Meet our 2022 speaker line-up

We are so excited to introduce you to the amazing national and international speakers we have lined-up for our 2022 IGNITE Conference. 

Chris Riddell, Futurist. Optimist.
Keynote Speaker: Reinvented Business

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

Chris’s keynote is all about Reinvented Business – How can we continue to grow thrive and innovate? What could incredible business look like amidst the incredibly unusual? Let’s discover and uncover the diversifications, innovations and strategies that some of the world’s most exciting businesses have employed to ensure that they’re riding the wave of reinvention-while not being drowned in the process.

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
Keynote Speaker: The geopolitical landscape

Every day Jonathan wakes up and is fascinated by all the flashing numbers on his screens. He then endeavours to try and understand what it all means. In his keynote, Jonathan will explain why he is more captivated and curious than he has been in 38 years and he will open your eyes to the changes that are taking place in the global economy.

We face the geopolitical reality of a new Axis of Autocracy, with Russia and China at its core. This will shape and define the contours of the global geopolitical landscape for many years to come. Furthermore, we have a stagflationary reality which will shape and define your portfolios and your business in the year ahead.

Jonathan Pain has been in the investment industry for 38 years and has led investment teams in London, Bahrain and Sydney. He is the author of The Weekly Pain Report which is written without fear and without favour. Jonathan has lived in six countries and travelled to sixty.

Kamal Sarma, Expert on human connection
Keynote Speaker: The Connection Advantage

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’s the journey our keynote speaker Kamal Sarma has taken.

Kamal is one the world’s leading experts in Leadership and Connection. His keynote will explore The Connection Advantage – How to create deep connections at personal level, team level and at a purpose level and how to use the connection advantage to create a shortcut to change and build a sustainable competitive advantage.

Kamal 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.

Sir Michael Jones, KNZM and All Black Legend
Keynote Speaker: Leading change

All Black legend and World Rugby Hall of Famer Sir Michael Jones is also well known for achieving many great things off the field. In his keynote, Sir Michael will share his incredible story, unpack what motivates him and how he leads and inspires others to create change.

Sir Michael Jones received a New Zealand Medal for service to the Pacific Island community in 1997 and was knighted in 2017 for his work in driving economic and social development for Pasifika people in New Zealand, and in the work with youth in NZ. He is Chair of the Village Community and Youth Trust, which provides mentoring, leadership and education support for Pasifika youth in Auckland, and the Pacific Advancement Trust, which has recently established the first Pacific Island Secondary School in New Zealand.

Michael has extensive experience in commercial and business sectors and serves on a number of Boards both private sector and at the community level and is Patron for various organisations such as YMCA Auckland.


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, former 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 CEO of Callaghan Innovation, 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:

1. Powerful positioning

How to stand out in a competitive landscape. It’s crowded out there and your ability to be remarkable and memorable is a key competitive advantage. Learn how to position yourself and what you do to get the results you want.

2. How to be more than a trusted adviser

Giving advice is easy, building a business around that relationship is an art. Learn how to generate greater commercial success by developing expertise.

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?

A strategic thinker, Matt is 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

Workshop 1: Meshing Strategy with reality – execute your way to success

How many strategy sessions have you sat through only to rediscover ’the plan’ a year later at the next strategy workshop? In this presentation, Adrian will discuss the importance of Execution Planning and how to mesh your strategy with reality – implementing a system and rhythm that drives performance and brings your vision to life. Topics covered will include:

– The Disciplines of Execution
– Habits critical for successful Execution

Workshop 2: Who is your who?

You can’t grow your business if you don’t recognise that your customers are of paramount importance and that there is far more to them that a statistic can convey. In this workshop, Adrian will share tips on how to get real clarity on who your core customer is – your target for all future growth Topics covered will include:

– Find your CORE customers
– Discover and deliver your uncommon offering

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:  Maximising your brand

Having a strong brand can often be the key difference clients look for when choosing a provider. But what do we mean by ‘strong’ and how can you achieve this? This workshop explores how to build brand value and, more so, how this value be communicated to your current and prospective clients. Prof. Veer draws on the psychology of choice and how alignment of values between your firm and your clients enables a stronger and longer-lasting relationship. You will explore the techniques marketers use to communicate value effectively, especially when using digital tools.

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: The changing demographic landscape of Aotearoa

Like many parts of the world, the demographic landscape of New Zealand continues to change with many structural and compositional shifts projected for the population over the coming years. This workshop takes a close-up look at the embedded inter-generational and ethnic inequities that exist and the challenges they create for planners, policy makers, business owners and service providers. From there, Shefali will discuss the key considerations for our ageing and increasingly diverse population.

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: Performing under pressure

Gilbert 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. He will give insight into the psychology behind individual and team success in world-level sport and how this can be applied to any walk of life.

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.

Gilbert has been with the All Blacks for over 200 tests and during that time the team has won back-to-back Rugby World Cups, one Laureus Award (for the best team in the world), 13 Bledisloe Cups, three Grand Slams, seven Tri Nations and four Rugby Championships.

Gilbert’s reputation has also seen him work with the Black Caps, Silver Ferns, Crusaders and most recently with WRC Champion Haydon Paddon. However, his expertise is not limited to the sports field but was also integral to his 12 years as general manager for New Zealand’s largest real estate firm, Harcourts International.

Laura Holyoake, AIA Vitality Coach
Tools for you workshop: Adviser wellbeing

Recent research from AIA explored how financial advisers in New Zealand are doing in terms of their mental health, wellbeing, stress levels, work-life balance, quality of life, and engagement in their work.

This interactive workshop discusses the key findings and the relationship between client engagement and adviser wellbeing. Laura and Sam will also provide practical steps and tools you can use to build resilience, overcome anxiety and improve overall wellbeing.

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.


Sam Tremethick, AIA Chief Partnership Insurance Officer
Tools for you workshop: Adviser wellbeing

As Chief Partnership Insurance Officer at AIA NZ, one of Sam’s key focuses is to deepen AIA’s relationships with our distribution partners. He is passionate about helping the adviser community achieve success while focusing on their own holistic health journey and helping AIA champion New Zealand to be one of the healthiest, best protected nations in the world.  

Sam has extensive experience in the financial services sector across New Zealand, Hong Kong and Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Business and a Masters of Business Administration, both from RMIT University in Melbourne.


Kevin Biggar, Motivational speaker
Tools for you workshop: Achieving ignition

Ever thought that you can’t do it? Kevin Biggar will have you thinking again! Trans-Atlantic rowing race winner, Antarctic trekker and TV presenter Kevin Biggar specialises in helping people take on their own big challenges.

Kevin’s workshop will give you practical insights and advice to help remove your internal barriers and make a step change in performance. This includes techniques about how to:

 – deal with doubts
– be smarter about failure
– lift performance of your team; and
– be more resilient in the face of setbacks

His insights, supported by his story of an absolute underdog taking on two of the world’s toughest endurance feats, will have you laughing out loud and leave you more enthusiastic and empowered about your own challenges.

Daniel Batten,  Serial entrepreneur and CEO coach “From Ingenuity to Invincibility”

Tools for you workshop: Cultivating winning habits

In his workshop, Daniel will give you practical tools you can take back to your business and use straight away to become more effective:

1. Overcoming procrastination and taking action – Procrastination is not a problem of skillset, it’s a problem of mindset. Daniel will introduce a self-influencing strategy that allows people to enter the mindset of immediate action-taking. This is based on research on what characterises the most highly effective professionals, and the mindsets they have, and how they cultivated this mindset.

2. Time management A simple evidence-based method that Daniel has used with clients to raise productivity by 20%. It’s based on how you batch, prioritise actions and schedule routine tasks such as administration.

3. Managing energy levels through the day – Have you found yourself saying “I’ve got so many meetings and I have to be effective all day. How do I do this?” Daniel will cover practical strategies that anyone can pick up to have more effective meetings, get to the end of the day still feeling energised, and be more present with each person you deal with.”

Daniel Batten is an entrepreneur, coach, ClimateTech VC, Bitcoin ESG analyst, author and former TV actor. He has been recognised as “raising the NZ technology ecosystem at all levels” and is the author of “How to Change the World with One Pitch” (Amazon 5-start rating), founder of and a tech investor with 22 years experience.

He spends his days trying to be a good dad to his three daughters, Bitcoin analysis, teaching breathing techniques, helping to start new schools based on new education models, and coaching a select group of founders and global influencers.

Amy Scott, People Expert
Tools for you workshop: Your best self – bring it!

Forget knowing what to do – it’s about “doing” what we know! With clarity, communication & commitment – strap yourself in for a fun fast paced practical session from one of Australasia’s best speakers. Amy’s workshop will give you the framework you need to get motivated and stay motivated to achieve your goals in any area of your life. You’ll leave with the ability to initiate new and meaningful conversations and improve your relationships, as well as the inspiration to bring out the best version of yourself.

Inspired by many years of experience as a lawyer, Amy realised how miscommunications affected relationships in families and workplaces and thus the mental health of our people. she set out on a mission to learn how to teach effective communication to ensure our people thrived. Today, Amy has assisted thousands of people to overcome their mental blocks, saved relationships, built better work places and ultimately made people happier and healthier. That’s her mission and that is why she continues to teach, support, mentor and inspire.

Kayleigh Woodings, Leadership, Emotional Culture and Strengths Facilitator
Tools for you workshop: Diving deep into your strengths

This interactive workshop will get you thinking about and discussing what you are really good at and how you can leverage those skills.

Too often we focus on:
 – our weaknesses,
 – what’s wrong, and
 – fixing the problem.

BUT… focusing on strengths is much more likely to create lasting change and deliver benefits, both in work and in your personal life. An accredited CliftonStrengths Coach, Kayleigh will help you understand your strengths and enable you to focus on and celebrate what’s right, rather than what’s wrong.

Kayleigh has a diverse background, with almost 20 years of combined experience in Sales, Tourism, Operations, Military, Project Management, Recruitment, Youth Work, and a range of other corporate roles in New Zealand, the UK, Canada, France, and Bulgaria. She has extensive knowledge of complex and high-pressure environments and thrives in building successful objective-driven teams and individuals.

Kayleigh is the Director of Blue Mercury Leadership, an Aotearoa-focused company dedicated to growing strong, empathetic workplaces through listening, learning and action.

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.