Who is Derek Handley?

I believe the new rock stars in the world will be those who make the biggest social impact, solve the most problems and redefine what "successful" means.

In December 2011, I donated a year of my life to work with Sir Richard Branson and many others to help create what is now The B Team - a global leadership initiative on a mission to catalyse a better way of doing business for the wellbeing of people and the planet. Now as Entrepreneur in Residence there, I am tasked with designing a groundbreaking new venture that sets new benchmarks in how an idea can best impact people and our planet, at the same time as making money in an innovative and exciting way.
As an entrepreneur, author and investor I’m embedding this vision of people, planet and profit into everything I do.

I also carry this with me as an Adjunct Executive Professor at AUT University, Chair and Co-Founder of NZX-listed B-Corp Snakk Media, Board Director at Sky Television, founder of late-stage technology investment fund Iliad, New Zealand Arts Foundation Trustee, and an Astronaut-in-Waiting at Virgin Galactic.

About The Opportunity

This role needs a financial and operational genius with the heart of a crusader, the courage of an entrepreneur, and an eye on the real challenges facing our future.

In the last decade I have been involved in a range of innovative ventures as an advisor, director, investor or as the founding entrepreneur. This year I have set up a charitable foundation to become a catalyst for ideas and new leaders pursuing a sustainable, socially progressive New Zealand.

We need to break down the walls and silos between doing well for ourselves and doing good for society, which is why I created this role. Although this role is based in beautiful New Zealand, you don’t have to be living here right now to apply.
The Chief Operator will lead a range of initiatives aimed at uniting profit, people and purpose. They will straddle the worlds of social impact and sustainability with new ventures, investment and innovation.

They will be tasked with achieving the goals of both the foundation and the breadth of my entrepreneurial and venture activities, hand-in-hand.
This could entail:
  • conceiving or assessing investment or philanthropic opportunities
  • devising new ways businesses can help solve social problems, or redefine what ‘work’ is
  • creating scholarships, advocacy campaigns or networks
  • raising philanthropic and investment capital for new projects
  • bringing new ideas to life

The Chief Operator

This is no ordinary job. The successful candidate will help customise their role – the title, salary mix, equity opportunities, philanthropy, personal development, mentorship and other experiences you can’t put a dollar value on.


To be negotiated



Key Purpose:

The Chief Operator will be the key collaborator and driver across all my activities in New Zealand - including managing what already exists, dreaming up ideas of what ‘could be’, and turning the best ideas into reality. The role will be varied requiring a mix of commercial skills, strategic analytical competencies, social entrepreneurship, brand development, advocacy, relationship building, project management and delivery.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Managing What Already Exists - keeping things tidy and in order. Financial and commercial administration and management of various investments, ideas in the pipeline and key relationships.
  2. Dreaming Up What Could Be - determining what we get behind and what we don’t. Strategic analysis of landscapes and opportunities ranging from new venture investments and ideas to programmes driving societal change; generating new ideas to create profit with purpose; modelling scenarios of financial, valuation and social/environmental impact.
  3. Turning Ideas Into Reality - driving whatever it takes to make things happen. When we decide what we want to get behind, this person needs to pull the right people, resources and plan together to make it happen. Making decisions on execution, monitoring progress and outcomes, raising capital, and recruiting supporters and partners.
  4. Being a Hub of Social Change and Innovation - successfully having an impact across New Zealand will require investment in developing a constellation of relationships across all sectors of society. As my ‘right hand’ in New Zealand it will be vital to maintain and build relationships with all the people we need to know to make things happen.

What’s in it for you?

  • Be a part of the movement - from a world that chases pure profits, to one that chases profits and purpose
  • Experience how new ventures and ideas are thought up and started while designing and integrating a new charitable foundation from the ground up
  • Become part of a network of local and global thinkers determined to create a better future
  • Harness resources, talent and determination to turn ideas into reality
  • Grow by helping shape, lead and having a direct impact on outcomes
  • Be challenged about your contribution to your country and the world

You most likely went to university, have been working for five years or more and probably need to be good at or understand most of these things:
  • Analysing complex scenarios and translating them into simple insights and implications
  • Forging a critical path: planning and project managing from a blank canvas, never missing a beat or brown M&M
  • Being persistent, curious, optimistic, unafraid, self-reliant and comfortable with uncertainty
  • Assessing and filtering a range of conflicting opportunities
  • Understanding financial statements, valuations and investment mechanisms
  • Pitching - crafting and telling compelling stories that get people inspired to act or back an idea
  • Switching seamlessly between the big and little picture
  • Communicating, being sociable and building strong relationships
  • Knowing what you don’t know, and finding the people who do
  • Grasping technology and modern pop/digital culture

Ask a question

Got a question about this opportunity, the recruitment process or what our "successful candidate" could look like? One of my team will answer any questions as quickly and accurately as possible.

Inspiration List

Here are some things you might want to watch, read or listen to for inspiration.

Privacy Act Statement

I acknowledge that personal information (including psychometric assessments) pertaining to me will be used for the purpose of determining my suitability for any position for which I apply. I authorize Talent Magnet (in their reasonable discretion) to:

  • Make enquiries and collect such information from source which are deemed appropriate including personal credit history, criminal record checks, qualifications and professional memberships.
  • Disclose such information to the employing organization directly or in the form of an appraisal or report.
  • Undertake reference checks and pass on results to potential employers.
  • Conduct psychometric assessments and pass on results to potential employers.

I give Talent Magnet permission to keep my details on file and discuss my background with any organization for any appropriate positions. I understand that Talent Magnet will contact me to gain my authorization before providing my perusal details to any third party.

I certify that the information I have provided in this applications an associated form(s), in my resumes an given during the assessment and/or interview process, is totally correct in all respects and that I have not withheld any information relating to my health, qualifications, professional memberships eligibility to work in New Zealand or criminal convictions that would be relevant to Talent Magnet or to any future employer when assessing my employment application.

I understand that my employment may be terminated if, after investigation, an employer discovers any information which I have provided, is false or misleading.

Confidentiality Statement

I hereby acknowledge that in the course of my discussion with Talent Magnet or (“the Company”) I will be privy to confidential information of the Company and the clients of the Company. Further, I may receive, or have available to me, material which at all times is to remain the property of the Company and the clients of the Company. Under no circumstances am I to disclose or retain information, processes, costs, secrets or Intellectual property relating to any of the businesses or affairs of the Company or the clients of the Company, which may come to my knowledge.

Your signature below certifies that the information provided on this form is true and correct and indicates that you accept all the undertaking contained within this applications form (Criminal Declaration, Medical History, Privacy Act Statement and Confidentiality Statement).

APPLICATIONS CLOSED.Please follow #theshouldertap here or @dgh

UPDATE MAY 24TH:The Shoulder Tap Moves Forward

UPDATE JUNE 12TH:Four Ways to Attract 1,000 Amazing Applicants for 1 Job

UPDATE JUNE 26TH:#theshouldertap LIVE and Project #001 Kicks off

UPDATE AUGUST 4th:We've announced #theshouldertap Chief Operators

Submissions closed 19th May 2014

What's the one social or environmental problem in New Zealand you'd most like to solve? Make sure you include the hashtag, #theshouldertap
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