Bontle Phele

Bontle was born in Qwaqwa, Free State, South Africa and spent most of her childhood in the former gold mining towns of Welkom and Johannesburg.

After tertiary education, she began her office management career at an events management company. She later worked for a revival centre, where she became enthusiastic about media, and thereafter at a local high school.

She also worked for non-profit organisations – one enhances service delivery in rural and underprivileged communities; the other provides care for children with life-threatening and life–limiting conditions.

Bontle joined Legitimate Leadership in 2022. Her main roles are project dashboarding and business administration.

Bontle lives in Johannesburg. She is a proud single mother of a loving and outspoken daughter. Her most important interest is her family, followed by travelling, swimming, reading, trying out new restaurants and new cooking recipes.

Sean Hagger

Sean brings his passion and experience in organisational change management for global brands to the Legitimate Leadership team.

Having graduated in chemistry from Surrey University, Sean started the first phase of his career as an analytical chemist at Carlsberg, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). While he progress in those organisations he also observed major organisational change. This sparked his passion for Lean Manufacturing and , at GSK, he completed his green belt in Six Sigma and ran several “Lean Lab” projects to improve manufacturing efficiency and performance.

In 2010 he moved full time into Lean at Johnson Matthey’s Clean Air Division manufacturing facility for catalytic converters for the European market.

At Johnson Matthey he worked on quality engineering, focusing on product and process design robustness. This role was also customer-facing as he was often asked to attend customer visits to explain how quality requirements were met throughout the design process. He then moved full time into major problem-solving projects, running multiple teams to resolve high-impact customer issues using structured problem-solving methodologies. His team rolled out the training and development of structured problem-solving process across multiple manufacturing sites.

He then worked as operations manager at Johnson Matthey’s catalytic converter plant in Royston, UK. The site leadership team constantly had to handle soaring and unpredictable demand while contending with a legacy plant and a very large product mix, a new ERP (enterprise resource planning) deployment and multiple stock builds. In April 2020 he was appointed plant manager and immediately had to contend with COVID-19.

Johnson Matthey then began major restructuring, and he was given the sad task of closing the plant, which employed over 800 people.

Sean started working full time for Legitimate Leadership in May 2022.

Based out of Cambridgeshire, Sean is married with three young children. He’s also an avid sports fan with a Google-like ability for football statistics. He loves attending live events, especially at Wembley. And he has also picked up marathon running again after a few years off.

Nigel Dawe

Nigel was born in Zambia and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa.

After completing his first degree, he worked for Anglo American, at that time South Africa’s largest mining company.

In 1998, Nigel and his wife moved to the UK, where he held various HR leadership roles in a diverse range of industries, including FMCG, automotive, and software development. Between 20003 and 2021 he was employed within Honeywell Inc, a global US-based Fortune 100 company operating in diverse sectors including aerospace and defence, industrial automation, building technologies and safety and productivity solutions.

During his 17 years with Honeywell, Nigel had a wide range of HR Leadership roles, including responsibility for supporting business growth across Europe, Middle-East, Africa and India. Throughout his career Nigel has had a passion for supporting and enabling individuals and teams to develop to their full potential, and has been actively involved in the design and delivery of various employee and leadership development programmes. This culminated in his appointment as Talent and Learning Director for Honeywell EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). In this last role, he supported all business groups across EMEA, constituting over 25,000 employees in 52 countries.

Nigel became a Legitimate Leadership associate in 2021

He lives in Derby, England, with his wife Lesley and their golden retriever, Jess. When not working, he likes mountain biking and kayaking, and (when in Africa) scuba diving and bush camping.

Rean du Plessis

Rean was born and raised in South Africa.

His first job, in 1980, was as a prison warden. He immediately began integrating psychology work with this job and came face to face with a lack of care and accountability.

He later moved to one of the largest gold mines in South Africa, working in training and development as well as leadership assessment. He then worked as an industrial psychologist for various organisations. .

In 1999 he began a career in executive coaching where he was co-director of one of the largest coaching companies in SA

His expertise today includes practical leadership experience, global executive leadership growth, behaviour assessment and management, industrial and organisational psychology, strategic business planning and analysis, risk evolution and mitigation, and project planning and execution.

As a consultant and executive coach he has worked for a wide range of companies, in many places – including Rössing Uranium Mine of Namibia, the Saudi Arabia Saline Water Conversion Company, the Botswana Power Corporation, Kenya Syngenta & Monsanto, Volvo, Glencore, Anglo American, etc.

Rean received the Da Vinci Mandala Research Award for applying the principles of systems thinking to his PhD research.

In his spare time, Rean enjoys spending time with his family, writing, travelling, and on the farm with his cattle.

Rachael Cowin

After studying engineering, Rachael spent over 20 years in the chemical industry, leading teams to deliver change within busy production environments while also serving as a member of a site management team. While technically interesting, it was always the people side of her work that was of particular concern and motivation for her. She thus took every opportunity to become involved in coaching and development.

Half way through her career she was exposed to the Legitimate Leadership framework. She recognised this as the leadership approach to which she had been aspiring.

In 2016 she became an independent consultant, assisting clients in delivering successful engineering projects through interim management, supporting studies, team capability and systems.

Rachael lives with her husband in the lovely Ribble Valley in the north west of England. Outside work she is keen on getting plenty of exercise, and jumps into any creative craft that comes her way. Recently, for instance, she has turned her enjoyment of doodling towards work-based visual facilitation and sketchnoting (note-taking using both words and visuals).

Joolz Lewis

Growing up as a dual British-French national in the UK, Joolz developed a cultural sensitivity that has shaped her work as an adult. After graduating she joined a consulting firm which relocated her to California at the height of the dot com era to work with Cisco. There she led and launched their global Channel Training Partner sales certification program, before moving on to similar work with other Telecoms giants.

This was followed by the opportunity to set up and run a team in Houston for Compaq (pre-HP merger), to support their Enterprise-wide customer relationship management (CRM) roll-out. After identifying the change barriers and working with leaders across the US and UK sales organisations to drive adoption she then worked for the start-up arm of the consulting business to develop a CRM sales ‘plug-in’. In hindsight this was a very early version of an app!

Many sleepless nights later, she took a sabbatical to train as a yoga teacher and travel across Peru and to India (which she still loves to visit whenever possible).

Back in the UK, she continued to work as a project manager, business analyst and change management consultant in the CRM space. In 2008 she became an independent consultant focusing on leadership and culture.

Joolz has always believed that organisations need to become more human-centred, purpose and values-led. When she was introduced to the Legitimate Leadership Model, she instantly recognized that it addressed all the challenges her clients wrestled with, while translating the theory into practice in a real and structured way.

Now living in Somerset, England, Joolz loves walking in nature, yoga and gardening. She volunteers for an India-based charity that offers education and empowerment programmes to women who have no other means or livelihood. She lives with her husband, has a stepson and is an adoring aunt to her four nieces and nephews.

Wendy Lambourne

Wendy was brought up in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Britain. She is married and lives in Wiltshire, England.

Wendy was head girl of her high school, Chaplin High in Zimbabwe. She was a competitive swimmer, squash and hockey player before taking up long distance running. After running the Comrades Marathon (87kms) in 1987, she pursued the greater pleasure of running in the veld around Johannesburg (South Africa) with her two Irish setters. Initially she studied English Literature and Psychology, then completed an MA (Industrial and Organisational Psychology). In the late 1980s she qualified as an industrial psychologist with the South African Medical and Dental Council.

Her first job was on a research project sponsored by South African companies which aimed to advance at work people who had been disadvantaged by the apartheid system She was then employed in the human resources department of what was, at the time, the biggest explosives factory in the world (African Explosives and Chemicals Industries (AECI), Modderfontein). After three years she bought a one-way ticket to India in order to take her retirement in instalments (a piece of advice which she had been given). In the two years she spent on the road, mainly in Asia and the Middle East, she discovered two abiding passions: mountains and the human qualities which enable different people across the world to live meaningful lives.

Back in South Africa, she was engaged to set up a pioneering accelerated development programme sponsored by the Paris Chamber of Commerce in partnership with South African institutions. Launched in 1986, this programme made a significant contribution to nurturing management talent in South Africa for the next 15 years. She returned to the world of explosives manufacturing, which was beset by productivity, quality and, above all, safety concerns – at the core of which was a failure in leadership. In a senior organisational development role in AECI, she worked with leadership to transform the organisation. The golden thread was the care and growth leadership model.

She has since consulted across a wide range of organisations both locally and internationally on the implementation of the Legitimate Leadership Model.

In 2014, she formed Legitimate Leadership to further support organisations, both in South Africa and internationally, to apply the Legitimate Leadership Model. Over the past two decades she has become an internationally-recognised authority on practically achieving transformation in organisations using the care and growth leadership model. A client said: “Wendy embodies the values of Legitimate Leadership of people in the workplace, her actions are invariably consistent with these values. In her extensive consultancy work with us, she has on all occasions added value to the specific issue at hand, at the same time consolidating the leadership ethos, both as a philosophy and as integral to our day to day leadership practices.”

Tony Flannigan

Tony began his career as an apprentice draughtsman in the shipyards in north-east England. He was nominated to join a graduate development programme at Newcastle University, where he attained the only first class honours degree in naval architecture in the UK in 1992.

After 10 years of designing and building ships he joined ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) at its Teesside (Middlesbrough) ethylene cracker as a technical engineer. He was subsequently promoted to maintenance management and then operations management roles.

In 1995 he moved to ICI’s catalyst business, initially in a techno-commercial role, selling consultancy services. In this role he gained valuable experience in various cultures in many regions, including the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

Tony was then appointed as the site manager in ICI’s UK catalyst manufacturing plant. He soon took on extra duties involving the acquisition and integration of new businesses and joint ventures, and had a role in the acquisition of ICI by Johnson Matthey (JM).

Soon thereafter he became global operations director of JM, during which time he gained a masters degree in manufacturing leadership at Cambridge University. It was there he came across the care and growth leadership framework, which he subsequently introduced in the JM operations function.

Tony then joined JM’s head office to implement a global manufacturing excellence programme. He was asked to focus on leadership aspects and so further introduced the framework into the global management development programme for JM.

Tony’s final position at JM was talent and development director, in which he further refined his skills in people development. After 42 years of full time employment he retired in 2021 to work as a consultant with Legitimate Leadership.

Tony’s other interests include property development. He fulfilled a lifelong wish to build his own house by converting a derelict barn which provides space for other hobbies such as older car and motorbike restoration, and getting stung by the bees he keeps!

Leanne Maree

Leanne started her career in South Africa in the fast-food industry, then moved to the tumultuous security industry in the mid-1990s.

She was instrumental in the formation of a new employer organisation in the South African security industry and was later appointed vice-chairperson of this body; she also served on a regulatory body for the industry.

After a brief period in the construction industry in Zambia, Botswana, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates, she returned to the fast-food sector in South Africa as a shareholder and director.

Leanne’s key strength is converting business strategy into a measurable HR strategy.

Although a generalist, her passion is conflict resolution, change management and improvement of HR service delivery within an organisation.

Since 2012, Leanne has been consulting to various sectors including NGOs, the security industry, light engineering, manufacturing, aeronautics, hospitality, and fast foods. Projects have included disciplinary hearings, conciliation and mediation council representations, coaching and mentoring, policy and procedure re-engineering and implementation, equity reports, facilitation, and industrial relations training.

Leanne has been a Legitimate Leadership associate since November 2016.

Stefaan van den Heever

Stefaan, a South African, competed in the US collegiate golf first division and various professional golf tours for 10 years. He also traded on the foreign exchange market for five years. He now applies this experience of achieving in high-performance arenas in his coaching and leadership consulting with clients.

He has been involved with executive coaching and leadership consulting since 2007 in South Africa for major companies, at senior management and executive levels.

Stefaan says coaching helps him and his clients move away from the cycle of reacting habitually, to shift to a place where “one is able to pause, reflect and to respond skilfully … coaching is important because it helps people to question, to make sense and to find meaning in who they are and how they contribute to society.”

Stefaan has been involved with the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business’s Centre for Coaching. He was also a faculty member of the South African College of Applied Psychology where he facilitated the Applying the Principles of Adult Learning and Change in Coaching module.