Meet our 2022 speaker line-up – more to be announced soon!

We are so excited to introduce you to some of the speakers we have lined-up for our 2022 IGNITE Conference. 

Chris Riddell, Futurist. Optimist.
Keynote Speaker

Understanding, planning for, and navigating towards the world of tomorrow is a challenging— and daunting—undertaking. But what if I told you, there’s more cause for optimism and excitement than ever—that the future we’re headed towards will be the most thrilling, most hyper-connected and most globally-transformational time in living memory.

No one on the planet is more equipped to tackle these subjects—and take you on that journey—than Chris Riddell.

Human futurist, forensic optimist and energising catalyst; Chris will make sense of the rapidly changing and increasingly disrupted digital world we live in… and make a case for a future that will be undoubtedly better—and more awesome—than it is today.

As a renowned strategist and senior business advisor, Chris has worked globally with some of the biggest and most influential brands and businesses on the planet, his intuitive and instinctive approach to tracking global patterns and unlocking opportunities has had significant impact on how businesses—and humans— can take purposeful steps towards creating real and lasting positive impact on our shared future.

Jonathan Pain, Global Economics Expert

Jonathan Pain is a Director of JP Consulting NSW Pty Ltd and has 35 years of international investment experience having led investment teams in London, Bahrain and Australia.

Jonathan holds a joint honours degree in Economics and Politics from Keele University and a Masters degree in Finance from Exeter University.

He is the author and publisher of a widely read investment newsletter, The Pain Report and is well known for his contrarian views and is a regular guest on CNBC and Sky Business TV and speaks at conferences and seminars all around the world.

Kamal Sarma, Expert on human connection
Keynote Speaker

How do you go from being a monk, to working for one of the most prestigious consulting companies, McKinsey and company and then become a venture capitalist?

Well that is the journey that our next speaker Kamal Sarma has taken.

Kamal is one the world’s leading experts in Leadership and Connection. He is the CEO of Rezilium which consults to companies such as Google, Facebook, , PWC, Deloite, Bank of New York, Commonwealth Bank just to name a few.

In his spare time he has written 3 books, Mental Resilience: The Power of Clarity – How to develop the focus of a warrior and the peace of a monk which is a best seller The Leadership Leap and the Art of Win-Win Conversations- The art science of human connection which is a culmination of 11 years of research on what does it mean to truly connect to another human being.

Kamal’s is passionate about youth issues and he is the cofounder of the Institute for Mental Resilience, which focuses on the prevention of youth suicide in Australia. Kamal is currently Chair of RUOK Day’s think tank an organisation that it dedicated to reducing youth suicide.

Craig Hudson, Managing Director Xero Aotearoa
Keynote Speaker

Craig Hudson is Managing Director for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands at Xero. A champion for wellbeing in business and a key member of the senior executive team responsible for driving relationships with government, financial institutions, enterprise and promoting the small business economy.

His work at Xero which has emphasised the importance of looking after employees’ mental health includes championing the introduction of wellbeing leave, flexible working practices, and the development of an inclusive and diverse workplace.
Craig has been hugely influential in putting the spotlight on the stresses small businesses face, including setting up a programme offering mental health support to 5000 small business owners, their employees and families via access to anonymous counselling through its Employment Assistant Programme.

Samantha Barrass, Chief Executive FMA
Lightning Speaker

Samantha has extensive international regulatory experience, most recently as Chief Executive of UK’s Business Banking Resolution Service, a dispute resolution scheme for banks and business customers. Prior to that she was Chief Executive of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, which oversees the prudential and conduct regulation of Gibraltar’s financial services sector.

She has held a number of other senior roles at finance regulators and industry associations, including the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the London Investment Banking Association.

Samantha grew up in Christchurch, and studied Economics at the University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington, before beginning her career as an economist at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Victoria Devine, Multi award-winning financial adviser and founder and host of ‘She’s on the Money’ podcast
Lightning Speaker (virtual)

Victoria Devine is a multi-award-winning financial adviser and best-selling author, helping thousands of people change their relationship with money. She is a young, influential, and driven entrepreneur who pushes the boundaries in not just the finance industry but in a number of charities and non-profit organisations.

Honest, relatable, non-judgemental, and motivating, Victoria is a financial adviser who knows what millennial life is really like and where we can get stuck with money stuff.

Founder and host of She’s on the Money, a chart-topping personal finance podcast for millennial women, Victoria is passionate about empowering women to make smart money decisions. After one season in production, She’s on the Money has quickly become a progressive online community of more than 200,000 women, a podcast with more than 5 million downloads and a financial education platform empowering women with the tools and confidence they need to change their financial situations.

Vic Crone, CEO Callaghan Innovation
Lightning Speaker

Vic 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.

Vic is Chair of the Stats NZ Advisory Board and Figure.NZ Board. She has also been an Independent Director on the Boards of a number of companies and organisations in the technology sector, including RedShield, Creative HQ and the Hi-Tech Trust.

Sir Ian Taylor, one of New Zealand’s foremost technology innovators
Lightning Speaker

From growing up in a house without electricity in the 1950s, to leading an award-winning, globally recognised company at the cutting edge of technology and innovation, Sir Ian Taylor has not lived an ordinary life. Ian founded Animation Research Ltd (ARL) in 1990 on nothing more than a handshake with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago. Today, working from their base in Dunedin, ARL covers sports events all over the world. This is just one of many of Ian’s successful ventures.

An inspirational innovator who has put Dunedin on the map – Ian has never stopped believing that Kiwis can take on the world. Taylor was inducted into the New Zealand Technology Hall of Fame in 2009. In the 2012, Sir Ian Taylor was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to television and business. In 2019, Taylor was named Innovator of the Year at the annual New Zealander of the Year Awards.

Matt Church, Founder of Thought Leaders and The Leadership Landscape
Tools for your Business workshop

We welcome back for a third time the very popular Matt Church. Matt is committed to helping people prepare for tomorrow by taking action today. His philosophy can be summed up in one word: NEXT! What is the best next thing you can do to future proof your business or career? He is a strategic thinker obsessed with the idea of leverage. While many are painting a scary view of the future he sees one full of potential. Whether it’s what he writes, his direct advice to thought leaders, or his conference presentations delivered to audiences around the world, he communicates with deep focus, commercial clarity and a razor sharp wit on three things: removing fear and replacing it with confidence, removing confusion and replacing with certainty and mobilising people in pursuit of a better future. 

Adrian Pickstock, Director Quad Coaching
Tools for your Business workshop

Adrian is a strategy and planning adviser and coach to entrepreneurs, CEOs and senior management teams in New Zealand.

An internationally Certified Gazelles coach and  Outthinkers strategist he helps companies establish and implement strategies and execution plans to achieve their growth objectives. He has access to best-in-class resources including Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Scaling Up, Outthink the Competition and Pat Lencioni’s Table Group amongst others. Adrian will get you thinking beyond your comfort zone, and to do this in a manner that results in you embracing, celebrating and being motivated to achieve your objectives and goals.

Ekant Veer, Professor of Marketing, University of Canterbury
Tools for your Business workshop

Ekant Veer is a Professor of Marketing and the Director of the Christchurch Knowledge Commons at the University of Canterbury. He is a multi-award winning teacher and researcher having been named in the Top 40 under 40 Business School Professors worldwide; an Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award winner; UC’s Teaching Medal awardee in 2017 and five times winner of the UCSA’s lecturer of the year award. His work looks at the role that marketing can play in both driving social change and community wellbeing as well as what impact digital technology plays in consumer interactions and their sense of identity. 


Shefali Pawar, Senior Research Officer, Te Ngira: Institute for Population Research 
Tools for your business workshop

Shefali Pawar is a Senior Researcher at Te Ngira (Institute of Population Research), University of Waikato. A qualified engineer, she also completed a postgraduate diploma in Statistics followed by a Masters in Demography at the University of Waikato. Shefali ‘s area of interest and expertise is around working with large and complex datasets where she can use her skills to convert data and information into knowledge which can be utilised in informed decision making. An ongoing part of her work involves providing detailed demographic population profiles to iwi, councils and other organisations. She is particularly interested in the area of population health and has more than ten years’ experience in analysing and researching primary and secondary sector health data.

Gilbert Enoka, All Blacks Manager and Mental Skills Coach
Tools for You workshop

Gilbert Enoka has a long history of success as a mental skills coach with New Zealand’s corporate and sporting elite. He is internationally renowned for his 20-year history with the All Blacks, first as their mental skills coach and now as manager.

He encourages individuals to take ownership of their own direction and to improve their ability to control the many variables that inhibit optimal performance. His workshop will help you understand the skills required to perform under pressure and how to best deliver these tools when in the face of competition.


Laura Holyoake, AIA Vitality Coach
Tools for You workshop

Laura is passionate about health, wellness, and proactive financial planning to ensure a future that is ‘Plan A’ – and not ‘Plan B’. In her role as AIA Vitality coach for New Zealand she is committed to empowering Kiwis to make small, healthy changes to live life to the fullest, with a focus on the four core AIA Vitality pillars: Eat Well, Move Well, Think Well and Plan Well.

Laura offers a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, with a strong background in insurance from previous roles, together with a lifetime of involvement in NZ health and sport. From running, cycling, competing in Ironman, and exploring beautiful New Zealand trails and beaches, Laura is heavily invested in living her ‘healthy’ each and every day.


Michael Kitces

Michael Kitces (USA, virtual)

Michael E. Kitces is the Chief Financial Planning Nerd for, publisher of the leading financial advisor blog Nerd’s Eye View, and enthusiastic host of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, all dedicated to making real financial advisors better and more successful. Michael has 20 years of experience as a financial advisor, having worked across multiple industry channels, and has spoken at over 700 events for financial advisers, from keynoting the largest of national industry conferences to leading workshops at elite events to presenting his research at a wide range of industry association events. Michael is also the co-founder of XY Planning Network and fpPathfinder, New Planner Recruiting, the AdvisorTech firm AdvicePay, and the Head of Planning Strategy at Buckingham Wealth.

Described by the media as a “financial planning trailblazer,” “RIA Guru,” and an “Innovator” in the industry, Michael has brought his passion for financial advice to the podium for more than 15 years. While Michael’s affinity for cobalt blue (or “Kitces blue”) dress shirts is renowned, it’s his high-impact keynote presentations built from a career of living and breathing the business of financial advice that leave a lasting impression.

Christopher Luxon, Leader of the Opposition
Opening Speaker

Christopher Luxon is the Leader of the Opposition and the MP for Botany. He entered Parliament at the 2020 election and was elected Leader of the National Party in November 2021.

Prior to entering Parliament, Christopher was Chief Executive Officer of Air New Zealand from 2013 to 2019. Under his leadership the airline delivered record profits and all time high customer satisfaction scores, and achieved its highest levels of staff engagement.

In addition Air New Zealand won numerous accolades, including several celebrating it as the best airline in the world and others recognising its commitment to key areas such as sustainability, innovation, corporate reputation, employee engagement and customer experience. During Christopher’s tenure, the company held the No. 1 Corporate Reputation & Trust Company in New Zealand 2015–2019 and No. 1 Corporate Reputation & Trust Company in Australia 2017–2019.

Prior to joining Air New Zealand, Christopher was President and Chief Executive Officer at Unilever Canada. This was one of several senior leadership roles he held during an 18 year career at the multinational that saw him work in roles in Europe, North America and Asia–Pacific. Christopher has a Master of Commerce in Business Administration from the University of Canterbury.

Christopher served as the inaugural Chair of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Business Advisory Council and has received wide recognition for his leadership including a Blake Leader Award, Deloitte CEO of the Year, Orient Aviation Person of the Year, and Deloitte Company of the Year.

Rawdon Christie

Rawdon is an award-winning broadcaster with a TV journalism career that spans 20 years.

His career started with the BBC but he’s best known for presenting Television New Zealand’s Breakfast Show, where he interviewed hundreds of guests, from senior politicians and business leaders to Oscar winners and Olympic champions. 

Rawdon has also presented political show agenda and the NZ version of Dragon’s Den, but his career highlight was anchoring the TVNZ’s coverage of both Christchurch earthquakes.

Kevin Biggar
Tools for you workshop

Ever thought that you can’t do it? Kevin Biggar will have you thinking again!

Kevin was a couch potato when he decided to take part in the 5,000km trans-Atlantic rowing race.

He then went on to achieve a much tougher challenge – the first ever kiwi to complete an unsupported trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.

Kevin has also co-hosted of the TVNZ series ‘First Crossings’ and

‘Intrepid NZ’ recreating the adventures of pioneering NZ explorers. A little like Bear Grylls but wearing a waistcoat!

Now a full-time speaker, Kevin talks about techniques to take on, and persevere through, big, audacious challenges. You’ll be riveted by his rollicking, outrageous story and leave with a fresh perspective on your own challenges.