Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international reputation for tracking emerging trends, demographic change and customer shifts.
Mark is the Director of McCrindle Research, whose clients include over 100 multinational organisations. His highly valued research and reports have developed his renown as a futurist, demographer and social commentator.
He is a regular social commentator for prominent media channels, and the author of three books on emerging trends and social change: The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations published by UNSW Press, Word Up: A Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century published by Halstead Press and The Power of Good published by Hybrid Publishers.
Mark holds a BSc (Psychology) from the University of NSW, after which he completed a Masters degree (MA) in sociology and he is qualified with the research industry’s highest accreditation: QPMR (Qualified Practising Market Researcher).
Tony Ryall is Head of Public Policy at Simpson Grierson. He provides strategic and operational leadership to the firm's public policy practice, providing clients with in-depth knowledge of public policy issues across government and business.
Prior to joining Simpson Grierson, Tony had a distinguished career in public service as a Member of Parliament from 1990 to 2014. As a senior minister in the Government, Tony held a number of large and complex portfolios: Minister of Health, Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Minister of State Services, Minister of Justice, Minister in charge of Housing New Zealand Limited, Minister in Charge of the Audit Department, and Minister of Local Government. He oversaw a number of large commercial transactions on behalf of the Crown including the partial sale of Auckland International Airport, Genesis Energy, Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy, and Air New Zealand.
Tony holds a Bachelor of Business Studies degree from Massey University, and became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2015 New Year Queen's Honours.
Oliver is the Executive Director of The New Zealand Initiative, New Zealand’s leading think tank. Before joining the Initiative, he was a Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, the Chief Economist at Policy Exchange in London, and an advisor in the UK House of Lords.
Oliver is a frequent media commentator and regularly writes for the National Business Review. His articles have been published by major newspapers in Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. He is also the author of Manifesto 2017: What the next New Zealand government should do. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration and a Ph.D. in Law from Bochum University in Germany.
Craig Stobo provides corporate advisory services to domestic and global clients. He also has private equity interests in businesses including global equity investor Elevation Capital Management; national investment advisory firm Saturn Portfolio Management; and oyster farmer and exporter Biomarine Ltd.
His independent directorships include chairing the Local Government Funding Agency, AIG Insurance New Zealand Ltd, and the NZX –listed companies Precinct Properties New Zealand Ltd, and Fliway Group Ltd. He has also been appointed by Local Government NZ to the establishment board of the Local Government Risk Agency; and to the External Challenge Group to peer review the Crown’s forthcoming 2018 Investment Statement.
Craig has worked as a diplomat for the NZ and Australian Governments; economist and investment banker for Bankers Trust NZ; and also as CEO and Executive Vice President for BT Funds Management NZ Ltd.
He has chaired the Government’s Review of the Taxation of Investment Income in 2004 which lead to the PIE tax regime which underpins the managed funds including the Kiwisaver superannuation industry; chaired the Government review of financial services exports in 2010; and chaired the Establishment Board of the Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA) prior to its incorporation in December 2011.LGFA is now the largest NZD bond issuer after the NZ Government.
Craig was educated at Waitaki Boys High School (Milner Prize); Otago University (BA Hons First Class in Economics); and Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvannia (Advanced Management Programme).
Ganesh Nana is the Executive Director and Chief Economist at BERL, an economic research, analysis, advice and consultancy for business enterprises, organisations, iwi, institutions, community groups, industry associations and public sector clients
He now has over 30 years of experience in the field of economics including business consulting, conference presentations, research, tutoring and lecturing in New Zealand and the UK.
Ganesh is an experienced conference speaker and is a regular commentator on the New Zealand economy for various media. He oversees production of BERL Birds Eye View, which assess the New Zealand economy’s outlook.
He strongly believes robust economic analysis is critical to ensure informed choices and policy decisions are made that have a positive effect on the lives and prospects of New Zealanders.
Ganesh holds a PhD in Economics from Victoria University of Wellington.
Rod is a seasoned New Zealand executive, director, investor and speaker. He has 20+ years experience in the Communications, Internet and Digital Media sectors in corporate strategy, corporate development, innovation, growth and transformation. Rod has a passion and proven track record in building and executing disruptive corporate, market, business and product shaping strategies and innovation, and invests in and mentors a number of New Zealand start-ups.
Most recently Rod was CEO of Spark Ventures leading the charge for Spark in driving digital innovation, growth and transformation through building a portfolio of 10 new businesses over 3 years, generating significant new customer and revenue growth. Previously Rod has been Spark’s Chief Product Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, GM of the Fixed Line Division and GM of the Xtra ISP and XtraMSN web portal.
Rod has sat on numerous local and global Boards including JUCY, the Mobile World Capital Advisory Board based in Barcelona, the Telco Futures Forum in Europe, Southern Cross Cables in Bermuda, XtraMSN and Yahoo!Xtra in NZ, AAPT and 3 Mobile in Australia and also The Icehouse, Lightbox Sports, Qrious, Vigil Monitoring and Springboard Trust in NZ.
Rod is a qualified chartered accountant, with a Bachelor of Commerce & Administration from Victoria University of Wellington and an Executive Management Diploma from Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.
His Honour Judge Andrew Becroft was appointed the Children’s Commissioner for New Zealand for a two year period from June 2016. Prior to this he was the Principal Youth Court Judge for Jew Zealand from 2001 to 2016; and a District Court Judge from 1996 to 2001.
After graduating from Auckland University in 1981 he practised in Auckland until 1986 when he then assisted with the establishment of the Mangere Community Law Centre and worked there until 1993. He then worked as a criminal barrister in South Auckland until his appointment to the District Court in Whanganui, from 1996.
Judge Becroft is a former council member of the Auckland District Law Society and the New Zealand Law Society. He is the Patron of the New Zealand Speak Easy Association Inc., which assists those with various forms of speech impediment, and is the Chairperson of the Board of the Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship (NZ) Inc.
Judge Becroft holds a BA/LLB (Honours) from the University of Auckland.
Matthew Hooton has over 25 years' experience in corporate and public-sector communications, including for the New Zealand Government and the country's most influential companies.
He began his career as a press secretary to the New Zealand trade, agriculture and deputy finance minister before consulting to PricewaterhouseCoopers business continuity team working on Y2K related projects, including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ, Westpac, National Australia Bank and the New Zealand Treasury.
At 28, he played a lead role in the government relations and communications programmes that led to the creation of Fonterra, becoming the company's first head of communications, managing the announcements of all senior executives, the first election to the Board of Directors and announcements of new ventures with partners in Europe, North and South America and India.
Matthew has also led a wide range of government relations programmes including ones where government/industry partnerships were sought, such as with ZESPRI International, or where legislative change was sought as with the Kyoto Forestry Association.
Matthew is well known in political circles and by the public for his role as a political commentator on Radio New Zealand and as a columnist for the National Business Review and Metro magazine. He maintains strong relations with senior figures across the political spectrum.
He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from the University of Auckland.
Skye Duncan is an urban designer with over a decade of experience in architecture, urban design, planning and landscape architecture. She is the Director of the Global Designing Cities Initiative at the National Association of City Transportation Officials in New York, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University in New York. For seven years, she was the Senior Urban Designer at the New York City Department of City Planning in their Office of the Chief Urban Designer. Skye has worked professionally as an International Urban Design Consultant in Brazil, Colombia, Canada and New Zealand.
Skye has a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columnia University, New York, a BArch, Architecture from Victoria University of Wellington, and a BArch, Engineering and Architecture from the University of Canterbury.
Barbara has management experience in local and central government, community organisations and business. She specialises in cross-sector collaboration to achieve results around community-led aspirations and plans at local and regional levels.
Barbara has been actively involved in the Ōpōtiki Harbour Development Project for nearly a decade. More recently she has helped catalyse an Eastern Bay of Plenty focus on creating more vocational pathways for existing and emerging jobs, under the umbrella of Toi EDA, the Eastern BoP Economic Development Agency. Barbara's also been involved in Inspiring Communities since its inception and is a member of the national team.
She has an MA in Social Policy, is a SOLGM member, and has lived in the Bay of Plenty for over three decades.
Diana Jones, The Organisation Development Company and author of Leadership Material: how personal experience shapes leadership presence
Diana Jones brings over author brings 30-years’ experience as a leadership coach and advisor, speaker and author. She specialises in culture and behavioral change with senior leaders and their real work interrelationships, and the flow on behaviors and implications for strategy, action and business results.
Her first book Leadership Material: how personal experience shapes leadership presence is published by Nicholas Brealey business books in the US and UK, and Hachette in New Zealand.
This year Diana presented to women leaders in the UNDP HQ, had a book signing in Barnes and Noble 5th Avenue New York, is a Forbes.com and CEO magazine contributor, and is quoted in the Daily Mail, and Huffington Post.
Susan Parkes is a Customer Obsessed leader at Auckland Transport who manages Customer Central. This innovative environment supports human centered design to turn problems into great customer experiences.
Susan is an advocate of standing in the customer’s shoes in order to grow an empathetic culture. She is passionate about the development of customer metrics in order to drive employee engagement and purpose.
Prior to being at Auckland Transport, Susan worked at Sovereign Insurance delivering a range of customer centric strategies that improved customer experience and employee engagement. Over the last decade, Susan has been responsible for and delivered customer centric strategies at EziBuy and House of Travel and Vodafone.
Susan holds a Management Degree from Waikato University, has lived in the UK, USA and Japan. Continuing her passion of understanding diversity and cultures, Susan recently visited India as part of a leadership development initiative with The Hunger Project.
Diane Turner is the Director of Office of Seniors is responsible for a small team within the Ministry of Social Development. Her and her team support the Minister for Seniors whose role it is to advocate for the issues and interests of older people.
Diane spent thirty years in local government, the last five years as CEO of the Whakatāne District Council. During her career at the Council she also held a number of other positions including ten years as Civil Defence Controller for the Council. In 2012 Diane received the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Silver Award for her leadership roles in both the Bay of Plenty floods of 2004 and the Matata debris flow of 2005.
In 2011 she took up the position of Deputy Chief Executive of Recovery Strategy, Planning and Policy Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), where she was responsible for the development of the Recovery Strategy and Recovery Plans and providing advice, policy and governance structures needed to contribute to the recovery process.
Diane worked for three years at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. While there she was responsible for leading the contribution of Ngāi Tahu to the earthquake recovery and development of the shared equity home ownership scheme for whānau. In 2014 she was responsible for the establishment of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu (South Island Commissioning Agency), a $15 million investment fund for building whānau capability, owned by the nine iwi of the South Island.
Diane holds a Bachelor Social Sciences from Waikato University, a Bachelor Town Planning from Auckland University and a Master Business Administration from Massey University. Diane is also a member of the Institute of Directors, and is a Justice of the Peace.
Helen Rice has been practicing law for more than 25 years and leads the Rice + Co local government team. Rice + Co acts for councils all over NZ. Helen’s early career experience was in resource management and civil litigation. Over the past 20 years Helen has honed her skills to specialise in local government and insurance litigation, dispute resolution and regulatory advice.
Through all of this, Helen has observed that litigation has an important place in resolving disputes and settling claims. However, litigation often is far too narrow, expensive, and slow. Too often,litigation imposes outcomes which are unsatisfactory to all parties, even the so-called "winners".
Helen knows when and how to use mediation and other modern dispute resolution techniques to bring parties together to quickly narrow issues in dispute and create more imaginative, better, and lasting resolutions than those which litigation might impose.
Helen and the Rice + Co team are well known for early and proactive resolutions, however from time to time claims arise that are not possible to finalise through negotiated resolution. Often important issues of law need to be considered by the courts, particularly where they are reputation sensitive; or hold strong precedent value.
Rice + Co’s expert early strategisation and investigation ensures claims are managed in line with community expectations and according to the council’s preferences and best interests.
Importantly for Rice + Co’s council clients, Helen and her team understand the importance of not only maintaining but enhancing their council clients’ good reputations with their community and their standing more widely as public bodies.
Helen is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most experienced and successful mediation lawyers. She thrives in a mediation setting and without fail ensures her clients get the best results. Helen is persuasive, has appeared extensively before the judiciary and is across the local government regulatory and legislative landscape.
Peter McKinlay is the Executive Director of McKinlay Douglas Ltd, and has nearly 30 years’ experience as a researcher and adviser on local governance and local government.
He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. As well as New Zealand, he has worked extensively in Australia, including NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
Currently, Peter’s major role is working with a group of councils establishing New Zealand’s first local government backed think tank, building on the extensive networks he has internationally with researchers, local government organizations, major think tanks and others to link member councils into the best of current international experience of local governance and community enablement.
David Hall is Deputy Chief Executive of the Waipa District Council and Convenor of the Local Government Think Tank which is a newly established consortium of Councils who have an interest in proactively advancing informed debate about the role of local government in New Zealand. The Purpose of the Local Government Think Tank is to:
“[a]ssist NZ local government to build stronger communities by generating research, providing insight and informing debate on current and emerging policy issues.”
The objectives are to:
“1. Investigating opportunities for local government to better support and serve our communities.
2. Facilitating informed discussion and sharing between and within Councils about strategic issues affecting communities.
3. The production of original and innovative work which results in positive change.”
David has considerable experience as a senior local government executive, having previously held the positions of Chief Executive at Otorohanga and South Waikato District Councils.
Natalie Palmer is the Communication and Engagement Manager at Waipa District Council where she is responsible for communications (including digital communications), engagement and community events. She has garnered a national reputation for her innovative and creative approach to engagement and continues to forge new ways to positively work with communities.
In 2017 Natalie was a finalist in the Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award based on a proven track record of developing and delivering campaigns with identifiable community impact.
In 2015 she was a member of the team which won the Fulton Hogan LGNZ Excellence Award for Community Impact for a feisty engagement campaign that set a new bar in local government engagement. In the same year, she led the team that won the ALGIM award for Best Web Project. She also represented Waipa in the 2016 SOLGM Management Challenge.
Natalie holds a Bachelor of Communication Studies as well as the internationally recognised APR certification (Accreditation in Public Relations). In 2013 she was the recipient of the Ted Zorn Waikato Alumni Award in Management Communication from the University of Waikato.
Monique Davidson is the youngest Chief Executive in New Zealand for Local Government. Monique holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University of Wellington, after a successful period as a Senior Manager for Horowhenua District Council in June this year started the role at Central Hawke’s Bay District Council.
Monique is described as a transformational leader, who identifies a vision, clearly communicates that and takes people with her to deliver. Monique was the first recipient of the SOLGM Leadership in Practice Scholarship in 2012, which she says was pivotal in her leadership journey. Monique is married, with two children aged 1 and 3.
Richard has held the role since 1986. He is responsible for implementing policies set by the Mayor and the Council, and for the overall management of the city’s resources. The position involves leading and managing staff and operations, providing advice and direction, ensuring effective and efficient management, and the maintenance of systems. He is also responsible for employing staff, and negotiating terms of employment. Members of the Executive Team report directly to the Chief Executive and meet regularly for updates and to discuss policy and day-to-day operations.
Richard has had a long career in local government, starting at Invercargill City Council in 1969, before talking roles at Dunedin City Council, Gore Borough Council and Blenheim Borough Council.
Nedine commenced her role as Chief Executive of the Gisborne District Council in March this year. Nedine had been working for Gisborne District Council for the past 8 years as part of the leadership team and as group manager planning and development responsible for strategic planning, planning and performance, community recreation and customer service. Nedine has been a very competent manager during this time.
Nedine has a Bachelor of Arts and 2 master’s degrees in education and business administration from Victoria University. She has 10 years experience in management roles and was Head of School at Tairawhiti Polytechnic and strategy manager for the Foundation for Research Science and Technology prior to being employed at Gisborne District Council.
Nedine is one of the youngest chief executives of a unitary authority and the fourth chief executive in the Gisborne District Council’s history.
Born and raised in Tairawhiti, Nedine attended Kaiti, Ilminster and Gisborne Girls High schools. She has whakapapa to Ngati Porou hapu of Te Whanau a Rakairoa, Te Whanau a Ruataupare, Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Te Whanau a Tuwhakairiora. Nedine is married to Hiki Swann and has 4 children.
Craig has worked in the local government sector for almost 41 years, is currently in his 14 th year as Chief Executive at South Taranaki District Council. On 1 November he will commence as CE at New Plymouth District Council.
Craig is a second generation local government CE and has an excellent understanding of the ‘business of local government’ due to holding dozens of different roles from ranging from office junior to his present role. He jokes that his LG career actually started when he spent a year running on the back of the rubbish truck while trying to earn money to go to university – he never made it there.
Craig is a self-confessed adrenalin junkie who has raced at Manfeild, done bungy jumping, skydiving, the Sky Tower Aerial walk and Base Jump – and is now learning to fly! He is a keen DIY builder and landscape gardener and a “wannabe triathlete”.
Craig may be a lifetime bureaucrat ... but he freely admits he hates unnecessary
bureaucracy. For many years his vision for South Taranaki District Council has been to be NZ’s Most Can Do Council and the success of the culture that has been built at South Taranaki is evidenced by eight consecutive years as a finalist in the Kenexa Best
Dennis commenced in his role in October 2012.
Dennis was the CEO at Swan Hill Rural City Council prior to starting at Frankston City for over five-and-a-half years and has a total of more than 30 years’ experience in local government including time in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
With tertiary qualifications in Political Science and Legal Studies together with Public Sector Management, he has extensive experience in both rural and metropolitan Councils of varying sizes, populations, budgets and staff numbers.
Dennis represents the Local Government Professional Sector as a member of the Victorian LGPRO Board, a member of the National Local Government Professionals Australia Board and is the International Vice President on the ICMA Board.
Marc is the Executive Director of ICMA, the International City/County Management Association.
ICMA is the authority on leadership and management for appointed professional managers and administrators serving U.S. and international local governments.
ICMA’s Executive Director operates on a national and international stage, representing a profession with more than 100 years of history, tradition, and transformation. As Executive Director, Mark oversees a workforce of 100 employees and a budget of more than $30 million. He oversees all aspects of ICMA including membership, staff, and implementation of the Executive Board’s strategic objectives.
Prior to joining ICMA, from January 2008 to October 2016, Mark served as City Manager of Austin, Texas, a full-service city with 40+ departments, a workforce of 14,000 employees, an all-funds budget of $3.7 billion, and a AAA bond rating that was maintained throughout his tenure. During his nearly nine years as Chief Executive and Chief Administrative Officer, Mark championed employee empowerment, civic dialogue, innovation, and fiscal sustainability with the goal of having Austin recognized as the "Best Managed City in America."
Mark has received numerous awards and honors. In 2011, he was one of only six senior public sector administrators worldwide—including Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Vienna (Austria) and Melbourne (Australia)—that were highlighted for their exceptional local management practices in the CAO Chronicles of Public Sector Digest. In 2013, he was recognized with ICMA’s highest professional honor, the Award for Career Excellence in Memory of Mark E. Keane, for his creative approach to such challenging issues as budget deficits, homelessness, infrastructure management, and education.
Also in 2013, Mark and the City of Austin received ICMA’s Community Sustainability Award, which recognizes innovative local government programs that creatively balance a community’s social, economic, environmental, and cultural needs. The city was cited for its Austin Energy Green Building program, a rating system initially designed for single-family homes that expanded to include multifamily and commercial buildings.
Mark has had a long and distinguished career in municipal management. Before joining Austin, he served as assistant city manager for infrastructure services for the City of Fort Worth, Texas (2002-08), where he was responsible for the infrastructure operations carried out by the Water, Transportation and Public Works, Engineering, and Aviation departments. He was also responsible for implementing one of the city council's top strategic priorities: promoting orderly growth.
Before moving to Texas, Mark served as city administrator of Rochester Hills, Michigan (1998-2002), where he had administrative and managerial oversight over all municipal operations. He also served as city manager (1993-97), deputy city manager (1991-1993), and as an assistant city manager (1990-91) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ott served in leadership and support roles for the cities of Grand Rapids and Jackson, Michigan (1982-90), and as a staff assistant to the Michigan Municipal League (1981-82).
Mark earned his bachelor's degree in management with a concentration in economics from Michigan's Oakland University and a master's in public administration from the same university. He is also a graduate of the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Innovation. Ott received an ICMA Service Award in 2012 in honor of his 30 years of service to local government.
Lee was appointed City Manager for the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in June 2011.
Prior to his appointment as Fort Lauderdale City Manager, Lee was employed by the City of Palm Bay, Florida, where he served as City Manager from October 2002 through June 2011.
He previously served as the City Manager of North Miami, Florida, from May 1996 to October 2002, and as the Deputy City Manager beginning in 1989. Lee’s career also includes serving as an Assistant to the City Manager and Assistant City Manager for the City of North Miami Beach.
Lee is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts. He earned a Master’s Degree in Governmental Administration from the Fels Center of Government at the University of Pennsylvania where he has also been appointed as a Distinguished Alumni Fellow. In addition, he is a graduate of the Senior Executive in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
His numerous professional affiliations include serving as President of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), as a member of the Board of the National Civic League, as a member of the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency National Advisory Council, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Alliance For Innovation, and as a member of the National League of Cities Steering Committee on Public Safety and Crime Prevention and Advocacy.
Lee previously served as a Vice President (Southeast Region) of ICMA and as President of the Florida City and County Management Association. He is a past recipient of the Florida League of Cities’ "City Manager of the Year" Award. Additionally he has served as the past chair of the National League of Cities’ City Futures Panel on Public Finance, the past chair of the ICMA Governmental Affairs and Policy Committee, the past chair of the ICMA Sustainable Communities Advisory Committee, as well as a member of the ICMA Task Force on Community Tools for Ending Racism.
Lee teaches newly elected municipal officials the principles of finance and taxation in Florida and is frequently called upon to speak to professional groups on a variety of municipal issues.
Mark is the Director of Governance and Law at the London Borough of Waltham Forest. A solicitor since 1988, Mark worked for 4 years in the private sector as a commercial lawyer with Eversheds before joining local government where he has worked at every local authority tier at Borough, County and Unitary level., including 11 years as the Director of Corporate Affairs at London Borough of Lambeth, and 4 years as the City Solicitor at Peterborough.
Mark is a Director of Solace and Solicitor to the Board and a past President of Lawyers in Local Government. Mark has also established a consultancy firm PRNH Ltd.
Nadine Higgins is a well known as a business journalist, newsreader and television presenter - having previously hosted AMP Business, Breakfast and Seven Sharp on TV1, and reported and presented TV1 News. She also works for Newstalk ZB. Before TVNZ she spent four years with Radio New Zealand as a business reporter and presenter.
Nadine brings with her a wealth of business knowledge which makes her the perfect option for business events and conferences.