The Emerging Leaders Summit is packed with expert professional speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The summit attracts a fantastic mix of inspirational speakers and leaders from successful businesses sharing their own case studies and stories.

Photos and bios of confirmed speakers are shown below:

Mike Allsop

Airline pilot, Everest mountaineer, adventurer and extreme marathon competitor Mike Allsop is an ordinary family man proving that anybody can accomplish extraordinary things.

Mike Allsop grew up in a single parent home in Auckland. Life wasn’t always easy. But Mike never wavered in his dream of becoming an airline pilot with Air New Zealand. He single-mindedly pursued this goal, breaking it down into smaller parts then focusing on each step in turn. He began by obtaining a pilot’s licence and a job with a small commuter airline. Things took a dramatic turn when a flight to deliver a Twin Otter aircraft from the USA to New Zealand led to a crash landing into the sea hundreds of kilometres off the coast of Hawaii in the dark of night. The US Coast Guard colonel who eventually rescued Mike and his crew commented that nobody else had ever survived a crash landing into that part of the ocean!

As well as becoming an Air New Zealand captain, Mike harboured another ambition. One day, he wanted to stand upon the roof of the world and summit Everest. True to form, he broke the goal down and gained the necessary skills and experience by testing himself on difficult and potentially hazardous climbs across 6 different continents. Many were usually only tackled by vastly more experienced climbers. However, Mike is living proof of his philosophy: ‘if you believe you can, you will’. He has reached every goal in spectacular fashion, including becoming an international airline pilot with Air New Zealand and ascending Everest in an unguided expedition.

He has since gone on to conquer numerous other mountains, pitting himself against the limits of human endurance and the unpredictable weather conditions that abound at extreme altitudes. He’s narrowly dodged a fatal avalanche in Peru, risked being shot in Russia and returned a replica of a stolen Yeti hand to a monastery in Nepal.

Mike has since returned to the Himalayas to run the world’s highest marathon around Everest – a feat never before attempted. Backed only by a Sherpa team, he trekked to 5,630 metres above sea level. There he ran a distance of 42.2 kilometres (22.6 miles) in temperatures of -30 degC (-22degF), setting a new world record. This feat is captured in the documentary ‘Chasing Altitude’ aimed at young people everywhere, showing that they too can achieve their dreams and ambitions overcoming the fear of failure and breaking each goal into a series of smaller steps.

Mike is also one of a handful of athletes who have ever run 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents. This raised NZ$75,000 for New Zealand charity KidsCan.

As a presenter, Mike speaks from the heart when he tells his audiences about the power of goal-setting to make just about anything possible. Audiences have described Mike’s presentations as “inspiring”, “motivational” and “amazing”.

When Mike’s not captaining a 787 aircraft or planning his next inspiring adventure, he is at home sharing his stories with wife Wendy and their three children Ethan, Maya and Dylan.

Michelle Gibbings

Comfortable with getting uncomfortable, Michelle is at the forefront of creating workplace success by helping people embrace the unknown and fall in love with change.

Her key to cultivating thriving workplaces is working with people through three lenses: as an individual, a leader, and in their wider role (and influence) within their organisation. Tapping into each of these facets, she brings self-awareness to the forefront, empowering people to work with those around them in a way that is productive, healthy and happy.

It’s not rocket science – grow your people, accelerate your progress and elevate your organisation’s success. When people are at their best, it inspires those around them to do the same.

Michelle’s in high demand as an innovative keynote speaker, advisor and executive mentor of choice, working with leading corporations and global organisations. With her PhD underway, Michelle also holds Undergraduate Degrees in Communications and Commerce, a Masters in International Trade, Chartered Manager status and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She also finds time to give that little bit extra – regularly featuring and writing for major national publications and media outlets.

When not running her own successful practice or managing her predictably mischievous pup, Barney, Michelle supports a range of volunteer organisations and finds time to venture to hidden, exotic pockets of the planet with her husband and best friend, Craig.

Dan Te Whenua Walker

Dan is an award-winning Maori business leader, creating Indigenous value-led businesses.

He has tribal affiliations to Tangahoe, Ngati Ruanui, Nga Ruahinerangi, Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa, Te Atiawa, Maniapoto, Tuhourangi and Pakeha. He is a mokopuna of the great freedom fighter Titokowaru and wahine leader Ruaputahanga.

He was privileged to be nurtured under the manaakitanga of Kaai Tahu iwi for over 25 years of his life in Otautahi and Dan currently lives in, and pays respect to, the whenua lands of Ngati Manuhiri in Stanmore Bay Auckland with his wife Michelle and their three tamariki Josh, Tyler and Maia. Dan is Global Co-Chair of Indigenous at Microsoft where he is focused on supporting Indigenous empowerment wherever Microsoft is and raising the Indigenous voice in technology globally. He works as a Channel Executive across Australia and NZ looking after Partners and Cloud Solutions at Microsoft.

Through the help of his whanau, his elders and his tribal teachers, Dan has learned much of his Maori cultural wisdom through the 15+ years of service to his iwi tribe Ngati Ruanui. His experiences shaped his belief that Indigenous wisdom is for everyone and we need to reclaim this wisdom that has been handed down to us. His Masters degree was about tikanga Maori ki te ao matihiko – Maori values as a framework for digital leadership. This journey led him down interviews with Indigenous leaders from around he world about Indigenous wisdom from a digital context. Dan will discuss some of these Indigenous approaches to technology and how Maori are starting to collaborate with modern legal and corporate frameworks for true long-term inter-generational change for our future.

Dan is the Deputy Chair of NZ Maori Tourism, Pou Tuara of Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui, Director of Auckland Unlimited, on the Expert Advisory Panel at Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery, board member of Child Cancer Foundation and Ronald McDonald House – as well as a variety of community trustee and voluntary roles around the motu. He holds an MBA and a Masters in Advanced Leadership.

Dan was awarded the Young Maori Business Leader of the Year award and the NZ UoA 40 under 40 award last year.

Jess Stuart

Jess is an international speaker, coach and author of six personal development books specialising in mindset, performance and women in leadership. She is also a well known Imposter Syndrome expert with a background in Senior Human Resources roles and a decade working in leadership development.

Jess is a highly acclaimed event speaker and proud member of the rainbow community. Featured on TV3, BBC, RNZ, Dominion Post, Stuff and NZ Business Magazine, she is described as inspiring, articulate and relatable by audiences. Jess has a passion for sharing her knowledge and motivating others with her words and a drive to level the playing field in the gender diversity space.

A brush with burnout in her corporate career led Jess across the world to train with Buddhist monks and nuns. A decade later, after coming out, writing six books and running her own successful business she shares what she knows about mind-set, resilience and self-belief to empower people to unlock their potential.

Jess helps busy high achievers go from burnout to brilliance, to cultivate a mindset of peak performance, lead with confidence, fuel their tanks to ensure they are a sustainable resource and can achieve their potential to have influence and impact.

Mike Bennetts

Award-winning, global CEO and founding Chief Executive of Z Energy

Mike Bennett’s global career has enabled him to know a little about a lot. In that sense, Mike has unusually broad experience across all organisational capabilities, enabling him to be an effective CEO for the past twenty years.

Since March 2023, Mike has been the principal at Taumata Advisory Limited, a company committed to realising individual and organisational potential. Mike delivers on this as an author (book to be published by the end of 2023), conference speaker, executive coach, and business consultant.

Prior to that, Mike was the founding Chief Executive of Z Energy Ltd, the company that purchased Shell’s downstream (refining and marketing) business in New Zealand in April 2010 and Chevron in June 2016. As a result of an IPO in August 2013, Z was listed on the ASX and NZX and then delisted in 2022 when Ampol purchased the company.

Mike has accumulated forty years of experience in the global energy industry with expertise in supply, trading and marketing businesses covering consumer and business-to-business segments. In 1983 he joined BP in New Zealand with his early roles in sales, marketing, IT and finance. From 1992 to 2008, he served in various senior leadership roles in South Africa, China, Singapore and in the United Kingdom (at BP’s global headquarters).

Since 1992, Mike has served as a Director of various private and public companies and joint ventures in NZ, Singapore, China and South Africa. Upon his return to NZ in 2009, he became a chartered member of the NZ Institute of Directors and is the Chair (since 2016) of Punakaiki Fund Limited, a $100m investment fund that makes long-term investments into high-growth, revenue-generating New Zealand technology companies.

In 2016 Mike was awarded CEO of the Year within the Deloitte Top 200, with Z also being recognised as Company of the Year.

For over a decade, Mike has been in the middle of the energy transition and the consequential environmental and social sustainability challenges. From this, he has developed extensive networks and unique perspectives to inform strategy development and corporate communications.

In 2017 Mike co-founded the Climate Leaders Coalition and was the Convenor of their Steering Group until 2022.

Rob Hoult

Rob is the founder and principal of Team Leader Leadership Development Limited and provides specialist leader and team development services to a wide range of organisations in New Zealand.

Prior to establishing Team Leader, Rob completed a thirty-year career as an officer in the New Zealand Defence Force. Rob’s career as a professional leader allows him to talk to other leaders with credibility. His experience leading diverse teams in multi-national settings has provided a depth of practical ability that he can back up through extensive knowledge on the science and art of leading teams. As well as having extensive practical leadership experience, Rob spent over a decade of his service leading the design and delivery of leader development programmes for the New Zealand Defence Force and his contribution in this field was recognised through the award of the Distinguished Service Decoration in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Since establishing Team Leader in 2012, Rob has built a reputation for his ability to engage with a diverse range of leaders, teams and organisations. Rob is at home in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors and build a reputation for successfully developing leaders and teams whether this be at board level, first level supervisor, or champion sports teams. Rob is especially sought after for his expertise in developing leaders and teams that work in high-stress and dangerous situations. He has board experience and is qualified as a Chartered Membership of the NZ Institute of Directors.

Rob is married to Karen and has two adult children. He is based in Christchurch and interests include reading, tramping, mountain-biking and flying.

Cheryl Bowie (Masterclass leader)

Cheryl has been a senior leader and consultant for many of NZ’s blue chip organisations, including Auckland Tourism Events & Economic Development, NZTE, Manukau Institute of Technology, NZ Post and TelstraClear and has worked in a wide range of sectors. A consulting career highlight was establishing Auckland Transition Agency’s project office – the organisation charged with creating Auckland Council.

Cheryl is passionate about the human side of change management supporting clients to find alignment between their personal and professional lives. She helps clients understand their barriers and inner workings to allow them and their employers realise their full potential and “bring their whole selves” to work.

Her passion for neuroscience, narrative/story, emotional literacy and mindfulness supports deep reflection and change.

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