Globetrotting Kiwi turns celebrity into tool for good
Globetrotting TV host Phil Keoghan is no stranger to winning awards – he has eight Emmys to his name – but the New Zealand leadership award he has just received will always hold a special place in his heart.
Keoghan, best known as the host of the network television series The Amazing Race, was one of six Emerging Leaders honoured on Friday night at the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards in Auckland.
"It's a huge honour to be honoured by your peers but this is much more of a personal award," said Keoghan, who flew in from Los Angeles for the awards ceremony, where former All Black Sir John Graham was presented with New Zealand's premier leadership honour, the Blake Medal. "Peter Blake was a legend and to be thought of as a potential leader in the same vein as him is an honour," Keoghan said.
Although Keoghan is best known as the host of The Amazing Race there is far more to the dynamic 44-year-old than just an award-winning TV show.
As his fame has grown, Keoghan has become more and more involved in promoting causes such as finding a cure for multiple sclerosis – he's raised more than $1 million for MS – and inspiring people to pursue their dreams. He has written a best-selling book, No Opportunity Wasted, and regularly speaks to schools, companies, universities and sporting organisations about his NOW philosophy.
After the Christchurch quake he flew immediately to New Zealand to film the devastation and help mobilise international support.
"I've tried to use my skills in television to have some impact. As you get older you tend to think more about how you are going to be remembered and certainly you question a little bit more why you do what you do and what impact you might be able to have. I've tried to leverage the things I do in television and the skills I have in television to do something for others," Keoghan told the Star-Times.
Keoghan's rise to fame began at 19 when he secured a job as a presenter on the children's television show Spot On. A series of other TV presenting roles on New Zealand television followed before Keoghan decided to try his luck overseas. He was considered by the American networks as a host for the hit reality TV series Survivor before securing the role as the host of The Amazing Race, which is now in its 20th season.
The father-of-one said that as a child growing up in Christchurch he never imagined he would lead such an interesting life but was inspired by the example of his parents who seized opportunities to work overseas and taught their children to take chances.
"I grew up feeling like anything was possible," said Keoghan.
"A lot of people are waiting for things to come to them but really you have to go after it yourself. And there isn't a rule book. My advice is don't look for a clear way ahead, just continue moving forward and following your passion and trust that when you come to a crossroad or a dead-end that you will know what to do."
AWARDS CELEBRATE GREAT LEADERSHIP
A stellar cast of New Zealanders has been honoured through the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards over the past eight years. The awards were established in Sir Peter Blake's memory in 2005 to inspire and celebrate great leadership.
Past recipients of the highest award, the Blake Medal, awarded on Friday night to Sir John Graham, include Sir Ray Avery, Sir Murray Halberg, Professor Paul Callaghan and Sir Stephen Tindall. Each year six Emerging Leaders are also named. This year they were: TV host and No Oppportunity Wasted (NOW) campaigner Phil Keoghan. Film-maker and director Roseanne Liang. All Blacks captain Richie McCaw. Company founder and managing director Rachel Taulelei. Te Puni Kokiri executive Kapu Waretini. Borderless Productions chief executive Qiujing Wong.
The leadership awards are open to all New Zealanders and were judged this year by an eight-strong selection panel whose members included Sir Ron Carter, Sir Eion Edgar, Sir John Anderson, and Fran Wilde.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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