Introducing Olivia Blaylock, The Icehouse’s new Chief Growth Officer

Posted by The Icehouse on 17/08/2023 10:46:01 AM

We’re thrilled to welcome Olivia Blaylock to The Icehouse in the newly created role of Chief Growth Officer. We caught up with Olivia recently to learn more about her career history and expertise, her sense of purpose, and why The Icehouse is the perfect fit.Olivia Blaylock, The Icehouse - Full


Olivia spent the first ten years of her career in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors in marketing and sales roles at some of New Zealand’s most influential businesses. She received a Marketer of the Year award while at the Child Cancer Foundation before becoming Managing Director and co-owner of David Forman (with her partner Stuart), the iconic business training company, between 2009 and 2021.

“It was a fantastic time, working with large organisations like Fulton Hogan and TVNZ, and despite a different target market, it’s a very similar operation to The Icehouse in terms of its sense of purpose and the value it provides,” says Olivia.

That intimate understanding of the challenges of running a successful business, a depth of knowledge of New Zealand’s SME landscape and an innate desire to unleash the potential of Kiwi owners means that The Icehouse is the ideal platform to showcase Olivia’s passions, skills and expertise.

As Chief Growth Officer, Olivia will be directly influencing the future of The Icehouse, focused on leading all activities related to new business sales, continuing journey sales, marketing and high-impact partnerships.

“I have a personal purpose around improving the lives of New Zealanders, and all of my career has been aligned with that. I don't know where it comes from or why, but I think New Zealand is the greatest country in the world, and I want to make it better for New Zealand businesses,” says Olivia.

“Having an opportunity to work for an organisation like The Icehouse, that’s helping grow the engine room of the nation’s economy, is really exciting.”

The Icehouse wins, too – able to tap into Olivia’s immense know-how in professional development and training, high-level sales and marketing strategies, leadership, new business development and guiding and coaching teams. And yes, Olivia is also an Icehouse alumni.

“I did the Owner Manager Programme 24 in 2011. So, to land here feels like a great place to be. It builds on my experience and connects to my purpose. I know the value the organisation adds and have ideas on how we can continue to add to that value and improve the lives of New Zealanders.”

From her days at David Forman and beyond, Olivia has plenty of insight into what owners and their teams are looking for right now – and some of the characteristics and challenges entrepreneurs need to move away from.

“We can be a country with a number eight wire frame mentality, and I’ve seen that in ownership, where we think we just have to fix something. However, often we don't step back to analyse what it is we need to fix properly.

“We can be swamped as business owners in the “doing”, and that's where I believe The Icehouse can add real value to owners and their businesses because sometimes it’s about working out what it is you shouldn't be doing to be able to make it work.”

This great alignment also extends to a desire to see more opportunities for female entrepreneurs and a greater diversity in the opportunities The Icehouse can bring to Aotearoa.

Olivia officially joined The Icehouse at the end of July 2023 but has already mapped how the next few months may look. “I want to get out and about. I want to meet our alumni, partners and wider network. I’m excited to get insights into what our alumni especially found valuable through their time with The Icehouse and unlock what they think we can do to improve.”

Her energy and breadth of knowledge will also be a real asset to The Icehouse, and we’re excited to see what the future brings. Welcome to The Icehouse, Olivia!


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