Speakers

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.

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

You can find full details of confirmed summit speakers below:

Sir John Kirwan

Humbled and honoured – they’re two words Sir John Kirwan (known to most as “JK”) often uses to describe how he feels about his contribution to a campaign to raise awareness about depression, but they’re also the same words he uses to describe his knighthood.

The former All Black and 1987 Rugby World Cup winner became a “Sir” in 2012, joining a list that includes other well-known former All Blacks. However, unlike his fellow All Blacks, Kirwan was recognised as much, if not more, for his contribution outside of rugby; for services to Mental Health, having been for several years at the forefront of the campaign to heighten public awareness of depression, an illness he has suffered from himself.

JK’s willingness to share his mental wellbeing story from surviving to thriving has gone a long way to removing the stigma that surrounds mental health here in New Zealand.

Dr Siouxsie Wiles

With her bright pink hair, Dr. Siouxsie Wiles is hard to miss! She’s one of the country’s most recognised and respected scientists, trained as a microbiologist. At the Bioluminescent Superbug Lab at Auckland University, Siouxsie and her team make nasty bacteria glow in the dark to find out what ’s making us sick with the aim of finding new medicines. She still can’t quite believe she gets paid to do it for a living. Outside the lab, Siouxsie regularly appears on radio and TV, working hard to smash the stereotypes people have about what scientists and leaders look like.

Siouxsie has been recognised many times for her amazing contributions to science and society in New Zealand. In 2019 she was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to microbiology and science communication. Prior to this, she had been honoured as a Blake Leader by the Sir Peter Blake Trust as well as winning both the Royal Society Te Aparangi Callaghan Medal and the Prime Minister ’s Science Media Communication Prize. Most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Siouxsie became one of the primary faces, communicators and educators in NZ, helping ease the public’s anxiety through lockdown and beyond. This led to Siouxsie being named the supreme winner of the Stuff-Westpac Women of Influence Awards 2020 and most recently Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2021.

Lisa O’Neill (Summit MC)

Feisty, funny and fabulous. Lisa O’Neill is an absolute beam of light that will electrify your conference.

With the rare ability to deliver powerful messages through side-splitting humour, Lisa is highly sought after as a keynote speaker and MC across Australia and New Zealand.

After more than a decade on stage, Lisa is consistently top-rated in conference evaluations. Participants love her straight-talking, refreshing wisdom and infectious laughter. They respond to her call to live big lives and to become the best version of themselves.

Lisa is the author of six books, ‘Look Gorgeous Be Happy’, ‘Juggling in High Heels’, ’The Lickable Third’, ‘100 QuesGons to Self Awareness’, ‘Everything You Want’ and ’50 Things I Now Know’. Her depth and continuing insights enable her to tailor her messages to your audience, your industry and your conference theme. Her pride in being a polished professional means conference organisers love to work with her.

If you want a speaker who will crack open your audience with laughter so that they can absorb important, life-changing messages, then Lisa O’Neill is for you.

Sacha Coburn

Sacha Coburn is a Waikato based leadership consultant who combines her love of coaching other leaders to leadership mastery with active involvement in her own family-held company, Coffee Culture. Sacha has also worked closely for over 20 years with the Les Mills International group, coaching and developing teams all over the world. Her obsession with unlocking the latent potential within everyone has transformed the way thousands of people turn up to work.

Sacha’s side-hustle with Tonia Cawood, The Company You Keep, offers two day immersive programmes that accelerate leadership development and growth as well as bespoke executive coaching. Working with senior and emerging leaders, the focus is on getting right to the heart of what matters most for high performance. Coffee Culture is a New Zealand group of boutique coffee shops with 300 staff in 20 locations. Sacha is the C.O.O and walks her talk every day delivering messages that matter, and leading her team with humanity and humour. A former lawyer with a masters degree in education, Sacha is uniquely qualified to talk about the challenges of leading from the inside-out.

A recent recipient of a Prime Minister’s Business Scholarship, Sacha is currently enrolled at Harvard Business School and is passionate about sharing what’s she’s learnt

Sam Johnson

Sam Johnson is one of New Zealand’s most inspiring young citizens. His relentless energy to mobilise people around ideas has a magic ability in building movements that matter! Farm boy turned social entrepreneur, Sam’s work is on the leading edge of using the collective to overcome the bureaucratic – shifting our belief system about what is possible when teams, organisations and communities authentically connect and build empathy.

Sam became a household name in New Zealand when he started what has become New Zealand’s largest volunteer movement-the internationally acclaimed Student Volunteer Army. What started as a small social media page after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes has been mirrored across the globe as a movement for impact, not an organisation for ego.

Awarded Young New Zealander of the Year for his leadership, Communicator of the Year for his honest media commentary and a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award to remind him never to rest on success; in Sam’s world, there is no moment worth missing out on.

Sam is the Founder and Chief Executive of the Student Volunteer Army is most well-known for his entrepreneurial ideas that continue to make significant differences to the lives of others. Sam leads the charity’s staff team who design and operate projects that impact over 65,000 volunteers each year in New Zealand. Sam’s latest example with Covid19 saw his organisation partner with New World supermarkets to design, develop and deploy an end to end shopping service for people most at risk from the virus within a week. Sam oversaw his team scaling from a team of 7 to 98 and building capacity to contactlessly deliver groceries for up to 10,000 households a week. Sam and the SVA team are continuing to make the most of the crisis, as every organisation must do, by rapidly testing new initiatives, and evolving their business model to fit the challenging times we are in.

Sam developed a social enterprise in 2016 to connect generations and end social isolation in New Zealand. His venture joined forces with Mycare in 2017, reforming the home care sector through an AirBnB model of community support. Sam is now Head of Community Innovation at Mycare and helps recreate mutually beneficial models of community where they utilise Mycare’s powerful technology to help realise ideas.

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.’

Sam is an Adjunct Fellow in the School of Education and Leadership at the University of Canterbury and teaches occasionally into the new degree, the Bachelor of Community and Youth Leadership, which was created as a response to the Student Volunteer Army’s popularity.

In spare time, Sam rests, goes to bed early and stays away from any screens. As anyone recovering a head injury can attest, the journey is long. He’s currently writing a book called “Don’t Hit Yourself In the Head with a Hedge Trimmer and other bits of life advice” which will make you laugh, cry and be thankful for all the good things in life.

Suzi McAlpine

Suzi specialises in leadership development, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand. An experienced author and mentor, Suzi writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to inspire and improve leadership in individuals, teams and organisations.

Suzi is the author of the bestselling book Beyond Burnout: How to Spot it, Stop It and Stamp it Out, published by Penguin Random House NZ in 2021. https://suzimcalpine.com/beyond-burnout/

She has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in many guises. As a self-renowned ‘leadership geek’, Suzi’s years of experience includes being an executive search consultant, associate director, executive coach, and a practice leader for a division of the world’s largest HR consulting firm.

Suzi also is the creator of The Leader’s Map, a blended online leadership platform provides organisations wishing to equip their emerging leaders with the necessary leadership capabilities for success.

Suzi is based in Nelson, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Michael Moka

Michael Moka is the passionate and engaging founder of Indigenous Growth Limited (www.indigenousgrowth.com) – since 2013 has had a quadruple bottom line (Grow people, culture, and capability, and if done properly will result in social and commercial profit). The vision feeds his personal passion which is to empower families to get themselves out of the poverty cycle. Building a strong foundation is the most powerful way of retaining long term growth.

Since 2005 Michael chose a specialised path dedicated to this goal of serving his family and families like his – taking, creating, and making the most of all opportunities with his purpose being his main decision-making tool.
Indigenous Growth is taking a culturally diverse and wholistic approach to strengthening leadership capability of all indigenous people. Building our people from the grass roots level to provide a more diverse and profitable leadership culture for all organisations.

Indigenous Growth has served whānau within Skycity Entertainment Group, Fletcher Building Limited, New Zealand Post, Auckland Airport, Emerge Aotearoa, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Vodafone, Heartland Bank, Air New Zealand and many more. They also have a strategic partnership with organisations such as Tupu Toa and Diversity Works. Most recently Michael broadened his international profile by participating as a key-note speaker for WBECS (The World Business & Executive Coach Summit)

He waka eke noa – We are all in the same canoe with no exception

Doug Paulin

Doug Paulin is the CEO of Sealord Group Ltd, which has land-based operations in Nelson, deep-sea fishing vessels in NZ, Australia, Antarctica and Indian Ocean waters and aquaculture operations in Queensland (barramundi) and Tasmania (salmon and ocean trout).

Prior to Sealord, Doug was CEO of Hubbard Foods, a FMCG cereal manufacturer and before that worked at Lion Nathan in sales, marketing and strategic planning.

Doug’s key interests are strategic planning, key talent development and corporate governance.

Doug has a BCom/LLB from the University of Otago, an MBA from Henley Management College and is a graduate of AMP at Harvard University in Boston.

Doug’s whakapapa links him to Ngati Porou and Ngati Raukawa.

Rob Hoult (masterclass facilitator)

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.

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