new zealand

Symposium 2020

Tuesday 29th & Wednesday 30th September, 2020
The Pullman Auckland 


Until August 18th 2020

Suzi Finkelstein

Director, Leadership and Advocacy, WLNZ

09:00 – 09:25

Welcome and Opening Comments

DR Sue Watson

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, WLNZ

Hon Julie Anne Genter MP

Minister for Women, New Zealand Parliament

09:30 – 10:00

Keynote Address

Julie Anne became an active volunteer with the Green Party soon after arriving in New Zealand in 2006. As a Green MP Julie Anne has been a spokesperson on a broad range of issues, including climate change, transport, health, finance, housing and women. She has helped shape public debate on transport, medicinal marijuana, gender equality, and mental health. Prior to becoming a member of Parliament, Julie Anne was a volunteer and adviser in the Party. She also worked as a transport and planning consultant for some of New Zealand's leading firms. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA, taught English and studied political theory and economics in France, before moving to New Zealand.

The Topp Twins 

Award-winning NZ Entertainers and Activists

14:20 – 15:00

In Conversation

Jools and Lynda Topp, aka the Topp Twins, are New Zealand’s ‘national treasures’ who have been entertaining audiences with their distinctive brand of original music and character comedy for more than 30 years. They have also enjoyed international success performing at various festivals and theatres worldwide. Most recently the Topp Twins have starred in a new primetime TV series, Topp Country (TVNZ), released five best-selling children’s audio books and regularly tour Australia and NZ to sold-out venues. They have received the New Zealand Order of Merit and Honorary Doctorates, and in 2010 were inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame. The Topp Twins were also named Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2018.  

Lisa is the founder of Eat My Lunch, one of NZ’s most successful for-profit social enterprises on a mission to ensure no child goes to school hungry. Lisa believes that business cannot just be about profits anymore and that business can (and should) bring about social change. Lisa was one of three finalists for New Zealander of the Year 2019. Eat My Lunch has given over one million lunches in just over three years and is an innovative and successful model that is sustainably transforming the lives of Kiwi kids. In 2019 Lisa was announced as the MYOB Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and went on to represent New Zealand at the international awards in Paris. 

Lisa King

Founder, Eat My Lunch

10:00 – 10:30

Keynote Address

Catherine Fox

Journalist, Author, Walkley Award Winner; Director of Diversity, WLNZ

10:30 – 11:00

What I know now: lessons from a (feminist) career

Catherine Fox is a leading commentator on women and the workforce, an award-winning journalist, author and regular presenter to audiences around Australia. During a long career with the Financial Review, she edited several sections of the newspaper, and wrote the Corporate Woman column; and she has published five books, including "Stop Fixing Women” which along with her journalism was awarded the 2017 Walkley Award for Women’s Leadership in Media. Her most recent book “Women Kind” (with co-author Dr Kirstin Ferguson) examines how female solidarity is rebooting the global women’s movement. Catherine helped establish the annual Financial Review 100 Women of Influence Awards in 2012 and was named a Woman of Influence in 2018; she was a member of the Australian Defence Force Gender Equality Advisory Board, sits on the Australian Women Donors Network board, and is co-founder of the Sydney Women’s Giving Circle.

11:00 – 11:20

Morning Tea

Melodie Robinson

Sports Journalist, Commentator, Presenter, Former Black Ferns Rugby Union Player

13:40 – 14:20

Keynote Address

Melodie Robinson is a well-known sports journalist, commentator and former international rugby union player for the Black Ferns. Melodie is TVNZ's General Manager, Sports and Events where she is leading the sport and event strategy for TVNZ’s coverage of global sporting events such as Rugby World Cup 2019, Paralympic Games 2020 and America’s Cup 2021. She is also the founder of The Wonderful Group, which supports women to advance their position and influence in the sports media industry. In 2019, this unstoppable high-achiever completed an MBA at Auckland University's Business School and became New Zealand's first Maori Barbie as part of Mattel’s role model line. Melodie is a media personality with high credibility in the sporting world and a professional wealth of experience like no other!

10:50 – 11:10

Morning Tea

Panel Discussion

‘The Authenticity Paradox’

Why feeling like a fake can be a sign of growth by Herminia Ibarra

Authenticity has become the 'gold standard’ and the go to descriptor for leadership. The reality is, it can also hinder growth and decrease impact. Career transitions and progress require breaking out of comfort zones, but this can be risky and challenge authenticity. This panel session will provide practical examples and opportunities to consider the space that authenticity is holding for us.

11:20 – 12:50

Jules Benton 

CEO, Dairy Women’s Network

Jules draws on significant New Zealand and UK experience in leadership, education and strategy development. She thrives on a collaborative and inclusive leadership style. Her passion is to propel teams to deliver excellence across the business and building a positive team culture. As CEO of Dairy Women’s Network, a not for profit organisation, she is committed to providing all members the opportunity to fulfil their career aspirations, no matter where members are in their dairying career path. She believes in giving opportunities to all.

12:40 – 13:40


Josephine is an Auckland councillor representing the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki ward. She is a Samoan New Zealander with great respect for tikanga Māori and Te Reo Māori. Councillor Bartley graduated with an LLB/BA from Auckland University in 1996 and worked as a solicitor for two years in private practice, followed by 13 years at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment. Councillor Bartley has been a PACIFICA member for many years, helping to set up the first PACIFICA Tāmaki branch and serving as its inaugural President. Councillor Bartley is an advocate for community safety and in partnership with the Police and community leaders she established the Tāmaki Community Patrols. 

Cr Josephine Bartley 

Councillor, Auckland Council; First Pasifika woman elected to serve as an Auckland Councillor

Angela Swann-Cronin 

Pilot, Air New Zealand; First and only Māori woman to become a pilot in the New Zealand Air Force

Angela was born and raised in Rotorua but is of Ngati Porou and Rongowhakaata descent. During her younger years living in the Bay of Plenty Angela worked in tourism, hospitality and forestry before embarking on a military career. Angela served as a Pilot for the Royal New Zealand Air Force from 1997 to 2009 and was awarded Operational Service Medals for East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq. Her daily inspiration comes from her children and whanau, nature and animals, people and laughter, art and music, and te reo me nga tikanga maori. Today Angela continues to fly as a Captain for Air New Zealand regional airlines and is involved in several aviation groups for women as well as her unions peer assistance network which focuses on mental wellness for its members.

Frances Arns

Executive Director, RainbowYOUTH

Frances Arns (she/her pronouns) is the Executive Director of RainbowYOUTH and also the Treasurer of OUTLine. She is a queer young cisgender woman, with pākehā and German ethinicity, and calls Auckland home. Frances is passionate about social justice and the roles we can all play in bringing about more equitable outcomes in our society. Frances started her career in the banking sector, as a graduate with ASB Bank, and through involvement with their diversity and inclusion mahi, realised the passion she has for working with community.

Minnie is the CEO and Founder of The Be. Lab, a New Zealand based globally networked centre for access innovation! Be. Accessible is a social change agency committed to the creation of a 100% accessible New Zealand. Minnie’s work as an access innovator and as a social entrepreneur, extends over 25 years and has included many diverse roles, from work in the media to local government. Over the last 5 years Minnie has been awarded the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award, the Westpac Women of Influence Diversity award and was placed as a top 10 finalist for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year. Minnie is a Leadership New Zealand alumnus, is currently a mentor on the inaugural Kupe Leadership programme through Auckland University and recently completed the Margaret Wheatley international Leadership program in Italy.

Minnie Baragwanath MNZM

Chief Executive, Be. Lab

12:50 – 13:40


As CEO for the Four-Day Week Global campaign Charlotte works internationally promoting the benefits of a productivity-focused and reduced-hour workplace. She is on the board of the newly created Wellbeing Research Centre at Oxford University and the advisory board of the US campaign for the 4 Day Week. Charlotte has an extensive background in business, having worked in the financial and legal services sectors earlier in her career. She is on the advisory board of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, and the advisory board for the Kupe Scholarship Programme at the University of Auckland. Charlotte manages the family foundation, The September Giving Trust, and the Classics 4 Charities Foundation.

Charlotte Lockhart 

CEO, The 4 Day Week; 2019 Women of Influence Global Award Finalist

Steff Green is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 35 novels of the paranormal, gothic, dark, and fantastical. After being rejected by publishers, Steff found her tribe online and now writes stories about diverse, strong, and clever women for thousands of fans around the world. She's a passionate advocate for the punk-rock DIY ethos, for women telling their stories and taking their space, and for the power of story to change the world. In 2017, Steff received the Attitude Award for Artistic Achievement, recognising her success as a disabled artist. She was a 2018 Women of Influence award finalist. As well as writing, she runs Rage Against the Manuscript – a thriving online community where writers share tip, resources, and lift each other up. 

Steff Green 

Bestselling and Award-Winning Author, Blogger, and Advocate

15:10 – 15:30

Afternoon Tea

Karen Walker CNZM

Entrepreneur and Fashion Designer

16:10 – 16:50

10 Lessons from life and business

Karen Walker’s eccentrically elegant style has established a stellar international following for her ready-to-wear, eyewear, jewellery, bags and fragrance. Karen’s signature energy and optimism define the label. Her designs cleverly play with cultural subtext, juxtaposing luxe and street, masculine and feminine, folk and utility, creating pieces that are both directional and wearable: Alexa Chung, Lorde, Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, Florence Welch and Lena Dunham count themselves amongst the formidable roster of celebrity fans. Her influence has seen her consistently ranked for the past five years in The Business of Fashion’s powerhouse BoF 500, reflecting her position as a global industry figure shaping the future.

Mavis Mullins MNZM

Trustee, Rangitane Tu Mai Ra; Board Member

10:20 – 10:50

Keynote Address

Mavis is chair of Atihau Whanganui Inc farming 200,000su in the Waimarino region and chairs Te Runanga of Rangitane ki Tamaki Nui a Rua. She has been the founding Patron and now Chair of AgriWomens Development Trust (AWDT) facilitating leadership and mentoring for rural women. Current governance roles include HBRU, StockX, Rangitane, Accelerate 25, Atihau Whanganui Inc, AWDT and Predator Free 2050. Past governance roles include Landcorp Farming, Massey University, 2degrees mobile, Mid Central Health DHB and Rangitane Tu Mai Ra.

Suzi Finkelstein

Director, Leadership and Advocacy, WLNZ

16:50 – 17:00

Closing Comments

DR Sue Watson

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, WLNZ



09:50 – 10:20

Keynote Address


17:00 – 18:00

Networking Drinks

Suzi Finkelstein

Director, Leadership and Advocacy, WLNZ

09:00 – 09:20

Opening Comments

DR Sue Watson

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, WLNZ

Michele Embling

Chair, PwC New Zealand; Co-Chair, Champions for Change

09:20 – 09:50

Keynote Address

As the Chair of PwC New Zealand, Michele leads the firm's Board and is responsible for overseeing PwC's governance and corporate responsibility. Specialising in Assurance, Michele has built her PwC career as Partner, Managing Partner of the Auckland office and National Assurance Leader. Michele is committed to supporting the growth of New Zealand women leaders, she is a board member and Deputy Chair of Global Women and Chairs the Global Women, Women in Leadership Programme, which works to develop and assure leadership opportunities for qualified women, and mentor emerging leaders. Currently Deputy Chair of the External Reporting Board, Michele was previously the inaugural chair of the New Zealand Accounting Standards Board, and a former member of the Australian Accounting Standards Board.

Panel Discussion

‘The Future of Work’

Disruptive thinking, artificial intelligence, automation, agile workplace structures, new and accelerating technology… there are many concepts that arise when exploring what ‘The Future of Work’ looks like and how we need to prepare for it. As generations collide, workforces diversify, and new technologies and social networks are developed, our current leadership pathways may soon become a thing of the past. But how do we adapt to a future that we cannot predict? This panel session will explore the ways in which we can embrace these transitions and maximise potential benefits.

11:10 – 12:40

Dr Michelle Dickinson MNZM

Senior Lecturer in Engineering, University of Auckland; Director, Nanogirl

Michelle has a PhD in biomedical materials engineering, runs New Zealand’s only nanomechanical testing laboratory and is a self-confessed adrenaline junkie. Her passion for both sports and science has enabled her to travel the world on the search for her next adventure or research project. With specialist knowledge in nanotechnology, Michelle has contributed to the development of cutting edge technologies. Member of New Zealand Order of Merit Michelle was winner of the Women of Influence award for science and innovation in 2016, was awarded the Sir Peter Blake Leadership in 2015 and was winner of the Prime Ministers Science Media Communication Prize and the New Zealand Association of Scientists Science Communicators Award in 2014.

Anna Curzon

Chief Product Officer, Xero

With over 20 years’ experience in the finance and technology industry, Anna leads Xero’s global product team, overseeing the design and build of beautiful products and services that small businesses and advisors need to thrive. Named one of the Top 25 Women Leaders in SaaS by the global SaaS Report (2017), Anna is passionate about fostering diversity in the technology industry and creating workforces where everyone can thrive. Anna is a member of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council and sits on the board of KEA, helping in both roles to supercharge the local economy.

Suzi Finkelstein

Director, Leadership and Advocacy, WLNZ

15:00 – 15:10

Closing Comments

DR Sue Watson

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, WLNZ

14:10 – 15:10


Suzi Finkelstein and Dr Sue Watson

Agenda day 1

Tuesday 29th September 2020 

Agenda day 2

Wednesday 30th September 2020


Whitiaira (Ngati Porou, Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Awa) is a Māori responsiveness advisor with the New Zealand Police and has been a police officer since 2005. She mentors three programmes aimed at supporting young people (at risk school kids, LGBTQI youth and children of a parent in prison). Whitiaira completed a five-year secondment to Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou in 2017, working on integration programmes for whānau. She is a former high school teacher and the first female police officer with a moko kauae.

09:25 – 09:30

Sponsor address

Kylie Telford is a highly experienced HR and talent leader with a background in advertising and marketing roles across multiple industries. Currently Kylie heads up Culture & Performance Strategy and Employee Experience nationally for NZ's premier media organisation, NZME. Kylie is passionate about innovative, inclusive and forward-thinking workplaces where you can bring your whole self to work. She is an advocate for ‘humanising’ the workplace. Kylie also believes in giving back and community wellness as evidenced in her work in mentoring youth, working with victims of domestic violence and co-organising HR meetups and events.

Kylie Telford

Head of Culture & Performance Strategy & Employment Experience, NZME

13:40 – 14:10

Keynote Address

15:30 – 16:10

Put Your Heart Into It

Suzy Cato

Television Presenter, Radio Host & Children’s Entertainer

Suzy has been the friend of Kiwis, across NZ, for over 30 years; via radio, television and live performance. A household name since the 90s with You & Me, Suzy created her own production company, Treehut TV, to create Suzy’s World, Bryan & Bobby and, more recently, her nationwide radio programme, Suzy & Friends. Suzy was delighted in the opportunity to reconnect when she danced as a contestant in Dancing with the Stars 2018. And with the many challenges that life has provided in her 52 years she’s learnt that when life throws you lemons you make Lemonade, Limoncello, Lemon Slice and a pretty good lemon fuelled battery, if you attach electrodes to enough of them. 

Katie Mills

Chief Marketing Officer, NZME

Katie joined NZME’s Executive Team in December 2018 assuming leadership of the company’s Marketing and Communications functions. Immediately prior, Katie held the role of Group Marketing Director at Aspire2 Group Limited and was previously General Manager (Global) Marketing & Communications at Opus International Consultants. Along with Katie’s wide marketing industry experience, she also brings to her role, more than 20 years of media-specific experience. 15 of those years were spent at MediaWorks in senior leadership positions including as Head of Marketing, successfully developing and delivering marketing and brand strategies for a portfolio of radio, digital, event and television ventures.

Sergeant Whitiaira Timutimu QSM

Māori Responsiveness Advisor, New Zealand Police; First female officer in the New Zealand Police to have a moko kauae

Women and Leadership New Zealand

Announcement: Due to COVID-19, this event has been rescheduled to Tuesday 29th & Wednesday 30th September, 2020