Women of Influence 2015: The finalists video

Minister for Women, Louise Upston at the launch of Women of Influence 2015 at Westpac Bank in Wellington.

Minister for Women, Louise Upston at the launch of Women of Influence 2015 at Westpac Bank in Wellington.

The finalists for the Women of Influence awards for 2015 have been announced. 

Presented by Fairfax Media and Westpac, the New Zealand Women of Influence programme recognises and celebrates women from all walks of life who make a difference to everyday Kiwis.

The Women of Influence programme is committed to increasing the visibility of women's leadership in New Zealand, highlighting the important contribution women take in creating a bold and diverse future for New Zealand. 


Some of the Women of Influence alumni discuss what the accolade means to them.

We are dedicated to uncovering women who have committed time and energy to help and encourage other women in their industry, and who are fighting for change every day - be it in their workplace, their community or among their peers.

The winners will be announced at a Gala Dinner at SKYCity in Auckland on November 4. 

Arts and Culture


Some of our 'Women of Influence' reveal their biggest inspirations.

Victoria Carter, Chair of Auckland Festival Trust 
Jen Crawford, Chair of Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust
Parris Goebel, Owner of The Palace Dance Studio
Pip Hall, President of  New Zealand Writers Guild 
Hinewirangi Kohu-Morgan, Director of  Te Whanau o te Rau Aroha 
Naomi McCleary, Chair of McCahon House Trust
Sonja McGir-Garrett, Choreographer/Dance Teacher at Fraser High School
Sue Paterson, Executive Director of New Zealand Festival 
Jeanette Richardson, Director of Great War Exhibition 
Claire Robinson,  Pro Vice-Chancellor College of Creative Arts, Massey University 
Victoria Spackman, Ex-Board Chair of  BATS Theatre 

Board and Management

Helen Anderson, Chair of  Fulbright NZ  
Christine Coppell,  New Zealand Development Manager, Shell
Jo Coughlan, Director, Silvereye
Karen Fifield, Chief Executive of  Wellington Zoo 
Pip Greenwood, Partner at  Russell McVeagh 
Lynda Hagen, Executive Director,  NZ Law Foundation 
Barbara Kendall, Member from NZ, International Olympic
Helen Robinson, Director,  Penguin Consulting Ltd
Penny Simmonds, Chief Executive,  Southern Institute of Technology
Sue Suckling, Director and Chair, HSR Governance Independent 
Karyn Thompson, Chief HR Officer (Army)and Chair of NZDF Women's Development Steering Group, New Zealand Defence
Joan Withers, Chair Mighty River Power/TVNZ/ Director ANZ 


A selection of our Women of Influence alumni share their thoughts on the biggest obstacles to women in the workplace.

Business Enterprise

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Anya Anderson, CEO, RedSeed
Sharon Cooke, Head of Training, Airways corporation of NZ
Serena Fiso, Director of Connect Global Limited 
Linda Jenkinson, Chairman and Owner,  LesConcierges
Ranjna Patel, Executive Director, Nirvana Health Group
Jo Pennycuick, Managing Director,  Redesign Group 
Sarah Reo, Cultureflow
Merryn Straker,  Chief Operations Officer, Straker Translations 
Alison Van Wyk Green Cross Health Executive - Professional Services
Josephine Wallis, Chief Executive and Founder, Geneva Healthcare

Community & Not for Profit


Some of our Women of Influence alumni reveal what advice they would give their teenage selves.

Amy Burke, Founder, Help for the Homeless
Jo Coughlan, Director, Silvereye Communications Ltd
Monique Faleafa, Chief Executive, LeVa
Lou James, Founder and Trustee, Pinc and Steel
Madeline King, Business Growth Manager, Touchtech
Hinewirangi Kohu-Morgan, Director, Te Whanau o te Rau Aroha
Heather Laanbroek, Founding Director, BARK NZ
Janice Lee, Founder & CEO, KOHA KAI
Vanassa McGoldrick, Solicitor, Henderson Reeves Connell Rishworth
Parekawhia McLean, Chief Executive, Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Lands Trust
Ranjna Patel,  Executive Director, Nirvana Health Group
Karen Poole, Business Manager,  Villa Education Trust
Kate Russell, CEO, Canterbury Medical
Stacey Shortall, Partner, Minter Ellison Rudd
Terry Shubkin, Chief Executive Officer, Young Enterprise Trust
Rosie Smith, Chairperson, Perinatal Mental Health NZ Trust Board (PMHNZ)
Teresa TePania-Ashton, CEO, Maori Women's Development Inc
Jenny (Ling Juan) Wang, Executive Director, Chinese New Settlers Trust  
Pushpa Wood, Director, Westpac-Massey Fin-Ed Centre, Massey University
Bronwyn Yates,  Tumuaki,  Literacy Aotearoa 


Mai Chen, Chairperson, NZ Asian Leaders and Superdiversity Centre of Law, Policy and Business
Sonja Cooper, Solicitor, Cooper Legal
Kimberly de Vries, Project Engineer,  McConnell Dowell  
Rebecca Jackson, Senior Environmental Engineer, Tonkin & Taylor
Mahsa Mohaghegh, Outreach Development Manager, Unitec Institute of Technology
Papaarangi Reid, Tumuaki, Head of Department TeKupengaHauora, University of Auckland
Karyn Thompson, Chief HR Officer (Army) and Chair of NZDF Women's Development Group, New Zealand Defence
Erika Todi, Sales Support, Carotrans 


Molly Bedingfield, Founder of Global Angels charity
Claire Dugan, CFO,  Skateistan  
Judith Forbes, Anaesthetist
Dianne Glenn, Past President, Business & Professional Women NZ
Gill Greer, Chief Executive, Volunteer Service Abroad
Bronwen Horton, Founder/Senior project manager, NZBWN / Bank Of America
Judith Mayhew Jones, Company Director/Trustee
Dale Murray, Angel Investor / Business Advisor
Laly Samuel, Team Leader, Callaghan Innovation
Joanne Scott, Senior Accounting Standards Project Manager, External Reporting Board Force (XRB NZ) 


Regine Deleu, All-of-Government Enterprise Architect,  Department of Internal Affairs
Chris Duggan, Director, House of Science
Jennifer Hay,  Professor, University of Canterbury
Sangeeta Karmokar, Researcher and Senior Lecturer,  AUT
Robin Peace, Associate Professor, Massey University
Julia Rucklidge, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Canterbury  
Michelle Shirtcliffe,  Co Founder/Managing Partner, Studio Publica Ltd
Frances Valintine, Chair & Founder, The Mind Lab by Unitec

Public Policy

Cath Atkins, Deputy Secretary, Growth & Public Services, The Treasury
Keriana Brooking, Chief Advisor, System Integration, Ministry of Health  
Ann Brower,  Senior Lecturer, Lincoln University
Jo Cribb, Chief Executive,  Ministry for Women  
Alison Dewes, Veterinarian, Tipuwhenua
Brandi Hudson, Chief Executive, Independent Maori Statutory Board  
Diane Maxwell, Retirement Commissioner,  Commission for Financial Capability
Robyn Munford, Professor of Social Work Phd,  Massey University
Maria Robertson,  Deputy Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs
Vicky Robertson, Secretary for the Environment, Ministry for the Environment  


Olivia Egerton, Movement Manager, TeHono
Keri Johnston, Director and Natural Resources Engineer,  Irricon
Julia Jones, Farming specialist,  KPMG  
Katie Milne, National Board Member, Federated Farmers of NZ
Bronwyn Muir, Director, OnFarmSafety New Zealand
Helen Slattery, Director, Slattery Contracting Ltd
Sophie Stanley, Head of Rural, Figured
Michelle Thompson, Chief Executive, Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa NZ

Young Leader

Shayma Arif, Law and Political Science Student, Waikato University
Stephanie Benseman, National Alumni Manager/Company Founder, Young Enterprise Trust/Filtr
Kendall Flutey, CEO, Banqer
Parris Goebel, Owner, The Palace Dance Studio
Bonnie Howland, Founder, Indigo & Iris  
Ezel Kokcu, Co-founder and director,  STQRY
Henrietta McNeill, Policy Advisor,  Samoa Association of Manufacturers and  Exporters
Sian Simpson, Community Manager, Kiwi Landing Pad

Women of Influence Forum – limited tickets available

Don't miss your opportunity to be inspired and meet like-minded people at the Women of Influence Forum on Wednesday, November 4. Raelene Castle, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs CEO, and Dr Sven Hansen, Founder of the Resilience Institute, will share their insights and concepts around resilience to help unlock your personal and professional potential. Find out more and register at womenofinfluence.co.nz/forum


About the awards
Women of Influence alumni: Kerry Prendergast
Women of Influence alumni: Lesley Elliott
Women of Influence alumni: Therese Walsh
Women of Influence alumni: Marilyn Waring
Women of Influence alumni: Shona McCullagh
Women of Influence alumni: Margaret Brimble
Women of Influence alumni: Dame Wendy Pye

 - Stuff.co.nz

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