Research Faculty, International Communication

Lester Oakes is a management mentor and coach with over 30 years of experience working in the public sector, including 25 years of management in operational and strategic roles.

A recognized leader in the career development field, his expertise includes career services program infrastructure and career guidance policy. In his former role as chief executive officer of Careers New Zealand (a government-owned Crown Entity), Oakes developed and established what is internationally regarded as a model system of nationwide career centers and virtual career coaching.

Oakes began his career as a vocational guidance counselor for the New Zealand Department of Labour, where he developed a lifelong passion for helping people identify and fulfill their career aspirations.

Notable Accomplishments

  • Deputy chair of the International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy (ICCDPP).
  • President of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG).


  • Institute of Professional Administrators of New Zealand (IPANZ) Public Sector Excellence Award for Managerial Leadership
  • Career Development and Transition Education Association of New Zealand Honorary Membership
  • New Zealand Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) Trust Walk the Talk Award