Dame Louise Casey is straight-talking former UK public servant who has advised consecutive British Prime Ministers on homelessness, antisocial behaviour, troubled families, community cohesion and extremism. She is now the Chairperson of the Institute of Global Homelessness, a global movement to end homelessness. Dame Louise has delivered some brave and innovative solutions to long standing social problems and has some fascinating insights to share.
Sam is the Founder and CEO of the multi-award-winning charity Sustainable Coastlines. In 2013 he was named Young New Zealander of the Year. During his eight years at the helm, Sustainable Coastlines has grown into a globally recognised movement that inspires, educates and enables communities to protect the places they love.
To date, the small team have delivered educational programmes to 177,802 people with excellent longitudinal impact. They have also motivated over 67,000 participants to remove more than 1.3 million litres of rubbish from the coast and planted over 55,000 native trees along our waterways. Sam is now channelling his efforts to deliver and upscale these proven programmes through strategic capacity-building efforts in New Zealand and the Pacific.
For five years Sam wrote a weekly column for the New Zealand Herald website as their sole contributor on the environment, bringing environmental issues and solutions to hundreds of thousands of people.
Sam has broad base of experience that develops capacity within local communities to enable them to look after the places they love through applied training and open-sourcing effective programmes. His focus is on developing executive-level partnerships and assisting other social and environmental entrepreneurs to develop and execute their concepts.
Sam works extensively in the Asia Pacific region, and is in demand to create Sustainable Coastlines chapters in Indonesia, Thailand, Tahiti, Italy, Singapore, Canada, Peru and Chile. Last year he was invited to be an expert advisor to UNEP and continues to help spread effective solutions globally. Sam also led the New Zealand youth delegation to the United Nations Third Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa and presented a multi-stakeholder partnership dialogue to build on existing successful partnerships and facilitate new partnerships to advance sustainable development.
Sam is also passionate about pathways to rehabilitation of offenders. He has led over 170 days with Community Service workers – work which was recognised with an award from the New Zealand Department of Corrections. This experience has become a platform for Sam to develop several programmes that motivate prisoners to gain qualifications while working on waste minimisation and water quality through sustainable construction, native tree propagation and riparian restoration.
Sam serves on several non-profit boards, including the Pacific Ocean Initiative, The Hand over a Hundy Trust, and Puniu River Care INC. He works in closely with iwi by running capacity development programmes with Māori.
He is passionate about the ocean and enjoys surfing, spearfishing and swimming with his 5- year old daughter Juliette.
Kaila spearheaded the hugely successful Singularity University New Zealand and Australia Summits, introducing more than 2,000 people to exponential technologies and their impact on humanity.
She is also a co-founder and Chair of the non-profit Ministry of Awesome, the starting point for early-stage entrepreneurs in Christchurch; the Curator and Licensee for TEDxChristchurch in New Zealand and TEDxScottBase in Antarctica; Chair of the New York-based culinary school Natural Gourmet Institute; Deputy Chair of CORE Education; and a Director of ChristchurchNZ.
Her purpose in life is to be an uplifting presence.
Jonathan is a Partner at Simpson Grierson.
He is one of New Zealand's foremost legal experts on the structures, processes and funding of local government. He has advocated for this sector's interests through periods of dramatic reform and on major projects over the last 25 years.
Ko Mataatua me Tainui nga waka, ko Whakatohea me Ngai Tai nga Iwi.
Vaughan is honoured to be Waikato Regional Council’s CE because of the quality of his staff and council’s purpose fully aligns with what’s important to him: working together to achieve positive environmental, social and economic outcomes. His council recognises that the big issues facing the Waikato region and New Zealand are increasingly complex, requiring greater collaboration between tangata whenua, councils, central government, industry, and communities. Vaughan places a lot of importance on growing partner and stakeholder relationships.
Vaughan’s formal training is in surveying, planning and business management. While Vaughan has worked across NZ in both the private and public sectors, he has deep roots in his home town of Opotiki in the eastern Bay of Plenty.
Anna is a customer experience specialist who's been involved in the set-up of Customer Central, Auckland Transport's innovation hub. Anna quickly saw the opportunity that design thinking could have to fundamentally change the customer experience and the culture at Auckland Transport and dived in. She hasn't looked back since and has delivered a range of products from jetski licensing to lost property services for rail customers. In her free time, she listens to podcasts about human behaviour and psychology and binge watches Suits.
In Pieta’s role as Data & Analytics Manager at PwC’s Experience Centre, she brings a real passion for data and analytics, technical expertise, practical common sense and the ability to see the big picture for PwC’s clients. Pieta believes broad thinking from multiple disciplines is critical to analytics success and her data science ‘dream team’ comprises technical expertise alongside psychology, anthropology and design.
Her previous roles have been as a Statistician, Insights Manager and Chief Analytics Officer. Outside of work, Pieta enjoys getting outdoors, hiking and diving, and is a self-confessed book worm.
Dr Ganesh Nana is the Chief Economist and Executive Director at BERL.
Ganesh is a first-generation New Zealander, born and bred in Wellington. He has over 30 years of experience in the field of economics including research, tutoring and lecturing at Victoria University and a four-year stint consulting in the UK.
Ganesh joined BERL full-time in 1998 and has since worked on a wide range of projects, including development strategies; cost-benefit analyses; labour market projections; infrastructure assessments; and examining policy options.
Ganesh’s area of expertise is where numbers and economics intersect.
The imperative for New Zealand’s competitive export-oriented economy to be strengthened has been a common theme throughout most projects. Over the past few years Ganesh’s work has seen a focus on the Māori economy and incorporating this information into a nation-wide modelling framework. In addition, he has worked to advocate the use of broader indicators of wellbeing beyond the conventional GDP and productivity measures of economic prosperity.
Ganesh is an experienced conference speaker and is a regular commentator on the New Zealand economy for various media.
Outside of economics, he is an avid cricket purist, and is regularly in training for his next marathon.
Paul is a technology and business leader working with entrepreneurs, companies, and development organisations across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
He is a technology, operations, and strategic leadership advisor and has more than thirty years’ experience as a technology entrepreneur, Fortune 50 executive, and global development leader, helping grow organizations and teams, and deliver successful IT change efforts worldwide.
Fatumata is a fourth year conjoint Bachelor of Health Science (Psychology major) and Bachelor of Business (Management major) student at the Auckland University of Technology, where she also works part time as a Student Experience Team Coordinator.
Born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Fatumata is a descendent of the Fulani tribe and identifies Sierra Leone, West Africa as her ethnicity and home away from home.
Fatumata has an interest in the New Zealand Healthcare system, which stems from her personal experience with it. Upon arrival to NZ in 1996, (fleeing the civil war, in Freetown, Sierra Leone) the mandatory health assessment check diagnosed Fatumata with Sickle Cell Disease, also known as Sickle Cell Anaemia. This is a genetic blood condition caused by a mutation in the haemoglobin gene, which changes the shape of the red blood cells.
Fatumata’s extensive involvement in extracurricular activities including Oxfam, Amnesty International and women's rights activism led to her award of the Zonta Club of Auckland, Young Women in Public Affairs award in 2011.
Fatumata was also selected as one of 10 young leaders for the Office of Ethnic Community's inaugural Young Leaders Programme from 2012-2013. In April 2016 Fatumata represented New Zealand at the 33Sixty Commonwealth Young Leaders Programme in Glasgow, Scotland. 2016 also saw Fatumata as a finalist in the young leader category for the Westpac Women of Influence Awards. In 2017 Fatumata was awarded the AUT Women On Campus Scholarship.
Fatumata is a young leader who advocates for cultural intelligence, the empowerment of women and diversity and inclusion.
Gretchen is a seasoned speaker, process consultant and transformational leadership coach. She has spent the last twenty years guiding entrepreneurs, social artists, change agents and community leaders to thriving lives and prosperous outcomes, through increased awareness and expanded abilities to be adaptive and resilient in the face of change.
While Director of NewStories’ Thriving Salish Sea Project, she focused on identifying issues, sharing resources and convening diverse stakeholders to encourage alliances that addressed the challenges and opportunities of this international and cross-cultural bioregion in the Pacific Northwest. The Salish Sea encompasses large urban areas (Seattle and Vancouver), small towns, rural areas and remote ferry-served islands in the United States and Canada.
Gretchen’s known for creating environments of nurturance and empathy, opening space where differences and diversity can be acknowledged and valued, offering processes that build trust and capabilities, and catalyzing actions to create outcomes from a shared vision. She’s a weaver and story-gatherer who shares inspirations from her adventures in communities and organizations that are building resilience and well-being.
New Zealand born Indian Vanisa is the current National President of the National Council of Women New Zealand. Founded by Kate Sheppard, NCWNZ is an umbrella group leading the new Gender Equal NZ campaign.
During her recently working career, she has been in CEO level roles in the NGO sector, including CEO of Volunteering New Zealand, Chair of ComVoices and Executive Director of the 2020 Trust. Her wide community involvement has secured her a place in the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Global Network.
She is passionate about equality, developing young people and cultural relations.
Alicia supports public agencies to make smart decisions, so they can deliver more impact in their communities. Alicia is an expert in enabling teams, elected officials and organisations to work smarter, giving them the confidence to make better policy, operating and investment decisions.
In the current political, social and economic climate, public agencies are struggling with increasing mandates, limited resources and conflicting priorities. Alicia empowers decision-makers at all levels to create lasting impact for their organisation, customers and community, bridging the gap between thinking and delivering with powerful decisions.
A former local government policy advisor, Alicia struck out as an independent consultant in early 2014 and now works with the full public spectrum, including local authorities, central agencies, DHBs, NGOs and universities. A local government specialist, Alicia’s work with local authorities spans from Auckland all the way down to Gore. With a knack for addressing tricky issues, Alicia has worked with Councils to boost decision quality, set strategic priorities, select initiatives and develop business cases, feasibility studies, corporate frameworks, policy and service delivery reviews.
Travelling across New Zealand and Australia, Alicia is at the leading edge of decision frameworks for public investment, and one of the only NZ experts with formal Better Business Cases, Benefits Management and Investment Logic Mapping accreditation. Alicia applies these frameworks in a meaningful, actionable way with her evidence-based approach. Drawing on political science and behavioural economics, Alicia converts theory into plain English and facilitates powerful decision process to support service delivery, police development and investment. Her workshops are well-known for their energy, outcome-focus and engagement building properties.
Peter McKinlay, Executive Director of McKinlay Douglas Ltd, 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 and a member of its research advisory group for Australasia.
As well as New Zealand, he has worked extensively in Australia, including NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
His major work focus currently is the shift to well-being as the principal focus of central government, and the concurrent statutory empowerment of local government to promote community well-being. Peter’s experience in reviewing practice internationally suggests that this change far from being just symbolic will result in a fundamental shift both in the role of central and local government and in how they work together.
While hailing from small town New Zealand, Megan spent 15 years working in local government in Auckland. Her former Waitakere City Council roles focused on facilitating and brokering sector, place-based and citywide partnerships to improve community outcomes. She’s also worked with the Department of Internal Affairs to produce practical partnering tools and resources for those working at the collaboration coalface.
When it comes to community-led development Megan describes herself as a doer, thinker, writer, planner, teacher and learner – with being part of the Inspiring Communities team enabling her to combine all six skills and passions! She’s a firm believer in the power of local people and places to do amazing things and loves working alongside communities and Councils to help make locally-led action happen.
Nelson based Megan is a founding member of the Inspiring Communities core team, and (amongst many things!) leads coordination of IC Team activities.
Dr Bronwyn Wood is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Education, Victoria University of Wellington. Her research for the past 8 years has focused on diverse young people’s citizenship participation and how citizenship education can support the development of critical and active citizens.
Josiah Tualamali’i is a New Zealand born Samoan who grew up in Ōtepoti and Ōtautahi. At 14 he was the Prime Minister in the first Pacific Youth Parliament, which led to the creation of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Trust – set up to empower Pacific young people to participate in all worlds. In 2016 he won the Prime Ministers Pacific Youth Leadership Award, and currently is youth voice on the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction .
Aneesa was born and raised in Wellington. She loves the vibrant, multicultural spaces of Aotearoa, and has always lived and breathed community work. She works extensively within the Muslim community - both in Wellington and Melbourne, and currently runs an organisation called Benevolence NZ. Benevolence focuses on creating opportunities for local Muslims as well as other communities, organisations, and individuals to understand Islam and explore it within the context of New Zealand.
In the professional sphere, Aneesa has worked in the digital transformation field as well as in education for almost 20 years. She’s passionate about supporting people, and organisations to make the most of digital tools, utilising them with confidence and purpose. She has lead teachers within special character schools to positively integrate ICT into an often dry and rigid curriculum, tutored computer programming at university, and spent many a day ‘entertraining’ clients demystifying the world of Microsoft.
Aneesa currently works as the Digital Experience Manager and trainer at Squiz.
Dr Roger Lewis has a background in Māori language revitalisation, translation, and education. His PhD work was in Critical Discourse Theory and Language Policy and Planning. He has initiated and led nationally recognised marae and iwi level initiatives for the Raukawa iwi authority. He has been a member of Tai-ranga-whenua, Waikato Regional Council’s Māori focus unit for just over two years. A newcomer to local government he successfully completed the RMA Making Good Decisions programme and provides Māori focused policy and engagement advice. He led the development of the Māori Cultural Learning and development pathway (Te Ara) a key part of which is the Kawe Kōrero App.
Case Study Presenter
Greg Wilson is the District Planning Manager for Far North District Council. Greg is an environmental planner with a background in earth sciences and has experience in land use planning, stakeholder management and environmental assessments undertaken for local government, private consultancies and Australian State Government Agencies. He has management experience as a Manager for Council, Team Leader at a multidisciplinary consultancy and Planning Manager at a development company.
Greg's project work includes leading innovative and successful plan making campaigns, substantial work in assessing development impacts for major infrastructure projects, residential and commercial developments and preparing and implementing strategies for public participation, both statutory and non-statutory for development proposals.
Since moving with his family to New Zealand in January 2008, Greg has processed resource consent applications for the Far North District Council, prepared plan changes, policy reviews and represented Council in Environment Court Appeals as part of the District Plan Team and leading the District Plan Department.
Greg is a Corporate Member of the Planning Institute of Australia.
Case Study Presenter
Jenny Rains is the Manager of Community Services at Wellington City Council with a focus on building community and neighbourhood resilience and ensuring that Wellington is a safe and inclusive city. Jenny leads a team that is community facing, both at the tactical and strategic level, always customer-centric and incorporates a co-design and participatory place-based approach when developing and delivering services.
Jenny has come from a science and health background as well as working on the ground in community organisations both in New Zealand and Canada. The combination of these professional disciplines has provided a unique perspective on the importance using data displayed spatially to assist in the delivery of community outcomes.
Jenny and her team also take on the role of leading the emergency response to assist people and animals during a civil defence emergency.
Case Study Presenter
Mel took on the role as Economic Recovery Lead two weeks after the Kaikōura Earthquake. Mel has an extensive background in setting up multinational company operations in emerging economies across Africa and Caribbean. She has a broad HR background and looked after East Coast HR operations across seven offices for one of Australia’s leading engineering companies. Mel currently runs a consulting business, and owns and runs her own high end boutique wine company in Kaikōura. She is extremely passionate about Kaikoura and excited about what the future holds for Kaikōura. Her aim is to make Kaikōura a world leading destination to live, work and visit. Mel has completed a Master of Applied Law from the University of Queensland.
Master of Ceremonies
Nadine Higgins (nee Chalmers-Ross) is renowned as an intelligent, articulate and engaging MC.
From her strong background in broadcasting and business journalism, Nadine has developed the ability to comprehend complex topics, moderate multi-person panels and think on her feet to swiftly adjust to the direction of the conversation.
Nadine’s clients engage her year after year, her robust skills as an MC, facilitator and interviewer are difficult to surpass.