Keynote Speakers

Roger Dennis: Serendipity Architect and Thought Leader

Roger Dennis.fw

Navigating an Uncertain Future

The world is rapidly changing, with some historians saying that we’re going through a period of ‘accelerated history’.  A faster changing world means that organisations must be flexible and responsive in order to adapt, and independent schools are well positioned in this regard.  

In the presentation Roger Dennis will highlight the important macro-scale changes to watch, what this means for the future and the implications for work.  It’s highly likely that after Roger talks you’ll be scared and excited in equal measure about the world today’s children are going to inherit.

About Roger Dennis

Roger Dennis works in the continuum between foresight, strategy and innovation.  In 2006 he co-led the Shell Technology Futures programme for the GameChanger team in The Hague, was part of the core team for Future Agenda - the world’s largest foresight programme - and has worked across a range of industries. His thinking has been referenced in numerous publications including the Financial Times and Scientific American.  Roger is a frequent speaker at events around the world, and presented on cities and climate change at the 2015 Nobel Laureate Symposium in Hong Kong. 

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Child and Adolescent Psychologist

Is there a Role for Technology in the Wellbeing of New Zealand School Students?

The internet is entering its third reincarnation. The technology is getting speedier and cleverer and the 5G network means that our young people will, whether we like it or not, be continuously connected.

But there are two sides to every story. On the one hand it is a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about apps, websites and biometric devices that enhance young people’s wellbeing, the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube, along with the online metropolis of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat which connects and enhances the lives of billions.

On the other hand, it has introduced into our lexicon words like cyber-bullying, problematic internet use, online blackmail and sextortion scams, image based abuse, online grooming and a cavalcade of horrendous psychological sequelae of social media including depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation.

So what is the role of technology in schools as far as wellbeing is concerned? This presentation looks at some of the most useful apps and websites currently in use and explains their advantages over conventional tools.

About Dr Michael Carr-Gregg

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is one of Australia's highest profile psychologists, author of 14 books, broadcaster and a specialist in parenting, children, adolescents and the use of technology for mental health.

Michael works in private practice at Corporate and Personal Consulting in Melbourne. He is the Commonwealth Government representative on the Board of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. He is an accredited trainer for Mental Health First Aid Australia. Community Ambassador for Smiling MindBig Brother Big Sister; and a columnist for a number of publications. Michael is the resident parenting expert on Channel 7's Sunrise and psychologist for Channel 9's Today Extra as well as the top rating Morning Show with Neil Mitchell on Fairfax Radio 3AW

In 2015, Michael developed the Certificate of Young People's Mental Health and Wellbeing with a team of experts.   Delivered as a partnership between the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre and Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, the world-first certificate focuses on how technology can be harnessed to provide best practice mental health and wellbeing care in the youth sector. His new book, co-written with foodie Flip Shelton, is called Smart Snacks.


Dr Sven Hansen, Founder, The Resilience Institute

Opportunity, Risk, Talent and Skill: Preparing the Next Generation for the High Road

The future always brings opportunity and risk. Technology and skills are being democratized. While technical skills are critical, the evidence suggests that personal and interpersonal skills will define who walks the high road. Yet, these skills are in decline amongst the young.

Obesity, diabetes, ADHD, autism, anxiety, anger and depression are increasing. Sleep, fitness, self-awareness, humility, empathy and focus are declining. Thought leaders such as Noah Yuval Harari argue that it is these emotional and mental skills that will enable the future.  Now that the tech skills are on everyone’s phone, might we consider prioritising personal and interpersonal skill development at school?

  1. The surprising improvements in nearly everything about life
  2. Teasing out the opportunities as against the real risks
  3. Defining the role of genes, talent, skill and deliberate practice
  4. Defining skills that really matter – insight, mastery, empathy and agility
  5. What would be the best way to develop expertise in these areas

About Dr Sven Hansen

Dr Sven Hansen, (MBChB, MBA) has pioneered preventative medicine, stress mastery, and the performance mindset.  He has worked with many global, sports and educational organizations to build Resilience.  Sven challenges you to transform by integrating physical, emotional, cognitive and moral resilience into life, leadership and business.

With a background in Special Forces and Sports Medicine, Sven has run resilience courses in business since 1988.  As Founder of the Resilience Institute, he leads teams in Australasia, Asia, Europe and the US, helping businesses craft resilience into their people and teams. He is a regular conference speaker on resilience, human factors, leadership and health.



Mark McCrindle: Founder, McCrindle; Social Researcher and Thought Leader

The Top Trends Transforming New Zealand Students, Institutions and Society

This session will give an overview of the technological, global, financial, generational, and social shifts in the education sector today.

Population trends both nationally and regionally are redefining New Zealand. Demographic and social trends, such as emerging cultural diversity, the implications of an ageing population, household transformations, and increased mobility are creating significant changes.

Generational shifts and leadership transitions are emerging through educational forecasts, changing life-stages, new expectations and emergent careers. In addition, workforce trends such as teleworking, tenure shifts, multi-career expectations, and emerging attraction, retention, and engagement factors are all affecting and informing the changing face of education in the 21st century.

About Mark McCrindle

Mark McCrindle is a social researcher with an international following. He is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. As an award-winning social researcher and an engaging public speaker, Mark has appeared across many television networks and other media.

He is a best-selling author, an influential thought leader, TEDx speaker and Principal of McCrindle Research. His advisory, communications and research company, McCrindle, counts among its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and leading international brands.

Mark’s highly valued research and reports, presented through infographics, data visualisations, videos, media input, resources, and blogs, have developed his regard as an expert demographer, futurist and social commentator.

Mark brings a fresh approach to his research based boardroom briefings, executive workshops, strategy sessions and keynotes. Armed with the latest findings and presented in a customised and innovative way, Mark is an in-demand communicator.

Mark McCrindle, BSc (Psychology), MA, is the author of three books on emerging trends and social change: The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global GenerationsWord Up: A Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century and The Power of Good.



Michelle Russell: General Manager, Talent and Culture - ANZ

 Michelle Russell.fw

Key Trends in HR… a Transitionary Phase

Although a subject of conversation for at least the last 5 years, leaders are finally needing to face into a key transition phase around the future of their workforces, the types of work organisations are now engaging in and the changes to how we are working.  The definition of ‘talent’ is transforming at a rapid rate and the need for organisations to adapt to attract and retain ‘talent’ is changing even faster.  Alongside this complicated, albeit exciting transition, banks and financial institutions are also needing to consider their social license to operate as community and customer expectations change.

Independent schools may also need to be aware of their changing community and ‘customer’ expectations and how they meet these expectations through attracting and retaining ‘talent’.

About Michelle Russell

Michelle has been General Manager Talent & Culture, New Zealand, since August 2018. 

In this role, Michelle is responsible for leading the development and implementation of innovative people strategies, programmes and policies to support the employee experience for ANZ’s 8,000 employees in New Zealand. She is also responsible for ensuring the company has the right people and capabilities to support the organisation’s business strategy and performance, and contributes to ANZ’s global talent and culture strategy. 

Previously, Michelle was General Manager Business Optimisation and Relationship Services in the New Zealand Commercial & Agri business and before that had human resources roles in New Zealand Institutional, Commercial & Agri, Wealth, Corporate Centre and Operations. 

Michelle has a BA (Hons) in Human Geography from the University of Otago, a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Policy from Victoria University of Wellington and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.



Jane Larsson, Executive Director, Council of International Schools (CIS)

Leading Interculturally: developing culturally perceptive, competent global citizens

  • As a school leader, how do you effectively navigate the complex challenges you face each day when serving a diverse community?
  • Why is your own intercultural competency important?
  • What is the most effective way to develop your intercultural skills and those of your leadership team?
  • How do your build your school’s reputation as a place where innovative, culturally competent leaders want to work?

Knowing ourselves, knowing others. Intercultural competency, as a skill, is woven throughout our lives, it is the foundation of our missions, the essence of our dialogues, whether in the board room with trustees seeking exemplary education for students, with teachers developing effective learning strategies, or in personal conversations with parents and students about their hopes for the future. Let’s take a deeper look into the work we do, exploring aspects of leadership and institutional approaches that enable the development of students as culturally perceptive, competent global citizens.

About Jane Larsson

Jane Larsson has led the Council of International Schools (CIS) as Executive Director since her appointment in 2010. CIS is a global non-profit membership organization focused on the development of global citizenship, providing International Accreditation, Career & Recruitment, University Admission Guidance and Research Services to schools and universities around the world.

Throughout her tenure, she has developed collaborative partnerships to identify and promote leading practices in international education with a specific focus on intercultural learning. Prior to her appointment at CIS, Jane was Direc­tor of International Partnerships with the Visiting International Faculty Program (VIF) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she led outreach to promote international educational exchange, establishing relationships with minis­tries of education, universities, internation­al schools and educational associations. 

She began her career in international education as the Director of Educational Staffing and Publications for International Schools Services (ISS), providing recruitment services and resources to international schools.

Jane has been an active member of and contributor to global and regional international associations, addressing critical aspects of international education that enable school communities to improve their effectiveness. She currently serves as Chair of the International Task Force on Child Protection and as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Commission Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA).




Dr Stephen Holmes: Founder, The 5Rs Partnership; Global School Marketing and Reputation Consultant

Building a Reputation for Talented Staff

"Reputation, reputation, reputation! O I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of my self and what remains is bestial.” Othello, Shakespeare.

While reputation is a very old concept there is a genuine lack of coordinated responsibility in schools to understand, build, manage and evaluate reputation.

In the context of the search for differentiation and to be ‘famous’ for something, how many schools have seriously and in a concerted long-term manner approached the development of reputation via a focus on building a name and acclaim for staffing talent?

This presentation argues the case that schools can do more to nurture and protect the development of talent in terms of staffing to support school reputation.

Dr Holmes has been conference speaking, researching, consulting and measuring reputation in schools across the world for over a decade. A glaring gap in his findings is a systematic understanding of reputation and how to manage it, including stimulating word of mouth. In relation to staffing, schools are missing a golden opportunity to focus on the development of staff talent with evidence that impacts where it matters most - students.

The reputation for staff of an independent school constitutes its most valuable asset –the ultimate measure of value - nothing is more important to parents in school choice. As audiences become more discerning, transparency increase further in schools and choice of school becomes more scrutinized, a planned and strategic approach to a reputation for talented staff is increasingly relevant to schools. NOW, it must be a formal management and Board function, and shape future priorities.

About Dr Stephen Holmes

Dr Holmes is widely regarded to be the most experienced, credentialed consultant/facilitator in the world in the related concepts of reputation management, brand, and marketing strategy for the school sector. Stephen is the only full-time practicing consultant in the world with a PhD in the specific field of school marketing and reputation strategy.

In the late 1990s, Stephen significantly defined the role of a responsive approach from schools via the 5Rs framework (recruitment, retention, referral, relationships and reputation) in his seminal PhD study on creating a market orientation in schools and school systems.

Now based in Vietnam, and with offices also in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, Stephen has since consulted, researched, published and spoken globally with schools, colleges and universities at the highest levels with an unmatched client base in breadth and depth spanning three decades. Research evidence has always informed his practice, something that helps to forge trust with education sector clients globally.

With a professional education background in schools spanning teaching, administration and Board membership, and in universities as an academic and executive director of strategy, Stephen brings a unique depth of global insight and culturally grounded sector expertise and perspective to drive development in schools.


After Dinner Speaker: Melissa Clark-Reynolds

Melissa Clark Reynolds.fw

Melissa Clark-Reynolds ONZM became a Futurist after 25 years as a technology entrepreneur. She is a Governor of Radio New Zealand and sits on the Boards of Kiwi Insurance, Jasmax, The Hillary Institute and Beef and Lamb NZ. Having sped through school, Melissa went to University at 15, and considers herself a lifelong learner. In recent years, she has studied at MIT, Cambridge University and Stanford (twice!), as well as The Institute for the Future in Silicon Valley. She lives in Wellington, keeps bees and thinks a lot about the future of food and agriculture.

Melissa’s Linkedin Profile is here: