Deborah AcottHead of Business Improvement & Enterprise Change, Auckland Council
Debbie Acott has worked within local government in NZ for over 20 years in a number of different roles in Finance, ICT, Customer Services and now Group Services. She is currently the Head of Business Improvement and Enterprise Change at Auckland Council. This is a new area within the council with an exciting remit to establish a hub and spoke model to share resources and increase capability to deliver change and business improvement across the organisation.
Anchali AnandanayagamPartner, Hudson Gavin Martin
Anchali helps businesses with technology, media, and telecommunications transactions. From capacity and dark fibre procurement, data protection, technology implementation to content production, Anchali advises public and private customers and their suppliers alike on technology, media and telecommunications products and services.
Chambers and Partners, a leading international legal directory, say Anchali is "an experienced lawyer with amazing technical skills," but also is "a relationship builder" who "can deal with people at all levels" both within and between organisations, an attribute which, one interviewee notes, means "there's a real benefit having her on our side."
Anchali sits on the board of Women in Film and Television New Zealand.
James BerginExecutive General Manager - Technology Strategy and Integration, Xero
James is a senior executive with significant experience in technology strategy, enterprise architecture and software engineering, innovation management and leading high-performing teams.
James is responsible for working closely with the key senior leadership teams and stakeholders across Xero to define the future strategic direction of technology at Xero, including assessing the potential integration of emerging technology to solve customer problems.
Previously responsible for Xero's global engineering and architectural practices, his leadership has played a role in continuing to develop the structure and processes for how the teams work across Xero's product, platform and technology business areas.
With a background working with startups and technology companies, and with extensive experience in financial services and banking technology, James has a breadth of knowledge and expertise in developing best-in-class software architecture and engineering practices and evolving technical architecture to be sustainable at scale. He is passionate about the latest technology trends and democratising access to best-in-class digital solutions for small businesses around the world.
Sean BishopChief Digital Officer, Chapman Tripp
Sean is responsible for Chapman Tripp’s information communications and technology, leading their Information Technology teams based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
With more than 17 years’ experience in professional services, Sean is passionate about transforming business through technology to stay at the forefront of the ever-evolving world of digital solutions in the modern workplace. His primary focus is to deliver innovative, secure solutions that make an impact to people and clients.
Prior to joining Chapman Tripp in April 2019, Sean was a Senior Manager at Deloitte.
Mira BradshawHead of Data Science, Stuff
Mira Bradshaw is the Head of Data Science for Stuff Limited - New Zealand's largest news organisation. Mira and her team are responsible for forecasting and prediction work, model, and segmentation development, and supporting analytics, insight, and data-based commercial activity across all areas of the business.
As part of Stuff's wider data squad, Mira champions a keen focus on data governance, privacy, and approaching everything with a Pou Tiaki lens to consider implications for diversity, equity, inclusion, and representation.
Mira is a career data specialist who has previously worked at Nielson, Sky TV, and TVNZ. Mira believes in relevant, timely and insightful data that can be used to make informed business decisions and drive commercial outcomes.
Mike ButlerGeneral Manager – Enterprise and Digital Services, Fletcher Building
Ming CheukChief Technical Officer, ElementX.AI
Ming Cheuk has worked with data and AI for over 10 years across academia and industry. As the co-founder of ElementX, he has led numerous AI implementations across a range of industries, including education, finance, manufacturing, and retail. Through his role in the AI Forum NZ, Ming is actively contributing to the forum's mission of bringing together New Zealand's AI community to harness the power of AI technologies.
Summer CollinsHead of Data and Growth Capability, One NZ
As a leader in AI, my focus is on delivering impactful machine learning models that enhance the customer experience and drive commercial success. I have a track record of leading teams of data scientists and data engineers to achieve this goal, and I am committed to creating a culture of innovation and excellence in the field.
With extensive experience in managing large-scale change initiatives and developing strategies across digital, martech, data, and customer areas, I am confident in my ability to translate complex ideas into actionable plans. I am passionate about creating sustainable data assets and empowering data experts to play a key role in decision-making processes.
My approach is customer-centric, and I believe in the power of design thinking to transform organizations and drive growth. I am committed to working with cross-functional teams to achieve a shared vision, and I am always looking for new and innovative ways to drive results.
Overall, I am a data-driven change maker who is committed to driving impactful results through the power of AI and machine learning. I am dedicated to leading and inspiring teams of data experts to achieve their full potential and to deliver results that make a real difference to our customers and our business.
Dean CornishGlobal Practice Director for Artificial Intelligence, Planit Testing
Dean is a passionate technologist with 23 years experience ranging across software testing and quality, automation, development, architecture, organisational change, devops and continuous delivery.
He's provided expertise in both products and services in IT across a broad range of industry verticals such as scientific, manufacturing, higher education, telecommunications, banking and payments, insurance, government, superranuation, retail, supply chain and logistics, utilities and construction.
Internally, he guides the adoption of AI at Planit, including solutions, training and capability uplift. Externally, he engages with Planit's customers to understand the challenges they're having and works with them to devise solutions such as testing AI implementations, using AI to help test applications or use AI to achieve efficiencies.
He's excited about AI and the new opportunities for efficiency and new capabilities and opportunities for innovation it enables.
Liz EdenDirector of Delivery, Planit
In her role, Liz oversees Planit's South Island business with responsibility for our people and clients. With both a background in data and tech having worked at CoreLogic and Experian previously and experience in economic development from working for ChristchurchNZ leading their Business & Investment Attraction pillar.
Liz has a genuine love of working with people and their businesses to understand how large-scale tech implementations will influence and improve CX, supply chain and bottom line performance, and understands the need for all these elements to be tested to be successful.
Justin FlitterFounder, NewZealand.AI
Justin Flitter is a sought after tech marketer and AI for business speaker. He’s the founder of the Marketing Agency Unrivaled.co.nz, the Founder of NewZealand.AI, a Director on the board of Business Mentors New Zealand, and emcee of TEDxAuckland.
Paulo GottgtroyHead of Decision Science and Analytics, Mercury NZ
Dr. Paulo Gottgtroy is an accomplished professional with over 30 years of experience in applying AI to business problems. He started as an Air Force pilot but discovered his passion for computer science and mathematical modelling while working on war rooms and simulations.
Currently, he serves as the Head of Decision Science & Analytics at Mercury NZ, leading various initiatives that focus on solving complex business challenges through AI applications. With a successful track record in strategic program delivery and leadership across diverse technical domains, Dr. Gottgtroy has earned recognition for his applied and innovative work.
His previous roles include Data Science Senior Manager at Air New Zealand and Chief Data Scientist at Inland Revenue NZ, where he consistently pushed the boundaries of AI to drive innovation and achieve remarkable outcomes.
Michal HempelHead of Design, Serko
I am a leader and innovator with deep experience in UX, design and technology.
My clients and colleagues know me as a skilled and effective partner, collaborator and influencer with an instinct for creating great products and experiences that real people love to use, coupled with the know-how and experience to effect major strategic digital transformation through design, development and delivery.
Over 20 years I have worked in-house as well as agency side with high-profile clients on literally hundreds of projects across the banking, insurance, telecommunications, media and entertainment industries - and more - where my technical, analytical and business expertise have materially contributed to business development and strategic outcomes. I am equally comfortable across content, design & development.
In my last job as a UX and Design Lead at Alphero I built and led our design teams to deliver award-winning, popular and highly usable brand developments, apps, websites and more for all our great clients, including Westpac, State, AMI, VTNZ, the Cooperative Bank, Transpower and Mediaworks as well as government clients like Studylink, MSD, and Statistics NZ.
I love identifying opportunities, creative problem-solving, building successful cross-functional teams, growing talent and, lately, going fishing.
Sam IrvineChief Executive Officer, Copyright Licensing New Zealand
Sam joined Copyright Licensing in 2022 and has a broad-ranging background which equips him well for the leadership of CLNZ. An experienced senior leader, Sam was Managing Director of Badger Communications and prior to that, was Chief Operating Officer of Isthmus Group Ltd. Before this, Sam held senior positions at Freeview New Zealand Ltd, New Zealand's free-to-air digital television and radio platform.
Caroline IzzardHead of Data and Insights, Plexure
Caroline has worked in wide range of Data and Insights roles in different capacities over the past 20 years, during which time there has been a seismic shift in the way businesses generate, collect and use data. In her most recent role as Head of Data & Insights at Plexure, the NZ tech business responsible for building and running the platform sitting behind the McDonald's app in 66 countries, she has encountered her most challenging data role yet. The sheer scale of data generated daily by McDonald's customers, combined with the diversity of what that data represents, means that the range of data technologies and techniques required for Plexure to extract value, deliver customer engagement and drive innovation, the business is always pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
Roger JonesExecutive General Manager - Technology, Auckland Transport
Roger Jones is a member of the executive at Auckland Transport (AT). He has led the implementation of a digital approach within AT including the establishment of a customer centric innovation hub for the organisation, prepared and implemented a technology and digital strategy, incorporating an integrated approach to digital, Intelligent Transport Systems and traditional IT. Roger has been active in the implementation of Smart City technologies within AT, and as a result, AT has been included as part of Microsoft’s Smart Cities programme and is also one of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s strategic partners for Smart Cities. Roger has seen the execution of several Safe Cities initiatives in Auckland, utilising the latest CCTV and analytics technology and implementing a citywide incident management system. He is currently implementing the use of this type of intelligent technology to assist in traffic and congestion management, integrated journey management and mobility as a service operating system across the whole transport network. AT has endorsed open data concepts providing open APIs for its data and a GitHub.
Roger has extensive experience in the IT industry in both the private and public sectors, working for such organisations as the NZ Police, Air New Zealand and Fonterra, and was also involved in the Health Sector as an independent Director of healthAlliance. In 2018, the AT Business Technology team won NZ’s Business Transformation through Digital and IT award. In 2022, Roger was named #6 on the NZ CIO50 list of New Zealand’s most innovative IT leaders.
Angie JudgeChief Executive Officer, Dexibi
Angie Judge is the Chief Executive of Dexibit, a software providing data analytics for visitor attractions - both cultural and commercial - to predict and analyze visitor behavior, providing dashboards, reports, insights and forecasts backed by data automation. Angie is the former Chair of the AAM Technology Board, MCN Data & Insight Group, cohost of a tourism analytics think tank network, host of the Data Diaries podcast, author of Guess Grind or AI and a TEDx speaker on data in visitor attractions. Angie has received two HiTech Awards plus the Inspiring Women International Business Award and the Business Enterprise Women of Influence Award. She developed her passion for analytics in the telecoms industry with a prior corporate career at Hewlett Packard and Amdocs. In her spare time, Angie mentors young women into technology careers, lectures in data science and is a keen water skier.
Dr Julia KotlarskyProfessor - Information Systems and Operations Management, University of Auckland
Julia Kotlarsky is a Professor of Information Systems at the University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand. She holds a PhD from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (Netherlands). Julia’s research interests revolve around technology sourcing, digital sustainability, and the interface between Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and humans, focusing on data issues and digital transformation. Her work is based on research in companies such as IBM, Tata Consultancy Services, SAP, Infosys, Cognizant, Pactera, LeCroy, Lifewood as well as in banks such as ABM AMRO and Scandia. Julia's consultancy work include advising on technology sourcing for government organisations in the Philippines and Egypt. Julia's work was published in numerous journals including MIS Quarterly, Journal of Management Information Systems, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Journal of Information Technology, Wall Street Journals and others. She was invited to develop an MIS Quarterly Research Curation on IS sourcing, as a lead author: https://www.misqresearchcurations.org Julia is a regular presenter in international conferences and conventions.
She has published 17 books, among them “The Handbook of Global Outsourcing and Offshoring" (https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9781137437426) which is widely used by practitioners and academics for teaching in several universities around the world. Julia is a co-founder and a former President of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) Special Interest Group on Advances in Sourcing (https://communities.aisnet.org/sigsourcing/home).
Julia serves as a senior editor for the Journal of Information Technology, as an associate editor for the Journal of the Association for Information Systems and is on the editorial board of Information Systems Research.
Tom LinternHead of Data Science, Trade Me
Tom Lintern is the Head of Data Science at Trade Me, New Zealand’s most influential ecommerce platform. Being a Data Scientist at heart, he believes strongly in turning data into information and driving data-led commercial outcomes.
Manvi MadanData Engineer, Ports of Auckland
Manvi is an experienced data analytics, AI professional. She is an intellectually curious person and teaches machines to provide insights through data. These insights then help humans make data informed decisions.
Manvi is currently employed as a Data & ML Engineer at Ports of Auckland where she is serving New Zealand's largest import port. POAL is responsible for supporting trade and growth of the country by ensuring the smooth running of the country's economy. Previously, she has worked with reputed organizations like Tower Insurance, National Informatics Centre ( India ) and the University of Auckland. She has demonstrable experience in engineering data science and analytics solutions by using state-of-the-art tools and techniques including Machine Learning.
Manvi is really keen on making an impact on Healthcare Innovation. She has collaborated with Auckland Bioengineering Institute to develop Computer Vision algorithm to get insights into pregnancy complications like IUGR. She also participated in MIT COVID19 DATATHON. Her team won for providing a data driven policy for the reopening of the businesses in the United States.
She graduated from The University of Auckland with Master of Information Technology. Her time at UOA gave her an opportunity to explore Artificial Intelligence, Business and HealthTech. She collaborated with researchers at the University of Auckland to publish her findings in the field of Explainable AI ( XAI ). The team’s contribution was presented in a core rank ‘A’ conference, ICCS in June 2019.
She has a Bachelor of Technology degree, majoring in Computer Science & Engineering from GGSIP University, New Delhi, India. Her core technical background made her contribute to reputed scientific journals and conferences.
Paul MantHead of Data, Personalisation, and Marketing Intelligence - Public Sector (APAC), Salesforce
Paul is a passionate about seeing businesses maximise the potential of their digital assets and ultimately experience growth through personalisation, connection and innovation. With over ten years’ experience across the NZ digital landscape from leading the markets largest Ad Network, launching 1st to market Native solutions and evolving one of NZ's most significant sources of member data from a product-centric proposition to becoming an award-winning Insight lead business unit.
He loves seeing businesses, teams and people exceed their expectations by working through problems that unlock potential that was previously untapped.
Shirley McIntyreGeneral Manager Architecture and Technology Strategy, Bank of New Zealand
I created and led the digital strategy in major organisations in New Zealand, I have worked in executive teams enabling us to harness the power of their strategic goals into real client and staff enabling change.
Most recently I led the team building our digital platform at Jarden, cloud-first, microservices-based, that supports our client-facing and adviser-facing products. This platform is supported by a great cross-functional team aligned to the mission to deliver great client and staff experiences. I have led the delivery of new ways of working, cloud ops/DevOps practices, embedded controls, change and engineering practice improvement.
People are at the centre of any transformation journey, building a strong team committed to the mission is the way to unlock the power to transform, backed by exciting work, and great culture. Forming the team around a purpose they believe in and commit to when the strategy is clear. I have consistently delivered to this goal, and helped organisations achieve their ambitions.
I have specialist knowledge of digital technologies, strategic frameworks, architecture methods and use these skills to work with business executives to shape and lead transformational change enabled through technology. This style allows organisations to meet strategic goals and position themselves for the future, whilst safeguarding operational integrity. I have years of experience in digital leadership roles, not just delivering results but influencing Boards, industry peers, executive teams to maximize their IT capability and achieve better outcomes for customers. I lead from the business first. This is backed-up with genuine depth of technology experience and knowledge across all IT disciplines and especially strong vendor management experience – ensuring sound commercial practice.
Christopher MendeChief Technology Officer, Google New Zealand
Christopher leads a team of technologists in New Zealand focused on solving industry and customer challenges using Cloud capabilities. He’s closely involved with local businesses creating a pathway for their journey to Cloud and AI.
A facilitator in the Google Innovation Labs team, he works to bring concepts to life using a methodology heavily focused on customer empathy. His efforts involve joining the best of Google tech with market shaping concepts to move the needle on an organization's innovation journey.
He is also passionate about the beneficial application of AI in industry and New Zealand. He is a member of Google’s Principles Pioneers, a community of advisers who identify fairness, harms, and bias concerns in line with Google’s AI Principles, and an Executive Council Member for the New Zealand AI Forum.
Maria MingallonAutomation and Computational Design Global Lead & Member of the Executive Council of the AI Forum NZ, Mott MacDonald
Maria Mingallon is a structural engineer with professional engineering licenses in UK, Spain, and Canada (Quebec and Ontario). She also holds a degree in architecture from the prestigious Architectural Association School of Architecture in London from which she obtained her second master degree and graduated with Distinction in 2009. With more than 13 years of experience, Maria is a specialist in parametric design, advanced computation and digital fabrication of complex geometry structures.
From 2010 to 2013, Maria was also Adjunct Professor at the McGill School of Architecture, a position for which she was awarded the 'Gerald Sheff Visiting Professorship in Architecture' for outstanding part-time teaching, in 2011. She has been a research collaborator at the Facility for Architectural Research in Media and Mediation (FARMM) at McGill University from 2010 to 2017. She has previously taught internally at Arup and at the Architectural Association as a visiting tutor in the realm of Algorithmic Design. Maria has also published extensively on parametric design of complex geometry structures.
In May 2015, Maria received the Visionary Prize as part of the 13th edition of the 'Grands Prix de génie-conseil québecois' by the Québec Association of Consulting Engineers.
In May 2018, Maria joined Mott MacDonald as the Advanced Computational Design Lead for the region of Australia and New Zealand where she continues to demonstrate that she does not stop at the first feasible solution but instead, she aspires to explore and innovate at every opportunity.
Maria's role at Mott MacDonald includes leading, training and inspiring people in the realm of computational design to render innovative solutions tailored to our clients needs.
Anna OlsenGlobal Director - Intellectual Property, Treasury Wine Estates
Anna Olsen is the Global Director of Intellectual Property at Treasury Wine Estates – one of the world's largest wine companies, listed on the Australia Securities Exchange. Anna leads the company’s global IP group with team members located across Australia, NZ, China, Singapore and the US. In her role, Anna is responsible for the development and implementation of TWE’s IP policies and procedures, and the protection and enforcement of its IP assets, in over 150 countries worldwide – including the world renowned wine brands Penfolds, Wolf Blass, 19 Crimes, Lindemans, Matua, Seppelt, Wynns, Beringer and Beaulieu Vineyards.
Anna has also been responsible for the development and roll-out of a proactive and comprehensive global brand protection program to monitor and enforce against copycat and counterfeit operators in the online and offline space, and the implementation of TWE’s first in-house IP management framework. Before joining Treasury Wine Estates, Anna worked in the IP corporate and litigation teams of top-tier firms in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia, for a range of leading brands in the fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare and fashion industries. Her formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from the University of Auckland, and she is qualified to practice as a solicitor in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.
Dr Alvaro OrsiData Science Lead, ESR
Dr. Alvaro Orsi is a Data Science Lead who has vast experience leveraging AI and advanced analytics to transform the landscape of insights-driven solutions across scientific and business domains. With a career over a decade-long, Alvaro has made significant strides in various roles, including a Principal Research Scientist at PlantTech Research Institute and currently spearheading the Data Science practice at the Institute for Environmental Science and Research (ESR).
Holding a PhD in Computational Cosmology from Durham University, UK, Alvaro's journey has taken him through postdoctoral appointments in Chile, an Astrophysics researcher position in Spain, and ultimately to the forefront of AI and data analysis in the primary industries sector. His expertise has been instrumental in tackling complex challenges in supply chain logistics, productivity, the environment, public health, and forensics for government agencies and the commercial sector.
At ESR, Alvaro's vision is to revolutionise the organization's products and services by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and data science technology. Leading a dynamic, cross-disciplinary team of data scientists, analysts, and engineers, Alvaro ensures the delivery of cutting-edge services and products to a diverse range of stakeholders. Central to his team's mission is the development of AI-powered solutions that are ethically defensible, transparent, and responsibly deployed, setting the gold standard for the industry.
Scott PylesChief Technology Officer, Fonterra
Scott is an international technology leader with experience managing teams across the USA, Europe, and Australasia. Scott is currently the CTO at Fonterra. Previously, he was the CTO for Fletcher Building creating and executing the Group Technology strategy to stabilise, consolidate and modernise their infrastructure and applications. Scott spent a year as the GM Technology Operations for Fletcher Building and was the Director of Global IT Infrastructure for the Formica Corporation. Originally from the USA, Scott spent several years with Schneider Electric, IBM, and Formica Corporation before relocating to Auckland in 2014.
Scott holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Thomas More University.
Natalie RousePrincipal NZ, Mantel Group
Celeste RyallCustomer Engagement Director , House of Travel
Felicity ScottHead of Information Technology, Damar Industries
Having worked in IT for her entire working life, Felicity has had many roles and titles as she’s spent time dedicated to different specialties.
She will always be passionate about working in IT as it's an industry which is constantly moving and encourages discovering better and more exciting ways to interact with every part of our lives.
Felicity started as a developer and spent her first ten+ years writing code and then moved onto database design & administration. With a bit of business and systems analyst responsibilities along the way, that became her next focus. As a senior systems and business analyst she has enjoyed working on multiple successful projects ranging from data migration, full start to end new system deployments, system integration and cloud bases technology deployments to mention a few.
More recently, Felicity enjoys the challenges and rewards of project management, which allows her to draw from her experience and insights gained from working across all aspects of the SDLC.
She is known as an energetic and passionate person with numerous versatile skills to bring to any IT project. Felicity has a history of meeting delivery targets and working diligently to remove all blockers to ensure project plans are understood and targets met.
Jan SheppardChief Data and Analytics Officer, ESR
Jan Sheppard is an innovator who uses data to build new worlds, to see things not previously visible and to enable organisations to be better versions of themselves. Jan has extensive experience across a range of sectors, using data to see beyond the horizon and drive transformational change. Jan takes a system perspective to ensure she is delivering the right value and invests in developing the people capability needed for today and tomorrow.
Jan’s approach and the outcomes achieved were acknowledged globally in 2020 and again in 2022, when she was named among the top 100 innovators in data and analytics in the world.
Gurbani SinghSenior Platforms Manager – Data, Kiwibank
Gurbani Singh is a Senior Manager Data Platforms at Kiwibank. She’s a Data and Analytics leader with experience spanning ‘strategy to delivery’, and a proven record for creating business value through a product mindset. She has operated in highly matrixed organisations, with a consultative bias towards action and implementation.
Gurbani has demonstrated results in stakeholder management, process interpretation, program and project management, agile delivery, data, analytics, insights and influencing people, along with an ability to handle multiple projects in a deadline-oriented environment.
Ben SmithHead of Information Technology, Juken New Zealand
Ben is a senior executive IT leader with extensive strategic and operational experience, and love to work with organisations to translate their business strategies into successful outcomes, using IT as an enabler.
His experience has spanned IT management of wealth investment systems across New Zealand for OMFinancial; responsibility for all applications for Auckland Airport, the largest airport in New Zealand; financial service delivery management across all divisions of APN, the largest media co. in Australasia; management of the largest IT program of work for Northpower - the largest electricity contractor in NZ; and management of a business improvement dept., delivering transformational technology and process change for Whangarei District Council (WDC).
He believes in continuous personal improvement, keeping abreast of the latest IT trends and technology. Of particular interest are the concepts of ‘Composable Applications’ and ‘Hyperautomation’.
Megan TapsellGeneral Manager | Chair, ANZ Bank | AI Forum
Richard VarcoeBusiness Systems & Intelligent Automation Manager, Auckland Council
Richard Varcoe is a highly motivated and goal-oriented manager and leader with extensive hands-on experience in managing and delivering solutions and services with IT and financial (CA qualified).
He is a senior strategic and operational ICT Leader with a broad background in Financial
Management, Project Management and General Management within large corporate and medium sized business organisations across a wide range of industries.
Richard’s successes in the ICT industry include the delivery and implementation of large international ERP projects, co-founding a highly innovative e-business company and co-founding and serving as a director of a successful financial software company.
Amanda WhiteChief Information Officer, Open Country Dairy
Amanda White is a CIO who is passionate about business transformation. Her philosophy is about linking technology to internal and external strategic capabilities, while forecasting how technology will change competition, and enabling the business so it continues to thrive. Amanda is privileged to receive several industry awards acknowledging her work in this space. Her background covers a wide range of industries including, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Electricity Sector, Apiculture and Agriculture.