The New Zealand Women's Leadership


Thursday 02 May 2024

Grand Millenium, Auckland


08:30 - 09:00
09:00 - 09:25
Welcome & Opening Comments
Dr Janet Smith (She/Her)

Program Specialist and Lead Facilitator, Women & Leadership New Zealand

09:00 - 09:25
Welcome & Opening Comments
Samantha Tomkinson (She/Her)

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, Women & Leadership New Zealand

09:25 - 09:35
CEO’s Welcome
Karen Taylor GAICD (She/Her)

Chief Executive Officer, Women & Leadership New Zealand

Schools Summit Event Page
09:35 - 09:45
2x2x2 Activity

09:45 - 10:00
Opening address

Fatumata Bah
10:00 - 10:30
Keynote Address
Fatumata Bah (She/Her)

Senior Policy Analyst, Ministry of Health; Board Member, Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)

Fatumata is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Ministry of Health. In addition to her work in government, Fatumata is also a board member for the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), a member on the Donald Beasley Institute Disability Advisory group and a member on the Policy Research and Advocacy Team, Commonwealth Youth Health Network (CYHN). In 2023, Fatumata was finalist in the Young Leader of the Year Award category for the Public Service Commission’s Spirit of Service Awards which recognise public servants who go the extra mile and initiatives that deliver great outcomes for people in New Zealand.

10:30 - 10:55
Morning Tea

10:55 - 12:20
Panel Discussion

Allyship in the Workplace: Building Collaborative Networks for Impact


Allies play an important role in advancing inclusion in our workplaces and communities by supporting people or groups who are underrepresented, marginalised, or experiencing discrimination. As leaders, engaging allies and collaborating with other supporters is key to increasing our impact. Our diverse panel will share their real-world experiences of allyship in action: what it looks like, what the challenges are, and what can be achieved. We’ll explore practical tips for being a better ally, how we can work with allies to advance change, and how we can all take small actions every day to drive lasting change.


Gina Mills Gina Mills (She/Her) 
Director, Empathetic and Inclusive Leadership, EY; Chair, Northern Region Football


Gina Mills is EY’s Oceania Director of Empathetic and Inclusive Leadership. An award-winning advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, Gina is passionate about creating environments where people feel they belong. She previously led EY’s Unity LGBTQ employee network across Australia and New Zealand, including key strategic initiatives such as the She Starts Out program to support LGBTQ women entrepreneurs, a focus on Bi+ inclusion, as well as advocating for EY to support banning conversion therapy in New Zealand. She won the Network Leader of the Year at the Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards in 2021 and she was named Inspirational Role Model of the year at the New Zealand LGBTI Awards in 2018. Gina is also Chair of Northern Region Football, one of New Zealand’s largest Regional Sports Organisations, which has a strategic focus on equity of access for underrepresented groups, including women and girls.

placeholder Sam Johnson (He/Him)
Founder and Chief Executive, Student Volunteer Army 

Sam Johnson is the Founder and Chief Executive of the Student Volunteer Army and he is most well-known for his entrepreneurial ideas that continue to make significant differences to the lives of others. He started the internationally acclaimed Student Volunteer Army, in the wake of the Christchurch Earthquake, which for Covid-19 morphed itself into a grocery delivery service. Sam leads the charity’s staff team who design and operate projects that impact over 65,000 volunteers each year in New Zealand. Sam is also engaged with the international community and shares his experience regularly with governments, agencies and business on unlocking the latent capacity we have to help others. This work extends into his local advocacy and governance work with the Australian New Zealand Leadership Forum and as a member of Westpac Bank New Zealand’s Sustainability panel. Sam is also a trustee for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales New Zealand trust, ‘The Prince’s Trust.’

Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo (She/Her)
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Acting Chief Commissioner, and Acting Race Relations Commissioner, Te Kāhui Tika Tangata | New Zealand Human Rights Commission 

Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner and Acting Race Relations Commissioner at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission. She is of Samoan descent and a mother to three children. Saunoamaali’i has worked as a public advisor, consultant, and social worker, advocating for the rights and interests of children, youth, women, Rainbow, and Pacific communities. Saunoamaali’i holds qualifications in science, social work, and social policy including a PhD in public policy from the Auckland University of Technology.

Ruth Monk Dr Ruth Monk (They/Them)
Research Fellow, Anatomy and Medical Imaging, University of Auckland; Member, Autism New Zealand Community Advisory Group 

Ruth is a neurodivergent postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Auckland, at the forefront of groundbreaking research in neurodegenerative conditions. Supported by a Neurological Foundation of New Zealand Fellowship, their work at the Centre for Brain Research delves into early indicators of neurodegenerative conditions, specifically in patient-derived cells, with a keen focus on Parkinson’s.Ruth’s commitment to meaningful research extends beyond neurodegenerative conditions. Ruth is a passionate advocate for community-led and co-designed research. Drawing from their experiences in academia and as an Autistic individual, Ruth actively works to bridge the gap between research and the Autistic community. As a member of the Disabled Staff/Staff with Disabilities Network and the Staff Rainbow Network at the University of Auckland, Ruth is a dedicated champion of equity both within and beyond their role. Outside the realm of research and advocacy, Ruth enjoys exploring nature and training with their therapy dog, Stanley.

Huhana Hickey Dr Huhana Hickey MNZM
Managing Director, Pukenga Consultancy; Board Member, Odyssey House; Housing Expert Advisor, New Zealand Human Rights Commission 

Dr Huhana Hickey (MNZM) from Ngāti Tāhinga, Whakatōhea (also Aboriginal, Navajo and Sami) is an academic and disability rights lawyer. She has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair and service dog, was the first openly disabled Housing NZ board member and is an advocate for whānau hauā and all disabled people. Dr Hickey is a director for Pukenga consultancy LtD, a member of the New Zealand Human Rights Review Tribunal for ten years now and became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015 for services to people with disabilities. Dr Hickey is an artist and writer with several pieces sold. Her passion as she gets older is to complete her anthology of poetry, short stories and her art. She is also keen to mentor disabled rangitahi to help them find their own voices and become leaders in the disability sector, especially indigenous disabled rangitahi.


12:20 - 01:00

01:00 - 02:00
Development Session

Build your Personal Board: Cultivating Strategic Relationships
As leaders, our relationships with others can be one of our greatest assets. Even the most causal lunch-room conversation can lead to a new idea or opportunity. And with research showing that women feel less safe in the workplace than men, having a trusted group of supporters can be an important step towards improved psychological safety. So, how can we leverage our existing contacts, identify gaps in our professional network, and initiate new connections to help us achieve our strategic and career goals? In this practical session we’ll explore the power of strategic alliances and develop an authenic approach to building a personal ‘board’ of trusted advisors and supporters, at any stage of our career.

02:00 - 02:30
Keynote address

Alana Thomas
02:30 - 03:00
Keynote Address
Judge Alana Thomas (She/Her)

Judge, Māori Land Court; Member, Waitangi Tribunal

Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Rēhia, Ngāti Kuri

Judge Alana Thomas is a permanent Judge of the Māori Land Court and member of the Waitangi Tribunal. Judge Thomas was appointed in 2023. Judge Thomas graduated from the University of Auckland in 2008. Whilst studying, Judge Thomas was the President of the Māori Law Students Association and an active member of Waipapa Taumata Rau, the Māori Students Association.During her legal career, Judge Thomas represented several iwi and hapū throughout New Zealand on matters relating to the rights of te iwi Māori, and more specifically, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the environment, the land, the sea, tikanga Māori and te reo Māori. Judge Thomas is a strong advocate for the promotion of te reo Māori and has been passionate in her pursuit to ensure te reo Māori is recognised and used in the law. Judge Thomas sits within the Aotea district.


Afternoon Tea
03:00 - 03:20
Afternoon Tea

03:20 - 03:50
Keynote Address
Sian Jaquet (She/Her)

Executive Coach; Board Director; Keynote Speaker

A former Head of Inspection for Social Services and Manager of Children’s prisons, Sian has always sought to protect the lives of society’s most vulnerable. Today, Sian takes these skills into the boardroom by assessing risk, protecting management and staff, and building a more compassionate, results driven future. She is unafraid to walk into the messy and difficult conversations our lives throw at us. In 1975, at the age of 14, Sian was the first person in the UK to be assessed as dyslexic. Sian attributes knowing and understanding her values as what got her through some major life crises. Sian has also hosted and contributed to two prime-time television series: The Big Stuff on TV3 and Starting Over on Vibe Sky TV. Both series sold internationally and assisted people to breakthrough crisis situations and create new opportunities.

03:50 - 04:20
Keynote Address
Billie Jordan (She/Her)

Founder, Hip Op-eration Crew: The world's oldest dance crew

Billie Jordan is the Founder of the Hip Op-eration Crew, a hip hop dance crew of members aged 65 to 98 years old. Billie established the crew, after experiencing repeated trauma, to ignite the potential of the senior citizens in her neighbourhood. After surviving an abusive childhood and repeated trauma in the deadly Christchurch Earthquake in 2011, Billie Jordan used these experiences as a catalyst for igniting the potential of the senior citizens in her community on Waiheke Island. Billie was awarded a Queens Honour in 2016, was New Zealand Woman of the Year in 2016/2017, and won the New Zealander of the Year award in the Local Hero category in 2015. She is also the star of an award-winning feature documentary film Hip Hop-eration, which has screened in cinemas all over the world, and now Hollywood plan on making her story into a block buster movie!

04:20 - 04:30
Closing Comments
Dr Janet Smith (She/Her)

Program Specialist and Lead Facilitator, Women & Leadership New Zealand

04:20 - 04:30
Closing Comments
Samantha Tomkinson (She/Her)

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, Women & Leadership New Zealand

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