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Introducing our new CEO

Updated: May 4, 2022

Before we introduce our new CEO, we'd like to take a moment to acknowledge our Chief Operating Officer, Sara Palmer, who for the last couple of months has supported Nicholson Consulting as Acting CEO. She's done a fantastic job at keeping our business moving, our team engaged, and our vision alive. Thank you, Sara!

We're incredibly excited to welcome Bernadette Scanlon, our new CEO, to Nicholson Consulting!

Bernie joined our team in mid-February. She brings an impressive skillset and a long list of applicable professional experience to Nicholson Consulting, but more than this, Bernie is values-led and impact-driven, which strongly resonates with our team, our clients, and our vision. We sat down for five minutes with Bernie and asked her some questions about her background and approach to leadership.

Grab a cuppa and enjoy!

Kia ora, Bernie! Could you please provide a bit of background about yourself?

I am a born and bred Wellingtonian, who grew up in the wonderful suburb of Lyall Bay. I returned to New Zealand at the end of 2020, after living in both the Netherlands and the UK. I still can’t quite believe I get to wake up to the sound of kākā and kererū playing, and am so appreciative that I am just a stone’s throw away from a bush walk.

I am extremely whānau oriented and prioritise a lot of my spare time experiencing life with my family – sharing random stories, debating issues, supporting one another and laughing - a lot. Being Pasifika, this naturally involves a lot of delectable food.

It’s always interesting to hear about how people arrive at positions like this in their career. Could you please provide a bit of background about your professional trajectory so far?

My career to date has been quite varied – from tax consultant, to working with distressed organisations; strategy and risk consultant to organisational designer. Through all though, there have been common threads. I always choose roles based on the level of positive impact I can create (both indirect and direct). I also love problem solving – always have, and most likely always will.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is around the complexity and wonder of ‘people’ – how we are only as good as the people behind the systems, processes, technologies and tools we create. So, getting to know people, whether your team, clients, or stakeholders, is key.

What values do you bring to your approach to work and leadership? Why do you think they are important, or in what ways do they support you?

The values I strive to live by are similar in both a work and social setting. Whilst I can try and state them to you, the best test would be to ask people who have worked with me in the past. Hopefully their views would mirror my own self-reflection.

I strongly believe that kindness and empathy go a long way, and do wonders in building trusting relationships. Also, deliberately not being judgmental is a great way to keep your biases in check. Further, it is kind to be direct and clear, which may include having to make some hard calls and holding difficult conversations.

As already mentioned, I care deeply about creating a positive and lasting impact for our communities. Whichever way you see it, I believe this is a sound policy to live by. Economically, it's a great use of scarce resources and is likely to be the most sustainable approach. Plus, doing good for others can be fantastic for one’s wellbeing, so a win-win all-round. Personally, coming from a low socio-economic demographic, I have always felt strongly about social justice issues. I believe I have an obligation to serve my community and help alleviate some of the harms felt, especially by our most vulnerable.

What excites you most about being the CEO of Nicholson Consulting?

Nicholson Consulting is a flourishing organisation – both in terms of the incredible and diverse minds of its people and the progressive projects being worked on. I feel incredibly humbled to be appointed the new CEO.

I especially love how Nicholson Consulting applies a human-centric mindset to data analytics. Data analytics is more than mere number crunching. It's about the people and communities that sit behind it - their stories and their experiences – and when used correctly, can be a powerful mechanism to help create a more equitable Aotearoa.

Thank you so much or your time, Bernie! We can't wait to be part of the awesome initiatives that will support Nicholson Consulting to evolve as a consultancy and continue to do meaningful mahi guided by your leadership.

If you're interested in learning more about Bernie and hearing about Nicholson Consulting's aspirations for 2022, don't hesitate to get in touch by emailing

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