Ellie Pietsch

For 20+ years, Ellie has led organisations through transformational change. Formerly the live-in caretaker at Tamarama surf club (yes, from the Dulux ads), a national lifesaving medallist and one of the first female professional lifeguards and jet ski rescue operators in Victoria, Ellie shares leadership stories from the surf zone through to the corporate boardroom, drawing upon her experiences in sport, successful family business, non-profits and commercial consulting. An experienced coach and facilitator, Ellie’s leadership experience translates across industry as she creates a space for participants to share their own stories and contribute to their shared leadership journey. First exposed as a client to Leading Teams 15 years ago, Ellie has since worked with executive leadership teams in government, mining, infrastructure, construction, education, health, retail, NFP, disability services, training, and sport to help them achieve their maximum potential.

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How would you like to be described by your family, friends, and clients?

I’m the person that you trust to help bury a body… no questions asked. Hopefully the person that makes you laugh while we dig the hole, too.

What is your favourite piece of advice, or quote, and why?

Recently I came across this tweet from @viridianmasquarade that got me right in the feels:

“I make my ramen the way a friend taught me in the eleventh grade. Every fall, I listen to a playlist made for me by a boy I drove across a border to hook up with. I eat sushi because a girl who won’t talk to me anymore made me try it, and Indian food because my best friend’s parents ordered for me before I knew what I liked. There are movies I love because someone I loved loved them first. I am a mosaic of everyone I’ve ever loved, even for a heartbeat.”

I am so grateful for every heartbeat, no matter how short or seemingly insignificant. My mosaic is richer, more colourful, more abstract for them. It has led me to this place. At this time. And I wouldn’t be anywhere else for quids.

What does success look like with a client?

My clients leave each of our conversations feeling like they’ve been heard and been challenged. Ultimately my success is determined by how successful they feel about their goals and objectives – are they connected to their purpose and living their behaviours each day? When they can confidently say “yes”, I delight in their success and relish my own.

Tell us about your culture and leadership experience?

I started learning about culture and leadership as a junior in Surf Life Saving and travelled around the world talking to people about the role that leadership plays in community sport and community service. That experience sparked a lifelong passion for exploring the role leaders play in driving culture and performance in any organisation and I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some extraordinary people along the way. During the pandemic, I coached Leaders around the world in the qualities required to successfully drive change within their organisations and I’ve also led my own teams during times of ambiguity and challenge where I’ve really had to live the theory. One thing that has become apparent to me over this time is that true leadership happens separately to structural hierarchies within organisations. Those who can influence without authority are those who are truly leading.

Ellie has been trusted by