Global Connections is one of the leading export events in the country, with a focus on exporters learning from exporters.

The programme will be delivered in two sessions with the first session presented by key note speakers and supported by our Impact Panel made up from some of New Zealand's top exporters. They will provide an overview of the current export market with a focus on understanding global trends, the impact these have on local businesses and the strategies which have lead to their success. The second session will be where Kiwi exporters share their export journey, including the challenges and successes along the way, and what other exporters can learn and apply to their own strategies.


MEET OUR 2019 SPEAKERS

NADINE HIGGINS | MC
JOURNALIST, TVNZ

Journalist Nadine Higgins (formerly Chalmers-Ross) has been appearing on our screens and airwaves for more than a decade. At TVNZ she spent 8 years hosting a variety of shows including Business, Breakfast and Seven Sharp shows and a newsreader for One News. These days she’s a freelance journalist regularly hosting shows on Newstalk ZB, writing a weekly column for the Sunday Star Times and is a popular fill in on TV3’s The Project.

An avid foodie, she’s also recently indulged her passion for cooking and has teamed up with her husband and two friends to hit the streets with their food truck ‘Yeah Nann’. Nadine has been an in-demand MC for several years, particularly for conferences that require a sharp and enquiring mind to tackle complex issues or a skilled interviewer for a panel discussion or moderated talks.

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CHRIS SEED | KEYNOTE SPEAKER & IMPACT PANEL
MFaT CHIEF EXECUTIVE


Chris Seed took up the role of Chief Executive and Secretary in February 2019. Prior to taking up this position, Chris spent five years (2013-2018) as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Australia. Chris first joined MFAT in 1985. He was Deputy Secretary for the Australia, Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa Group from 2008-2013. His earlier career included assignments in Tehran, Canberra, London and Papua New Guinea, where he was High Commissioner.

Chris also spent some time in the Ministry of Defence as Deputy Secretary, Policy and Planning from 2004-2008. In addition to a number of roles in Wellington, Chris has served with the International Peace Monitoring Team in the Solomon Islands, the NewZealand delegation to the UN General Assembly and was seconded to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Chris holds a Master’s Degree in History and a BA with First Class Honours from Massey University.

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SIMON TUCKER | KEYNOTE SPEAKER & IMPACT PANEL
FONTERRA DIRECTOR STAKEHOLDER AFFAIRS


Simon Tucker is Director of Global Stakeholder Affairs at Fonterra. In this role he leads teams responsible for Fonterra’s global trade strategy, the company’s relationships with the New Zealand and foreign governments, and Fonterra’s industry partners.

As a member of the Corporate Affairs Leadership Team, Simon’s role contributes both to the execution of Fonterra’s commercial strategy – particularly in terms of trade access and growth – and to the Co-operative’s efforts to enhance its national and global identity and reputation.

Simon has spent over ten years in the New Zealand dairy industry including in leadership roles at DairyNZ, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand and with Fonterra Co- operative Group’s US-based business.

During his career, Simon has also spent considerable time working for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was the Ministry’s Assistant Secretary based in Auckland, and served as New Zealand High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Canada and was concurrently High Commissioner to Jamaica. Earlier diplomatic assignments included postings as Counsellor and head of the trade team at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC and three years at the NZ Embassy in Tehran. He also spent several years working in Parliament as adviser to the Minister for Trade.

Over the past 10 years Simon has also held a number of governance and advisory roles, including in the areas of economic development, trade, resource management and education.


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SHAUN MALONEY | IMPACT PANEL
SEEQUENT CHIEF EXECUTIVE


Under Shaun’s leadership, Seequent has grown to more than 350 staff in 18 locations around the world. A proven transformational leader, Shaun is responsible for managing strategy, risk, return and growing Seequent into a full-service software provider with a global presence. 

Shaun has a background in international banking and has provided strategic direction to New Zealand technology businesses. 

With experience in both small start-ups and large-scale commercial operations, he brings the unique know-how required to concurrently manage both current and future opportunities for successful business growth. In 2014, Shaun was awarded a Prime Minister's Business Scholarship to study at Harvard Business School and London Business School on innovation, emerging markets, strategy for value creation, and global business leadership. 


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REBECCA SMITH | KEYNOTE SPEAKER
NEW ZEALAND STORY DIRECTOR


Rebecca is an optimistic, energetic and experienced marketer leading the Government’s New Zealand Story Group.

The New Zealand Story is an initiative that defines the distinctly Kiwi attributes that make New Zealand unique and provides a framework to help us better communicate our value to the world. Rebecca has a unique view of how consumers and buyers offshore see New Zealand

and can share insights into what we need to do, say and show to shift perceptions and trigger better outcomes – whether it be attracting people to visit, study, live, do business with or invest in New Zealand. Rebecca is passionate about driving the success and prosperity of New Zealand and New Zealand businesses and is on a mission to make New Zealand famous for more good things.

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SHEHAN BALA | CASE STUDY
FACEME DIRECTOR


Before stepping into the role of Director of Product at FaceMe, Shehan Bala most recently spent four years in product and leadership roles at Xero, and spent almost six years at Datacom before that.

“I was attracted by the opportunity to discover and solve problems in a promising new market,” explains Shehan. “I believe the technology has a lot of potential, and I was keen to help FaceMe along on its journey towards finding a place for digital humans in our world.  

“I had also worked with some FaceMe folk in previous jobs, and it’s always enjoyable to join forces again with great people and collaborate on a different mission.” 

A tenured software engineer, he now adds his technical knowledge and leadership skills in guiding FaceMe’s developers.

“As the Director of Product at FaceMe, I’ll be looking to identify ways in which digital humans can add value to people, work with the R&D teams to create solutions that deliver this value, and then support the go-to-market activities required to get digital humans in front of as many real humans as possible,” Shehan continues.

“More aspirationally, as societies gradually hand over greater volumes of decision-making responsibility to artificial intelligence, I wish to be one of the many people who contribute to ensuring that digital humans benefit from the best parts of humanity, and ultimately have our best interests in mind.”

 What other influence have on FaceMe? Well, dare we say he could find himself starting the first ever company band? The FaceMe Five perhaps?

“I used to play the violin as a child, and believed that skill would never come in useful until I picked up the electric guitar in adulthood and discovered the value of all that arduous musical theory. I now have a healthy guitar collection and play a fair bit of blues and rock. Probably not well enough to join your band though.”


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NEIL HINTON | CASE STUDY
K9 NATURAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE


With 25 years experience in the FMCG food and beverage industry, Neil  has held senior positions across a variety of functions and organisations in New Zealand, China and Australia.

After a long career at Lion, Neil was most recently the General Manager of Vitasoy AUNZ in Melbourne, a role he held for over three years, before returning home to New Zealand in 2015 to head up the Natural Pet Food Group. This background provides him with a depth of understanding on both human and pet nutrition.

An avid pet parent himself, with the support of the passionate Natural Pet Food Group team, they are spreading the message of the importance of pet nutrition far and wide and demonstrate how a natural, healthy diet can lead to happier and healthier family pets and subsequently, happy owners.

The Natural Pet Food Group has experienced consistent strong growth in all their markets, & with the ever-increasing focus on optimum pet nutrition and the popularity of natural, whole food diets, Neil & the team are very confident this growth will continue.


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MICHAEL PHILPOTT | INFLUENCING OUTCOMES
EXECUTIVE SPEAKER COACH & INVESTMENT PITCH COACH LIMITED | SMART & WISE LTD


Influencing outcomes: When pitching an idea or presenting on a topic, you want to be able to persuade and influence 
your audience. 

Michael will share case studies, examples, and tips and tricks to help you naturally achieve this. 


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REBECCA PERCASKY
THE BETTER PACKAGING CO DIRECTOR


With a biochemistry degree under her belt, Rebecca began her career working with multinationals (Vodafone, HP and IBM) to deliver complex tech implementations involving numerous moving parts including the management of people.

As COO of StarShipIT, Australasia’s highest-rated eCommerce shipping software, she was responsible for partnering with courier companies and expanding its market penetration. 

Working so closely with the rapidly expanding eCommerce industry, Rebecca became cognisant of the growing repercussions for packaging waste. When researching alternatives to plastic, Rebecca was highly inspired to do packaging ‘better’. That was the genesis of her collaboration with Kate Bezar and The Better Packaging Co. was established in March 2018.

CATHERINE BEARD
EXPORT NZ & MANUFACTURING NZ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Catherine Beard is Executive Director of Export NZ and ManufacturingNZ, divisions of Business NZ, New Zealand’s largest business advocacy group, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes. The Business NZ group includes four large regional business associations, the Major Companies Group, Export NZ, more than 70 affiliated industry associations and Buy NZ Made. The group’s goal is New Zealand’s prosperity through successful business. Catherine works with government and other key decision makers on issues of concern to exporters and manufacturers. Catherine has spent the last 20 years as a lobbyist and advocate for a wide range of industries on a wide range of issues, including on climate change issues for the energy intensive sector, all aspects of the fire and general insurance sector and the agricultural sector (dairy focus). Catherine has participated in Prime Minister led trade missions to Indonesia and China and represents BusinessNZ at annual Global Federation of Competitiveness Council meetings. Catherine was also a co-founder of a start-up business designing and manufacturing children’s nursery furniture, for which two products won national design awards.