Welcome to the Speaker Hub

Bringing balance to property industry events

Diversity is having a seat at the table,
inclusion is having a voice,
and belonging is having that voice be heard.

As part of the Property Council’s diversity and inclusion journey, the D&I Committee have created one central hub where the wider property industry can come to find top industry talent to present at industry events, panels and conferences.

One of the biggest hurdles to getting diversity in an event line up is talent hunting – we know there are hundreds of people out there who would make excellent speakers and we want to encourage them to put their hands up. To do so, we have developed this database of speakers – of all genders, backgrounds and ethnicities – which will be available for the wider industry to use as they wish. This offer is not exclusively for women or minority groups – as diversity comes in all shapes and sizes – this is an invitation to the property industry at large.

It is our hope that this directory provides opportunities for those members who have been under represented in the past, meaning there’s no excuses for a lack of representation on panels and at industry events.

We’re looking for the thinkers, the doers, the idea-generators, the experts. 

We’re looking for you.

Speaker Hub

Speakers are listed in alphabetical order by first name.

Andrew Eagles


Andrew studied economics and public policy. He has 20 years experience in the built environment working for the government, supply chain companies and for not for profits. He has a wealth of knowledge in construction, housing, property, policy and supply chains.

Andrew joined the New Zealand Green Building Council in September 2016 as Chief Executive. The NZGBC is the country’s leading not-for-profit for the sustainable built environment. Andrew is proud to be working with his team to achieve a lower carbon healthier Aotearoa New Zealand.

As well as exemplary research, the NZGBC oversees Homestar and Green Star, the certifications confirming the health and carbon performance of New Zealand homes and buildings. The NZGBC also run NABERSNZ, and assessment of the energy performance of buildings, on behalf of central Government.

Andrew is sometimes asked to speak on panels. Andrew has made a commitment to not speak on all male panels. The NZGBC can assist in connecting you with a diverse range of speakers if that would be of great for your event.

Topics: There is very little knowledge of how to get our buildings to lower carbon levels, both new build and existing buildings. Happy to help provide an informed practical summary of where building code is going and the steps that can be taken on new build and existing buildings to achieve lower carbon healthier outcomes. Buildings are 20% of NZs emissions. The carbon reductions are vital for the residential buildings, commercial buildings and the communities we create.

Location: Auckland

Bryan Froud


Bryan has over a decade of experience in commercial real estate, across both corporate and government occupiers. As a Workplace Strategist, he helps clients re-imagine the future of work, by developing scenarios and strategies to improve the employee experience.

The pandemic has now hastened the realisation that work is not somewhere you go, but something you do. There is a global shift towards a hybrid workforce, and employees expect to retain their flexibility in whatever the next normal may look like. Bryan works closely with leaders and employees to create a workplace vision that meets their needs in an ever-changing world.

Topics: Workplace Design, Workplace Strategy, Change Management, Portfolio Strategy.
Location: Auckland

Annelies Hodge


Annelies is an international sustainability and strategy practitioner who is working to enhance the environmental, social, governance (ESG) practices of the engineering company NDY and its clients in the property sector. She has assisted numerous organisations over the past 20 years in identifying, understanding and addressing their ESG risks and opportunities in Australia, Europe, Canada and the Middle East from the organisational down to the portfolio and asset level. Annelies has significant experience in applying sustainability related certifications, strategic planning, research, management, auditing, communications and communications. She has an MBA in Business Strategy and Sustainability, holds an IEMA International Certificate in Environmental Management and NEBOSH International Certificate in Health and Safety, as well as qualifications in LEED, ISO14001, ISO45001 and ISO9001.

Topics: Applying sustainability certifications relevant to the property industry (e.g. GRESB, GreenStar, WELL, LEED etc.).Setting ESG strategies. Monitoring and reporting on ESG performance whether that be environmental (like carbon emissions), social (such as modern slavery or health, safety and wellbeing) and governance (how to manage or lead ESG/sustainability at a corporate level in a way that enhances the performance of property assets). 

David Jones


David is an Urban Regeneration and Urban Development expert, having worked in that field for over 25 years in New Zealand, the UK and other parts of Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

In recent years he has focussed on the development potential created by infrastructure investment, not least the Transit Oriented Development and Precinct Planning from light rail schemes in New Zealand and aboard. He has also worked on the Economic Development of places. As part of this he has been involved in corporate innovation and entrepreneur business accelerator programmes internationally.

David is an accomplished speaker and workshop facilitator, both online and in person. He has also written thought leadership articles on presented on the future role of cities.

Topics: Urban Regeneration, Urban Development, Transit Oriented Development, Precinct Planning, Economic Development, Innovation, 
City shaping and placemaking, build environment

Location: Wellington

David Norman

Chief Economist, Australia New Zealand | GHD

David is Chief Economist for Australia and New Zealand at GHD, a multi-national, employee-owned infrastructure firm. David was previously Chief Economist at Auckland Council for 4.5 years, as well as holding roles at Westpac, PwC, BRANZ and BERL. Prior to his Economics career, David spent seven years working in Taiwan and China.

David holds a B.Sc in Genetics and Psychology, a B.A. in Economics and Mandarin Chinese, A Post-graduate Diploma in Management, and a Masters in Theological Studies.

Topics: David presents to clients, industry bodies, government agencies and councils dozens of times each year on a wide range of economic and strategic issues.

His particular areas of work include funding and finance tools for central and local government, wider economic benefits, policy, in-depth economic analysis, housing affordability, strategy and change, and resilience economics.

Location: Nationwide

Gender: Male

Denise Martin

Principal Analyst | Oculus Architectural Engineering

With over 10 years of experience in the field, I have built a reputation for delivering innovative, sustainable, and energy-efficient building solutions. I am an accredited Passive House Designer and Certifier and have been an active member of the Passive House community for several years. My extensive experience in hygrothermal simulation, a process that helps to determine the thermal and moisture performance of building envelopes, allows to evaluate building design and make recommendations for improvement to mitigate moisture related damage and decay within buildings.
As a Passive House Expert, I have been involved in numerous Passive House certified projects, including multi-unit residential buildings, Community buildings and residential.
I have presented at at various national and international conferences on all topics building science. At Oculus we also run monthly building science seminars online and in person.

Topics: I can present on complex topics regarding anything building science related, moisture problems, energy efficiency, recent H1 changes, operational emissions of buildings, durability, different building rating tools and their impact on long term occupant satisfaction. 

Location: Queenstown, Auckland, Wellington

Gender: Female

Gerard Earl


I have a strong background in the commercial property industry, having held positions in Asset Management for listed property funds Stride and Kiwi Property as well as successfully leading the Colliers Real Estate Management team in Wellington since 2015.

A passionate property professional with a strong focus on the strategic management of property portfolios, negotiation and property development including a solid understanding of issues of seismic risk, resilience and strengthening.

I am currently the Regional Chair of the Wellington Branch Committee for Property Council of New Zealand and a strong advocate for the property industry and Wellington’s economic development. This involvement with PCNZ has brought a wide ranging and broad understanding of regulatory frameworks, the machinery of government and has led to involvement into a number of working groups and consultations with local and central government.

Topics: Property management, property development, future of our cities and our workplaces.

Location: Wellington

Giyora Barzilay

Real estate sales trainer & speaker

I am a professional speaker and trainer and deliver people focused, relevant and engaging content on sales, communication and resilience for audiences big and small. I am proud to be making a living by inspiring, motivating and challenging people from all different backgrounds.
I was born and raised in Israel. At the end of 1999 I moved to NZ, fell in love with this beautiful country and decided to stay.

In 2005, I joined the real estate industry and sold properties in Central West Auckland. Pure determination, hard work, persistence and focus on my goals resulted in a successful career as a salesperson.
Ready for change in 2015 and wanting to give back and share my knowledge, I secured a training and coaching role with Barfoot & Thompson, the biggest real estate company in Auckland. This role cemented in my head a passion for teaching, training and helping people become better and led to starting my own business specialising in training and keynote speaking.

My extensive background in real estate sales and training and years of public speaking have given me the internal desire to help every person achieve their full potential and to make every event engaging, informative and educational.

Topics: Real estate sales and related topics
Location: Auckland

Michael Hall


Michael is CKL’s transportation Team Lead in Auckland.

He takes a keen interest in a wide variety of property types with experience in assisting developers with their traffic and transportation requirements from small-scale subdivisions to significant commercial centres.

Recently, Michael has been providing advice to both Councils and developers to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of government policy relating to car parking and land development which has been a hot talking point with plenty of debate.

Michael is always keen to present and share his knowledge with the property community to drive positive transportation outcomes with practical solutions.

Topics: Transportation planning, traffic engineering

Location: Auckland

Gender: Male

Ruth Allen

Principal Urban Regeneration | The Property Group

Ruth leads The Property Group Limited (TPG) Urban Regeneration Team and has more than 18 years’ experience in the fields of urban planning, housing, development feasibility, and policy review. She has worked on a wide range of planning projects in both Australia and New Zealand in the public and private sectors.

Ruth has in-depth experience in the planning for housing and urban regeneration at a precinct scale and the preparation and co-ordination of major urban planning studies and structure plans. She has a particular focus on understanding the challenges facing the development sector and community needs and how this can be integrated into our strategic planning – bringing vision to reality.

Prior to joining TPG, Ruth worked in the urban renewal division of the State Planning Department in New South Wales. In this role, Ruth worked on areas identified for residential growth and the preparation of planning polices and infrastructure funding plans to support the land use change and infill development.

Topics: Urban regeneration, housing, transit oriented development, precinct planning, development feasibility, spatial planning and planning for growth, social impact assessment.

Location: Wellington 

Gender: Female

Jane Holland


Jane has over 20 years’ experience in commercial property work, both in New Zealand and the UK and specialises in commercial leasing and development projects. 

Jane is a recognised expert and applies her extensive knowledge to clients on the leasing, sale and purchase of commercial properties including design and build projects and sale and lease back transactions. Jane has co-authored the New Zealand Property Council Retail Lease and authored the current edition of the New Zealand Property Council Office Lease. She has also authored a Green Lease Schedule on behalf of a number of major property owners in the property market, and a suite of seismic, insurance and re-instatement lease clauses. In demand as a speaker on property issues, Jane presents seminars on numerous topics, including green leasing for members of CoreNet Global, the world’s leading professional association for corporate real estate and workplace executives. 

Topics: Commercial property, leasing, green leasing
Location: Auckland

Jason Zhou


 I am an advocate for a better land development process, where I believe it should be an enabling process of collaboration among the land developers, consultants, and territorial authorities. The land development process should also be a flow of art rather than a process of frustration where unfortunately happens most of the time. A successful land development project should create a better cultural identity and a community with better environmental outcomes for our future generations.

Topics: All aspects of property law, including unit titles and leasing, commercial property, Mission Homeground story, Career/family balance, Governance.

Location: Auckland

Joanna Pidgeon


Joanna Pidgeon is a founder of Pidgeon Judd a boutique commercial property law firm. She is the chair of Auckland City Mission which has just constructed Mission HomeGround – a revolutionary building being the tallest CLT building in NZ, of a beautiful design, but also for the services provided within. She is a past president of ADLS, a national lawyer organisation which provides many forms which the property industry relies on such as the agreement for sale and purchase and the ADLS lease.

Joanna chairs the Unit Title Working Group which successfully led to the passing of Unit Titles amendment legislation. Joanna is a property law expert, often providing expert advice and evidence on property transactions, leasing and unit title matters among other areas.

Joanna is a member of the NZLS Land Titles Committee which is working with the upgrading of Landonline and also sits on the ADLS Property Law Committee. She is often sought for comment on property law matters. She has 2 teenage daughters.

Topics: All aspects of property law, including unit titles and leasing, commercial property, Mission Homeground story, Career/family balance, Governance.

Location: Auckland

Juanita Neville-Te Rito

Managing Director and Founder | RX Group

With more than 30 years commercial retail and CX experience and 15 years in global retail trend analysis, fully-fledged Kiwi, Aussie-born Juanita is the founder and Managing Director of RX. Previously known as RetailX, the evolution of the business to RX acknowledges that in today’s hyper-competitive environment, experience is fast becoming the defining differentiator for businesses of every shape and size, regardless of the industry.

RX is the second retail consultancy Juanita has founded and as such, she has worked with the majority of leading retail brands in NZ.

Prior to consulting, Juanita held C-Suite executive management roles for companies including Countdown and Woolworths supermarkets, The Warehouse Group, Noel Leeming and Yum Brands (Pizza Hut, KFC).

Juanita has extensive experience in retail strategy, communication and business transformation and is also a frequent media commentator, international speaker, and opinion leader within NZ. Her popular international retail and CX tours are eagerly anticipated by businesses around the globe wanting to deliver a compelling customer-centric proposition, whatever the industry.

With an unerring energy and enthusiasm, Juanita is passionate about raising the bar by creating experiences that connect with shoppers’ hearts, minds, and wallets, through reimagining businesses and their offers to become more compelling, hyper-competitive, engaging and most importantly, profitable.


  • Retail 2023 and beyond? – Key trends to guide retail reinvention
  • Retail’s new normal – what is happening around the world and what we can learn from others
  • CX – EX – TX – the world of experience
  • The future of shopping precincts and community hubs
  • What make modern retailers tick
  • The hybrid-customer – what does that mean and how do I adapt
  • Transaction Storytelling – emotively connecting with shoppers’ hearts, minds and wallets.
  • Purpose over profit

See the website link above for more detail.

Location: Auckland

Gender: Female

Joseph Hickton

Business Development Manager / Property Manager | Barfoot & Thompson

With a love of interacting with people and connecting them with their desired product or outcome, my sales journey began at a very young age. Since July 2023, when I joined the team at Barfoot & Thompson, I’ve been channelling my passion into the world of real estate, helping my clients’ dreams come true.

One of my favourite ways to connect with clients is over a cup of coffee. Whether discussing investment goals or creating a strategic plan, these conversations typically result in positive outcomes and lead to long-lasting relationships.

Topics: I could speak about property investment from a property manager’s point of view, what are some key things to take into consideration before you list your home for rent on the market? How to find the best tenants, and how to choose the right management company.

Location: Milford

Katherine Wilson


As Property Council’s Head of Advocacy, Katherine is tasked with leading our advocacy campaigns at both a regional and national level.

Level-headed and engaging, Katherine has both a law degree from Otago University and an arts degree (majoring in politics) from Auckland University. With solid experience as a policy analyst and advisor in Wellington and Auckland, she has extensive networks and solid analytical skills.

Katherine is hugely dedicated, highly intelligent and committed to ensuring the voice of our members is heard at all levels of governance. She’s also relentlessly positive and enjoys a good chat.

Topics: Public policy, advocacy, government relations, local and central government reforms, Property Council’s advocacy workstreams.

Location: Auckland

Leonie Freeman


A well-respected industry leader, Leonie has extensive experience in the New Zealand property industry, having held top positions in both the public and private sector. From creating the concept of what is now realestate.co.nz, to buying and transforming her own residential property management business, helping establish the new Auckland Council, and managing asset development for Housing New Zealand, there’s not many areas of property that Leonie has not touched.

In 2011, Leonie was appointed to the board of NZX listed company Goodman Property Trust, and up until her 2018 appointment as Property Council’s Chief Executive, she dedicated her time to leading an independent philanthropic initiative to solve Auckland’s housing crisis.

Leonie holds a Master of Commerce, majoring in valuation and property management and is a life member of the Property Institute of New Zealand, a chartered member of the Institute of Directors, and a member of Global Women. In 2017 she was awarded the Property Institute’s Supreme Property Award, the Property Council Auckland Property People Judges Choice Award, and was a finalist in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards.

Leonie is also an accomplished boxer, with her sparring partners bearing the brunt of her excellent strategic planning skills.

Topics: Property, policy, government relations, career, diversity and inclusion, governance, management, building a business, leadership.

Location: Auckland

Lisa Loong


It’s Lisa here from Meta5 Group. I came across this space and we would love to be considered as a speaker.

Meta5 is an integrated workplace consultancy, that specialises in workplace strategy and change management across Australia and New Zealand. We help organisations develop flexible, future ways of working, tailored to a business.

We bring clarity to organisations looking to make sense of their workplace needs, delivering data-driven insights and practical recommendations to help them define and achieve their vision.

Topics: Workplace Strategy, Change Management, Technology Strategy

Location: Auckland

Matthew Cutler-Wesh

Senior Manager - Residential | NZGBC

Matthew is the Senior Manager – Residential at the NZGBC working with Homestar and HomeFit. Matthew’s mission is to inspire people to make a better place to live.

After completing his Honours Degree in Natural Resources Engineering Matthew now has over 15 years of experience leading residential energy efficiency projects and education programmes in New Zealand and Australia. In 2016 he joined the Board of the Passive House Institute New Zealand.

An experienced presenter, facilitator and podcaster, Matthew has interviewed over 200 architects, builders and industry experts from around the World on the Home Style Green and the Passive House Podcasts.

Prior to training as an engineer, Matthew was an Outward Bound instructor in New Zealand and the US.

Topics: Healthy, energy efficient, low carbon homes; Deep energy retrofits for comfort and health; Sustainable design and building; Environmental rating tools and certifications; Navigating and the building code and the benefits of exceeding minimum requirements; Housing affordability vs the cost of buying a house; Sustainability, equity and resilience in the housing sector; How to build a good home; Ventilation, insulation and heating – the trilogy of home performance; The building science of moisture control and the next leaky building crisis; The role of the building industry in reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions

Location: Auckland

Mark Fraser

GM - Urban Development and Delivery | Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities

Mark Fraser leads the Urban Development and Delivery group at Kāinga Ora, a highly committed team of people who are collectively working to deliver well-functioning neighbourhoods that support inclusive and thriving communities. The group is responsible for urban development projects of all sizes throughout New Zealand, delivering builder-ready land to our builder and developer partners. This work also includes the design and build of urban development infrastructure, as well as coordinating and delivering major public infrastructure projects. The Kāinga Ora urban development programme has no precedent in New Zealand in terms of scale, and provides a once-in-a-century opportunity to improve the supply, quality and affordability of our homes – both state and privately owned – and the liveability of our neighbourhoods.

Topics: Urban development, infrastructure and civil construction, urban design, density, sustainable development, affordability, housing tenure models, public and private sector.
Location: Auckland

Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed

BIM Grad Program Leader | Ara Institute of Canterbury

As an experienced academic and technology enthusiast, I have a strong teaching background in Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Building Performance data science, Digital Twin predictive modelling, Energy Benchmarking, and Baseline Analysis. I specialize in integrating digital twin and smart building technologies, conducting whole building Life Cycle Assessments, Carbon Footprint and Circular Economy Analysis. I am also proficient in HoloLens VR/AR, data visualization, BIM FM, H-BIM visualization, BIM and AI generative design. I take pride in my contributions, in developing of New Zealand’s first BIM Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate Programs. Additionally, I have designed a training program titled “Smart Citizens for Smart Cities” aimed at fostering professional development for future job skills. My skill set extends to research intelligence, data visualization, and a deep understanding of ubiquitous, disruptive, and wearable technologies. My academic journey includes doctoral research in mobile technology acceptance and statistical modelling. I have received recognition for my work, Distinguished Teaching Staff MVP-2023, Best Instructor (Technology), Best Research and the “People’s Choice Award” for Best Postgraduate Research in New Zealand. My passion extends to public speaking, where I am dedicated to raising awareness about critical issues such as global warming, BIM, and climate literacy.

Topics: Building Information Modelling (BIM) Integration in AEC, Building Performance Data Science, Digital Twin predictive modelling, Energy Benchmarking, and Baseline Analysis, Building Life Cycle Assessments, Carbon Footprint and Circular Economy Analysis, Architectural Visualisation VR/AR, BIM Facilities Management, Heritage BIM.
Location: Christchurch

Mike Westbury

GM | One Eighty Recruitment

Mike has been in construction and property recruitment since 2005, over that time working with a range of organisations and roles. He enjoys creating opportunities for people by giving them clarity on what they want, so they can have confidence in their actions.

Mike learnt the art of recruitment at a large global firm and ended up leading a team of construction and property recruiters in Wellington. He then launched the technical division of a well known local recruitment company managing teams in Auckland and Wellington.

In 2013 he decided to start One Eighty Recruitment and 10 years later has a team recruiting roles across property, architecture, construction and engineering. This allows Mike to focus on his passion which is helping hiring managers recruit better – he firmly believes finding the candidate is only half the challenge, securing the candidate is critical and then retaining that person is where the true value lies.

Mike is passionate about recruitment – it’s a privilege to be able to be involved in one of life’s major decision making processes.

Topics: Recruitment process, understanding the role you are recruiting for, understanding the type of person you need, understanding where your candidates hang out, employer brand, writing a great advert, how to read a CV, how to run an effective interview, how to take a reference, how to get your offer accepted, why candidates leave jobs.

Location: Wellington

Gender: Male

Melodi Barzandeh


Melodi is a New Zealand Registered Architect, with over 11 years experience practicing Architecture in New Zealand. She immigrated from her country of birth, Iran, when she was 4 years old, moving to Auckland with her parents to build a future for herself and her family. By attending Unitec to complete her NDAT, BAS and Masters in Architecture (P) at the young age of 16, she grew a strong foundation for a long lasting career in the architecture world. She has extensive experience in New Zealand working and leading both small scale residential and medium scale commercial projects ($34 million) excelling in delivery and site observation/administration. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and an active advocate for woman in the construction industry. Melodi is an eager mentor for the next generation of Architects, to allow knowledge sharing and leadership to take precedent over climbing the corporate ladder.

Topics: Diversity and inclusion, women in construction, leadership and mentoring the next generation of  Architects/Project Leads.
Location: Auckland

Natasha Garvan


Natasha Garvan is an environmental and resource management law specialist. As a partner in Bell Gully’s Projects and Real Estate department, Natasha provides environmental, policy and resource management advice to infrastructure providers, commercial entities, property and land developers, and community interest groups.

Her expertise includes providing strategic advice for large scale projects, assessing policy options to inform proposed legislation and regulation, drafting notices of appeal and legal submissions, appearing before councils and the Courts, and undertaking due diligence for major corporate and property transactions including relating to contaminated sites, quarries, educational institutions, retirement villages, fast food chain, and manufacturing plants.

Topics: Green building/sustainability, resource management law and related topics.
Location: Auckland

Natasha Possenniskie

DIRECTOR | Urban Outcomes Limited

Natasha is a construction industry professional with more than 25 years’ experience in large scale construction projects for both the public and private sectors in New Zealand and abroad.

Natasha’s career has developed in varied roles as a client, consultant, main contractor and subcontractor. She has established herself as a commercially astute director, with extensive strategy development experience and a successful track record of implementation, delivery and growth. Natasha now specialises in providing independent Engineer to the Contract, project recovery and advisory services on infrastructure projects.

Natasha is the sole Director of Urban Outcomes Limited, a construction consultancy focusing on the outcomes of a project from the outset. She also sits on the Board of Site Safe New Zealand and the NZIOB Risk and Audit Committee.

Topics: Construction industry generally – current best practice, projects, issues, etc.,
risk, procurement, supply chain, Engineer to the Contract, PPP’s, NZS3910 contract and use of this in the industry, women in construction

Location: Wellington

Olivia Poulsen

Executive GM Property | KIWIRAIL

Olivia is the Executive General Manager Property at KiwiRail overseeing property development and partnering, leasing, facilities management, resource management, crown land use and iwi engagement.

She has been at KiwiRail since 2017 holding roles in the legal and property teams. Olivia previously worked in property and legal roles in both Australia and New Zealand, including five years at Auckland Airport working across their property, retail and corporate portfolios.

She is also a member of KiwiRail’s diversity committee and executive sponsor of the Mana Wahine network.

Topics: Diversity and inclusion, Infrastructure development, Property development and partnering
KiwiRail projects and different areas of interface with the broader property sector.

Location: Auckland

Pamela Bell

CEO, Director, Innovation Consultant | NZIOB & Project Bellbird

Pamela is best known in the building sector as the founding Chief Executive of the innovative design and construction industry social enterprise and member-based organisation PrefabNZ Incorporated, the peak body for innovative offsite construction.”

She has a Master of Architecture from Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), with her thesis “Kiwi Prefab” not only inspiring the inception of PrefabNZ, but also a book and museum exhibition.

Pamela has also been the recipient of several awards, including the VUW Alumni Award (2019). She is an Adjunct Professor at VUW investigating the relationship between design thinking and business. Most recently, she has become intrigued about the interface between design thinking and governance for the boardroom with a series of articles and upcoming workshop for the Institute of Directors.

Topics: Governance for the built environment; Innovation in the built environment; Women in the built environment; Futureproofing – connecting to green, digital and innovation global trends
Location: Auckland
Ethnicity: NZ European

Paula Bennett


Paula is currently the Director of Strategic Advisory at Bayleys Commercial and provides advice across both the private and public sector working on a full spectrum of commercial property transactions, both in relation to leasing and the acquisition and divestment of commercial property.

Prior to joining Bayleys, Paula had a remarkable parliamentary career spanning 15 years, nine of which were as a senior Government minister across 14 portfolios, including State Services, Social Housing and Associate Finance, as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader. She has a strong interest in bringing the private and public sector together, in order to ensure that each can benefit from their respective strengths, and that diverse property portfolios and requirements can be aligned, while providing the best service and value. Paula’s unique government experience, unparalleled access to decision-makers, and strong relationship and networking abilities, allows her to pull together complex deals in a dynamic changing environment.

As a speaker, Paula can share her experiences in government and her personal perspective of where she sees New Zealand moving forward, sharing her insights on what the private sector can bring.
Paula also shares an inspiring story through her own personal journey of resilience, overcoming adversity, smashing ceilings, and setting goals to achieve big dreams.

Topics: Acquisition and divestment of commercial property, relationship and networking, public and private sectors
Location: Auckland
Ethnicity: Māori

Rebecca MacDonald

Senior Manager, Wellington Airport | Air NZ

Rebecca has career experience in both larger corporates and SMEs within New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In her first role at Air New Zealand – Senior Manager Design and Construction she created a centre of excellence for project management delivery and received Board approval for a capital programme of $500m Capex for five years. Utilising this experience she then moved into Airports, managing 75+ operational staff for the Air NZ operations at Dunedin and Invercargill Airports.

She is also a Board Director for AMBAAC (Auckland University MBA Alumni Club) and a member of the Property Council Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Topics: Diversity and inclusion, green building/sustainability, leadership and team building/managing people
Location: Auckland
Ethnicity: NZ European

Richard Ashton

GM Brosnan Maintenance

22 years and counting working within Facilities Management in the UK and NZ. I am passionate about working with people to solve buildings problems.

Proactivity, systems and processes to head off the major problems that buildings traditionally suffer.

My first job lasted 14 years at Goldman Sachs in London, astute practices deployed by great professionals to save a dollar, make a dollar.

I am now heading up Brosnan Maintenance bringing win/win best practice asset management to the NZ residential sector supporting body corporates & property owners by helping them stay ahead of the unit titles acts requirements whilst lowering total ownership costs of their buildings.

Topics: Why maintain Property Asset Management
I have a new building – what next? What to do with Warranties and Operation & Maintenance manuals? The alternative to hiding in a drawer.

Location: Auckland

Richard Rodden

Partner | Tavendale & Partners

Richard is a commercial property law expert, with particular expertise in Public Works Act 1981 matters – including land acquisitions and compensation claims.

Richard was Senior Corporate Counsel for The Property Group (TPG) from 2018 to 2021. In this role he provided legal advice to a team of 25 property consultants, planners and development managers and assisted the Crown and Council in respect of large-scale infrastructure projects. He has previously advised Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Ministry of Education, New Zealand Railways Corporation, KiwiRail Limited, City Rail Link Limited and Watercare Limited in respect of acquisitions and disposals under the Act.

He has created and implemented many a learning and development programme around the Act and is the go-to for many a public and private entity for advice on the Act.

Richard also advises corporate and private clients, including publicly listed companies, on all aspects of their property portfolios including the acquisition and disposal of commercial property, commercial leasing, subdivisions and due diligence investigations.

Topics: Public Works Act and compulsory acquisition of private land under the Act.

Location: Auckland

Gender: Male

Ruth Allen

Principal Urban Regeneration | The Property Group

Ruth leads The Property Group Limited (TPG) Urban Regeneration Team and has more than 18 years’ experience in the fields of urban planning, housing, development feasibility, and policy review. She has worked on a wide range of planning projects in both Australia and New Zealand in the public and private sectors.

Ruth has in-depth experience in the planning for housing and urban regeneration at a precinct scale and the preparation and co-ordination of major urban planning studies and structure plans. She has a particular focus on understanding the challenges facing the development sector and community needs and how this can be integrated into our strategic planning – bringing vision to reality.

Prior to joining TPG, Ruth worked in the urban renewal division of the State Planning Department in New South Wales. In this role, Ruth worked on areas identified for residential growth and the preparation of planning polices and infrastructure funding plans to support the land use change and infill development.

Topics: Urban regeneration, housing, transit oriented development, precinct planning, development feasibility, spatial planning and planning for growth, social impact assessment.

Location: Wellington 

Gender: Female

Sarah Wrait

Director | Property Manager | Azure Property

A love of property has taken Sarah throughout the industry, from managing over a hundred commercial properties across New Zealand to overseeing and coordinating multi-million dollar projects. She has a reputation for getting things done and is frequently asked to step in and turn around difficult properties, projects and consulting situations.

Other than property, the common denominator throughout her career has been people. On everything from small problems to large projects, Sarah successfully works with and builds relationships with all key people involved. She excels at looking after her clients, landlords, tenants, contractors, and staff – keeping them engaged and informed.

It is this passion for people and property that led Sarah to found Azure Property. An outlet to use her commercial property experience, varied skillset, and networks to help her clients and their tenants succeed.

Topics: Retail property, including management, leasing. Project management and master planning. Entrepreneurship.
Location: Auckland

Scott Compton


I have 20 + years of experience in the experience design sector, specifically workplace, retail and brand. I have worked on notable projects globally for Google, Microsoft, Expedia, WPP and many others specialising in delivering outcomes that are user focussed, deeply linked to local places and peoples with meaningful brand values.

In NZ our most recent work for Mediaworks, Colliers, Precinct Properties and Kiwi Property is striving to respond to the need for work/life balance, especially in the wake of the pandemic.

Topics: The future of work

In the wake of pandemic disruption, why are we going to come back to the office? We have begun some deeper interrogation into this area which touches on every business in its current plight to understand how to enable a productive hybrid workplace. We can discuss the thoughts, insights and measures for potential success in the delivery of relevant workplaces.

Location: Auckland

Tamba Carleton

Director | CBRE

Tamba is a Senior Research Analyst within CBRE’s New Zealand research department specialising in high density residential research with a focus on the Auckland apartment market and build-to-rent (BTR). During her eight year tenure at CBRE, she has created a detailed database and operations framework around apartment market research, provided consultancy advice for public and private sector clients, and developed solid relationships with a broad range of developers, planners, financiers and their advisors.

Topics: Economic forecasts/research, property development, residential property
Location: Auckland

Tamzin Letele

Commercial Manager - Risk & Insurance | Fletcher Construction

Tamzin is a Principal Quantity Surveyor at AECOM, with over 13 years’ experience working in the NZ building industry. Tamzin is a Gen Y/Millennial, Pasifika, Mother-of-3, and a Diversity & Inclusion champion. She feels strongly that D&I makes financial sense, that businesses are missing out on an easy way to improve financial returns & gain a competitive advantage. In a low margin industry such as construction, this can’t be ignored. Tamzin holds a Bachelor of Construction, & is working towards her MBA in Social Impact. She has extensive experience working on major commercial projects in NZ (circa $260mil – $700mil), and residential regeneration and development. 

Topics: Diversity pays: the financial case for diversity and inclusion
Location: Auckland
Ethnicity: Pasifika

Tessa Baker

Partner | Chapman Tripp

Tessa specialises in commercial property law, advising businesses, individual investors and public clients on a range of property transactions.

She is a national expert in New Zealand’s overseas investment regime and is a member of the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) legal reference group. As a market-leading OIO lawyer, Tessa has deep knowledge of relevant Government policy and the procedures for obtaining OIO consent and was recently involved in drafting new OIO regulations as a member of the Government-appointed group that reviewed the OIO regime.

Tessa has acted for some of China’s biggest developers on their New Zealand development projects.

Topics: Overseas investment regime, Property development, Commercial property.
Location: Auckland

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