On Being Bold is an online collective developed by women for women. Created to capture and share the personal lives and career journeys of prominent New Zealand business leaders, it sets out to highlight 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 Hodson, 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 much to be learned from those who have battled a variety of challenges on their way to the top.
Starting with the stellar lineup from the December 2018 Being Bold Conference, this website is dedicated to women at all stages of their lives and careers. We hope it becomes a community where you will find inspiration, knowledge and a few life learnings.
We look forward to starting this journey with you.
Joan Withers has extensive governance and executive experience, is currently Chair of The Warehouse Group and sits on the boards of ANZ NZ and Sky TV. She is a former Chair of Auckland International Airport, TVNZ and Mercury NZ Ltd, and has held Chief Executive positions in the largest media companies in the country and in that capacity has led significant organisational transformations.
Joan holds an MBA from the University of Auckland and was a recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015. In that year she was also named as the Deloitte Top 200 Chairperson of the Year and was named as the Supreme Winner in the Women of Influence Awards. Other acknowledgements include the New Zealand Shareholders’ Association Beacon Award, the CAANZ Media Excellence Award and induction into the TVNZ Marketing Awards Hall of Fame.
Joan lives with her husband on a rural property in Karaka where they indulge their passion for horses, dogs and generally enjoying the country lifestyle.
Chairperson, Company Director and Board member
Dame Paula Rebstock is an Auckland based economist, company director and board member. She is Chair of the Accident Compensation Corporation and of Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Maia.
She is also a director of Auckland Transport, Kiwi Group Holdings Ltd and Vector Ltd. Moreover, she is the Chair of the Audit, Risk and Assurance Committees of the Auckland District Health Board and Tonkin & Taylor.
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.
In 2017 she received the NZIER economics award.
Dame Therese Walsh is a Wellington-based independent director and is currently chairman of TVNZ Ltd, a director of Air NZ Limited and ASB Bank Limited, and a trustee of Wellington Regional Stadium.
She is also Pro-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington. 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. She has also been a Director of the NZX, NZ Cricket and Save the Children NZ, and Chairman of 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.
Dame Therese is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. 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 is an educator, innovator, technologist and a Director of Watercare. She has spent her career at the forefront of technological change and the future of work. She is the founder of The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab. Both institutes are highly awarded postgraduate facilities committed to the development of contemporary capability and knowledge for professionals and the development of human insight.
Frances received her Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2018 New Years Honours List. In 2017 Frances became a member of the New Zealand Hi Tech Hall of Fame and in 2016 a Sir Peter Blake Leader. In 2015 Frances received the Women of Influence Award for her contribution to education and the Woman of the Year award for education awarded by Next Magazine.
Frances is the Futures Advisor to BNZ and the Chair of the BNZ Open Ventures. She is a Director for Callaghan Innovation and she sits on the Board of Trustees for Dilworth. On top of all that she is also one of the founders of the On Being Bold collective.
Silvana is a partner and Head of Corporate at MinterEllisonRuddWatts, experienced in advising clients on a range of M&A transactions. She is recognised 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.
She holds a Master in Law from Harvard University. 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.
Partner, Meredith Connell
Royal established Prestige Law in 2006. The boutique practice specialises in dealing with cross border investment, and cross cultural legal disputes. In May 2020, Royal joined Merdith Connell as a Partner.
She is an entrepreneur, public speaker, and a social media influencer and On Being Bold founder.
She completed legal studies in New Zealand, international policy studies in China, and negotiation skills and professional service firm management in America.
She also qualified as a mediator via LEADR NZ, Arbitrator in Republic of China, legal interpreter, and a Certified Agile Coach.
Royal has developed an insight that is relevant to many businesses in their gaining and planning with the business needs of engaging with Asia.
She has been the source of Asian market insight for many organisations such as Kea New Zealand - where she serves on the Global Board. She also advises Luxury Network, Auckland Art Gallery, Land Information New Zealand, and many other private companies both locally and internationally.
She is a well known face and name for most Chinese migrants in New Zealand through her public speaking and media influencer career. Her vlogs, social media platforms, and livestream appearances have enjoyed high volume of loyal fans.
While it is still a sad truth that in New Zealand our ethnicity and gender continue to make us vulnerable on the regular basis, Royal continues to strive and seeks to lead the fight with all those who identify with this need to make more baby steps for our next generations. Royal represents the younger ethnic women, whose voice will not be ignored forever.
Cathy Quinn is one of New Zealand ‘s foremost corporate lawyers and holds a number of non-executive directorships of leading New Zealand entities. They include Fletcher Building, Tourism Holdings, Rangatira Limited and Fertility Associates. She is also on the advisory board of the NZ Treasury, and on the executive board of the NZ China Council.
Cathy has practiced law for 34 years at MinterEllisonRuddWatts, where she has been a senior corporate partner. Cathy retired as a partner at the end of 2019 but remains with the firm as a consultant. Her role has included advising local and offshore organisations on a wide range of corporate transactions including mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, capital raisings and takeovers.
Cathy led her firm for 8 years as chair during a period of significant growth and transformation. In 2016 she was awarded an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for services to the law and women.
Alison is a professional director with deep experience in the financial services and infrastructure sectors. She’s currently chair of Sharesies and a director of Infratil, Wellington Airport and Vero Insurance.
She is also former deputy chair of Kiwibank and a former director of Spark, TVNZ, NZX, Queenstown Airport and Pioneer Energy.
Alison has more than 20 years of executive experience working for both corporates and financial institutions in Auckland, Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo & London in trading, finance and risk roles.
Her last executive role was at Lion in Sydney as Group Treasurer.
Alison was also a Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University for 12 years teaching on the Masters of Applied Finance programme. Prior to moving back to New Zealand in 2007, she worked for a non-for-profit in Singapore, RICE. – Returns Invested in Children and Education.
She and her husband live in Queenstown and own and operate an avocado business in Northland.
Jolie Hodson is the Chief Executive of Spark New Zealand. Her appointment to Chief Executive in July 2019 follows a substantial career with Spark, leading different components of the operating business over a six year period.
As Chief Executive Jolie is responsible for ensuring the company has a sound strategy and applies her leadership to delivering on that strategy, while building a team around her and a business that is able to adapt to the fast changing world of digital services.
Prior to that Jolie was the customer director, which required a strong understanding of dynamic, competitive markets and what customers value. Having joined Spark in 2013 as Spark Chief Financial Officer, she played a pivotal role in re-orienting the business from a ‘telco’ to a ‘digital services provider, before being appointed in 2016 to Chief Executive Officer of Spark Digital, Spark’s ICT services division.
In 2016 she was awarded ‘CFO of the Year’ at the Deloitte Top 200 Business Awards. Prior to joining Spark, Jolie held a number of executive roles for Lion Group Australia. She 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, a founder of On Being Bold and is passionate about mentoring women in business.
She is married to Gareth, a supportive and patient husband! Family time is spent supporting Sam and Emma’s sporting adventures, walking their goldies and travelling.