We’ve had some really amazing speakers at Refactor. Check them out below:
Alex Mercer | ArcAngels
Alex (@MercerInt) is a communications strategist with more than 15 years working across Asia Pacific and the U.S. As part of her work at Bill Gates’ Seattle-based think tank, Alex managed the launch of the Giving Pledge, a campaign by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to establish new norms around wealth and giving in the U.S. Alex also worked in-house for Microsoft Corporation for seven years running worldwide PR, managing citizenship strategy and working on executive communications. Today, Alex runs her own communications consulting practice for clients on both sides of the Pacific. Passionate about supporting NZ entrepreneurs, Alex is the Executive Director of ArcAngels, a new angel organisation dedicated to investing in early stage businesses led or managed by women across New Zealand.
Alyona Medelyan | Entopix
Alyona (@zelandiya) is an expert in Natural Language Processing, a fascinating field that researches how to teach computers to understand human language. She runs Entopix, a consultancy and a startup that builds NLP software. She loves her work and believes that technology is a fantastic career option for girls, which is why she initiated STEAM-ahead, career events for school girls and their mums.
Alysha Delany | MBM
Alysha is a partner at MBM, New Zealand’s largest independent media agency, and has been pivotal in its growth, focusing the agency around technology led communications including data and analytics, digital insights, marketing automation, search marketing and digital PR with the overarching objective to deliver client business success through the power of media and technology. It took a long time for Alysha to find her passion, after working in IT, Strategy and Marketing roles before entering the advertising industry ten years ago, but this combination has been perfect for the role that she now loves.
Anna Curzon | Xero
Anna Curzon (@anna_curzon) is the Managing Director of Xero New Zealand and a key member of the global sales leadership team, responsible for driving relationships with government, financial institutions, enterprise and promoting the small business economy. Prior to Xero Anna led Internet Banking at ASB and Digital First at Spark and brings deep experience of online, financial services and operations to Xero.
Anna Guenther | PledgeMe
Anna Guenther (@where_is_anna) is the co-founder and Chief Bubble Blower of PledgeMe, New Zealand's first crowdfunding platform; Anna's focus is on building the crowdfunding community in New Zealand. Since launching 3 years ago, over 865 creative, community and entrepreneurial campaigns have raised over $7.2million through PledgeMe. Anna has also worked for the New Zealand Government, MIT and Harvard, and completed her Masters in Entrepreneurship with a focus on crowdfunding. Half Kiwi and half American, she has travelled around the world for work – but always comes back to New Zealand as home.
Bridget Beh | Serato
Bridget is a Software Engineer at Serato, a world-leading music software company. She currently works on Serato DJ, a cross-platform native desktop application and was part of the team that launched Pyro, an iOS app that automatically mixes music. Prior to Serato, Bridget completed internships at Orion Health, First NZ Capital and Google. She is a keen FutureInTech ambassador and in her free time you can find her jamming on various musical instruments.
Claire Amos | Hobsonville Point Secondary School
Claire (@ClaireAmosNZ) is a Deputy Principal at Hobsonville Point Secondary School — a brand new secondary school that opens for students in 2014. From 2011–2012, Claire was the Director of e-learning at Epsom Girls Grammar School. She has led and taught English for 15 years and her roles include facilitator of the ICT in English community on English Online, Auckland Secondary English Facilitator at Team Solutions at the University of Auckland and Head of English Faculty at Auckland Girl’s Grammar School. She has worked at a national level in assessment and curriculum in English. In 2009 Claire was a Ministry of Education e-fellow for which she undertook a study of how ICT can be used to support literacy in and beyond the English classroom. Claire is now regarded as a leader in e-learning and can often be found presenting at educational conferences around the country. Her interests include blogging, reading books and trashy magazines. Claire is passionate about her family, education, fashion and tattoos, living by the Oscar Wilde mantra: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated”.
US-based Kiwi Claudia Batten (@claudiabatten) will openly admit she is digitally obsessed. From her roots in commercial law, she has been a founding member of two highly successful entrepreneurial ventures. As part of the founding team of Massive Incorporated, a network for advertising in video games, she helped pioneer “digital” as a media buy. Massive was sold to Microsoft in 2006, where Claudia then spent 3 years scaling the in-game network. In 2009 she co-founded Victors & Spoils, the first advertising agency built on the principles of crowdsourcing. After two years in market, V&S was majority acquired by French holding company Havas Worldwide. In 2014 Claudia cofounded Broadli with Ale Lariu and Mary Abraham to redefine how we use digital connectivity to power networking. Broadli can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/broadli. Claudia was most recently appointed to run North American operations for NZTE, supporting New Zealand business as they grow internationally into that market.
Courtney Johnston | The Dowse Art Museum
Courtney (@auchmill) has been Director of The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt since late 2012. Prior to this she was General Manager of Wellington web company Boost New Media for two years. The first gallery director in Australasia to come from a web background, she has both an MA in Art History and her Scrum Master certification.
Dale Clareburt | Weirdly
Dale (@daleclareburt) is a Co-Founder and CEO of Weirdly, a customisable quiz platform that is all about putting organisational culture fit at the beginning of the recruitment process. She has been in the recruitment industry for over 20 years, where she has managed boutique and national recruitment businesses. She believes that the recruitment process is fundamentally broken. The world is crying out for more innovative and diverse recruitment processes and better employee/employer relationships. Her and the Weirdly team are on a mission to get this sorted, having a whole lot of fun along the way. Fairly new to the “tech” industry, Dale’s biggest challenge is being laughed at by her team on a daily basis due to “tech lingo faux pas”. According to her website bio, The weirdest thing about Dale is that she lives vicariously through her friends by collecting fridge magnets from their travels. She doesn’t get to travel much these days #startuplife
Ellen Strickland | InternetNZ
Ellen is Collaboration and Community Lead with InternetNZ, a non-profit organisation which works to promote the Internet and protect its potential for the benefit of New Zealand. She is currently completing a PhD on regional ICT Policy formation in the Pacific Islands; she’s worked as an advisor, consultant, and academic in the area of the Internet and ICTs since 2000, in New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Australia and the UK. In her spare time, Ellen’s interests include cute pictures of cats and Scrabble.
Emily (@kanocarra) was that one kid at school who was obsessed with anything and everything horses. Throughout high school, she became more exposed to the wonders of technology and decided to pursue a career in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, specialising in power electronics and machine learning. Emily also works as a full stack web developer for Trade Me Motors. With a passion for both hardware and software, Emily hopes to combine the two to make technology smarter and more sustainable. When she's not buried under books in the engineering library, she can be found on the soccer pitch, in a kayak, blowing up circuits, working on her car, designing websites or crafting a decadent dessert.
Emma Kirkman | Orion Health
Emma (@emmajkirkman) is a passionate leader for change. As Global OD Manager for Orion Health, she is in the enviable position of leading the Organisational Development agenda for the recently listed global software company. Emma and her team are leading several key initiatives currently, including global leadership models, values and behaviours, and social learning.
Described as ‘energetic’, ‘visionary’ and ‘strategic’, Emma thrives being around ideas and innovation. This has led to the creation of thought leadership groups in the domains of learning and personal development. Along with visits to Silicon Valley to hear of developments in coaching, OD, and L&D in the technology space, Emma is able to stay abreast of forward thinking and translate that into tangible actions that are meaningful and relevant to Orion Health’s strategic priorities.
Erica Lloyd | Datacom
As the Director of Communications at Datacom, Erica (@ericalloyd) is a communications professional with a serious tech-bent. She has run her own tech business in the film industry, worked as news and current affairs producer and an on air business journo, and done loads of multichannel PR including building from scratch social media capability for a bank.
Frances Valintine | The Mind Lab
Frances has spent the past 15 years as the driving force behind Media Design School. She is a passionate educator with a particular interest in developing talent in the technology and creative fields that encourage students to be pioneering, inventive and innovative.
Her new business The Mind Lab is a facility dedicated to teaching robotics, electronics, programming, film making, animation and science technology to children aged 4-14 years. It opens late September in Newmarket. In 2012 Frances was a Next Magazine Woman of the Year finalist, she is a regular contributor as a designer in the World of Wearable Arts, and a self-confessed ‘active relaxer’ juggling multiple projects, board positions and family activities at any given time.
Genny Stevens | Xero
Genny Stevens (@legenny) is Client Education Manager at Xero for WorkflowMax, a sophisticated job management product. Most people think it means she goes out and trains people. What it actually means is she creates the strategy and content to communicate the ‘How’ of WorkflowMax to end users. Genny is incredibly passionate about what she does and where she does it. Before Xero she created and published digital magazines. The first, entangled, was a craft magazine sold primarily in the US. Many readers would have been surprised to find out the magazine was put together in a cold garage late at night somewhere in NZ. She lives in Auckland and is super pleased her two kids are now functioning independent adults.
Her superpower is getting stuff done and getting other people to get stuff done. While she can’t leap tall buildings, she’s a fan of leaps of faith and seeking out what makes your heart beat stronger.
Irene graduated with a degree in computer science but has spent the last 12 years doing technical sales and strategic consulting. Her diverse experience ranges from establishing and implementing sales strategy for software start-ups like Thematic through to enterprise solutions selling for large multinational technology companies. Irene has a very strong record of success and believes that greater gender diversity in ICT sales would lead to more profitable and sustainable industry.
Jade Tang | Curative
Jade (@jadetang123) is a creative entrepreneur who aims to create social change in the community through digital media and design. With her best friend, business partner and bridesmaid Eddy Helm, she co-founded Curative, and is the Auckland Chapter Host of CreativeMornings. Jade is passionate about the magic cross section of creativity + empathy, the globally growing trend of social enterprise + social innovation and most importantly, an extensive range of potato dishes.
Jayne Ihaka | ANZ
Jayne Ihaka (@jayniehaka) is a recent science and commerce graduate from Victoria. By day she works in ANZ's digital channels team, looking after banking products for large corporates and multinationals. When she's not busy being a digital banking geek, Jayne is keen on hiking, diving and Rubik's cubes. Her latest obsession is learning about graphs (networks) and how they can help us visualise and analyse the world.
Jessica Venning-Bryan | Flick, Cultivate
Jessica (@jvenningbryan) has spent 15 years advising organisations like Lion, the Electoral Commission, Seafood NZ, Saatchi & Saatchi Global, and the Sustainable Business Council on how to engage customers with projects and brands. From beer to electricity, voting systems to employment, she’s delivered projects in New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the UK. She is currently GM Brand at Flick Electric Co., and was part of Flick’s founding team. Jessica is also on the Board of PledgeMe, New Zealand’s first crowdfunding platform; and is the Founder and Trustee of Cultivate Mentoring Lab, a not-for-profit that partners early to mid-career women with experienced mentors to help them grow their confidence and progress equally at work.
Jo Brothers (@jobrothers) is an indie author of 11 books and a public speaker on the topics of digital, social media and spiritual wellness. Jo pioneered in the social media space for Air New Zealand, establishing social media channels and growing an active community of 1.5 million with a Klout score of 89+. Jo was invited to Google I/O in 2013 to present at the Google Sandbox as Air New Zealand were one of the first companies in the world to build a site using G+ Social Sign (www.airnzfairy.com). Jo developed the popular Social Media Breakfast series and brought leading keynote speakers to New Zealand including Randi Zuckerberg, Guy Kawasaki, Chris Dancy, Teddy Goff (advisor to Hillary Clinton and Obama) and Ross Dawson, a futurist. Jo is currently Head of Digital & Social Media at Westpac.
Jodi Mitchell | Simpl
Jodi is a motivated and experienced leader, with over 20 years experience in the IT industry. A major passion of Jodi’s is apparent in SimplHealth’s history of successfully delivering IT solutions for the health sector, making a difference in the lives of everyday New Zealanders.
Judit Klein | iOS Developer
Judit is a recent graduate and fully qualified ‘creative technologist’ who was first handed an iPad in 2010 and decided she wanted to be an iOS developer, despite not knowing anything about programming. Following a stint working as a designer at a startup in Budapest and then working with schools in rural Fiji, teaching them to use mobile technologies for education, she now works at Cactuslab in Auckland doing exactly what she wanted - developing apps. In her spare time works on researching and developing apps for educational technology.
Julia Raue | Air New Zealand
Julia was appointed as Air New Zealand CIO in 2007 and manages the centralised Air NZ Group IT department. This involves key portfolios such as Production, Solutions, Architecture, Vendor Management, and Innovation & Ventures. Julia is passionate about both her role and the airline’s commitment to improving information systems and technology. Julia has twenty years of experience in the IT industry and has held positions in local government, telecommunications and charitable organisations.
Kate Hannah | Te Pūnaha Matatini
Kate (@knhannah) is a cultural historian by training, interested in how we depict and understand trauma and memory, in the history of the public perception and interpretation of science and technology, and in bridging the gulf between C.P. Snow’s ‘two cultures.’ By inclination she talks fast about lipstick, food, books, kids, and making the world a better place. Right now, she’s the executive manager of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a new New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for complex systems and networks, which means she’s a historian in a physics department.
Katherine Barrow | Pixel Fusion
Katherine (@katbarrow) is the Experience Director at Pixel Fusion. She works at the intersection of customer experience, technology and business strategy, helping businesses apply design thinking and innovation methodologies across their channels and products. She has an eclectic background, having worked in tourism and teaching before joining the design and tech industries 7 years ago. She’s passionate about the importance of empathy and ethics in the tech industry, and the responsibility that we have to shape the world consciously and inclusively.
Katrina Clokie | Assurity NZ
Katrina is an active contributor to the New Zealand software testing community. She is a co-founder and organiser of WeTest Workshops, a Wellington MeetUp for software testers. As the Editor of Testing Trapeze magazine, she co-ordinates writers and publishes articles from testers across Australia and New Zealand; she has spoken in New York, Sydney, and all around New Zealand, at various conferences. In Katrina’s spare time, she writes a testing blog. Katrina works for Assurity in Wellington as the Practice Lead for Lean Testing, a trainer for two testing courses, and facilitator of the graduate programme.
Kelly Ann McKercher | OptimalExperience
Kelly Ann is a user research and design specialist at leading user experience consultancy Optimal Experience. In addition to her design consulting work, she is the chapter host of Ladies that UX Auckland. With her roots in design innovation and cultural anthropology, Kelly Ann is a passionate advocate of co-creation, critical design thinking and helping organisations to help themselves through building their internal service design capabilities. She is passionate about transforming the quality and value of both public and private services. Kelly Ann an avid yogi and yoga teacher, enjoys miniature dachshunds and black coffee.
Kirsti Grant | Vend
Kirsti is a huge advocate for finding that thing you love and never having to work another day in your life. She’s worked in technology for over 7 years, mainly in the recruitment space. Kirsti is an expert on using social media and technology for recruitment – she was running her own social recruitment consulting business when she herself was recruited to join the Vend rocketship. Since joining Vend in April 2013, Kirsti has overseen the team growing from 39 to 122, many of those in Vend’s new offices in Melbourne, San Francisco, and Toronto.
Laura Bell | SafeStack
Laura Bell (@lady_nerd) is the founder of SafeStack, a specialist security firm that helps fast growing, fast moving companies become a little safer online. Before all that however she wrote software for a crazy collection of places around the world, spoke at a few international conference things and released a few open source tools … not what you expect from someone who thought they would be Scully from the X-Files or run an ice-cream shop when they grew up. Laura lives in Auckland with her husband and daughter and hopes that one day she can help girls and women of all ages find their own crazy technical adventure.
Lillian Grace | Figure.NZ
Lillian (@GracefulLillian) is Founder and Chief of Figure.NZ, a collaborative website making data about New Zealand visually accessible for everyone. She is also an Associate at consulting firm Stakeholder Strategies. Previously, Lillian has worked at think tank The New Zealand Institute, and at Academy Award-winning Massive Software where she spent six years involved in every aspect of running the business. Through Massive, Lillian was exposed to the world of international business and the visual effects and hi-tech industries. Prior to joining Massive, Lillian was a secondary school physical education and health teacher. Lillian is equally and extremely passionate about dreaming, thinking and doing.
Lisa Miles-Heal | Unleashed
Lisa is GM and CTO at Unleashed Software, a Takapuna HQ'd technology company that provides a SaaS inventory management solution to medium sized businesses around the world. LMH (as she is known) is a passionate supporter of young people following a career pathway in IT, women succeeding in business generally and great coffee and macarons. She has a range of skills, from marketing to project management, operational execution and strategy - and above all being your genuine and awesome self!
Lisa Wood | Air New Zealand
Lisa is Digital Transformation Change Lead at Air NZ, a role that has brought together three areas Lisa is particularly curious about - systems thinking, cognitive science and change. Previously an Agile Coach, Product Manager, Entrepreneur dabbler and Travel Consultant, it's fair to say she is a generalist. An insatiable curiosity about everything does make it challenging for her to keep focussed, but her ultimate goal in life is to make a positive difference in the lives of the people she encounters on her journey and to impact some positive social change.
Mandy Simpson | NZX
Mandy has more than 20 years experience in financial services in New Zealand and the UK. As NZX's Head of Operations she leads the team responsible for the real time services at the heart of New Zealand's capital markets. Prior to joining NZX Mandy was CFO at Fronde, a Wellington headquartered technology services company.
Megan Whelan | The Wireless, RadioNZ
Megan is a senior journalist with RadioNZ. She’s changing the face of public broadcasting, one crazy hair colour at a time. Megan works on The Wireless — RadioNZ’s site aimed at bring insightful, educational, and entertaining public service media to 18–30 year olds. She joined The Wireless after working for Radio New Zealand International, covering news and current affairs across the Pacific. Since then, she has written about voting, start ups and her own appalling savings habits.
Mel Rowsell (@melrowsell) works with organisations to co-create kick-ass organisational cultures. Mel has over 20 years experience in the Human Resources field. Her last five years at Vend provided her the opportunity to play around with what works to build and scale a successful culture within the fast-moving tech sector. Mel is a holistic and creative thinker with a mindful approach to life.
Dr Michelle Dickinson | University of Auckland
Michelle (@medickinson) is a passionate researcher in nanotechnology who runs her own lab at the University of Auckland. She is a firm believer in sustainability, breaking stereotypes and following her dreams by being a passionate geek who hopes to inspire others through her contagious excitement.
Nat Dudley | Vend
Nat is the Solutions and Experience Lead at Vend, where she spends her days helping make life better for independent retailers. She also works with Figure.NZ helping to make open data accessible and fun for all New Zealanders. In her (elusive) spare time, she works with conferences, events and companies to make NZ's tech sector more inclusive.
Nathalie Morris | Ubiquity
Nathalie was brought up in the era of the government’s “girls can do anything” campaign. After her dad bought her sister and her a Vic 20 computer. Despite never getting past about 100 lines of BASIC programming and a roundabout career path that included being a policy analyst for the Ministry of Youth Affairs and a Sales Rep for a newspaper group, 15 years ago Nathalie co-founded Ubiquity, which develops software for marketing. Their Engage software platform is used by some of New Zealand’s largest organisations including insurance companies and telcos to manage data-driven digital marketing. Nathalie leads a team of 55 talented people who work both on the development of the platform and providing consultancy services to their clients.
Nicki (@nicki_raistrick) is a leader in Digital Innovation and transformation with nineteen years’ experience working with global organisations. Creating high performing teams with permission to think differently and a focus on value creation is a key strength. Recent achievements include establishing the Digital Innovation Lab for Fletcher Building, creating innovative & smart digital solutions for the construction industry; and for Spark Ventures, setting up the Delivery Teams and the Strategy and Planning function which was responsible for bringing five companies to market in under a year.
Dr Nicola Gaston (@nicgaston) is Deputy Director of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence. Her group has worked extensively on quantum-mechanical simulations of the melting behaviour of metal nanoparticles, which has developed our fundamental understanding of the low melting temperature of gallium. They are currently focused on methods for the theoretical description of 'superatoms'; nanoscale atomic mimics made out of metal clusters of atoms, which exhibit quantum size effects and can act as building blocks for nanostructured materials with designer properties. Beyond her scientific research, Nicola is a prominent science communicator and advocate for women in academia, and was the President of the New Zealand Association of Scientists in 2014 and 2015. Along with many public addresses and articles, Nicola has recently published "Why Science Is Sexist".
Nicole Ferguson | REANNZ
Nicole (@nicolerferg) is Chief Executive at REANNZ, the Crown-owned company that owns and operates the specialised, high-performance telecommunications network for New Zealand’s education, research and innovation communities. Initially trained as a Chartered Accountant, REANNZ was one of Nicole’s first clients when she took up the role of Senior Accountant at KPMG NZ in early 2008. Two and a half years later she decided to join them permanently, and, aside from a brief stint at Inland Revenue, has been with REANNZ ever since – the first five years as CFO, before stepping into the CEO role in November 2015. During that time, Nicole's developed a strong passion for tech and innovation, and become a staunch advocate for women and diversity in STEM industries - including recently driving the trial of a blind-hiring process for a number of executive roles. And she's picked up a number of insights along the way, on being a non-techie leading a high-performance tech organisation.
Nicole Fougère | Revert
Nicole (@schnicker) is a Kiwi by birth but she grew up traveling and living all over the world from a very young age. An avid skier, swimmer and fun-lover, Nicole came back to Auckland in 2008 and co-founded the eLearning product Litmos, which was acquired by California-based tech company Callidus Cloud (NASDAQ: CALD) in 2011. After a few years in San Francisco she is back in NZ co-founding a new venture, Revert.IO, doing cloud-to-cloud backup and data security. Nicole looks after the marketing, blogging, and social side of the business.
Penny Hagen | DAN
Penny (@pennyhagen) believes in a participatory approach to the design of process, strategy, products and services. Penny is the User Experience Director at leading digital agency DAN in Auckland. In addition to her design consulting work, Penny teaches design thinking to business students at AUT and last year finished her PhD on the impact of social technologies on the design process.
Dr. Philippa Smith | AUT University
Philippa’s passions show through her varied roles at AUT University: Research Manager of the Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication, senior lecturer on the BA in English and New Media Studies programme, and the executive director of the World Internet Project — a longitudinal study focusing on the impact of the internet on New Zealanders since 2007. Philippa is fascinated by how digital technologies have changed the way we communicate and her PhD focused on how New Zealanders constructed their national identity through online discussions. With what little spare time she has left, Philippa enjoys reading the personal narratives of the famous and the infamous, listening to jazz, and being a support person for her multi-sport husband.
Priti (@envirotarian) is co-founder at The Next Billion, an impact-driven enterprise founded on the belief that by gathering our collective resources to invest in women, we can positively impact/change the world for the better. The company is set to launch Globally Spotted - a discovery platform for smart and innovative women led business from the world over.
Priti is an engineer and began her career 11 years ago in environmental design. Over the last 6 years, Priti has sought out and landed opportunities on global teams, to grow early stage startups, for-profit and non-profit entities creating impact through digital collaboration and crowds. She is a zealot for the digital and crowd economy and for helping organisations that are keen to harness the productivity of the Internet to solve societal challenges. Most recently, Priti began working with the core team at Tech Futures Lab, helping Kiwis be better prepared for the exponential technologies and careers in the 21st century.
Priti was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She moved to Auckland with her husband and sons in 2015 after 13 years in the United States. Priti is a lover of the outdoors, traveling and from-scratch cooking!
Dr Rhema Vaithianathan | AUT
Rhema (@RVaithianathan) is a health economist and co-director of the Centre for Social Data Analytics (@AUTCSDA) at AUT. The Centre’s mission is to solve hard social problems with innovative data analytics solutions. Rhema is always looking for opportunities to use data to address intractable social problems. At the CSDA she leads data scientists and researchers working on projects in NZ, the US and the UK, all aiming to deliver measurable social impact. Rhema’s work often makes use of existing administrative data that can be transformed to predict certain adverse outcomes, like child maltreatment or chronic homelessness. Recent work of note includes development of the Allegheny Family Screening Tool, a predictive risk model for child welfare implemented in the US last year, and impact evaluations of New Zealand’s Family Start, Teen Parent Units and Social Workers in Schools programmes. As a researcher Rhema is known for pairing the best possible scientific methodologies with enviable human engagement: “Data doesn’t change minds. People do”.
Rochelle Ivanson | Pushpay
Rochelle (@ri) recently left a career in the fast paced world of advertising to work in the even faster paced local startup, Pushpay. In her spare time she organizes one of New Zealand's largest technology and design conferences, Gather.
Ruth James | Xero
Ruth (@RuthJamesNZ) fell into the NZ tech industry by complete fluke when she arrive in the country ten years ago! Her first job was as a receptionist for a tech company (Fronde), since then she’s worked for a number of New Zealand technology companies and is currently the Happiness Engineer at Xero.
In the last five years she has become increasingly active in encouraging the next generation of Kiwi’s into the tech sector. She has thrown herself at every opportunity going where she can help enable, inspire and encourage school and university students to pursue a career in tech.
Selena Dewar | TVNZ
Selena (@selenadewar) is passionate about great code, strong leadership, good strategies and fostering high performing teams. Selena is the Software Development Manager for tvnz.co.nz and TVNZ Ondemand.
Serena Chen | HVNGRY
Serena (@sereeena) is a physicist turned Editor-in-Chief at HVNGRY, an online magazine for teen girls (and boys) wanting more from mainstream media. By day she's a designer at BNZ Digital, helping make their website elegant and accessible. By night she enjoys reverse engineering puzzles, programming projects, and rocking out to Kanye.
Shona Grundy | Trigger Happy
Shona (@shonagrundy), CEO and Co-Founder of Trigger Happy, has been the driving force behind the growth and strategic implementation of Trigger Happy’s first of its kind iPad platform, Toon Hero. Trigger Happy won Company of the Year, Pre Commercialisation at the recent NZ Hi-Tech Awards. Shona has experience in the music and animation television industry as well as being Executive Chair of the Auckland Screen and Digital Content Leadership group in 2011/2012. In 2009, she was nominated for the Veuve Clicquot NZ Business Woman of the Year and for the Women in Film and Television Entrepreneur of the Year. Shona is a self-confessed ‘victim of pop culture’ and loves anything to do with music, fashion and entertainment.
Sian Simpson | Kiwi Landing Pad
Sian (@siansimpson) is the Global Community Manager of the Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco where she helps take NZ technology to the world. Sian started the well known and loved Sales and Marketing Jam (NZSMJ) which brings US start up and technology experts to share their experience and networks with Kiwi businesses. The KLP is supported by leading organisations, such as Air New Zealand, Vodafone, BNZ & NZTE. Sian is also a video director, interviewer and content strategist for media, technology and startup clients whom she works with in the US. In her spare time she mentors up and coming young entrepreneurs, and is currently setting up a youth innovation centre on the North Shore of Auckland where young people can achieve their excellence and learn about the future of work and connect with industry.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles
Dr Siouxsie Wiles (@siouxsiew) is an award-winning scientist who has made a career of her twin passions for bioluminescence (think glow worms and fireflies) and infectious diseases. In a nutshell, Siouxsie and her team at the University of Auckland make nasty bacteria glow in the dark to understand how superbugs make us sick and to find new medicines. Siouxsie also has a keen interest in demystifying science for the public; she is a keen blogger, podcaster, artist, curator and media science commentator and has won a hat trick of prizes for her efforts, including the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize and the Royal Society of New Zealand Callaghan Medal.
Sophie Stanley | Figured
Hailing from a sheep and beef farm near Taupo, Sophie shares her depth of industry knowledge as Head of Rural at start-up SaaS company, Figured (Xero's farm financial management add-on). For a number of years Sophie worked in the rural banking sector, and in 2013 was awarded the prestigious Nuffield Scholarship, which enabled her to travel globally, researching the intersection of cloud technology and social media within agriculture. Upon returning from overseas, Sophie joined Figured as one of the founding team members. She is a finalist for this year’s Westpac Woman of Influence Awards in the Rural category.
Steph is a Lean|Agile Coach and has worked in technology for over 20 years. From an unlikely start as an art history graduate, Steph was drawn to the passion of folks who worked with technology. She was part of the Lean|Agile Practice at Assurity and has had stints with 2degrees on their Leadership Team after launch, and with Serko Travel as the Product Delivery Lead. Her superpower is helping groups of people to find focus and get stuff done together. And she hopes that one day we will live in a world where no-one uses the word ‘resource’ when they mean ‘person’.
Su Yin Khoo | Extra Bold, Gather
Su Yin (@ksuyin) relishes solving front-end web development and user experience problems as well as designing beautiful print documents. She is currently co-organiser of Gather Conference and support person for Gather Workshops. She has been involved with various good-cause projects like Our Far South, Jojo’s Place, Cycling in Auckland and Easy Transport Auckland. Su Yin has also worked on award-winning titles Idealog and Good magazines in both print and digital formats.
Tanya Gray | Gather Workshops
Tanya is the lead presenter on the Gather Workshops team, and she’s on a mission to increase the uptake of programming in secondary schools. With a professional background in web development, she is now applying her real-world experience to classroom learning and bridging the gap between schools and industry.
Tash McGill | Anthem
Tash (@tashmcgill) is a strategist and writer who has been passionate about digital since first hearing the tone of a dial-up modem while posting her first weblog. She wants to change the world by helping people to think differently, so fervently believes no matter how technology and digital tools may change, we will use them first and foremost to communicate our stories. She believes integration and collaboration is the vital way forward to reimagining our digital futures.
Tracey Lee | Brand Strategist
Tracey Lee (@msleeinthetrees) has been building brands and creating conversations, culture and communities as a Brand Strategist for 20 years. Tracey has worked in New York and Shanghai on brands like Absolut, British Airways, Johnnie Walker and The Coca Cola Company; her work has been recognised with Gold Effectiveness Awards in the US, UK and Asia. Returning to New Zealand, Tracey Lee has been wilfully applying her strategic skills to make an impact – for NZ brands, start-ups, exporters, social platforms and public initiatives.
Victoria Crone | Xero
Victoria Crone (@vicsternz) is a highly collaborative Marketing and Sales Executive, with extensive experience in the communications sector. Her experience spans from start-ups to mature products. Victoria joined Xero earlier this year as Managing Director NZ after 18 years with Telecom and Chorus – most recently as Chorus General Manager, Marketing and Sales. Victoria is a tech enthusiast, Mum and wanna be long distance sports freak. She is a passionate Kiwi and and a member of NZ Global Women.
Vivian Chandra | Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand
Vivian (@vivster81) is the ICT & Database Manager at Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand. Vivian has been involved with Amnesty since she was in high school, and calls herself a human rights activist who happens to *do* IT.