struck me most about Sam is his humility – he remembers where he comes from and as his Dad says, still has to do his chores on the farm.
Watch Sam’s story on TV on demand here