Hunter Leader | Samantha Martin-Williams

Hunter Leader | Samantha Martin-Williams

For Samantha Martin-Williams smart business is about creating value rather than counting it.

Sam was the Director of External Relations and Customer Service at Hunter TAFE, the CEO of NUSport and is a Director of Newcastle Permanent Building Society.

As a professional company director and having worked as an executive change agent for more than a decade Sam says that good business leaders create value by enabling people.

For a snapshot of our audio interview with Samantha Martin-Williams, please view the above video.


  • What do you believe makes a good leader?

I think a good leader very much creates value, rather than counts value.

By that I mean they create value for the team they are leading, they influence, they motivate, they enable the people and the talent they have to be realised, rather than not adding value to that environment and counting what the team does.

So it’s a really transformation type of role a leader plays and it’s quite a transactional role a manger plays.

I am energised by organisational challenges as the true value of strategic transformation can be measured by setting metrics of what success will look like and evaluating achievements against them along the way.

Leading by example and leading by enabling people are the hallmarks of an effective leader.

  • What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into your diary each week?

A healthy mind needs a healthy body.

So I make sure I do a little bit of exercise ‚Äì if that exercise is a walk, or some yoga, just something that just takes me away from the executive or non executive task that I’m doing. Allows me to clear my mind, do a little bit of reflection, as I really do believe a healthy body is a healthy mind.

  • What do you believe makes business in the Hunter unique?

The Hunter has a really broad range of competitive advantages.

It has a port, it has an airport, it has beautiful lifestyle opportunities, it has industries that are diverse ‚Äì coal, wine, equine ‚Äì it’s very innovation and creative.

This blend, you’d be hard pressed to find a lot of regions that have that blend.

So I really think it’s leveraging that blend as a competitive advantage and taking the Hunter outside the Hunter. We all know about it, but I think we keep it a bit of a secret amongst ourselves! It’s about promoting that as a competitive advantage around investment, innovation and infrastructure.

  • What local businessperson do you find inspiring?

One is hard to think of, because you think of many, for many different reasons.

You think of business leaders that are at all different parts of the lifecycle of their career, starting businesses, or growing their businesses, or they’re revamping businesses or they’re now governing business, advising business

One that certainly comes to mind is Eileen Doyle. I think that she is an astute company director, she is a mother and grandmother, she’s intelligent and talented, she’s an author and an academic.

But most of all I think she’s a straight talker. She promotes the Hunter outside the Hunter and I think that her ability to support other Hunter business people in their pursuits is also something that I’ve really valued.

  • How do you define the difference between a Manager and a Leader?

A manager has a circle of power.

They have direct reports; they manage people in a very transactional way.

I think a leader has a circle of influence.

It’s not only the relationships they have with their reports, but it’s the circle of influence in and outside the business and in and outside their team that I think creates that real value and a leadership piece that differentiates good leaders from just a transactional manager.


Newcastle Permanent

As a complete retail financial services provider, Newcastle Permanent provides a genuine alternative to traditional banks for a range of financial services including the day to day needs of business banking members.

Besides an extensive network of branches and ATMs, Newcastle Permanent also offers comprehensive electronic banking services that allow their members to conveniently and efficiently conduct their financial business.

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