2023 Culture & Leadership Conference

Published on 07 Nov 2023
Conference 2023

“If you dislike change, you're going to dislike irrelevance even more.”

General Eric Shinseki’s quote sums up for us the challenge of staying relevant while being in environments of constant change. The secret we believe lies in your head – your thinking. It’s the way we think about things that determines our effectiveness. If we see change as an inconvenience or a risk then it is, and if we see change as an opportunity, then it is. Our thinking drives our behaviours, and therefore our attitude to change and staying relevant.

This year’s conference focused on how individuals, teams, and organisations can maintain their relevance in our rapidly changing global landscape. We explored the role of mindsets and behaviours in driving our adaptability and resilience, using the Human Synergistics Circumplex model as our guiding framework.


Celena Harry - Mitre 10

Celena Harry, Chief People Officer joined the Mitre 10 team in March 2021 as Head of People Services, leading the modernisation of core HR functions for the Support Centre and Cooperative. In September 2021, she stepped in to act as Chief People Officer and was appointed to the role permanently in October 2021.

Celena began her career in a store leadership team at Farmers and has spent over 20 years in retail and customer service businesses, at some of New Zealand’s most iconic brands. She has long admired the Mitre 10 brand as an enthusiastic customer. Celena is a commercially focused, humanistic leader with a proven track record in enabling people to be at their best to deliver significant customer experience and commercial improvement.

Most recently, her leadership roles in Vodafone and Spark saw her contributing to significant NPS, eNPS and revenue improvement, across retail, omnichannel sales and service teams based in NZ and offshore. She has also successfully lead teams through large scale transformation programmes. She is a professional coach and passionate about helping people and teams find the best within themselves. Her time away from work is spent with her teenage children and completing an endless list of home improvement DIY projects.

Download the Mitre 10 presentation


Dhaya Sivakumar - Livestock Improvement Corporation

Dhaya Sivakumar, Chief Information Office joined the LIC Team late 2022 as CIO coming from AMP NZ where he was COO. Prior to that Dhaya held a number of C level technology leadership roles across Travel, Telco, Financial Services and Health Care. Dhaya’s leadership roles have all encompassed driving major transformation programmes that bridge business and technology while also helping organisations adapt their operating models in the face of industry disruption. Dhaya’s leadership journey is that of a technical manager and subject matter expert to that of a big picture leader. Dhaya takes particular pride in being a unique, open and authentic leader who takes genuine care and interest in his people.

Download the Livestock Improvement Corporation presentation


Jackie Rich and Jonny Reay - Ballance Agri-nutrients

Jackie Rich is GM People & Capability, Ballance Agri-nutrients is a proven internationally experienced human resources professional who has successfully led teams at both strategic and operational levels. She has over 20 years’ experience spanning the full spectrum of HR functions in Australasian centric businesses with Carter Holt Harvey, Frucor Beverages, Asahi Beverages & Schweppes Australia, Toll Group and now Ballance Agri Nutrients, one of NZ top 50 companies.

Jonny Reay is National Distribution Manager, Ballance Agri-Nutrients. As leader of challenging supply chain and logistics environments Jonny has over two decades of global experience across different environments from primary industry, food to mobile telecommunication businesses. Jonny works continuously to maintain currency in a fast moving marketplace, and uses his abilities, innovation and adaptability to continuously develop the business and provide a pathway to the future of work for his people.

Download the Ballance Agri-nutrients presentation


Jan Bibby - Contact Energy

Jan Bibby was appointed as Chief People Experience Officer at Contact Energy in November 2019. She has significant experience across all disciplines of HR, within a diverse range of industries both here in New Zealand and in the UK. She is skilled at leading transformational change and developing and implementing people and culture strategies. Leading transformative change with a human centred approach is a particular passion and since joining Contact has played a key role in their own transformation journey, known within the organisation as Mau Taniwha, Mauri Ora (Harness Energy, Create Wellbeing). She also has a passion for developing and growing leadership capability.

Download the Contact Energy presentation


Julie Bassett - Constellation Brands

Julie Bassett, Vice President International Human Resources & Business Enablement joined Constellation Brands in 2010 as the Vice President of Human Resources for New Zealand.

A Fortune 500 company headquartered in the USA, Constellation Brands has seen its New Zealand arm grow to be one of the largest wine enterprises in the country. It initially oversaw operations in New Zealand, then expanded to include Australia, Asia, and Canada, eventually evolving to encompass international Wine & Spirits across all sales locations outside of the USA as well as operations in Italy. Based in Auckland, Julie has recently assumed a new role as Vice President of International Human Resources and Business Enablement, including responsibility for HR, Communications, Payroll, IT, Data Analytics, Project Management, and Office Administration.

Julie's impact is highlighted by several noteworthy achievements. She spearheaded the creation of an industry-first 'cadet programme' aimed at attracting fresh talent to Constellation Brands. Over the years, this award-winning initiative has significantly increased the number of women joining the traditionally male-dominated viticulture team.

Additionally, Julie and her team introduced a 'Goals & Growth process' which provides a measurable framework for leaders and team members to have more frequent and meaningful conversations. She also pioneered the development of a culture and skills-based pay matrix for viticulture and winery teams, ensuring fair and gender balanced compensation that is tied to skills and attitude.

Her team has been recognized with numerous HRD awards and Julie has just been announced by Manage HR Magazine as one of the ‘APAC Top 10 HR Leaders’ of 2023.

Download the Constellation Brands presentation


Mika Austin - NZ Super Fund

Mika Austin is the General Manager of Human Resources at the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the entity that manages the NZ Super Fund. Prior to joining the Guardians in 2012, Mika was a commercial litigator, specialising in complex banking, antitrust and tax avoidance cases at a top tier corporate law firm in Auckland, and at the Financial Services Authority in London. Outside the ‘day job’ Mika is an actor; appearing in short films, and multiple one woman plays in New Zealand and Australia.

Mika is passionate about creating an environment in which people can experience their best work day, every day. For the last decade she has led the charge in shaping culture transformation at the Guardians through leadership and the development of a constructive culture. During that time the Guardians has experienced significant change, and has twice been recognised as the top performing sovereign wealth fund in the world, and a global leader in governance, sustainability and resilience.

Download the NZ Super Fund presentation


Todd Charteris - Rabobank

Todd Charteris, Chief Executive Officer has headed Rabobank, New Zealand’s only specialist food and agri bank, since January 2018. He leads a team of more than 500 banking professionals, backed by a global research team of 75 experts, supporting food and agri producers through a network of 27 offices and offering online retail savings and deposit services.

Todd served more than 15 years in regional roles in New Zealand and as a former National Manager of Country Banking in Australia. He brings a wide knowledge of diverse farming systems, the realities facing producers and the importance of sustainability for the sector as it responds to a changing environment.

Todd grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Otago. He joined Rabobank in 2000, following his Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) studies at University of Otago and early career experience as a livestock agent, and in investment banking in London.

Download the Rabobank presentation


Shaun McCarthy - Human Synergistics Australia & New Zealand

Shaun McCarthy, Chair, Human Synergistics Australia & New Zealand established Human Synergistics in New Zealand and Australia and brings with him a wealth of knowledge, experience and anecdotes from a long and distinguished Consulting career.

If you have a question about Leadership or Culture – Shaun will have a story to illustrate an answer to it. It is this depth of experience that has led to him being invited to lecture in University programs, speak at many national conferences and being featured in the Australian Financial Review, Boss Magazine and on ABC radio. Shaun is also a member of the AHRI Advisory Research Panel.

Download Shaun's presentation


Human Synergistics NZ Te Hoe Awards 2023

The Awards presented by HSNZ are unique. They are empirically measured across a valid population of your organisation – they are earned, and as such represent the efforts and outcomes of people’s efforts at all levels of your organisation . There is not 'contest' – no winners and losers as such. You either meet the criteria or you don’t – yet at least!

The structure of these awards follows a model developed by New Zealand carver and academic Tā Hirini Moko Mead (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tūhourangi), which used four stages of biological growth to represent the development of Māori art and society. These four stages - Ngā Kākano (the seeds), Te Tipunga (the growth), Te Puāwaitanga (the flowering), and Te Huringa (the turning point) are also an ideal metaphor for the development and transformation of an organisation’s culture.

  • Ngā Kākano, means ‘the seeds.’ In a culture development journey this stage represents the enhanced shared Awareness that organisational culture is a key method for enacting both high performance and sustainability. Awareness precedes Acceptance and is driven by leadership.
    Ngā Kākano is awarded to an organisation that grows its leadership in an enduring way to be highly constructive.
  • Te Tipunga means 'the 'growth'. In a culture development sense Te Tipunga represents the shared high levels of awareness moving to shared high levels of acceptance that organisational culture is the driver of high performance and sustainability. It is the phase where the way organisation starts to take action, and do things differently and get more effective results.
    Te Tipunga is awarded to an organisation that starts the journey and achieves much improved results towards a constructive cultural goal (Efficiency Stage)
  • Te Puawaitanga is the third phase of organisational cultural development is known as Te Puawaitanga, or ‘the flowering’. This is where the role of an organisation’s culture in generating a high performing entity is accepted and actioned by everyone in the organisation resulting in positive outcomes for the organisation, its people, its customers and stakeholders.
    Te Puawaitanga is awarded to an organisation that meets the criteria of a constructive organisation (Strategic Proactivity Stage)
  • Te Huringa, or ‘the turning point’ is when the organisation continues to create a constructive culture where people thrive and is proactively looking to evolve its approach to adapt to the external pressures and trends, and to influence and inform the environment in which they exist.
    Te Huringa is awarded to an organisation that meets the constructive culture standard for an enduring period of time (Resilient stage).