Don Braid

Don Braid

2018 Beacon Award

Embracing a company motto that “Success is a Journey, not a Destination” Managing Director Don Braid is focussed on a vision to make Mainfreight a 100-year company. With 40 years freight and logistics experience, 24 of them at Mainfreight, he has had time to develop the strategy to achieve this.

The first is to always tell it like it is. More importantly is to have the skill and foresight to build a culture of inclusion where the whole team sees and believes the company’s focus and aspirations. This trait is far from universal in senior management.

The Beacon Award guidelines has five specific guidance criteria. Don Braid is remarkable in that he meets all five. He demonstrates the most important characteristic of leadership, the ability to empower others and to allow the whole team to take ownership of success and learn from failure. In Dons world, excellent is described as satisfactory, and average becomes disappointing. At the same time, he is relentlessly positive and willing to take on challenges that many consider too daunting. Respect for the team is tangible with public commitments to lift wages for everyone well above the norm. Respect for meeting the needs of customers is a never-ending priority. A flat management structure is the tool.

Unlike so many other business leaders, Don is also willing to take a public position on broader issues both commercial and political. And he is not greatly enthused committees, professional groups or the latest business fad, preferring instead to rely on experience, action and coal-face realism in an ever-changing world. Don Braid as leader of the Mainfreight team is a most worthy winner of the NZSA 2018 Beacon Award.