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Family Matters

T oday is Thanksgiving Day in the States – although it’s possible that the widespread unrest following the US presidential election will continue to blight celebrations for our American friends. While Thanksgiving is not typically a holiday that New Zealanders recognise, perhaps this is a good time for us too to be thankful that – at the moment at least – we live in a country of comparative political stability.

Most New Zealanders, however, will now be looking forward to Christmas. And as the year draws to a close, we tend to start thinking about family. At PEPworldwide, we like to think of all our clients and past participants as part of our extended PEP family – so we thought this would be a good opportunity to share a little family history with you. We’d like to think that providing a brief backstory – how PEP evolved from one man’s practical suggestions into a global network of businesses in over thirty countries – will help to put our commitment to our company into context. Read on, then, for the story of PEP:

1983: Every Breath You Take by The Police was the biggest hit of the year; Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi was playing in cinemas; and the very first mobile phones were launched by Motorola. And that same year, an American named Kerry Gleeson was working as a consultant in Stockholm, working with companies to increase their sales or profits. In what was to become true PEP fashion, Gleeson was driven by results (in fact, he even resolved not to accept a fee for his work unless he delivered tangible improvements).

However, it quickly became apparent that companies were not implementing his suggestions – simply because most people were not organised enough to successfully put his strategies into practice. He switched his attention to helping people to regain control of their workloads, freeing them to focus on high-level, high-return activities rather than administration. This approach achieved remarkable results and eventually he was asked to create a training programme for self-management that clients could teach, along with other modules like sales and customer service. This became the basis of his Personal Efficiency Program.

So how did PEP make it to New Zealand? Well, PEP’s New Zealand story begins in 1995 with Kathryn Anda, who is today the managing director of PEPworldwide:nz. Having begun a steady expansion around the world, in 1995 Gleeson’s programme reached New Zealand company Lion Nathan, where Anda worked at the time. Undertaking the programme had a profound effect on Anda. “I was struggling to manage work and the needs of my husband and young family,” she explains. “PEP literally changed my life and I could instantly see its potential for providing the same results for so many others in my situation. I immediately approached the PEP licence holder for Australia and together we launched the business in New Zealand.”

Anda’s instinct proved correct and the company took off, becoming the fastest growing PEP start-up in the world that year. More than twenty years later, Anda is still just as motivated by the programme’s ability to make a meaningful difference to people. “We do genuinely change people’s lives,” she enthuses. “The incredible stories we have heard over the last twenty years motivate us to continue what we are doing. I have clients who tell me that they are still using PEP principles, and that PEP is still making a difference to their roles, more than ten years after they completed the course. We particularly love having former clients in new roles ring us to have their new team ‘PEPed’. And of course people in the modern workplace are more challenged for time than ever before, so PEP has never been more relevant.”

We hope that provides a little insight into why we are so committed to our company and the life-changing principles on which it’s based. We particularly love the fact that even at this crazy time of year, what we teach frees you to focus on what’s most important to you. And since we have the time, let’s embrace the sentiment of Thanksgiving and take a minute to count our blessings, too.