Plenary Speakers

Neil McWhannell: Chief Executive, Educate Plus

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Admissions – Developing a Sustainable Plan for your Future

This session will examine key elements of an Admissions Plan. It will also examine key admissions drivers and the increasing demand for financial aid whilst covering a wide range of practical best practice processes that should be implemented.

Neil is the CEO of Educate Plus. During his time with Educate Plus, Neil has transformed the organisation into the peak Advancement body in Australasia – providing significant support to those working in Fundraising, Admissions, Alumni and Marketing.

Key initiatives have included the development and implementation of a Certified Training Program, along with a significantly expanded value proposition. These have resulted in membership almost tripling in recent years.

Prior to his appointment he held the position of the foundation CEO of HeartKids Australia, where he transformed the organisation and was awarded the Equity Trustee CEO of the Year Award for first year achievers and Runner Up in the 2009 Australian Fund Raiser of the Year Awards. Recently Neil was also the recipient of a Harvard Business School minor scholarship.

Neil initially came from an educational background where he was principal at some of the leading independent schools in Australasia. Neil has many interests and is a positive contributor to his community. He is the immediate past President of his local Rotary Club, serves as a Justice of the Peace and has been State Chairman and National Board Member for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.


Kathy Lloyd-Parker, Principal, Chilton Saint James School, Jayne-Ann Young, Principal, Queen Margaret College, and Narelle Umbers, Principal, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School

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Imagine What Thousands of Radically Generous Women Could Do.

Learn about a collaborative venture between Queen Margaret College, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School and Chilton Saint James School, with the SheEO organisation.  As principals of the next generation of women leaders and innovators we believe that a collaborative approach to supporting women in innovative business ventures fits with our values and our aspirations for our students and community. 

SheEO is a radically redesigned ecosystem that supports, finances, and celebrates female innovators.

Launched in 2015 in Canada, this visionary model is emerging as a leading global innovation that is totally unique. Rather than trying to fit women into the existing models and systems and level the playing field, we are creating an entirely new field.

SheEO pushes the reset button on how to support women on their own terms. We focus on bringing out the best in women by being radically generous to one another. It’s an entirely new values set designed with a feminist lens.


Russell Craig, Microsoft National Security and Technology Officer, and Sam McNeill, Microsoft Education Solution Specialist Professional

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The Data Security and Privacy Imperatives facing New Zealand Schools: How to Understand and Address these.

Fact: A 2017 US Cyber Security study found that US companies took an average of 206 days to detect a data breach. This is a slight increase on the previous year (201 days).

Schools are required to digitally store and protect ever increasing volumes of data, much of this hyper-sensitive personal information on student wellbeing. This data, historically secured in a folder inside a locked filing cabinet, represents a serious data and privacy breach risk in the digital age, opening the school to both potential law suits and significant reputational damage.

In this session, Microsoft National Security and Technology Officer Russell Craig, alongside Sam McNeill, a former K-12 ICT Director and now part of the Microsoft Asia Pacific Area HQ Education team, will share insights from both the education and government sectors on the risks and approaches to managing data in schools.

All schools are exposed to varying levels of risk in this area, however the good news is there are many relatively simple steps they can take to significantly improve their security posture. By providing a secure environment for students to learn in, schools are simultaneously reducing risk whilst actively demonstrating good Digital Citizenship to their students. It is important for schools to acknowledge the challenge that exists when it comes to creating a secure environment, but this is something that needs to be actively planned for and not left in the ‘too hard’ basket, as avoiding building a pro-active strategy to data security and privacy will only lead to negative consequences. For example, building a data leak/breach incident response plan is a great starting point to reduce the negative impact of a breach.

This will be a 45 minute session highlighting the challenges to the education sector and some guidelines to be considered for implementation, and will be followed by a 15 minute question and answer session.


Jeremy Johnson: Partner, Wynn Williams

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The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse: An update, analysis of impact and suggested approach

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and Faith-based Organisations will be a multi-year process with a profound impact on New Zealand and the organisations that will be under the microscope.  That will include faith-based schools.  This presentation will:

  • Provide an update on the Commission and its processes;
  • Discuss the likely impact on independent schools based on the experience from Australia; and
  • Discuss ways that independent schools can approach both the work of the Commission and the handling of complaints against it.

Jeremy Johnson is lead dispute resolution partner at Wynn Williams. Jeremy is recognised as being a leader in his field by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2019, and is also recognised by the Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019 and Chambers Global 2019 legal guides.  He sits on the Board of Christ’s College and is the Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch.  Jeremy is acting for the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia in relation to the Royal Commission.  Jeremy has a BA and LLB (Hons) from the University of Canterbury and an LLM, with first class honours, from the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK).