2019 Speakers

George Liacos – Managing Director, Spark Strategy

For over two decades George has advised Not-For-Profit, Government and Commercial organisations in strategy, business models and system transformation. Entering the consultancy world on the back of having grown and sold a $100M private sector business, Spark’s clients consistently cite his aptitude for strong practicality, keen commerciality and a commitment to creating uniquely tailored approaches which render maximum practical benefit. Prior roles saw George as the National Lead Partner for Transformation at Grant Thornton, Program Director for the Department of Premier and Cabinet as well as Chairman and Non-Executive Director on a number of technology and service businesses. A proponent of tough love, George will stop at nothing in his quest to unearth fresh ideas for sustainable business models. In his spare time (outside of airport lounges) George can be found making a mess in the kitchen and cooking up a storm with his kids.

Paul Spain, CEO, Gorilla Technology

Paul Spain became established as a technologist in the early 1990’s and quickly gained a reputation as a leader working with clients such as Microsoft, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather and TrustPower. At the age of 24 Paul established Gorilla Technology to bring the best technology leadership to the NZ’s small to medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations. Paul now works closely with Gorilla’s clients helping them strategically leverage technology in order to achieve their goals more effectively. He commentates on technology and business subjects on TV, radio and online, hosts both the NZ Business Podcast and NZ Tech Podcast and is an international public speaker. Outside of work Paul loves spending time with his family Selina and Pablo. He also loves travelling – which his media and speaking engagements often help facilitate. Some of the biggest companies in the world such as Microsoft, Intel, HP and Ford bring him to attend events in locations such as USA, UK, India, Taiwan and Australia.

Hazel Jennings, Owner, Dale Jennings Associates

Hazel has worked across the NZ non-profit sector for over 12 years building digital capabilities and confidence. Her small consultancy works exclusively with non-profit leadership teams; offering vendor independent advice and coaching support on their digital journey. Hazel has an MSc in organisational development, is a Chartered IT Professional, a Chartered member of the Institute of Directors and a member of Netsafe. Her governance roles include service with the 2020 Trust, IT Professionals NZ, and Generosity NZ.

Greg Matten, Director, Safety Brains Trust

Greg founded The Safety Brains Trust because he understood that the key to the success of any initiatives related to the delivery of safe outcomes is to understand that the behaviour of people is led by their thought process. Resources are therefore best directed at working to influence the way people think in order to facilitate changes in behaviour that are more likely to then result in safe outcomes. He realised that no single person has all the answers, and so decided to collaborate with Subject Matter Experts in the fields of Human Factors, Communication and Resilience to ensure the facilitation of safe outcomes has a human-centric focus.

Steve Kerr, Policy Group, Department of Internal Affairs

Steve Kerr is a policy manager in the Policy Group of DIA (Department of Internal Affairs) who has fifteen years’ experience in the government and non-profit sectors. Policy Group supports government decision-making across DIA’s six portfolios. His work spans diverse areas like identity, digital transformation, gambling, local government, and the community and voluntary sector. The Charities Act review which Steve and his colleague Andrew Phillips will be speaking about, is one of their major projects and is the top priority within the community and voluntary sector portfolio. 

Andrew Phillips, Charities Services, Department of Internal Affairs

Andrew Phillips is the Manager of Engagement and Business Improvement, part of Charities Services Ngā Ratonga Kaupapa Atawhai at the Department of Internal Affairs. Charities Services, together with the independent Charities Registration Board, is responsible for regulating New Zealand’s over 27,000 registered charities. He has been with Charities Services for six years, in various roles including in the registration and investigation teams. With a legal background, Andrew has an avid interest in the charitable and non-profit sector and is personally involved with several charities.

Jess Thorne, Senior Accountant – Business Advisory, William Buck

Jess Thorne is an Assistant Manager at William Buck and has a solid foundation in not-for-profit finances. She has presented at workshops on accounting topics aimed at assisting not-for-profit trustees and managers better understand financial accounts. Jess works for several not-for-profits and schools providing monthly management accounts in easy to read formats for non-accountants. She has also provided personal coaching to trustees on how to read financial statements. With a passion for the not-for-profit sector, Jess is keen to assist NFP’s get better value out of their scarce financial resources. She is currently a trustee for the Changing Minds Trust and is helping them determine the next steps to ensure they can continue providing for the community. 

Jason Weir, Partner, Deloitte Centre

Jason Weir leads Deloitte’s Forensic team in New Zealand, which is a team of approximately 35 people comprising forensic accountants, investigators, computer forensic and analytics experts. As a forensic accountant by training, he has led many high profile, complex investigations in New Zealand, including many of the failed finance companies and the investigation into allegations that Fuji Xerox New Zealand overstated its audited financial statements by approximately $300 million. Jason has also completed many investigations involving not-for-profit organisations and he served as a Trustee of a not-for-profit organisation for over five years. In addition, he is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Professional Conduct Committee.  

Edmond Otis, Business Coach & Karate Expert

Edmond has a unique background. A practicing licensed psychotherapist, speaker, performance coach, and author - he was a Senior Lecturer at the University of California, Riverside, from 1981 – 2006, and twice recipient of the University Distinguished Teaching award. A New Zealand resident since 2008, and citizen from 2015, Edmond is a senior lecturer in the school of Health and Sport Science at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) in beautiful Hawke’s Bay. Edmond’s programs provide cutting edge training and seminars to medical providers, public and private agencies, large and small businesses, schools, government offices, and industry. Additionally, Edmond is a world-renowned coach and lifelong veteran of traditional Japanese karate training. Edmond blends these distinctive skills insights, with cutting-edge research, into his training and consulting style - teaching real skills, and creating dynamic content, effective strategies and pragmatic solutions for complex and difficult workplace situations.

John McGill, CEO, Strategic Pay

With over 30 years’ experience as an experienced consultant in all aspects of remuneration and its application, John leads the Strategic Pay team. Specialising in areas of senior executive and board remuneration he works across both New Zealand and the South Pacific regions. His consulting expertise includes specialised job evaluation, performance management, incentive pay design, organisation analysis, and all aspects of pay. Prior to joining Strategic Pay John was the Remuneration Consulting Manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers and, (when it was sold to) IBM. He transferred with his team across to Strategic Pay in 2004. In March 2010, after three years as Chairman of the company he was appointed Chief Executive. John is also on the Board of Tennis Auckland and is Chair of their Employment (Remuneration) Committee.

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For further details, please contact:
Faye Johnson at faye@grow.co.nz or
Phone: 06 878 3456