Who we are

Our Team

Our diverse skills and interests makes our office a fun, interesting and open place to work. We live by our values of health, relationships and work in that order. We are compassionate and authentic in how we care for our people and clients. Our commitment to life long learning means we’re always curious about new ideas and approaches to continuous improvement. 

Dr Mike Ashby

Founder, Director, Advisor

Dr Mike is one of New Zealand’s leading keynote speakers and business coaches with his unique blend of intelligence, personal experience, and insight. He is the author of the book, Breakpoints: How to Shift Your Business to the Next Level. Before buying Breakthrough’s predecessor business in 2003, he was Chief Operating Officer at Southern Cross Healthcare where he was responsible for turning a $42M loss into a $30M profit in two years. Before that he was a partner at Ernst & Young Consulting in Wellington. Mike is married to Franceska. He has 3 grown children, he lives in a Spanish casa in Auckland, and plays dadrock with his brother in a local pub.

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Ryan Castle

Managing Director and Advisor

Ryan has a wealth of corporate and small business experience and has been involved with Dr Mike Ashby for a long time, graduating from one of Dr Mike’s entrepreneur programmes in 2006. Since 2005 Ryan has been facilitating business workshops, coaching and chairing advisory boards. He joined The Breakthrough Company as a Director in 2013, and previously worked as an Account Director at Telecom Wholesale (responsible for over $100M of annual revenue), owned a property investment firm, and ran a successful IT business which he sold in 2010. Ryan is a sports nut who, in addition to taking on insane cross-fit challenges, also plays hockey at club and representative level, and lives in Auckland with his wife Paula and their two young children.

email: ryan at

phone +64275717073

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Kate Olson

Membership Manager

Kate is our Membership Manager and has a background in event management, working with membership bodies both in New Zealand and the UK. Her focus is on supporting members and offering them opportunities for growth via workshops, events, and other resources. When she isn’t wandering around local green spaces with her partner and daughter, Kate can often be found with her nose in a book.

Kirsten Hunt

Accounts Administration

Kirsten worked overseas as a Financial Accountant in media and various Accountancy roles here in Auckland.  She now looks after the Accounts Administration and stops Mike and Ryan from spending too much on tech toys. She and husband Dan have 2 young daughters. She enjoys long walks beside the ocean and listening to Metallica.

Milena Cooper
Milena Cooper

Digital Manager

Milena is our Digital Manager looking after the development of our online product portfolio. With a background in marketing, technology and education, Milena is passionate about creating learning experiences that transform people’s businesses and their lives. A proud Canadian, Milena relocated to Auckland with her New Zealand born husband Craig and two young children to live the kiwi dream. Their third child is their business, Bach Brewing, making and selling award-winning craft beer.

Anna Lambert

Digital Media Specialist

Anna is part of our media team and works closely with Milena to create our online videos and content. She moved from hometown, Whangarei to pursue a degree in television, film and radio which resulted in her having a passion in creating within the video and audio world. When Anna isn’t cracking jokes with the team, you’ll find her enjoying Auckland’s many ‘hotspots’ with her friends and snuggling on the couch with pet cat, Toby.

Ken Leeming
Ken Leeming


Ken has held senior executive roles within a number of Australasia’s most recognisable organisations such as Heinz Wattie’s, Goodman Fielder, APN News Media and SEEK NZ, working across the NZ and Australian markets. Through a combination of directing Sales and Marketing functions through to roles in General Management, Ken has built a wide range of business skills that are critical in delivering breakthroughs in business performance. As well as his experience and wisdom, his clients value his calm demeanor, his experience and his sound judgement.

Dan Meiklejohn
Dan Meiklejohn


Dan is a proven leader with over 20 years experience in Sales and General Management roles within FMCG and Express Freight. Through his experience, he has created environments that consistently deliver against the overriding business objectives. Dan has held senior roles in DB Breweries, SCA Hygiene Australasia, Mainland Products, Post Haste and NZ Couriers. Dan is driven by a curiosity about what makes people think, work, and spend. He incorporates this curiosity into his approach to business to facilitate the creation of successful strategies for his clients.

Britta Christiansen
Britta Christiansen


Highly experienced as a trainer and facilitator, Britta is also an award winning NZ business coach with over 17 years experience in helping business owners and their teams ‘get the right stuff done’. Armed with degrees in Business and the Arts, Britta has a broad background in behavioural science, psychology and organizational development as well as a keen interest in neuroscience and what makes people tick. With Viking blood in her DNA it’s no surprise that travel is a big part of her life, and a hobby that she and her husband Kevin undertake whenever possible. Their daughter is currently studying at Victoria University leaving the dog walking to her parents – no wait, it’s always been that way.

Darryl McClay
Darryl McClay


Darryl built a leading advertising agency from the ground up 22 years ago which has been acquired by Australasia’s most successful communications group. Since then he has managed two mergers within the group and grown the company revenue by over 300% before managing his own exit. Darryl is a graduate of Dr Mike’s very first business owner programme and credits much of his success and resilience to his time on the course. Darryl is married with three grown up children. He too is a music enthusiast and a rock steady bass player in a band.

Kerryn Strong


Kerryn Strong is an OD and HR specialist with a passion for driving culture change within SME businesses. As Co-Founder of Freerange Works, an HR and recruitment consultancy that helps organisations with culture change, leadership development and recruitment to create flexible workforces that thrive. Kerryn has served as the People and Culture representative at executive level within her clients’ businesses and gets real satisfaction out of stepping in as the sounding board, advisor and coach to Leaders and Executives. Kerryn is a flexible worker herself, always ensuring there’s time to enjoy the outdoors in Maraetai with her husband and two young boys, as well as getting along to a gym class whenever there’s an hour spare.

Suze Oh


Suze is an executive and team coach with a passion for empowering key decision makers to define what drives them to be the best version of themselves. With a focus on co-creation, she challenges people to discover their unique strengths and enable teams to find their stride as a group and flourish as individuals. After 15 years in both operational and strategic human resources roles, Suze discovered coaching as a conduit for helping others and dived in headfirst. Suze is formally accredited through the International Coaching Community (ICC) course, a proud Gallup Certified Strengths coach and an accredited practitioner of the Life Styles Inventory Tool (Human Synergistics). She loves nothing more than to see people nail their goals. The cherry on top is the impact this change can have on those around them – sparking productivity, confidence and motivation between colleagues, friends and family.  

Bruce Ross


Bruce Ross is an experienced Leadership and Executive Coach with over 20 years specialising in this area. He is experienced across the full commercial spectrum  from individuals and teams (middle managers through Senior Executive levels) within mid- and large- sized corporations, to startup entrepreneurs.

The potent neuroscience techniques he teaches are easy to learn and help leaders see their blind spots, near-eliminate stress, free themselves from the negative bias of the mind, expand their vision and more effectively influence outcomes.

Kelly Samson


Kelly has a diverse range of experience and skills with over 30 years’ combined experience in the Military, Corporate sectors, both in New Zealand and London and as a Director and Business Owner. He has travelled the world extensively experiencing a rich variety of countries, cultures and challenging situations and relates well to a wide range of people. Kelly brings his broad base of coaching experience to support those in the business world with a deep understanding of its pressures and challenges. Kelly brings a focused, compassionate and challenging coaching style that is results oriented for his client’s needs.

Russell Fisher


Russell is an established and successful business leader with an excellent track record of consistently delivering results. A strong communicator with good interpersonal skills, Russell provides professional, personal and leadership coaching that enables people to be truly brilliant everyday.

He delivers programmes that create change, transformation and produces high performance with excellent culture and engagement. 

When he’s not working with business leaders, you will find Russell on the training pitch coaching elite young footballers, spending time with his family or at the movies.

Richard Poole


Richard is an experienced business owner who has ridden the roller coaster and had proven success. He believes that having a trusted independent pair of eyes to guide and ask questions, make things happen when required and provide confidence and accountability, is core to maximising both asset value and life for the business owner.

Richard believes that we all can benefit from help. Rather than a sign of weakness, having a coach is a sign of honesty and courage that can add accountability to your business journey.

He’s an active family man with two young children who appear to love every sport on the planet! He enjoys a wide variety of pursuits himself, including tennis, yoga, paddleboarding, travel, writing and learning.

Graham Billings


Graham is a practical business management specialist with more than 30 years’ experience in senior executive roles across a range of industry sectors in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. He also has experience as an SME owner having owned a magazine publishing company and an award-winning café. As a business coach, he has worked with NZ and AU companies in many diverse areas where his knowledge and guidance help his clients to realise their objectives.

Graham is married with four children and four grandchildren and apart from enjoying summer months around the pool at their 92 year-old cottage, he and Gaye can often be found tracking down the best coffee makers in town.

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