Head of Lion Ventures, Lion
New Zealand born Monica Yianakis has always had a fascination with different cultures and growing inspirational brands. She completed her education across both Auckland and Singapore with a BCom/BSc in Marketing and Psychology at University of Auckland.
She has extensive experience working across the global FMCG sector for some of the world’s leading brands. She kicked off her career at Griffins in NZ before moving to the UK to work with Nestle Cereal Partners where she headed up Cheerios expansion into the UK from the USA and spearheaded cross-European consumer shared value ventures.
She then moved to Switzerland where she ran the Global New Products division for Nestle Cereal Partners before heading home to lead the Goodness Portfolio for Frucor - worth $180m - winning the Frucor Marketer of the year award in her tenure.
Monica’s time at Lion NZ, the nation’s largest alcohol and beverage company, started in 2016 where she was assigned to head up an incubator team called Lion Ventures, focused on exploring the future of sociability and carving out new business opportunities for Lion. With the rise of the shared, gig and experience economies, people are socialising differently and expecting more freedom and inclusion from the people, brands and businesses they engage with. Lion is adapting its offering to ensure it stays relevant. In May, Monica and her team will be launching the first of several transformational new ventures aimed at doing just that.
Hon Chris Hipkins
Education Minister, State Services Minister, Leader of the House and Minister responsible for Ministerial Services
Chris Hipkins is Member of Parliament for Rimutaka. He is ranked seventh in the Cabinet and is the Leader of the House and Minister of Education and State Services. He is also the Minister responsible for Ministerial Services.
Chris passionately believes that every New Zealander deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential in life. He is a staunch advocate for and defender of our public education system. Chris believes that a free, quality education is the right of every child.
Born in 1978, Chris has worked in both the public and private sectors. Chris is passionate about the Hutt Valley, his home, a place that he believes is “bursting with energy and potential”. An outdoor enthusiast, Chris is particularly keen on mountain biking, tramping and swimming. Chris currently lives in Trentham, Upper Hutt. He attended Waterloo Primary School, Hutt Intermediate and Hutt Valley Memorial College (later known as Petone College), where he was the Head Boy in 1996. He went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics and Criminology at Victoria University.
After completing his study, Chris worked in the industry training sector. Before becoming an MP he also worked at parliament, first as Senior Advisor to two Education Ministers and later in the office of the then Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Chris entered Parliament in 2008 and became the Spokesperson for Education at the beginning of 2013. He places a strong emphasis on social justice and believes that every New Zealander should have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Amy Prebble is the CEO and founder of Getaflex, a NZ-grown job platform providing flexible work for all professionals. Getaflex is not just a business, but a movement for change - with a mission to enable all people in Aotearoa to progress a professional, flexible career.
Amy is a Cambridge graduate and former New Zealand diplomat, who served overseas in Canberra and Paris. She spent two years as Private Secretary to then Foreign Minister, Phil Goff, with a career highlight travelling to Antarctica with Sir Ed Hillary. She also ran a consulting business focused on international policy and strategy projects.
Amy became passionate about quality part-time and flexible work when she became a mother of three children. She was astounded by the lack of advertised job opportunities for professional workers like herself to advance a career and raise a family. As she began researching flexible work, it quickly became clear that New Zealand’s workforce was changing, and many people wanted to work outside the traditional office-bound, 9-to-5 working week. Getaflex was founded in response to this demand, with the goal to build New Zealand’s flexible job market, and create an ‘on-ramp’ for professional job-seekers into quality flexible work.
Prof. Elizabeth George
Professor of Management, The University of Auckland
Elizabeth George has held academic positions at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Australian Graduate School of Management, the University of Queensland and Western Michigan University as well as visiting positions in Duke University and the Indian School of Business. She has a Ph.D. in Organization Science from the University of Texas at Austin, an MA in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and a BA in Psychology from Bombay University.
She has an active research interest in nonstandard work arrangements and diversity in the workplace. Her work has been published in major international academic journals such as Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organization Science and the Academy of Management Annals. In addition, her research has been used by the International Labour Organization and the US Society for Human Resource Management to help inform public policy and management practice.
She is a currently a member of six international editorial boards and is an associate editor of the Academy of Management Annals and co-editor in chief of Organizational Psychology Review. Her research has been recognized with various awards including the Academy of Management Review Best Paper Award. She is on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Management.
She has taught in the MBA and EMBA programs at HKUST, AGSM, the University of Queensland, Duke University and the Indian School of Business and has won awards for her teaching in 2000, 2008, 2014 and commendations in all the other years. She has been involved in the design and review of the MBA curriculum at several universities.
She is actively involved with managerial practice. She has been on the judging panel for the Aon Hewitt Best Employer in Hong Kong and has worked with the Hay Group in Hong Kong in developing a leadership development program for working professionals. More recently she is involved with a multi-year employee engagement project with a major Hong Kong-based company. She enjoys bridging academic thought and managerial practice.
Head of Employee Services, MYOB
As Head of Employee Services at MYOB Felicity Brown leads a centralised operational support team across MYOB’s New Zealand and Australian offices. Working closely with the other specialised teams, Felicity’s team takes a holistic approach to the employee experience – spanning across both the traditional people-orientated focus and the digital and workplace functions.
During Felicity’s four years with MYOB, the accounting software company has experienced large-scale transformational change as the business evolved from a desktop world into an agile online company providing real time services in the cloud. Felicity was a key part of the team throughout this change that ensured a smooth transition and played an important role in the exponential rise of MYOB’s employee engagement scores, staff retention rates and attracting top talent into the business. She has overseen purposeful changes to recruitment strategies, specifically the introduction of MYOB’s first graduate recruitment programme which led to the creation of MYOB’s Future Maker’s Academy – a program designed specifically to accelerate the growth of young software developers through ongoing mentorship. Key changes to remote- and flexi- working policies as well as additional ‘flex leave’ are part of the overall flexperience Felicity’s team have played a critical role in the implementation of, to ensure MYOB’s employees enjoy a work-life balance that benefits both the individual and the team.
Prior to MYOB Felicity spent over a decade in various senior roles within the human resources team at KPMG Auckland, working across the full spectrum of ‘people and culture’. She is passionate about challenging traditional business contexts and delivering innovative solutions to transform the employee experience, creating healthy, thriving work places.