What is the most important thing in the world? It is people


What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people. 

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. 

Cathy Sheppard – CEO/Founder BSI People SkillsExecutive Level & Senior Facilitator/Coach



I have always been different from the people around me.  

I was born in Tokyo, Japan. Coming back to New Zealand, aged three, was a different world. I remember being in kindergarten and feeling so alone, not knowing how to fit in. 

My life from the beginning was learning about other countries and languages – it was like growing up in the United Nations. My father spoke eight languages, and my mum five, and both had lived in France as well, so we lived using a mix of languages, English, French, and Japanese, with the odd splash of German thrown in, very unusual in New Zealand. We also had people from all around the world come to stay. It was fantastic learning about culture, language and differences. We ate food from all over the world – France, China, Japan, Italy, … Very different from the meat, potato and three veg typical of many New Zealand families. 



When I had just turned six, my father died. My littlest sister was born two weeks later, making me the oldest of four. I was then one of the very few children at school with only one parent, so different from nowadays where there are so many kinds of families! My mother was amazing – fighting for us all to attend the funeral at a time when children were kept away and keeping his memory alive for us despite her grief. She was always willing to talk about him, keep the family stories alive, and walk with us in our mutual pain. This developed my compassion for the hurt and grief of others and my willingness to walk alongside them. We can’t fix grief; we need to feel it, appreciate and treasure the memories of these special people now gone from our lives, and find a way to move forward. Part of what makes us human is experiencing joy, love, pain, loss, happiness, sadness, and so many other emotions. 


More learning

I spent a year in Japan as an AFS exchange student. I lived out in the countryside where there were no foreigners; no one spoke English, not even my English teachers. I was treated the same as the other students, sitting the same exams with no dictionary allowed, trying to take notes from the blackboard, sitting and nearly always failing the weekly English vocab tests. I had to learn Japanese fast, immersing myself in Japanese culture – tea ceremony classes, joining the Kendo club at school without knowing what Kendo even was, and then finding out there is no quitting in Japan; you must keep going. It was incredible learning about perseverance and how far I could dig in. These experiences have shaped me and given me strength, a unique identity, and a willingness to learn and be open to others, accepting and valuing them for who and how they are. 

Then came university back in New Zealand, working in a bank for three years, following the chalk in my veins to become a high school teacher of Maths, Japanese and French.  Children followed, and I joined Playcentre – an early childhood service run entirely by the parents.  They run the centres, educate the children (and each other), all with others who only have in common that they have young children, and all volunteers. I learned so much over 20 years –as a parent, leader, and teacher, and it changed my life.  I worked with adults and children from centres across New Zealand. Every centre, every person, was different. It meant finding what each centre needed and tailoring the work to get excellent outcomes for that group. I loved seeing the results of empowering people to work better with each other.  Good centres can become even better, toxic environments can be changed if people are willing, and it’s fantastic when they do!  


Leading to business

I started my business, BSI People Skills, in 2013. 

As humans, we are wired for connection with others. People can be the most significant source of joy in life and the biggest source of pain.  We can all develop strategies to make this easier.

I started hearing the same stories from people in work situations, not wanting to go to work because they hated the environment so much, were bullied, or had their confidence crushed over time as they made mistakes. I knew I could make a difference!

A key factor was attending a DiSC workshop in 2005, which was an absolute revelation.  DiSC is a personality profiling tool that helps people understand why they do what they do, why others do what they do, and how to get different results together. The behavioural psychologist William Moulton Marston identified four different ways people respond to emotions. Everyone is a blend of these four DiSC styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. 

Training as a Certified Everything DiSC Trainer in Denmark in 2013, I use Everything DiSC as a base for developing leaders and teams so they too can get better results, adding The Five Behaviors, Wealth Dynamics, and Incredible Years Teacher programmes to the suite of world-class tools we use. We are Authorised Partners of Wiley for Everything DiSC and The Five Behaviors, and of Entrepreneurs Institute – the number one global movement for entrepreneurs – for Wealth Dynamics.  I now develop others, as coaches and facilitators, with a team around me.  I have worked with people from zero to eighty in five different countries in person, and now work globally online.  


Striving For Excellence

I strive for excellence – making sure what I’m doing is good.  I want quality, but knowing perfection is not attainable. I am very reflective, learn quickly, and never give up. I’m always looking for solutions, for different strategies to use together to solve problems.  I care deeply about people; aggression doesn’t solve problems. I empower people to bring their best to any situation and to look for the best in others.

I am lucky that I was empowered as a girl to be my best, doing what I wanted to do and was good at, not having to fit into societal gender norms. I can be the strong, caring, capable woman I am, not fitting into the soft feminine stereotype

My unique approach helps others find their true power and purpose. Our programmes involve people finding out more about themselves: who they are and what’s happening for them; the good, the challenges; who others are, and how to get better results. We offer leadership coaching and team development workshops, focusing on communication, core values and shared vision/purpose, using the highest quality profiling tools, empowering you and your people together. 

Our flagship programme is our Workplace Culture Excellence Badge – a tailored programme creating Leaders that Work, Teams that Work, Workplaces that Work, and recognising this. 

Imagine you and your people:

  • working together with confidence, 
  • using everyone’s strengths, 
  • communicating effectively, 
  • getting better results – higher engagement, greater productivity and quality, reduced ineffective conflict,
  • all together on the same page achieving more than you’d think possible.


This is what we can do for you.

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