About My Life

Jon WinderAbout My Life

My life has been a gift, providing many rich experiences, and the opportunity to serve in numerous ways.  I am pleased I was born in New Zealand, in the heart of the Manawatu sheep country. As a young boy I had a very vivid experience of the land and its interplay, the animals, working with my father, my mother and sister, my brother and other men, and understanding how to take care of the land. We worked collaboratively with neighbors as a vibrant community.

That experience underpins much of what happened in my life. We had to become practical problem-solvers, work collaboratively and innovatively, understanding how to repair machinery, take care of an enormous range of tasks with great degrees of self-sufficiency and resiliency. As boys we thought nothing of going out in the winter in bad weather so long as we were well dressed and fed.  We would ride horses to the back of the farm, take care of various tasks and come home to a hearty meal. It was all part of the day’s work. 

This resiliency transformed into the next experience of being a student, thirsty for learning, wanting to understand what the issues of the world were, the core principles and causes of things. I was lucky to go to Nelson College, one of the oldest schools in New Zealand, a traditional boys’ school.  We learned about camaraderie, manhood, friendship, leadership, loyalty and service, as well as our studies. University training at Canterbury, Auckland and Massey Universities led to a Master of Arts and Post-Graduate training in educational technology.  This was an enjoyable time and launched me into my deep interest in learning and the desire to make a difference at a national level to support this beautiful country.

It wasn’t a difficult transition to go from there into teaching, my first career. I was a natural student. I loved reading, learning and research, asking the big questions, always wondering, and wanting to support others to do these things too. I had a fascinating teaching career, touching many parts of New Zealand through this work and later through working with Principals, schools and their communities. It was exciting because students’ lives and families’ lives changed as a result of the work.

This phase was about leadership, organisation, creating culture and above all knowing how to experience the dynamics of deeper learning. Learning is something that has fascinated me all my life. I became interested in the deeper questions:  how we can be happy? live in close relationship with all people and take care of this beautiful planet? lead successful lives and run dynamic organizations? I have also been privileged to work in Maori communities and to learn from their vibrant culture as I have also learnt from and respect the First Nations of North America.

These kinds of questions took me naturally into my next phase as a business consultant and executive coach. I not only explore those questions, but support others to answer them in relationship to their lives – whether they own a business, work in a corporation, a not-for-profit, or seek a life change. 

The questions have deepened and become centered around consciousness: Who am I? What is the meaning of my life? What is my great purpose?  How can I fulfill my personal, family, business goals as well as live my greater purpose and be in harmony with myself and the universe?  What is this extraordinary complexity I carry? And how quickly can I transform myself to fulfill all that I am capable of and, if required, to assist others to walk this path too?  This work is focused on senior leaders, high profilers and companies throughout New Zealand, Australia and United States. Over the years, through our company Sephira Institute, I have served hundreds of leaders and businesses in many sectors such as: health, logistics, education, training, IT, social services, marine, construction and finance.

This phase also led me to a place of eldership, as a grandparent and a person who has worked with thousands of people over a span of time. Part of this phase is also legacy work. My wife Diane and I support young boys who have shifted off center to come back on track with their families, schools and their lives. You can reference this work at www.winderfoundation.org.

Running through all these activities has been my deep interest in art, music and storytelling. For years I played keyboard in a band, and in many presentations played the role of storyteller. The telling of stories has always been dear to me as I feel it is one of the quickest ways to reach people’s hearts and minds. It is a way to allow a landscape to emerge whereby others can see where their pathway lies. It is another way to provide a model of change that others can pursue if inspired to do so. I am a passionate New Zealander, not only enjoying living in this unique land, but have sought ways to support our country to be the best it can be in education, business, social equity and environmental responsibility, with a voice of balance and coherence in this fast changing world.

These last decades have been deeply collaborative. With my wife, closest friend and co-director Diane Winder, and through our Sephira Institute, we have created a body of work that is transformative, particularly for leaders and organizations. This work provides many unique and innovative processes and practices that support leaders in their quest to be conscious and their passion to create conscious organizations. To be mindful of the value of all human beings and their interactions. To act ethically and sustainably, as well to run highly successful and profitable organizations.  By putting first things first, by practicing the art of living a vision, by living core values, by being a real person in service through business for the greater good, we encourage leaders to live extraordinary lives.

I am a proud father and grandfather of four. To this day my life has been a rich and very happy journey and one that becomes more and more expansive as the years open up.

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