If you were to ask anyone who knows Paul Blackwell they will tell you not only can he be counted on for sound business advice, he’s the kind of boss who takes his greatest pleasure in his team’s success – over and above that of his own. He’s the first to brush off any praise for his achievements, so you can be assured being in the spotlight for winning a Blake Leader Award makes him feel pretty uncomfortable.
Regardless, Foodstuffs North Island CEO Chris Quin, who nominated Paul, can’t think of a more deserving recipient for someone who has determination, a will to succeed and a belief in achieving extraordinary things in business, sport and community.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”, and this is exactly how Paul Blackwell inspires the people around him. My colleagues constantly tell me that Paul never seeks acknowledgment - his personal reward is about making a real and meaningful difference. Paul and his wife Liz have a stellar list of accomplishments which includes owning one of the most successful PAK’nSAVE stores in the country, coaching hundreds of employees to grow, publishing inspirational works, supporting his church and the community and steering the New Zealand Breakers to a series of heart-stopping wins in the Australian National Basketball League.”
Described as an inspirational husband, father and brother, colleague, boss, Chairman and Director, the list of Paul’s projects makes for impressive reading:
- 18 years running one of the highest performing North Island PAK’nSAVE stores, claiming Store of the Year in 2016
- Manager at Farmers, owner of PaperPlus stores, New World store owner, PAK’nSAVE store owner, Foodstuffs North Island director and PQ Blackwell Publishing director
- Church and community leader
- Significant supporter of Starship and Heart Kids
- Owner, Director and Chair of the New Zealand Breakers (with four ANBL Championship wins)
But, it’s the relationship that Paul Blackwell has with the wider community through the Breakers which really highlights his inspirational leadership. Under Paul’s leadership the team has visited hundreds of schools talking with tens of thousands of children, donating tens of thousands of basketballs, skills manuals, coaching guides and DVDs as part of their community programmes. While the team focuses on delivering on the court the Breakers have three people working fulltime in the community – encouraging kids to play in an exciting, globally-recognised sport. That’s all down to Paul and Liz’s personal philosophy of giving back.
Peter Anderson, Chairman of Foodstuffs North Island, has this to add about Paul. “He inspires confidence and passion in those around him. He is very focused on achieving his goals but never at the expense of compromising his very strong values. Paul has integrity and is regarded by all as a natural, unassuming and humble leader, more interested in others’ success than his own. We are delighted that Paul and Liz’s work has been acknowledged by the Sir Peter Blake Trust. It is a thoroughly well-deserved honour.”
Chris Quin adds, “When I asked for Paul’s peers to give us a hand to complete his nomination there was no shortage of contributions. People were knocking down my door to offer their support. Paul Blackwell is universally admired by everyone who knows him. They could not think of anyone more deserving of a Blake Leader Award.”