New scholarships “super-charge” leadership talent

The Ben Gough Family Foundation Leaders Scholarships were launched by the Foundation in partnership with the University of Canterbury Business School earlier this year with the goal of accelerating leadership talent.

Simon Shelton, Kirsty Tyro and Sarah How have been selected as the first three successful scholars.

They will each receive a substantial contribution towards their course fees for a University of Canterbury Master of Business Administration degree, collaboration with a high-profile mentor, specialised leadership coaching and an Outward Bound Professional Development course.

Founder of the Ben Gough Family Foundation and business leader Ben Gough says the scholarships are designed to super-charge leadership talent by providing an experience that combines formal study with practical workshops, professional development courses and leadership mentoring.

“The scholars will also have a unique opportunity to engage with a wide range of business and community networks that will help to accelerate and enhance their development pathways.”

Ben and Penny Gough established the Foundation within their Family Office, which incorporates their commercial and investment enterprise and family and philanthropic activity.

“We knew that Waitaha Canterbury had an incredible pool of leadership talent but the quality of the applicants has really exceeded our expectations.

“We look forward to introducing these three scholars to our network of contacts, seeing them flourish with the help of their mentors, and learn and grow from the challenge of their MBA studies at the University of Canterbury.”

University of Canterbury MBA Director Associate Professor Michaela Balzarova says it’s exciting to have the first cohort of scholars beginning their studies in 2022.

“These are people who have already shown considerable drive, innovation and talent in their careers so far, so we can’t wait to see where an MBA from the University of Canterbury will take them.”


The Ben Gough Family Foundation Leaders Scholars for 2022 are:

Simon Shelton is the Senior Project Manager for the Scott Base Redevelopment Project. Simon has led commercial, industrial and humanitarian projects in Afghanistan, Australia, India, New Zealand and Antarctica. He also trained as an ambulance officer and ski guide. He has been the Scott Base Winter Leader, spending 13 months in Antarctica and leading a team of 14 through an Antarctic Winter.

As the project lead for the $344 million Scott Base redevelopment project for the New Zealand Government, Simon will oversee the development of a new research station constructed in Antarctica. It will accommodate up to 100 people and operate off 97 per cent renewable energy in the most remote place on earth.

His mentor for the Leaders Scholarship programme will be Rob Waddell, a highly respected athlete, Gold Medal Olympian and former Chef de Mission for the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth teams.


Kirsty Tyro, a University of Canterbury Bachelor of Commerce graduate, is now Chief Financial Officer at Lane Neave and Managing Director of a start-up business she launched with her husband seven years ago. Kirsty also mentors junior Chartered Accountants through Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and believes mentoring is a crucial part of a professional career.

Her mentor will be UC graduate Catherine Drayton, Chair of Christchurch International Airport Ltd, and Director of Genesis Energy Ltd and Southern Cross Healthcare Ltd.


Sarah How, senior member of the Solutions and Development Team for DairyNZ, has a range of farm business consultancy experience and has served as a member of local and national advisory groups in both the arable and deer industries. Her work has been focused on food and fibre sustainability topics and has also seen her explore agri-export and investment opportunities in Latin America.

Sarah will be mentored by UC graduate Phil Veal, who is Co-Founder of private investment company Business Syndications Ltd, Chair of Kea New Zealand and Board Director of Skyline Healthcare Group Ltd, an air ambulance company.