Conference Speakers in 2020

The Corporate PA Summit attracts a fantastic mix of inspirational speakers, celebrity speakers and leading EAs. The 2020 Summit will build upon this tradition, with an agenda packed full of exceptional presentations.

Would you like to be considered as a speaker at future ThinkTank events? You can submit an application here.

Kelly Coe

Kelly Coe is co-owner, director and designer of one of New Zealand’s most loved fashion labels, Augustine. Having just celebrated 10 years in business, Augustine is known by many Kiwi women as the go-to label for colour and sparkle.

With the largest social media following of any Kiwi designer, Kelly is known for her love of all things colourful and she shares much of her life on her social media pages with behind-the-scenes snippets of her life, work and parenthood.

Augustine has four mega stores in New Zealand that stock all nine of her labels, with many of her labels stocked in 70 boutiques around the country as well. Kelly and her husband Nathan are parents to their three girls Indiana, Demi and Havana.

Mike King

Mike King has for years been known as the iconic Kiwi entertainer but that role has changed dramatically since the conception of his hugely popular radio show “The Nutters Club”.
The show evolved from Mike’s own experience of mental illness and addiction and has become a huge success. The aim of the show is to ‘forever change the way people feel, think, talk and behave in relation to mental health’.

These days, Mike is better known for his work as a prominent mental health educator and motivational speaker with the work he does under his charity and with his conference speaking. Mike’s aim is to reverse the population trends of depression and suicide by effecting a positive social change.

Mike works with all levels within an organisation to help with mental health and safety in the workplace. His message tells of how he overcame drug and alcohol addiction, and his continued battle against depression. It is accessible and pertinent to all staff and often helps companies identify anyone who may be struggling and in need of further assistance.

Mike was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019 becoming an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit acknowledging his campaign for tackling mental health and suicide prevention. He was also awarded 2019 New Zealander of the Year.

Gemma McCaw

Gemma McCaw was born and raised in Tauranga and is a retired New Zealand Hockey Player. Gemma represented her country from 2008-2016, playing 241 test caps and competing at three Olympic Games. She is also a dual Commonwealth Games medalist.

With a degree in Sport and Exercise Science and a Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, Gemma co-founded Performance Wellbeing, working with individuals and groups to enhance their health and wellbeing and achieve their goals both inside and outside of work. At Performance Wellbeing, they combine the science of wellbeing with the tools from high performance sport to help people to thrive and make positive lifestyle changes.

Outside of work, Gemma is the proud patron for the Chalky Carr Trust which raises funds for those affected by cancer and is also a New Zealand Olympic Ambassador, visiting schools and teaching students about the importance of friendship, values and respect in sport and in life.

Dr Paul Wood

Paul spends most of his time facilitating leadership and emotional intelligence focused programmes across the private and public sectors. He works with everyone from the Hurricanes to Central Agencies of government. His charitable interests see him visit prisons and act as patron for START Taranaki, which helps at risk young men turn their lives around. Paul is also a regular contributor to the media.

Paul’s presentation style is dynamic, humorous, and deeply authentic. He speaks to the human experience and provides practical insight on topics such as our capacity for change, how to cope with uncertainty, how to build mental toughness and resilience, the importance of self-reflection and personal accountability in growth, how to identify and maximise our potential, and how to turn adversity to your advantage.

Dr Paul Wood has a B.A. in Philosophy & Psychology; an M.A. in Psychology and a PhD in Differential Psychology

However an 18 year-old, Dr Paul Wood was completely off the rails. He wasn’t coping with the impending death of his mother, he was dependent on drugs, and was an unemployed high-school dropout who was committing crimes to feed his habit.

Two days after his mother died he lost control when his then drug dealer attempted to sexually assault him. Paul was convicted of murder for this offence and then spent more than a decade in some of New Zealand’s toughest prisons. During this period Paul became the first person in New Zealand’s history to progress through undergraduate and Masters degrees while in prison. He was also the first person to begin a Doctorate while incarcerated.

Paul’s educational pursuits dovetailed with a journey of personal exploration and change, both of which gave him a profound understanding of the ingredients required to successfully strive towards our potential, deal with the challenges of change, and build the mental toughness and resilience necessary to flourish in adversity.

On his release, Paul was able to translate this knowledge into strategies for improving leadership effectiveness and organisational culture. As a result, Paul rose rapidly through the ranks to become the senior manager responsible for Training and Development within the multinational professional services firm OPRA Consulting Group. Paul now runs his own practice and has served as a committee member and advisor to a number of boards.

Melissa Chan-Green

From breakfast programmes to the 6 o’clock news, Melissa has travelled the globe covering everything from court cases in Tokyo for the Sea Shepherd’s Pete Bethune who’d been captured by a Japanese whaling ship, to the fiscal crisis and protests in Athens.

She’s covered the London 2012 Olympics and the Rio 2016 Olympics, Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the 2015 Rugby World Cup. She was also the Newshub correspondent in Bermuda for the 2017 America’s Cup.

She’s reported on royal weddings and the births of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis (meeting the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla along the way) but Melissa names her two career highlights however, as covering the centenary of the Gallipoli landings and the funeral of Nelson Mandela. She’s spoken with celebrities including One Direction, Usher, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson and more.

Jess Stuart

Jess brings more than 15 years in senior HR roles and two decades of coaching to support busy, high achieving career individuals. She helps them find more time for them, re-prioritise what matters, build resilience, beat the overwhelm and keep calm in the chaos, discover their true self and believe they can.

Jess believes that tapping into your potential doesn’t mean doing more or having to be different. It’s uncovering what’s already there and being enough as you are.

Working closely with charities that empower women and inspire the next generation is at the heart of what Jess does. She is committed to the value of collaboration as believes we are more powerful together than we are apart.

Lauren Parsons

Lauren is an award-winning wellbeing specialist who believes that everyone deserves to thrive. With 19 years’ experience in the health and wellbeing profession she is a sought-after speaker, coach and consultant.

TEDx speaker, author of real food less fuss, and Seven Fitness Myths to Overcome, founder of the Snack on Exercise movement, host of the THRIVE TV Show and regular contributor to AAPNZ and Executive Secretary Magazine among other international publicationsLauren helps busy people re-discover how to feel vibrant, confident and energised.

Described as inspiring and life-changing, Lauren is a dynamic and highly engaging presenter, and master story-teller who will have you laughing, moving and learning in a memorable way. You will leave Lauren’s session feeling uplifted and empowered to create positive change, today!

Lauren lives in Palmerston North, New Zealand, with her husband and three children, she can often be found hosting dinner parties, spending time outdoors or playing board games. Lauren travels regularly to speak at conferences and in-house, and specialises in helping organisations create a high-energy, peak-performance team culture, which enables people to thrive.

Sasha Dumaresq

Sasha Dumaresq is a passionate advocate for living your best life by being truly connected to ourselves. Sasha partners with individuals, leading organisations, and social enterprises to deliver programs on career development, diversity and inclusion, and workplace wellness.

Sasha believes everyone is worthy and revels in inspiring others to believe in themselves. Sasha brings warmth, humour and lightness to her audiences while delivering world-class human behaviour concepts. Sasha champions her clients with unparalleled commitment and dedication.

Monique Helstrom

Monique is passionate about helping both visionaries and those that support them understand their essential and unique role in making great ideas – and great partnerships – come to life. For the past 21 years, Monique has methodically moved projects, products, campaigns, events, and entire businesses from concept to reality using her energetic combination of:

  • Functional solutions and achievable outcomes
  • Well-defined and specific short-term action plans
  • Harmonious team building that relies on streamlined goals
  • A practical understanding of how to achieve ultimate success
  • Loyalty, dedication, discipline and encouragement

Monique knows inspiration only comes to life if there is a good process to back it up and thus has perfected the art of making things happen. After nearly a decade as the Chief of Simon Sinek, New York Times Best-Selling author and TED celebrity, Monique now uses her unique set of skills and experiences to build, organise, and manifest her clients’ and partners’ dreams. Monique understands how to thrive in an ever-changing environment and build the consummate partnership between Executives and their Assistants.

Belinda Brosnan

While Belinda has an ability to make even the likes of Jack Sparrow feel at ease in the midst of Caribbean hurricane, don’t be fooled by her down-to-earth, ‘calm-in-a-crisis’ personality. Bubbling just beneath that cool and collected surface is an intense desire to make a difference.

She wants the work we do to matter, as individuals, as organisations, and citizens of the world. And she most loves to work with organisations that feel the same. Belinda’s specialist expertise lies in guiding senior leaders through change and uncertainty.

If anyone was prepared to help others be heard in the chaos, it’s Belinda. Honing her skills with a lifetime of Brosnan family Christmases (her Dad is one of 15 children and her Mum one of 8), Belinda also spent 20 years working in leadership positions with some of Australia’s biggest name organisations including News Limited, AVJennings, Macquarie Bank and Mirvac. Add to this Belinda’s credentials in executive coaching, conversational intelligence and NeuroLeadership and she’s got a lot to give.

Belinda is an advocate and investor with The Hunger Project and has led leadership immersion programs in Uganda, Malawi, India, and Senegal. She is passionate about being a voice for those who don’t have one and giving people the opportunity to lead an expansive life on their terms for the betterment of others, organisations, and communities.

Belinda was the QLD Telstra Business Women’s Awards winner for Start-Up in 2015.