2023 SPEAKERS (alphabetical order)
Arihia Bennett MNZM
Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou, Ngā Puhi
Arihia Bennett is the Chief Executive Officer at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, leading and building a strong economic, cultural, and social base for Ngāi Tahu whānui, including managing the more than $2.2b iwi entity and its investments. As a servant leader she sees her role as supporting the next generation of leaders to reach their full potential. Having held an extensive number of governance roles Arihia brings a strategic and principled focus to the governance table. Currently a director on a range of complex entities including Chairing Kāpuia, Ministerial Advisory Committee RCOI Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mosques, Arihia’s strength is understanding and valuing diverse perspectives and views at the table. She credits leadership journey to her support system and lessons from her whānau and mentors.
Karen Billings-Jensen has been the Chief Executive of Age Concern New Zealand since March 2022. Her work with Age Concern New Zealand focuses on ensuring the wellbeing, rights, respect, and dignity of older people are championed.
A registered social worker by trade, Karen has extensive leadership experience of almost 30 years in developing, managing and delivering services across the NGO sector. Her sector work has largely been focused on creating visibility, voice and access for those who are vulnerable, and supporting frontline workers to do the work at a grassroots level. She has worked within various contracting frameworks across Government, private funders and philanthropic trusts. Karen has broad staff management experience ranging from implementing new roles and employment to performance management, restructuring, and dis-establishment. She is also experienced in financial and asset oversight and meeting reporting requirements for different audiences. Karen is involved in a range of community and sector boards and initiatives across her local community.
Judge Frances Eivers
Her Honour Judge Frances Eivers (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato) served as Chief Children’s Commissioner until November 2023. Before being appointed Chief Commissioner, she was Aotearoa New Zealand’s sole Children's Commissioner from November 2021.
Judge Eivers has now returned to her position as a Judge in the District Court in Manukau, where she has extensive experience with mokopuna in the court system. She has worked as a lawyer in Auckland, Whakatāne, London and Tauranga. In New Zealand, she has practised mainly in the Family, Youth and Criminal courts, including working as a lawyer for children and as a youth advocate.
Born in Kawerau and raised in Te Teko, she counts herself lucky to have been raised with love in her whānau whānui and to have had a community where “everyone pretty much knows everyone”. She is a mother of three sons and counts this as her greatest achievement.
She believes that every child is a gift: he mokopuna, he taonga. If every child is treated as a gift, a treasure, then every New Zealander would ensure that the welfare of children is at the heart of every decision that affects them and their families.
Greg Foran started as Chief Executive Officer of Air New Zealand on 3 February 2020. He has since been navigating the airline through the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a plan for Air New Zealand to survive, revive and then thrive. He is also a member of the China Business Council.
Greg joined the airline from Walmart U.S where he was Chief Executive Officer from 2014 to 2019. He was responsible for the strategic direction and performance of the company’s 4,600 stores and more than 1 million staff. In 2019, Walmart U.S. served more than 140 million customers a week and had revenues of $307 billion.
Greg joined Walmart International in 2011 and served in several capacities, including President and Chief Executive Officer of Walmart China. Prior to joining Walmart International he held several senior positions with Woolworths, the leading retailer in Australia and New Zealand.
Greg has attended Advanced Management Programs at Harvard University and the University of Virginia. He also holds a Diploma in Management from the New Zealand Institute of Management.
Pip Greenwood was appointed to Westpac’s Board in 2019, becoming its chair in October 2021 and is a current director of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Limited, Chair-elect of The A2 Milk Company Limited, and a trustee of the Auckland Writers Festival. Prior to moving into full time governance roles, Pip was a leader in the field of corporate law, being a partner with preeminent commercial law firm Russell McVeagh for 18 years; including more than ten years’ experience on the firm’s board, previously serving as Board Chair and interim CEO. She is known for her expertise in capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and governance, and is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including five-time winner of the New Zealand “Dealmaker of the year” at the Australasian Law Awards. Pip prides herself on being a champion of gender diversity.
Seema Hingorani is a powerhouse in the investing sphere who is revolutionising the industry by creating opportunities and increasing representation and diversity. She is the Founder and Chair of Girls Who Invest and Managing Director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
While working at the highest levels in the public and private sector, including as Chief Investment Officer of the New York City Pension Fund which had assets of $160 billion, Hingorani saw few faces like her own, and leveraged her experience and industry connections to solve this ‘pipeline’ problem by founding Girls Who Invest, a non-profit organisation dedicated to increasing the number of women in portfolio management and executive leadership in the asset management industry.
Ms Hingorani has received numerous accolades for her work, including the insignia of the Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honour from France, listed as one of Barron’s “100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance” as well as The Bloomberg 50 “Ones To Watch,” and Traders “Wall Street Women Entrepreneur of the Year”. She served as a member of the National Finance Committee of Secretary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign and is currently a Board Director of the non-profit organisation Women’s World Banking, a Senior Advisor for The Wharton School Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance Cypher Accelerator, and an active member of The Economic Club of New York.
Dr Lucy Hone
Regarded as a global thought leader in the field of resilience psychology, tragic circumstances gave Dr Lucy Hone unique insights into coping with adversity, when her 12-year-old daughter was killed in a horrific motor accident. Co-founder of the NZ Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience, adjunct senior fellow at the University of Canterbury, an internationally sought-after professional speaker, best-selling author, and award-winning ‘pracademic’, Lucy has a gift for turning complex science in to useable tools. Her TED talk on resilience went viral during Covid (becoming one of the Top 20 most watched of 2020) and her work is regularly featured in international media.
Emma Lewisham has packed a lot into her 37 years. She’s studied business in Barcelona, sits on the board of a charitable trust and has been actively involved in women’s advocacy for over a decade across organisations including Zonta International and Global Women.
Notable career highlights:
Emma has a BCom (Hons) from Otago University and completed her final year of her honour’s degree at ESADE, a top business university in Barcelona.
Emma worked as a senior executive for a global multinational technology brand for eight years prior to launching her eponymous beauty brand.
Emma is currently on the board of the Second Nature Charitable Trust. The Trust is the proud custodian of the Vodafone Events Centre and Vector Wero Whitewater Park on behalf of the community. It delivers the country’s largest free schools programme and provides high quality educational experiences led by industry professionals. It is dedicated to giving back to the community to help build a better New Zealand.
Emma is a member of Zonta International, a leading organisation of professionals globally with a mission and vision of a world in which women's rights are recognised as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.
Emma is a member of Global Women, which is a collaboration of New Zealand’s most influential women leaders promoting inclusivity and diversity for improved societal and economic growth.
Emma founded Emma Lewisham skincare in 2019. Today, Emma Lewisham proudly rivals the most recognised luxury brands in the world while being a global leader towards a circular and carbon positive beauty model. Emma works with a leading team of scientists who collectively have over 100 years of extensive multinational experience in the design and development of Emma Lewisham products.
Emma Lewisham was awarded the Best Emerging Business Award at Westpac Auckland Business Awards for 2021. The Best Emerging Business accolade is awarded to a company that has achieved significant business growth during the last one to five years as a result of effective planning and delivery.
Rt Hon Christopher Luxon, Prime Minister, entered Parliament at the 2020 election and was elected Leader of the National Party in November 2021.
Prior to entering Parliament, Christopher was Chief Executive Officer of Air New Zealand from 2013 to 2019. Under his leadership the airline delivered record profits and all time high customer satisfaction scores, and achieved its highest levels of staff engagement.
In addition Air New Zealand won numerous accolades, including several celebrating it as the best airline in the world and others recognising its commitment to key areas such as sustainability, innovation, corporate reputation, employee engagement and customer experience. During Christopher’s tenure, the company held the No. 1 Corporate Reputation & Trust Company in New Zealand 2015–2019 and No. 1 Corporate Reputation & Trust Company in Australia 2017–2019.
Prior to joining Air New Zealand, Christopher was President and Chief Executive Officer at Unilever Canada. This was one of several senior leadership roles he held during an 18 year career at the multinational that saw him work in roles in Europe, North America and Asia–Pacific. Christopher has a Master of Commerce in Business Administration from the University of Canterbury.
Christopher served as the inaugural Chair of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Business Advisory Council and has received wide recognition for his leadership including a Blake Leader Award, Deloitte CEO of the Year, Orient Aviation Person of the Year, and Deloitte Company of the Year.
Chief Executive, Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).
With a strong background in healthcare and delivering quality public services, Megan is passionate about leading ACC to deliver on its purpose of improving lives every day.
Prior to joining ACC, Megan held leadership roles at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as Deputy Chief Executive of Managed Isolation and Quarantine, and Deputy Chief Executive of the Corporate, Governance and Information Group. She was previously Chief Executive at NZ Health Partnerships and Chief Executive of Health Purchasing Victoria (Australia). Before joining the health sector, Megan held senior line management and consulting roles in a range of industries including fast-moving consumer goods, manufacturing and professional services.
Megan is passionate about ACC being an organisation that cares about caring, and wants ACC people to feel able and supported to bring their whole selves to work. ACC has introduced paid wellbeing days, so their people can unplug and focus on themselves. Hybrid working is another part of ACC’s wellbeing programme and this approach recently won an award in the Future of Work category at the NZ HR Awards. Megan says “At ACC our key focus is on Prevention, Care and Recovery. This translates into everything we do from supporting our clients, providers and business customers, to how we have created our ‘mentally healthy workplace’ culture to ensure that our people go home safe to their whānau – both mentally and physically – every day”.
Indra K. Nooyi
Indra K. Nooyi served as CEO and chairman of PepsiCo from 2006 to 2019. Her prescient strategic thinking, insight into consumer behavior, and wisdom on managing a vast, global workforce make her a sought-after advisor to entrepreneurs, executives, and governments. She is also revered as a role model for women and immigrants, and celebrated for her empowering messages on inclusivity. At PepsiCo, she was the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, the company’s mission to deliver sustained growth by making more nutritious products, limiting the company’s environmental footprint, and empowering its associates and people in the communities it serves.
Ms. Nooyi served as a member of the PepsiCo Board of Directors from 2001 to February 2019. Ms Nooyi is now a member of the board of Amazon, where she chairs the audit committee. She sits on the supervisory board of Philips and is a member of the nominating and corporate governance committee. She also serves on the International Advisory Council of Temasek; is an independent director of the International Cricket Council; and a trustee at the National Gallery of Art. She is on the Dean’s Advisory Council at MIT’s School of Engineering and serves on the boards of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Partnership for Public Service. She is also an advisor to several early-stage companies.
Between 2019-2022, Ms. Nooyi served as the Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership at West Point where she worked with the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership to fulfill the mission of character at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She was also co-chair of The Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, developing recommendations and guidelines for reactivating the state's economy post-pandemic.
Ms. Nooyi is the author of the book My Life in Full: Work, Family and Our Future, a memoir that offers insight and a call-to-action on how our society can blend work and family – and advance women – in the 21st century. My Life in Full is a New York Times bestseller and available in multiple languages.
Ms. Nooyi is the recipient of 16 honorary degrees. In 2007, the Government of India awarded her the Padma Bhushan, the country’s 3rd highest civilian honor. In that same year, she was named an “Outstanding American by choice” by the Department of Homeland Security/US Citizenship and Immigration Services. In 2019, her portrait was inducted into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and in 2022 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts of Sciences, the New York Academy of Science and the American Philosophical Society. She is a revered role model for women and immigrants and celebrated for her empowering messages on inclusivity.
She holds a B.S. from Madras Christian College, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University. Ms. Nooyi is married and has two daughters.
Jason is the CEO of One New Zealand, formerly known as Vodafone New Zealand. He is a proud New Zealander, family man, and One NZ Warriors supporter with terrible dress sense. He says his love of technology has helped shape his career.
Jason is passionate about enabling a better future for New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses.
Dr Denise Quinlan
Dr Denise Quinlan is acknowledged internationally as a world-class facilitator and trainer who tackles difficult subjects with her trademark humour and compassion, generating hope and practical actions. A global thought leader in sustainable, future-focused wellbeing and resilience, Dr Quinlan synthesises insights from her multi-disciplinary background to develop solutions to the urgent issues facing work, family, and community. Committed to building a better future, Denise shares how people, organisations and communities worldwide can benefit from Collective Resilience, Inclusive Redesign, and a Caring Economy. Co-founder of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the University of Canterbury, Denise regularly presents at global conferences, creates and teaches courses, and authors books. An internationally published academic researcher, her award-winning podcast, Bringing Wellbeing to Life, shares wellbeing insights from leading researchers and practitioners from around the world.
Originally an equity analyst and dealer-broker on the London Stock Exchange, and a consultant with Deloitte and KPMG in Europe and NZ, Denise’s corporate background informs her work with senior executives across the globe, including as an award-winning guest lecturer at globally ranked IE Business School, Madrid. Denise is the only New Zealand trainer to have worked alongside Prof Martin Seligman and Dr Karen Reivich delivering the University of Pennsylvania’s resilience and wellbeing programmes in Australia and the UK.
Justine Smyth MNZM
Justine is a professional Director and she is currently the Chair of Spark NZ, Mondiale VGL and Breast Cancer Foundation NZ. Recent previous roles include - Director of Auckland International Airport and the Co-Chair of the Champions for Change. Justine has experience in governance, mergers and acquisitions, taxation and financial performance of large corporate enterprises from being the Group Finance Director at Lion Nathan and a Partner at Deloitte. She also spent 10 years owning and running her own businesses. She is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants NZ and a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors. Justine has spent 25 years serving as a Trustee of the Breast Cancer Foundation and is passionate about achieving their vision of “zero deaths from Breast Cancer”. She has also been a strong and vocal advocate for female diversity in leadership and in 2020 Justine was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Governance and Women.
Following her own battle with mental illness, Jazz has now dedicated her life to speaking hope and creating change in the area of mental health through her organisation Voices of Hope. Her unique experience and practical message has gained worldwide recognition, being shared through media, international speaking engagements and now through a new feature documentary film, “The Girl on The Bridge" that premiered in 2020.
She directed the award-winning series “Jessica's Tree” and is the author of the best-selling books "Stop Surviving, Start Fighting" and "My Journey Starts Here”.
In 2017 Jazz was named New Zealand’s youngest director to win the annual Doc Edge pitching contest, her series “The Silence Project” aims to shed light to the stories behind New Zealand’s suicide statistics while changing the way we have conversations about it.
In 2021, Jazz was awarded The Point of Light award from Her Majesty the Queen and was named the 2021 Young New Zealander of the Year.
In 2022 Jazz was crowned champion of New Zealand's Dancing With The Stars, raise funds and awareness for Lifeline.
Jazz is a talented motivational speaker who knows how to get a crowd inspired. She has spoken at hundreds of schools, conferences and events around the globe, sharing her story and provoking change – from inspiring high school students to making suited men feel challenged and empowered.
Hon Nicola Willis, Minister of Finance, entered Parliament in April 2018. Prior to becoming an MP Nicola held a number of senior management roles at New Zealand dairy co-operative Fonterra, and served on the boards of Export NZ and policy think-tank the New Zealand Initiative.
Nicola was a senior advisor to Prime Minister John Key during his first term in Government, having been a member of his winning 2008 campaign team, a senior advisor during his time as Leader of the Opposition and a researcher for then opposition education spokesperson Bill English.
Nicola is a proud graduate of Victoria University of Wellington with a first-class honours degree in English literature. She was a successful university debater, captaining teams and competing around the world. She grew up in Wellington, and today she lives there with her husband Duncan and their four children aged 8, 10, 12, 13.