Emerging Leader Award

The ACE New Zealand Emerging Leader Award, sponsored by Tonkin + Taylor, recognises consultants who show excellent leadership skills and a strong commitment to their own personal growth. Importantly, the award acknowledges those who actively promote and embody diversity and inclusion in their work environment and communities, with a commitment to advancing both our consulting sector and the communities we serve.  

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

Then consider applying! 

2023 Emerging Leader Award

2023 Emerging Leader Award winner Victoria Mills

Key dates

  • Submissions open Wednesday, 12 June 
  • Submissions close Friday, 19 July 
  • Short-listed candidates informed by Wednesday, 14 August 
  • Interviews Monday, 26 August in Auckland
  • Short-listed candidates notified if they are a finalist or not no later than mid September 
  • The winner announced at the ACE Awards Gala on Thursday, 24 October in Christchurch

What you'll win

  • 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 Futurespace 2024 (the ACE New Zealand conference)

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 Futurespace 2024 (the ACE New Zealand conference)

Who can enter

To enter the Emerging Leader Award:   

  • 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 can be working in a consulting capacity in any discipline (not just engineering)
  • 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
  • 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 Aotearoa
  • There is a limit of no more than two applicants per company
  • Applicants selected for an interview must attend (travel costs covered for non-Auckland-based applicants)  

What you need for your application

It's important that you prepare the application yourself (and not your marketing department), so that our judges can get to know you better. This year we’ve significantly reduced the scale of the application – please stick to the word limits provided.

The application must include:    

  • A bio about yourself for publicity material (a maximum of 250 words). ACE New Zealand reserves the right to edit materials
  • Nominator’s statement about your leadership (a maximum of 500 words) outlining: 
    • Your potential as a leader
    • Your ability to motivate and inspire the people around you (this can be professionally or through community leadership)
    • How you work for the betterment of the consulting sector
    • How you work effectively with stakeholders (clients, community, contractors, other consultants)
    • Include the following statement of confirmation by the nominator and their signature:
      • I (nominator name) confirm that the entrant is an employee of (company name) and meets the criteria for entry
  • Consulting leadership: provide three examples where you’ve demonstrated significant leadership as a consultant (a maximum of 250 words per example) 
    • Focus on the part you played as a consultant, emphasising where leadership qualities were essential and how your actions demonstrated this  
    • The judges are interested in learning how your actions influenced others. For example, your team, business, collaborators, clients, other stakeholders 
    • The judges will consider:
      • Level of responsibility
      • A high-level understanding of the wider impact and issues faced within the example (such as diversity, equity, sustainability, safety) 
      • Liaison with stakeholders (for example, clients, community, iwi, other consultants, contractors) 
    • 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 in consulting excellence
  • Community leadership: provide up to two examples of non-work roles you play in the community where you demonstrate leadership (a maximum of 250 words per example) 
    • This could be as part of an industry group, community group, iwi, personal experience 
    • Describe how your community leadership has influenced your consulting leadership 
  • Leadership development and future leadership (a maximum of 300 words per question): 
    • Question 1: 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 
    • Question 2: Describe how your leadership fosters diversity and inclusion in our sector 
    • Question 3: Describe how your leadership supports the advancement and attention of better outcomes in health, safety, sustainability, and environment  
    • Question 4: Tell us about your leadership journey (formative experiences) and use examples to illustrate that journey 
  • Letters of support: provide two letters of support 
    • One letter must be from a client or another project stakeholder (not within the same firm)

Previous winners

View previous Emerging Leader winners and finalists


Applications open Wednesday, 12 June for the Emerging Leader Award