2021 ISNZ Annual Conference speakers

Opening Keynote Speaker Friday 10.10am-11.10am

Roger Dennis, Futurist/Strategist

Panic! Don’t Panic?

When Roger Dennis last presented at our conference, he talked about models of change, and levels of global volatility. He talked about some of the risks that could affect humanity, including fast-moving technology and inequality. However, in the end it was pandemic that tipped the world into an unknown state. In this session Roger will give an update on the global trends that are shaping the world now, and the implications. He will also tell you why you shouldn’t panic.


Roger advises boards, CEOs and leadership teams on the strategic implications of a fast-changing world. He is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, a Member of the Digital Council of New Zealand and an Edmund Hilary Fellow.

Roger helped establish the world’s largest foresight programme called Future Agenda. He also partnered with an ex-advisor to the United Kingdom Prime Minister to deliver public sector innovation courses in Australasia for the Australia-New Zealand School of Government.  From 2006-2008 Roger co-led the Shell Technology Futures Programme for the GameChanger Team (based in The Hague). Roger is a repeat attendee to the invite-only Foresight Week held every two years by the Foresight Team in the Singapore Prime Minister’s office.

Roger is a frequent speaker at international conferences on the topic of foresight, strategy and innovation. He has given keynotes at events around the world including London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Moscow, Shenzhen, Fiji, Sydney and Brisbane. Over the years Roger has also become a respected commentator and author on technology, innovation and strategy. His thinking has been published by a range of titles including Scientific American and the Stanford d.School Magazine. In addition, Roger has been quoted in the Financial Times, AFR Boss Magazine and CNN Online.


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Concurrent Sessions One Speaker 1 Friday 11.40am-12.40pm

Dr Emma Woodward, The Child Psychology Service

Why Cultivating Hope is the Key to Teaching in an Age of Global Threats

We are living in unprecedented times and our children are growing up in a world that is constantly changing. Meeting the wellbeing needs of our young people is paramount to ensure that they can make good choices about themselves, each other and the planet. In this keynote, touching on COVID-19, technology, climate change, hope and community, Emma explores the factors that have supported young people to take hopeful and powerful action in the face of potentially overwhelming information, and then looks at how we might harness this to purposefully embed and teach these factors proactively as interventions to prepare our young people for their future, thrive and make positive change.


Dr Emma Woodward trained as Child, Educational and Community Psychology at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London with a focus on supporting early attachment and building resilience. After moving to New Zealand in 2014, Emma worked for the Ministry of Education where she ended up as Practice Lead for the Intensive Wraparound Service. Emma is now the Director of Psychological Services at The Child Psychology Service, Clinical Director at The New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience, Consultant Child Psychologist and Presenter with SchoolTV and, mum to four boys.

Emma has a specific interest in how we use the science of positive psychology to support today’s children to develop the skills that they need in order to thrive in their tomorrow and is part of a global climate psychology task force preparing psychological resources for children and young people. Emma delivers training around New Zealand and is a sought after presenter on a range of topics relating to child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing and is also a regular guest on network television and radio. Emma now has over 25 years’ experience working with children, young people and their families and has a warm, genuine and curious approach to her work.


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Concurrent Sessions One Speaker 2 Friday 11.40am-12.40pm

Beth Blackwood, Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA)

Relationships: The Key to Future Proofing Schools and their Leaders

Recent leadership research has reframed our understanding of leadership underperformance. Leadership "failure", typically linked to leaders’ personality traits, is now being reconsidered in the light of how leaders interact with their management environment. Within this broader context, leadership failure is not a simple matter of one individual’s flaws or a poor fit with their organisation; instead, both the organisation’s chief executive officer and its governors are responsible for identifying and mitigating the contextual factors that might precipitate what is now termed "leadership derailment".

In this presentation, Beth Blackwood suggests some of the major risk factors that principals and governors need to be aware of to avoid derailment. She also considers the evidence on leadership longevity and unpacks the data pointing to one of the key COVID-19 learnings for Australasia’s independent schools: relationships are key in future proofing schools and their leaders.

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Beth has been CEO for AHISA since 2016. Her connection with the independent sector follows 30 years as a teacher of history and psychology, and 19 years as Principal of Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC), a K–12 independent day and boarding school for girls with enrolments of 1200 students in Perth, Western Australia (1997-2015). 

Areas of professional interest and initiatives have included the education of indigenous students, International Baccalaureate programmes, positive psychology, technology as an educational tool and women’s leadership.


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Concurrent Sessions One Speakers 3 Friday 11.40am-12.40pm

Mark Bentley, Director Alumni Relations and Development, University of Auckland; Ann Badger and Dr Alan Watkinson from Marts & Lundy in partnership with Naomi Wilde from Educate Plus

Leaping into Advancement

So the strategic decision has been made to invest in advancement. But what does this mean; what does it look like in practice; and what are the financial implications?

Mark, Alan and Ann will provide practical advice and tools on how to support and develop the advancement programmes in your institution. Ann and Alan will discuss what successful advancement in schools looks like, and current trends. Mark, Ann and Alan will then participate in a panel discussion moderated by Naomi Wilde.

Questions and points for discussion can be sent in advance. All workshop participants will have the opportunity to contact Ann or Alan for follow-up discussions after the conference if they wish to do so.

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Ann Badger and Dr Alan Watkinson are two of Australasia's most experienced and respected advancement practitioners. Following stellar careers in the education sector, both are now engaged with international consultancy firm, Marts & Lundy. Alan and Ann will be joining us virtually from Melbourne, Australia.

Mark Bentley, Director, Alumni Relations and Development, at University of Auckland, was instrumental in leading the university's campaign “For All Our Futures”, the largest fundraising campaign ever in New Zealand. Mark will share his experiences and strategies of building a philanthropic culture within an educational institution and the wider community. In particular drawing on the role of executive leadership and governorship from his position as Director of Alumni Relations and Development. As part of Mark's presentation he will share some of the innovative ways in which University of Auckland academic leaders engaged with its alumni community and partners, and stewarded donors.

Naomi Wilde has been working in alumni and development for 15 years and before that worked in student recruitment and marketing. Naomi is Alumni and Development Manager for Lincoln University and was most recently at University of Canterbury as Senior Development Consultant – Major Gifts. Naomi previously worked at St Andrew’s College and assisted with their $10m campaign "Step Into the Future". Naomi is proud of her role in establishing the Alumni and Development office at College House. Naomi is a Fellow and Immediate Past President for the Educate Plus New Zealand Chapter.


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Concurrent Sessions Two Speaker 1 Friday 1.40pm-2.40pm

Dan Reddiex, Dilworth School

School Case Study – Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse: Policies, Protocols and Procedures for Managing Disclosures

In this session our speaker from Dilworth School will share with you the policies, protocols and procedures that have been developed to ensure the school provides a safe physical and emotional environment for their students.

Dan Reddiex will also share the processes and protocols that have been developed to specifically manage any historic and contemporary disclosures of abuse.

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Dad has been Headmaster of Dilworth School since 2019. 

Prior to Dilworth School, he was Rector of King’s High School Dunedin from 2008-2019. 

He has been teaching in boys’ schools for 25 years and was a Woolf Fisher recipient in 2014 for leadership.


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Concurrent Sessions Two Speaker 2 Friday 1.40pm-2.40pm

Dr Sarah Ferguson, Breathe Repeat Founder 

Connection in the Time of COVID: Why it Matters More than Ever and How to Build Stronger Relationships

The continued need to adapt and respond to the changing education landscape of 2020 added many extra steps to educators' already-full roles. From mastering new technologies to working from home, to meeting the needs of our students in this new format, we've grown a lot in these past 12-plus months. One of the key things that helped us adapt so rapidly was the support of our colleagues and family. Supportive relationships are one of the best predictors of wellbeing and resilience, whether these are with our partners, relatives, colleagues or friends. Let's also remember that not everybody had this in the same quantity or quality.

From a learning standpoint, supportive relationships are one of the best things we can focus on for our students' engagement levels as they learn either in-person or online. How do we build rapport with students? Can we cultivate an environment both in person and online in which our students learn how to support each other? 

This workshop is interactive so that you may try these techniques first hand and understand when each one is best used. 


Dr Sarah Ferguson is the Executive Director of Breathe Repeat. She holds a PhD in Computational Optics from the University of Georgia as well as two BSc (Cum Laude) in physics. Her passion is for learning and understanding how things work, and this especially applies to wellness in relation to peak performance. She spent many years working with the best and the brightest in her field and can speak first hand to the symbiosis between personal and professional flourishing. 

Currently, Sarah works closely with businesses and schools delivering corporate wellness programmes and works one-on-one with private clients. She founded Breathe Repeat as a way to formally offer research-based mindfulness programmes that benefit the business and the individual at the same time. 

Sarah's workshops and classes incorporate intelligent sequencing, mindfulness and a chance to unwind the body and mind. She is known for her passion, enthusiasm and warmth. She teaches both in New Zealand and internationally at conferences.


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Concurrent Sessions Two Speaker 3 Friday 1.40pm-2.40pm

Ian Richards BSc, MEd, NPQH, AskYourTeam Senior Consultant and Education Project Leader

Ask, Listen, Act: Involvement and Innovation

Attitudes to leadership and workplace culture have changed significantly in the last 50 years. People want more involvement, not just with things that affect them directly but with organisational aspects that, previously, would be firmly under the exclusive remit of organisational leaders.

Alongside this, there is growing evidence that increasing involvement across an organisation can significantly improve innovation, adaptiveness and performance, particularly in terms of identifying what works on the ground.

Stakeholder involvement is of particular significance in education where the drive to develop effective self-evaluation and continuous improvement has been present for decades (eg, John Macbeth’s ground-breaking research in the 1990s: “Schools must speak for themselves”).

The presentation will describe and explore how "involvement" fits into theories on organisational culture, connecting this to effective school self-evaluation and continuous improvement, while also providing practical examples, data and insights from a wide range of New Zealand schools, based on AskYourTeam’s three-year development and piloting of their school self-evaluation and continuous improvement system.                           

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Ian Richards has extensive experience in primary, secondary and special education in the United Kingdom, Middle East and New Zealand. He has held senior leadership roles in a wide range of settings, including semi-secure provision for young people with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties.

He was one of the first graduates of the United Kingdom's National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) and spent five years as a Senior Strategy Manager and Ofsted Inspector for a large education authority before moving to New Zealand in 2003.

In 2005, Ian founded Innervate, which is now a leading provider of high-performance and leadership training across the commercial, state, education and health sectors in both New Zealand and Australia.

Ian’s wide experience made him an obvious choice to lead AskYourTeam’s education project, developing a unique self-evaluation and improvement system based on involvement as a foundation for identifying and doing what works in an ever-changing environment.


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Keynote Speaker Friday 3.10pm-4.10pm

Professor Lea Waters, AM, PhD, Psychologist, Researcher, Speaker, Author

Strength-Based Approaches in Schools: Bringing Out the Best in Leaders, Teachers and Students

This keynote explores three decades of research showing the advantages of taking a strength-based approach in schools. We will consider what it means to take a strength-based approach and look at the research outcomes that occur for leaders, teachers and students when they play to their strengths. The presentation will also showcase some practical, concrete examples of how to embed strengths into your school culture.

Having helped schools to implement positive education in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Hong Kong, China, Canada and the United Arab Emirates, Professor Lea Waters weaves together her science with concrete school examples and best practices to help teachers make wellbeing more visible in their classrooms.

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Professor Lea Waters AM, PhD is a psychologist, researcher, professor, published author, internationally-celebrated keynote speaker and one of the world’s leading experts on positive education, positive organisations and strength-based parenting and teaching.


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Keynote Speaker Friday 4.10pm-5pm

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, Massey University

A New New Zealand – and a Changed Educational Landscape

New Zealand’s demography has changed significantly in the last decade and will change even more over the coming two decades. Declining fertility, the rapid ageing of communities, very different regional growth trajectories and variable immigration rates all mean that the composition of communities and where they live will continue to change, sometimes dramatically.

This presentation provides a guide to these changes and what we can expect. It will also outline how matters have become even more complicated because of what is happening internationally. For example, the numbers of Chinese students coming to New Zealand might not continue, certainly not in the volume that we have seen previously as China moves from a demographic dividend to a demographic deficit.

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Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley was, until 2019, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey University. He retired from Massey University in April 2021.

He is the author or editor of 28 books. The most recent are an edited book, Rebooting the Regions (2016) while his book, The “New” New Zealand. Facing Demographic Disruption was published in late 2020 (it is now in its second edition). He is also writing a book on the extreme right in this country.

He was a programme leader of a research programme on the impacts of immigration and diversity on Aotearoa (MBIE, 2014-2021, $6 million). He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2011 and was granted the title of Distinguished Professor by Massey University in 2013.

He was awarded the Science and Technology Medal by the Royal Society in 2009, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of California Berkeley in 2010 and, since 2013, he has been a Visiting Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum made him a Fellow in 2015. He is currently a member of the Marsden Fund Council, and a Senior Affiliate of Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures. He has been a long time participant in the Metropolis network and recently became the Co-Chair of this international network of those interested in migration.


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Keynote Speaker Saturday 9am-9.40am

Lisa Baigent, Sheffield

Leadership: What Got You Here Today, May Not Guarantee Success into the Future

The landscape of which we work is undoubtedly changing at a speed we have not experienced before. In the past year, leaders have been faced with a constant barrage of crises, from a global pandemic to economic crises to deepening political divisions. Throughout this disruption, leaders have had to dig deep and demonstrate vision, purpose, courage and strength to move forward without a clear road map. Now it is time to harness the power of reflection to consider what we have learned and seek clarity on what leaders will need to possess for the future.

Whilst some aspects of leadership, such as setting a vision and executing on strategy will remain critical to our success, the future leader will need to possess a refreshed mindset and set of skills to lead effectively. Given that change really is the only constant, leaders will need to find ways of being comfortable with uncertainty. They will need to commit to having the uncomfortable conversations and they must be equipped to adapt and influence the people around them to ensure success as a unified team. Most importantly, they will need to demonstrate resilience, emotional intelligence, compassion, empathy and understand the importance of human connection in order to support and empower our leaders of the future.

Throughout this talk, Lisa Baigent will speak to the leadership attributes of yesterday, today and tomorrow and outline ways in which we can self-assess to bring these to life.

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Lisa leads the organisational development practice for the North Island and is an expert in the management of the DDI solution platforms. Her focus is on partnering with clients to understand their organisational strengths and areas for development to offer practical solutions. Her key areas of focus include leadership development, team assessment and development, career development and transition, competency identification, leadership assessment and training.

Lisa is a passionate and highly-skilled facilitator with the ability to quickly build and sustain trusting relationships with participants in a workshop setting. Her appetite for digital and technology-based solutions, combined with her commitment to researching best-practice leadership means Lisa is highly skilled in the design and delivery of customised and cutting-edge development programmes.

During Lisa’s time with Sheffield, she has worked closely with a broad range of organisations across many sectors including local and central government, NGOs, not for profit and the private sector. Her most recent focus has been on shaping and framing leadership programmes to equip and enable leaders to inspire high-performing teams and thrive in the face of change.


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Keynote Speaker Saturday 9.50am-10.30am

Dean Spicer, ANZ

Sustainable Finance – the Ability of Financing to be a Force for Good

The ability of capital markets to deliver important social and environmental outcomes for Aotearoa.


Dean Spicer has spent over 25 years in financial markets covering equities fund management and debt capital markets in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe.

Dean joined ANZ in 2006 on his return from London, where he had been responsible for interest rate and credit distribution to key United Kingdom and German investors. In 2008, Dean was appointed Head of Capital Markets, a position he held until March last year, when he accepted his current role as Head of Sustainable Finance New Zealand.

Dean was also part of the Aotearoa Circle’s Sustainable Finance Working Group that looked at the transformation of the finance system in New Zealand to better support social and environmental outcomes demanded by a broader base of stakeholders beyond the financial goals of shareholders.

His passion is to help foster the development of New Zealand’s sustainable finance market, with a particular interest in impact investment.


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Keynote Speakers Saturday 11am-11.40am

Mark Bentley, Director Alumni Relations and Development, University of Auckland
Ann Badger and Dr Alan Watkinson from Marts & Lundy

Innovating Your Income Streams for the Future of Education

Finding additional income streams is becoming a critical reality for many independent schools. Philanthropy can fill the growing funding gap in ways that inspire and transform the educational programmes that independent schools can offer. But advancement needs to be done right and executive leaders and governors are the key to creating a platform the guarantees advancement success in their schools. This plenary will introduce you to the leadership role required to lead a successful advancement programme.

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Mark Bentley, Director, Alumni Relations and Development at University of Auckland, was instrumental in leading the University of Auckland Campaign “For All Our Futures”, the largest fundraising campaign ever in New Zealand. Mark will share his experiences and strategies of building a philanthropic culture within an educational institution and the wider community. In particular drawing on the role of executive leadership and governorship from his position as Director of Alumni Relations and Development. As part of Mark's presentation he will share some of the innovative ways in which University of Auckland academic leaders engaged with its alumni community and partners, and stewarded donors.

Ann Badger and Dr Alan Watkinson are two of Australasia's most experienced and respected advancement practitioners. Following stellar careers in the education sector, both are now engaged with the international consultancy firm, Marts & Lundy. Alan and Ann will be joining us virtually from Melbourne, Australia.


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Keynote speaker Saturday 1.20pm-2pm

Tabitha Leonard, Tabitha Leonard NZ

Consistency Worthy of our Culture

New and current research shows that now is the time for remarkable consistency in education.

What is remarkable consistency? It’s the true definition of the infinite game.

Consistency in showing up and meeting the changing needs and challenges of our students.

In this session Tabitha Leonard will share:

  • The latest research results on what parents are saying they expect from independent schools 
  • The patterns of leadership that make the most significant difference to independent school success in navigating the future landscape of education
  • Correlation of our research with that of educational thought leaders Michael Fullan and Todd Whitaker into effective school leadership; and organisational culture experts Edgar Schein, Adam Grant and Simon Sinek to synthesise a clear way forward for independent school leadership.

The audience will leave with:

  • A synthesis of the research into what parents believe is a priority right now
  • The key actions of inspirational principals that will make the difference needed to succeed as an independent school in the current economic climate
  • How independent schools can position themselves above state schools in the educational arena of influence, impact, loyalty and legacy to be the best schools for our students. 

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When you aspire to create the best school in the independent arena, it's crucial to engage an expert in education culture – one renowned for the ability to take a contextual understanding of best-practice principalship and creating clarity, confidence and coherence.

As the author of Conversations That Matter, Tabitha teaches principals and senior leaders that cultural excellence starts with them and that trust transforms teams. 

Her work creates leaders who are known and sought out for their inspirational leadership.

Utilising the latest research on educational leadership, neurochemistry and the science of learning, she attracts principals and schools that are determined to achieve the necessary influence, impact, loyalty and legacy that it takes to be the best.

With over 15 years' experience coaching leaders in the independent school space, Tabitha knows what it takes to lead a school and create a phenomenal educational culture, where teachers and students alike feel they are at the best school ever.

In recent years she has focused on leaders of high-performing independent schools such as Christ's College, Rangiruru Girls' School and Saint Kentigern College and is now looking to expand this groundbreaking work onto all independent schools across New Zealand and Australia.


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Keynote speaker Saturday 2pm-2.40pm

Steve Smith, Google for Education Programme Manager

Mindsets and Habits

Over the course of 2020 schools have undergone a huge amount of change and as a result, educators had to change the way they connected with each other and with their students.

What have been some of the big shifts in New Zealand and globally, both in society and education? Has the pandemic been a catalyst for change that we have needed for quite some time or was it just a bump in the road, an uncomfortable annoyance?

Now we are back in the classroom and many other countries are also returning, what have we learned and how have we changed? Have we changed?

Steve Smith will present some data around change in habits and mindsets in both education and society.

Looking at the growth industries and the change in focus for many businesses, because of this new normal, what are some skills that are required for the new world of work?

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Steve has been a high school social studies and geography teacher for the last 16 years in New Zealand since returning from two years' teaching in London.

He worked to bring Google for Education to his school and, with a colleague, trained the staff in the use of Google for Education. He has been a passionate advocate for the use of Google Tools for the last eight years at different workshops and events across New Zealand.

Steve is a Level 1 and 2 Certified Educator and Trainer and in 2019 was a member of the Sydney 2019 Innovator Academy looking at how to cater for the needs of a school’s more innovative students. He is a member of the Google Earth Education Experts Group, where he gets to show people the awesome geo tools that Google has.

Steve is based in Google’s Auckland office as New Zealand Lead, Google for Education and his aim is to continue to energise the educator communities in New Zealand, support our partners and bring more "Google goodness" to the education community of New Zealand.