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Keynote speakers

Stay tuned for updates on our Keynote Speakers. We'll update them here once they are confirmed. Exciting announcements coming soon!

MC, Karen O’Leary

A natural performer, Karen made her acting debut in Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s cult-classic feature What We Do in the Shadows. Her head-turning performance as Officer O’Leary led to the comedy spin-off series Wellington Paranormal, a show that is broadcast around the world in over 100 countries, including on HBO Max in the US. She has enjoyed roles in features Millie Lies Low and SXSW darlings The Breaker Upperers and Nude Tuesday, as well as television’s Educators and two seasons of comedy The Eggplant. Karen developed exceptional communication skills in her two decades as an early childhood educator and uses those skills to great effect as both a presenter and an MC. She is a charismatic, hilarious, and charming presence whose services are highly sought after.

Shamubeel Eaqub
New Zealand Institute of Economic Research

Shamubeel Eaqub is an experienced economist who makes economics easy. He is also an author, media commentator and a thought leading public speaker. 
He has over two decades of experience as an economist in Wellington, Melbourne and Auckland in leading international banks and consultancy. He currently balances a portfolio of consulting, public speaking, governance and family duties. 
He holds a BCOM with Honours in Economics from Lincoln University and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst. He lives in Auckland with his wife and two sons. 

 

Benjamin Hemi
Tainui Group Holdings

Ko Wetekia te Maunga
Ko Whakatu te Marae
Ko Ngati Koata te Iwi

Benjamin is the Health and Safety Adviser for Tainui group holdings, is a trustee for TRMA and previously Ngati Koata. He has an in-depth knowledge of planning and running major events and projects and has over 30 years of experience in working with local, regional, national and international organisations. His guiding influence is to do what you say and be a person of your word. Kia Kaha, Kia Mau, Kia Manuwanui.

 

Megan Main
Chief Executive, Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)

With a strong background in healthcare and delivering quality public services, Megan is passionate about leading ACC to deliver on its purpose of improving lives every day. Prior to joining ACC, Megan held leadership roles at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as Deputy Chief Executive of Managed Isolation and Quarantine, and Deputy Chief Executive of the Corporate, Governance and Information Group. She was previously Chief Executive at NZ Health Partnerships and Chief Executive of Health Purchasing Victoria (Australia). Before joining the health sector, Megan held senior line management and consulting roles in a range of industries including fast-moving consumer goods, manufacturing and professional services. Megan holds degrees in engineering and science from the University of Melbourne and an MBA from the Melbourne Business School. Megan has also completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ Company Directors Course and Harvard Business School’s Leading Change & Organisational Renewal. She was awarded the Victoria SACS Public Sector Leadership Award in 2015 and was a finalist in the 2021 New Zealand Women of Influence Awards (Public Policy).

 

Amy Scott

A force fuelled by her love for people and her dedication to cultivating thriving team dynamics. Formerly a seasoned lawyer, Amy’s mantra of “less friction, more fun” is the heartbeat of her mission.

Raised amidst the tranquil landscapes of rural Central Otago, New Zealand, Amy’s early adventures included representing New Zealand in ice hockey as well as working in wool sheds. Her eight-year legal career polished her into a strategic thinker with a keen eye for detail.

However, Amy’s path took a transformative turn when she discovered the groundbreaking "dots communication" tool—a  Kiwi innovation that has captivated more than 37,000 individuals across diverse industries throughout NZ and Australia.

Known affectionately as the “dots lady,” Amy’s vibrant energy and ‘down to earth’ approach have reshaped how people communicate and collaborate.

Strap yourself in for a fast paced, engaging & entertaining presentation.  Amy’s main aim is to empower individuals to unlock their full potential through effective communication.

Expect to walk away armed with practical tools and a renewed passion for authentic connections in your professional and personal worlds!

 

Scott Taylor
Praesidium Risk and Resilience

Scott is a Combined Communications Expert who has trained with the leading global authorities on Body Language, Deception Detection, Facial Micro Expressions, Elicitation and Statement and word Analysis. His unique skill set is utilised to glean true intent, exponentially enhance influence and supercharge trust building. He has worked across the gamut of the security, safety and risk industry over the past 29 years and is a court and tribunal-recognised expert. He has shared his knowledge and expertise through specialist consulting and training throughout the Middle East, APAC Region, USA and Australia to a broad scope of Corporate and Government Organisations.


 

Hon. Brooke van Velden
Minister of Internal Affairs of New Zealand

Hon Brooke van Velden is the Minister of Internal Affairs and for Workplace Relations and Safety. Brooke left the private sector to work behind the scenes in Parliament to help pass the End of Life Choice Act.Qualified in international trade and economics, Brooke has also been a factory worker and corporate affairs consultant. She was elected to Parliament as an ACT Party MP in 2020, returning as MP for Tāmaki in 2023.

 

Jodhi Warwick-Ponga
Trustee - Te Rōpū Marutau o Aotearoa (TRMA)
Head of Programmes and Apprenticeships – Vertical Horizonz

Ko Tākitimu te waka, ko Aorangi te maunga, ko Ruamahanga te awa, ko Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa tōku iwi.
Jodhi is embedded in the heart of NZ's health and safety community, known for her volunteer contributions in championing culturally responsive work practices. As a Senior Manager at Vertical Horizonz, she brings her vast experience in health, safety, and education to elevate the standards of work-based training. However, it's her voluntary service that sets her apart. As a trustee for Te Rōpū Marutau o Aotearoa, she accentuates her dedication to community well-being and safer workplaces. Her work with Haumaru Tangata promotes safety and wellness in workplaces, emphasising Māori perspectives and leadership diversity. Jodhi's efforts to support the review of health, safety, and wellbeing qualifications showcase her commitment to safer environments. Embodying mana tangata, she advocates a holistic, culturally attuned approach to health, safety and wellbeing.