SAM JOHNSON

Social entrepreneur and co-founder of the Student Volunteer Army and WeVisit


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Sam became a household name in New Zealand when he started what has become New Zealand’s largest volunteer movement – the internationally acclaimed Student Volunteer Army. The movement has 3000 tertiary members and most recently 29,000 primary school members across 976 schools. What started as a small social media page after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes has been mirrored across the globe as a movement for impact, not an organisation for ego.

Farm boy turned social entrepreneur, Sam’s work is on the leading edge of using the collective to overcome the bureaucratic – shifting our belief system about what is possible when teams, organisations and communities authentically connect and build empathy.

Awarded Young New Zealander of Year for his leadership, Communicator of the Year for his honest media commentary and a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award to remind him never to rest on success; in Sam’s world, there is no moment worth missing out on.

Sam’s latest venture, WeVisit, takes the Student Volunteer Army to the next level by connecting younger and older people to share value – hoping to change everything we currently understand about ‘care’ and ‘helping.’

Sam is an Adjunct Fellow in the School of Education and Leadership at the University of Canterbury, #17 on the Readers Digest Most Trusted New Zealanders list, a member of the Ministry of Youth Development Partnership board, Westpac Sustainability Advisory Board and current Secretary of the International Association for Volunteer Effort.