Rob Waddell

Keynote Speaker, Annual General Meeting

Rob Waddell is known as New Zealand’s only Gold Medallist at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and as a key part of the Emirates Team New Zealand Sailing Crew in San Francisco in 2013. He has a long list of achievements in these sports and also off the water.

In 1995 he burst onto the New Zealand rowing scene as the youngest person ever to win the single sculls title at the New Zealand Championships – he did this as a novice sculler. The following two years, Rob won the World championships in Germany and Canada breaking records on the water. His rowing career was topped off by Olympic Gold at Sydney 2000.

It’s these stellar performances and his personal attributes that led to his selection as the Chef de Mission of the New Zealand Olympic team where he led them into the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, followed by the Olympics in Rio in 2016.

As Chef de Mission, Rob leads the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams. This leadership role sees Rob responsible for setting standards of excellence, overseeing the planning and preparation of the games management teams and ensuring the athletes and their NSOs have what they need to achieve within the complex Olympic and Commonwealth Games environments.

Rob attributes his motivation and work ethic, as much to his country upbringing in Piopio where his playground included the steep hills of the family sheep and cattle farm, his selection for the local Roller Mills Rugby team and later a homemade gym in his father’s woolshed.

Rob is a multi-talented New Zealander, sportsman, family-man and entrepreneur. Rob is an excellent role model who has clearly demonstrated the benefits of applying his management and planning skills and what can be achieved through preparation, training and determination

Jamie Fitzgerald

Keynote Speaker, Friday Business Session 

Jamie Fitzgerald is one of New Zealand’s most sought-after keynote speakers and management consultants due to his ability to translate his inspiring and insightful stories and experiences into practical business messages for teams and organisations.

Jamie has walked unaided to the South Pole, holds the world record for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, is a double New Zealand representative, fronts television documentaries (First Crossings & Intrepid NZ) that have aired around the world, and is CEO of consultancy business, Inspiring Performance.

As a modern-day adventurer and expert in strategy, leadership and change management, Jamie has helped thousands of people and hundreds of companies around the world achieve more.

One of his favourite campaigns was to lead the training and culture of 6000 volunteers for the Rugby World Cup held in New Zealand – creating a culture among them to deliver a ‘uniquely New Zealand experience’.

When he isn’t onstage, Jamie works with businesses and government agencies to grow bigger, better, faster from having clarity and alignment on the:

•             Value they create (purpose and objectives);
•             Where to play & how to win (business model);
•             What to focus on (top challenges); and,
•             How they maintain momentum (operating model and metrics).

Jamie’s professional career has included roles in marketing, financial, agricultural and education sectors. Whether using examples from growing his first business in the primary sector, or his various roles in financial services and strategy implementation, Jamie’s rich supply of theory and real-life examples proves his ability to translate theory into action is very hard to beat.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have benefited from his inspirational, insightful and compelling stories and practical tools. Jamie’s knack at turning key messages into meaningful dialogue between audience members is a tribute to his skills at ‘shaping conversations’.

Ben Hurley

Master of Ceremonies and Entertainment, Gala Dinner

Star of hit TV3 Show 7 Days, Ben Hurley is one of the success stories of New Zealand stand-up comedy.

Winner of the two biggest comedy awards in New Zealand, the 2004 Oddfellows Billy T award and the 2008 Fred Dagg award, Hurley is a headline act in New Zealand but also on the highly competitive UK circuit. In 2008 he supported Irish superstar Ed Byrne on a 70-date sell out tour of the UK and Ireland.

With a massive but hugely likeable stage presence, Hurley can win over even the toughest room. A sharp improvisational mind and well-honed original material make Hurley a popular act with audiences and critics alike.

One of the few Kiwi acts to be invited to perform on the prestigious Comedy Store TV show shown on the Paramount Comedy channel. Also, one of the stars of the UK Festival Circuit playing to thousands in the comedy tents at Reading and Leeds Festival, Bestival and Latitude. In 2008 Hurley starred alongside British comic, Andy Parsons, in a new BBC Radio 4 sitcom The Lost Blog of Scrooby Trevithick.

One of New Zealand’s best-travelled comedians, Ben has wowed audiences in 10 countries including Switzerland, Dubai, Spain, Australia, Singapore and Bahrain.