About

On Being Bold is an online collective developed by women for women. It has been created to capture and share the personal life journeys and experiences of prominent New Zealand business leaders so that others can be reassured that the squiggly line connecting home life and careers is anything but straight-forward.

The founders of On Being Bold, Dame Therese Walsh, Joan Withers, Cathy Quinn, Dame Paula Rebstock, Alison Gerry, Jolie Hudson, Silvana Schenone, Royal Reed & Frances Valintine cross multiple business disciplines and fields of expertise. All have governance experience, with many contributing to some of New Zealand's most prominent organisations.

All nine women believe that there is so much to be learned from those who have already been there and done that.

Starting with the stellar lineup from the December 2018 Being Bold Conference, this website is dedicated to you and we hope it becomes a plan you find inspiration, knowledge and a few life learnings.

We look forward to starting this journey with you.

Joan Withers
Joan Withers

Joan has spent over 25 years working in the media industry holding CEO positions in both newspaper and radio, and has been a professional director for 20 years. Her current governance roles include Chair of Mercury NZ Ltd, The Warehouse Group Ltd and director of ANZ NZ. She is a former Chair of Auckland International Airport and TVNZ.

In July 2005, Joan became chief executive officer of Fairfax New Zealand Limited, New Zealand’s largest media company, a role from which she retired in 2009. She had previously held the position of Chief Executive of The Radio Network.

Joan is a Trustee of the Louise Perkins Foundation, and is Chair of a steering committee working to increase the percentage of South Auckland Maori and Pacific Island students taking up roles in the health sector.

She holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from The University of Auckland. She is also a University of Auckland Distinguished Alumni (2015). Joan is the author of "A Girl's Guide to Business" which was published by Penguin Books in 1998 and “A Woman’s Place – life, leadership and lessons from the boardroom” published by Penguin Random House in 2017.

Joan won the New Zealand Shareholders Beacon Award in 2014 and the CAANZ Media Excellence Award in 2009. In 2015 she was named Supreme Winner in the Women of Influence Awards and was named as Chairperson of the Year in the Deloitte Top 200 Management Awards.

Dame Paula Rebstock
Dame Paula Rebstock

Dame Paula Rebstock is an Auckland based economist and company director. She is Chair of the Board of the Accident Compensation Corporation. In 2017 the Board was awarded the Deloitte Top 200 Prize for Excellence in Corporate Governance. Dame Paula is also Deputy Chair of KiwiRail, Chair of the Insurance and Financial Services Commission, a Director of Auckland Transport, and a Trustee of the W.A. Stevenson Trust. Moreover, she is a member of the University of Auckland Business School Advisory Board and Chair of the Vulnerable Children’s Board.
Dame Paula was a member of the New Zealand Commerce Commission for 11 years and served as Chair from 2003 until 2009. Other past roles have included being a Director of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, as well as economic adviser/analyst positions with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the New Zealand Treasury.
Originally from Montana in the United States, Dame Paula moved to New Zealand in 1988. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree (Economics) from the University of Oregon and a Diploma and a Master of Science Degree (Economics) from the London School of Economics.
Dame Paula was the New Zealand Herald New Zealander of the Year in 2007. In 2009 she was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for public services, and was appointed Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to the State in 2016. Dame Paula received the 2017 NZIER Economics Award.

Dame Therese Walsh
Dame Therese Walsh

Dame Therese Walsh is an Independent director and is currently Chairman of TVNZ Ltd, Chairman elect of Air NZ Limited and a Director of Contact Energy Antarctica NZ and ASB Bank Limited. She is also Pro Chancellor of Victoria University.

Previously she was the Head of NZ for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and the Chief Operating Officer for Rugby New Zealand 2011 Limited, the company established to deliver the Rugby World Cup Tournament in 2011. She has also been a Director of NZ Cricket, NZX Limited and Save the Children NZ, and Chaired MFAT’s International Advisory Panel. Before a career in governance she was the Chief Financial Officer at the New Zealand Rugby Union and part of the team that worked on the winning bid to host RWC 2011 in NZ. Her career started as an auditor at KPMG.


Therese is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a commerce graduate from Victoria University. In 2013, she was named the inaugural supreme winner of the Women of Influence Awards and was awarded a Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Award in 2014. She became a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in June 2015

Frances Valintine
Frances Valintine

Frances Valintine is a technologist and education futurist and the founder of Tech Futures Lab and The Mind Lab.

Frances works with public and private boards and executive teams to develop capability and strategic priorities to drive digital transformation.

She has a Master of Education Management from the University of Melbourne and is an alumna from Singularity University in the Silicon Valley.

In 2018 Frances became a Companion of the New Zealand order of Merit in the New Queens Day Honours list. In 2017 Frances was inducted into the New Zealand Hi Tech Hall of Fame and she was a finalist in New Zealander of the Year - Innovation. Previously she was the NZ Woman of Influence - Innovation and the Woman of the Year- Education. Frances is on the board of Callaghan Innovation. Her previous board roles include TechNZ, Artificial Intelligence Forum NZ, Talentnomics, Education NZ and KEA.

Silvana Schenone
Silvana Schenone

Silvana is a corporate partner at MinterEllisonRuddWatts, experienced in advising clients on a range of M&A transactions. She is recognized in a number of international directories as a leading adviser in her field. Silvana has a remarkable international background, born in Chile, of Chilean mother and Italian father, and having worked in New York, Chile and New Zealand.
Silvana is a Member of the NZ Takeovers Panel, appointed by the Governor General.
Silvana is the author of Duties and Responsibilities of Directors and Company Secretaries in New Zealand, the most up to date text, referred to by the directors’ community in New Zealand, on this very important topic.
Silvana holds a Master in Laws from Harvard University, with distinction in corporate law and governance. Silvana is a member of the Latin America New Zealand Business Council, Global Women and a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars in connection with M&A and corporate topics, diversity and leadership.

Royal Reed
Royal Reed

Royal is the director, principal and founder of Prestige Law – an international law firm that specialises in advising Chinese investors. Royal’s expanding legal practice has received recognition from the profession for its outstanding achievements. Last year, Royal was awarded the ANZ Migrant Support Award from ANZ for her work with immigrants. In both 2015 and 2016, Prestige Law was a finalist in two New Zealand Law Award categories for the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Specialist Law Firm of the Year and Employer of Choice: 10 – 50 Employees categories.

Royal is well respected in the Chinese community. She presents on Chinese live-streaming platforms, radio and television programmes. Royal regularly presents to an international Chinese audience via social media. Her most popular clip has more than 90,000 views.

Royal is an expert mediator and negotiator, especially in cross-cultural and cross-jurisdictional disputes. She attended the Harvard Law School programme on negotiation for senior executives. She is a member of the Arbitrators & Mediators Institute of New Zealand and LEADR NZ. This year, Royal became an International Accredited Professional Mediator for the Mainland – Hong Kong Joint Mediation Centre. Royal also sits on the board of KEA.

Cathy Quinn
Cathy Quinn

Cathy is a senior corporate partner at MinterEllisonRuddWatts. Cathy chaired the firm for 8 years during a period of significant growth and in which the firm also established itself as one of the top law firms in New Zealand.

Cathy has won numerous awards including being named the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award Winner 2010 (New Zealand) and a past recipient of Euromoney Australia’s Women in Business Law Awards, the Mergers and Acquisitions and Private Equity Award for Australasia.

Cathy was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016 for services to the law and women.

Cathy is a director of Fletcher Building, Tourism Holdings, Rangatira Investments, on the advisory Board of the NZ Treasury and the executive Board of the NZ China Council.

Alison Gerry
Alison Gerry

Alison has been a professional company director from 2007, she is currently a director of Spark, Infratil, Wellington Airport and Vero Insurance and Chair of Sharesies. Alison is also former Deputy Chair of Kiwibank and a former director of TVNZ, NZX and Queenstown Airport.

Alison has more than 20 years of executive experience working for both corporates and for financial institutions in Auckland, Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo & London in trading, finance and risk roles. Her last executive role was at Lion as Group Treasurer. Alison was also a Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University for 12 years until 2011 teaching part-time on the Masters of Applied Finance programme.

Prior to moving back to New Zealand in 2007, Alison worked for a non-for-profit in Singapore, RICE. - Returns Invested in Children and Education. 

Alison has an first class honours degree in Management Studies from Waikato University and a Masters of Applied Finance from Macquarie University.

Alison and her husband live in Queenstown and own and operate an avocado business in Northland.

Jolie Hodson
Jolie Hodson

As Customer Director for Spark, Jolie understands dynamic, competitive markets and focuses on developing clear insight into what our consumers and business customers value and what delivers value for Spark New Zealand.

Jolie joined Spark in 2013 as Spark Chief Financial Officer, playing a pivotal part in re-orienting the business from a ‘telco’ to a ‘digital service provider’, securing its return to growth in 2016. In 2016 she became Chief Executive Officer of Spark Digital, Spark’s ICT services division delivering digital solutions to a wide range of New Zealand business. Following Spark’s 2018 transition to Agile, Jolie was appointed Customer Director for Spark.

In 2016 she won ‘CFO of the Year’ at the Deloitte Top 200 Awards.

Prior to joining Spark, held a number of executive roles for Lion Group Australia. Her career started with Deloitte's audit division. Jolie holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland and is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand.

Jolie is a member of Global Women and is passionate about mentoring women in business.

Outside of work Jolie is married to Gareth, a very supportive and patient husband and has two fantastic children, Sam and Emma. Family time is spent supporting Sam and Emma’s sporting adventures, walking their two golden retrievers and travelling.