Dame Louise Casey is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London and a guest lecturer at the London School of Economics. She has been a driving force in the establishment of the Institute for Global Homelessness based in Chicago, with the aim of delivering an international solution to homelessness across the world. The Institute is part of DePaul University and also part of a wider Vincentian Homeless Alliance.
A former British government official (also known as a ‘Czar’) , she worked on issues relating to social welfare for four Prime Ministers. She was made head of the Rough Sleepers’ Unit in 1999 under Prime Minister Tony Blair where she successfully led the strategy and action to reduce the numbers of homelessness people living on the streets by two thirds within a three year period.
Dame Louise went on to become Director of the national Anti-Social Behaviour Unit in 2003 and then head of the Respect Task Force in 2005. In 2010, Louise became the UK’s first Victim’s Commissioner, and in 2011 was appointed Director General of the government’s Troubled Families programme, helping troubled families turn their lives around. In 2015, she undertook the Inspection into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in South Yorkshire. Also in 2015, Louise was asked by then-Prime Minister David Cameron to undertake a review of community cohesion and extremism, which was published in December 2017.
Prior to becoming a civil servant, Louise was Deputy Director of the homelessness charity Shelter and worked for many years in homelessness charities before that.
Dame Louise was awarded the Companion of the Order of Bath (CB) in the Queen's birthday honours list, 2008 and made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the Queen's birthday honours list, 2016.
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 and leads the firm’s local government group. 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.
Josh is a partner in Simpson Grierson’s banking and finance team. He is a specialist in local government finance and has a strong interest in funding models used by central and local authorities to finance infrastructure projects.
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.
Eileen Deemal-Hall is a Bama woman with cultural ties to Dhithirr Warra, Wakamin, Bagarrmuuku and Ankamuthi Nations and is currently Chief Executive Officer for Wujla Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council - Daintree Rainforest Area Cape York.
Since Eileen commenced in August 2016 Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council has won four National Awards across diverse categories including climate adaptation, defence - reserves, and National Local Government.
Eileen has a wide range of experience having worked across three tiers of government; State, Federal and Territory Governments. Her career has also seen her working in the mining sector as a Workforce Analyst and in the not-for-profit sector as a State-wide Manager across 33 locations in Queensland.
Eileen is super excited to be presenting at SOLGM this year!!
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.
Nicola is a passionate human-centred designer - using design thinking to put the end user back at the centre of the things we create.
Nicola helps organisations design products, services, spaces and experiences that have a meaningful, positive impact on people’s lives. She co-designs solutions for communities with those communities, ensuring the outcomes work for, and have buy-in from, the people they are meant to serve.
She believes strongly in the power of curiosity and adopting a ‘beginners mind’ to re-think the way we serve communities and customers. She loves working at the interface between human needs and emerging tech.
Nicola works as a senior experience designer at PwC’s Experience Centre in Auckland. Currently, she is supporting Auckland Transport to design improved services for their customers. At SOLGM this year she will share the work they did with the blind community to design more accessible bus services.
Kate loves Tāmaki Makaurau. She leads the Customer Focus team at Auckland Transport and is passionate about better community engagement. Her current focus is public consultation and customer-centric improvements, with a particular interest in how customer involvement can produce richer design outcomes. She will share work on engaging diverse voices through Auckland Transport consultations.
Kate has background in contemporary art and academia, with a doctorate in Art History from the University of Auckland. As a very early graduate of kōhanga reo, she is excited about Māori language learning as an adult.
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.
All her political life, Hon Nanaia Mahuta has worked for her people. She has championed greater investment in education, employment and training opportunities particularly for young people, supported the continuation of the Treaty Settlement process and supported specific initiatives that lift the wellbeing and opportunities for young mums and those who are vulnerable and victims of abuse.
During her time in Parliament, Hon Nanaia Mahuta has supported policies and initiatives that built the capacity of communities and iwis, especially around environmental issues.
Hon Nanaia Mahuta is a tribal member of Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Manu and her parliamentary experience has enabled her to contribute to the collective aspirations of Maori and all New Zealanders. She has an MA (Hons) in social anthropology.
Hon Nanaia Mahuta today holds the portfolios of Māori Development, Local Government and Associate Environment. This combination of portfolios provides a unique opportunity to think about how compliance and monitoring activities are provided for and how matauranga maori can be incorporated into compliance and monitoring practice.
She was previously a cabinet minister in the Fifth Labour Government, serving then as Minister of Customs, Minister of Local Government, Minister of Youth Development, Associate Minister for the Environment, and Associate Minister of Tourism.
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.
Steve Pearce has worked for Auckland City Council and Auckland Council in the regulatory compliance field for the past 11 years. During this time, he has been a key contributor to a wide range of resource management matters across territorial authority and regional council functions. Most recently, as Regulatory Compliance Manager for Auckland Council, Steve has been leading the integration of the resource management, building, bylaws and noise compliance functions and has been responsible for the introduction of a harm-based compliance approach.
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.
Breakfast panel speaker
Jo Miller holds one of the most high-profile local government jobs in the UK, with an outstanding track record for motivating people, creating solutions and brokering agreements in major housing, economic regeneration and capital investment schemes.
As Chief Executive at Doncaster Council, Jo is recognised as having brought exceptional growth and optimism to a previously economically depressed town. The Local Government Chronicle said Doncaster had been “dragged up from the depths of despair to something to be proud of.”
Landmark projects with a total investment of £2 billion have boosted economic performance, putting Doncaster in the UK’s top ten for growth. Jo is the elected President of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and in 2017 the Local Government Chronicle named her the third most influential person in local government.
Breakfast panel speaker
Mark Crawley is the Managing Director of Mark Crawley Consulting, is the Queensland representative and also holds the position of Treasurer and Deputy President of Local Government Professionals Australia.
Mark is currently assisting Mount Isa City Council in North West Queensland as the Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer.
Mark has worked in local government for 34 years spending most of his career in rural Queensland. For 17 years he held the position as Chief Executive Officer at Barcaldine, Nebo, Isaac and Charters Towers Councils.
The ability to make decisions at a local level that positively impact on the quality of life of the people who reside and visit our communities is very fulfilling and is a responsibility that Mark has always been very conscience of whilst holding senior positions within Council.
Mark’s current passion is to see that local government is recognised as a genuine level of government by the other levels of Government. A recent study undertaken by ACELG – “Why Local Government Matters” highlights the fact that the community holds local government in very high regard yet the State and Federal Governments do not. Why? Mark would like to see this corrected.
Breakfast panel speaker
David Johnstone is originally from Vancouver, BC, Canada. After completing his BA in Political Science, he moved to Quebec, in order to do a MA in Public Administration in French at the University of Montreal. He has been in city management for over 37 years in several Canadian municipalities, and recently retired from the position of City Manager of Candiac, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal. He is currently the President of the ICMA (International City and County Manager’s Association). His focus is on the strategic position local governments can play in creating liveable communities that reduce carbon emissions.
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.