Emerging Leader Award

The ACE New Zealand Emerging Leader Award, sponsored by Tonkin + Taylor recognises individuals who have a passion for leadership in the consulting sector, show a commitment to developing themselves, and demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities in their work and in their communities.

Simon Fenton

2020 Emerging Leader winner, Simon Fenton

  • Do you have exceptional leadership qualities?
  • Are 35 years of age or younger?
  • Do you work for an ACE New Zealand member firm?

Key 2021 dates

  • Entries are now open
  • Entries close 13 May
  • Interviews (if selected) 29 - 30 July in Auckland
  • Finalists recognised 8 September at ACE Awards


  • One year on the ACE New Zealand Board
  • A cash prize of $1,500NZD
  • A contribution of up to $10,000NZD towards any professional development course or conference (selections must be pre-approved by ACE New Zealand)  
  • Complimentary registration to attend the 2021 joint ACE New Zealand and IPWEA NZ conference Future-Fit Aotearoa

Two runners-up will receive:  

  • A contribution of up to $1,000NZD towards any professional development course or conference (selections must be pre-approved by ACE New Zealand)  
  • Complimentary registration to attend the 2021 joint ACE New Zealand and IPWEA NZ conference Future-Fit Aotearoa

Who can enter   

To enter the Emerging Leader Award the following criteria apply:   

  • You must be a permanent employee of an ACE New Zealand member firm
  • You must be 35 years of age or under at the date of entry
  • You must be a New Zealand citizen or have permanent residency
  • You don't need to be an engineer – project managers, architects, planners, scientists or anyone else working in a consulting capacity within an ACE New Zealand member firm can apply
  • It's expected that you will be at junior-early management level or can demonstrate an equal level of leadership and responsibility within your firm
  • A senior manager from your firm must nominate you
    • Your nominator should be aware that the prize would be an opportunity for you to develop further skills but will involve a time commitment  for the following two years
  • You must be able to demonstrate a personal commitment to continued professional development (CPD) by providing a summary of CPD undertaken over the last three years
  • The winner and two finalists must remain employed by an ACE New Zealand member firm and working in New Zealand while they are taking up any part of the prize. All prizes will be forfeited if employment ceases with an ACE New Zealand member firm or  if they are not working in New Zealand
  • There is a limit of no more than three applicants per company
  • Applicants selected for interview must attend  29 - 30 July in Auckland (travel costs covered for non-Auckland based applicants)  

What you need before you begin your application

Before you make your application, you'll need to prepare an application report. The  report should include:    

  • A bio about yourself
    • Maximum of 250 words used for publicity material. ACE New Zealand reserves the right to edit materials
  • Nominator’s statement about your leadership outlining:
    • Your potential as a leader
    • Your ability to motivate and inspire the people around you (this can be both professionally or through community leadership)
    • How you work for the betterment of the consulting sector
    • How you work effectively with key stakeholders (clients, contractors, other consultants)
    • Include the statement of confirmation by the nominator and signature
      • I (nominator name) confirm that the entrant is an employee of (company name) and meets the criteria for entry
  • Your role as a consultant in the community
    • Provide  three  to four   examples  where you’ve played a significant role  as a consultant in the community (a  maximum of one page is required for each  example)
    • Focus  on the part you played, emphasising where leadership qualities were essential and how your actions demonstrated this 
    • The judges are interested in learning how your actions influenced the team, collaborators,  clients and stakeholders
    • The judges will consider:
      • Level of responsibility
      • A high-level understanding of the wider impact and issues faced within this example
      • Liaison with other stakeholders involved
      • Other matters relevant
      • Leadership demonstrated
    • If projects are used as examples, the size or nature of the projects and technical innovation are not considered. The award is based solely on demonstrating leadership, skills and potential
  • Community leadership
    • At least one example  of any non-work roles you play in the community where you demonstrate leadership.  This could be industry groups, community groups, personal experiences 
  • Four specialist questions  (a  maximum of one page is required for each  question)
    • Describe how you’ve successfully brought about change. Don’t just tell us the outcome, rather the specific actions that you took to achieve the change
    • Describe how your leadership supports the advancement and attention of better outcomes in health, safety and wellbeing
    • Tell us about your leadership journey (formative experiences) and use two to three examples to illustrate that journey
    • Where would you take your leadership journey into the future? Have you identified an emergent area of leadership for yourself
  • Letters of support
    • Provide one to two letters of support. These can be from a client or another project member (not within the same firm)
  • CPD record
    • A record of the courses or conferences completed in the past three years  
    • Any business-related training courses and the hours spent completing
  • We encourage applicants to review their  application report as spelling, grammatical and other writing mistakes may distract the judges from your content

Previous winners  

View previous Emerging Leader winners and finalists

Apply now