The Panelists

Over the three forums, we have had some amazing panelists come and share their experiences and opinions, helping to continue the discussion on gender equality and bias in the workplace.


Vanessa Sorenson (15 Feb 2019)
Enterprise Director at Microsoft

Vanessa has more than two decades’ experience in the New Zealand tech sector. She joined Microsoft New Zealand in 2017 as Enterprise Director, overseeing a large portfolio of business customers and sales teams after a career at Spark spanning 20 years, most recently as General Manager. Also serving as Microsoft’s Diversity and Inclusion team leader, Vanessa leads initiatives to improve gender and cultural diversity in technology and leadership, particularly through education. She is passionate about encouraging more girls to study and embrace STEM subjects and increasing Maori and Pacifica representation in both technology and business, working with schools and education providers to help ensure all students have equal access to technology. She is also a strong driver of change and digital transformation across New Zealand organisations, regularly engaging with business leaders to help them unlock the potential of their organisations through the adoption of digital technologies such as Cloud and Artificial Intelligence. Alongside this Vanessa also spends time working with Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Aotearoa as a Youth Mentor.


Tui Te Hau (15 Feb 2019)
Director Of Public Engagement

With over a decade of experience in business start-ups under her belt, Tui is the woman you want to go to when you have that lightbulb moment. She’s worked with multiple entrepreneurs wanting to kick-start creative businesses, VR developers, major New Zealand fashion houses and export organisations; she was the Chief Executive of Creative HQ; she established the Lightning Lab accelerator programme, and then went on to set up the world’s first culture accelerator Mahuki, Te Papa’s innovation hub.   Mahuki empowers communities to use culture and technology to create sustainable prosperity and entrepreneurs to succeed commercially in – and beyond – the culture and heritage sector.


Rob Campbell (15 Feb 2019)

Rob is the Chair of SkyCity, Summerset Group Holdings Limited, Tourism Holdings Limited and WEL Networks Limited and a director of Precinct Properties New Zealand Limited. Rob has over 30 years’ experience in capital markets and is a director of or advisor to a range of investment fund and private equity groups in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and the United States of America. Rob holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Economic History and Political Science and a Masters of Philosophy in Economics. He is an outspoken advocate of diversity at board and governance levels within New Zealand companies.

Kate Daly (15 Feb 2019)

Kate was appointed Director, People and Communications, at BNZ in November 2017. In this role, Kate is responsible for leading the organisational culture, talent, and capability initiatives that will enable BNZ to transform banking and deliver outstanding commercial performance through the success of our people. Kate has a background in Human Resources and Communications leadership, having held senior roles across these portfolios since 2001. Most recently, Kate was Chief People and Communications Officer with Fletcher Building Ltd. Fletcher Building manufactures and distributes building products globally and is a major construction company employing 22,000 people in 40 countries. Prior to that Kate was General Manager – People & Performance and Communications with Coca-Cola Amatil (NZ) Ltd, Vice President, Human Resources at Deutsche Bank, London and Vice President, Human Resources at Merrill Lynch also in London. Kate has a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and International Finance and a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology, both from the University of Auckland.

Vic Crone (15 Jun 2018)
Chief Executive, Callaghan Innovation

Vic came on board as Chief Executive with Callaghan Innovation in March 2017. She has significant executive and governance experience in technology and innovation. She brings a strong customer focus, and a track record of leading and implementing strategy, and building organisational culture. Vic was previously the Managing Director of Xero, NZ and New Markets, following executive roles at Chorus and Telecom New Zealand. She has been an Independent Director on the Boards of a number of companies and organisations in the technology sector, including RedShield, Figure.NZ, Creative HQ and the Hi-Tech Trust.

Sandhya Pillay (15 Jun 2018)
General Manager, Coca-Cola Oceania

Sandhya joined the Coca-Cola system in 2004 in South Africa and has worked in a variety of roles including Retail Shopper Marketing, Customer Capability and Customer Management.In July 2015 she was appointed as the General Manager for Coca-Cola Oceania and relocated to New Zealand with her husband, three young daughters and two dogs. Sandhya is a graduate from the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Emma Eichbaum (8 & 15 Jun 2018)
Executive Director- Kantar TNS

Emma has been with Kantar TNS New Zealand for over 12 years, beginning her career as a Consultant. Emma is now Executive Director and is responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of the business development strategy for Kantar TNS New Zealand. Over the course of her career, Emma has worked closely with many clients in a range of industries and geographies, consulting for clients in categories including: tourism, aquaculture, retail & commercial banking, insurance, telecommunications, entertainment, education, clothing, energy, media, advertising, and food & beverage. Emma is the Kantar Insights domain lead for Brand Strategy in New Zealand.

Bridget Taylor (8 & 15 Jun 2018)
Executive Creative Director & Co-Founder, Contagion

Bridget is a multi-award winning woman executive creative director, having won and judged awards globally. Cannes gold, D&AD, One Show, Clio Award, ADFEST best in Show and ADFEST Grand LOTUS to name a few. In her years at the helm of Contagion, the company she started has grown to be a top ten agency in the ever-changing market. Bridget Taylor, is of Maori descent and strives to correct the misrepresentation of Maori in the media and advertising realm. She is an advocate of business and the prosperity it can bring to us all. That means giving everyone in our country a fair shot at success. In the global economy a vibrant, diverse local business community is our best defense. Economically and culturally for generations of New Zealanders. And this is what drives Bridget. When Bridget’s not creating marketing, she likes talking about it. She is a regular feature on the hit ABC show The Gruen Transfer, where she demystifies advertising.

Caroline Rawlinson (8 Jun 2018)
Chief Financial Officer – Trade Me

Caroline joined Trade Me in August 2016 and is responsible for managing Trade Me’s governance, strategy, legal and finance functions.
Prior to Trade Me she was the CFO of Formica Asia (a division of Fletcher Building), a role she has held since October 2013. She was previously Fletcher Building’s general manager of strategy and corporate development, and has also worked at Sealord and PwC.

Tui Te Hau (8 Jun 2018)
General Manager – Mahuki Innovation Hub of Te Papa

With over a decade of experience in business start-ups under her belt, Tui is the woman you want to go to when you have that lightbulb moment. She’s worked with multiple entrepreneurs wanting to kick-start creative businesses, VR developers, major New Zealand fashion houses and export organisations; she was the Chief Executive of Creative HQ; she established the Lightning Lab accelerator programme, and then went on to set up the world’s first culture accelerator Mahuki, Te Papa’s innovation hub.   Mahuki empowers communities to use culture and technology to create sustainable prosperity and entrepreneurs to succeed commercially in – and beyond – the culture and heritage sector. 

Tracey Cross(16 Feb 2018 & 8 Jun 2018)
Partner, DLA Piper

Tracey leads the national financial services team for DLA Piper, New Zealand’s only global business law firm. She has more than 20 years’ experience in funds management, regulatory compliance, governance and contracting issues. She is on the management committee of Women in Super and chairs DLA Piper’s Leadership Alliance for Women.

Justine Smyth (16 Feb 2018)

Justine is the Chair of Spark, a Director of Auckland International Airport and Chair of the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ. She is also an active investor and owner of SME’s. Previous roles include being a Board Member of the Financial Markets Authority and Partner of Deloitte.

Theresa Gattun (16 Feb 2018)

Leading New Zealand business personality and author. For 8 years Theresa was the CEO and MD of Telecom New Zealand and in 2012 co-founded the hugely successful start-up, My Food Bag, which has a turnover of around $130m. Theresa is involved with a number of philanthropic interests, including being co-founder of the World Women Charitable Trust, Patron of the Cambodia Charitable Trust and on the RNZSPCA National Board. In 2015 she was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy.

Naomi Ballantyne (ONZM) (16 Feb 2018)

Naomi has over​ 30 years of experience in the New Zealand life insurance industry. She is one of the most well-known and respected executives in the market today and has unprecedented experience in starting companies and then leading them to significant long-term success. Naomi was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to the insurance industry.

Linda Meade (16 Feb 2018)

Linda is Deloitte’s lead partner, public sector for Financial Advisory Services in NZ. Linda is also the lead partner for Deloitte Access Economics in NZ. Recent reports included the “Diversity Dividend” report commissioned by Westpac to the understand the potential economic impact of increasing the proportion of women in management roles from 29% to 50%.