Speaker information

Day 1 

Dr Paul Wood | Philip Aldridge & Donovan Clark Tim Fowler Alison McDonald | Dr Damon Whitten & Pale Sauni

Day 2 

Hon Chris Hipkins | Ola Ioane | Glenys Talivai Dr Grant Klinkum | Gillian Dudgeon | Katrina Suitch

Day 1 - Tuesday 18 October


Dr. Paul Wood is an expert in helping people and organisations strive towards their potential and flourish through change and adversity. Paul works with everyone from senior leaders in fortune 100 companies such as Google to at-risk-teens. He is a regular contributor in the media, an author, and his recently released second book, “Mental Fitness; Build your mind for strength and resilience every day” was another instant best seller. Paul’s passion for the pursuit of excellence and turning adversity to advantage comes from his own journey from delinquent to Doctor of Psychology.

Philip Aldridge

Leading Waihanga Ara Rau Construction and Infrastructure Workforce Development Council is Chief Executive Philip Aldridge. With an extensive background in commercial enterprises, NGOs, and government organisations, Phil joined Waihanga Ara Rau after a successful tenure as the Executive Director of the Health Association of NZ.
Having led initiatives to improve the Canterbury Rebuild’s labour supply, in conjunction with the infrastructure and construction industry, education providers and Government agencies, Phil understands the challenges and opportunities involved with transformational programmes of work involving many different Tangata Whai Mana (stakeholders).
Phil has a strong passion and vision for Waihanga Ara Rau and has rapidly recruited a motivated team to help move the organisation from an establishment start-up phase to full operation in a short space of time. Waihanga Ara Rau is a continuation of Phil’s history in customer-facing roles. Phil’s drive is to make a difference to the lives and work of others, supporting them to fulfil their potential – this goes right to the heart of the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) which is focused on helping learners, employers and communities to thrive.
Phil enjoys creating opportunities to collaborate and partner on important mahi. He is looking forward to getting out across the motu to raise awareness of Waihanga Ara Rau and build the important connections that will catalyse change across vocational education. Phil is a proud dad of two adult children, and lives with his partner and stepson in suburban Wellington. He’s a passionate member of the Board of the Asthma Foundation, and in the
weekends, you’ll find him swimming or going on hikes (pretty impressive ones, too!) with his tramping club.
Get in touch with Phil at philip.aldridge@waihangaararau.nz

Donovan Clarke

Donovan Clarke is a proud Māori leader and has whakapapa to Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Manu and Ngāti Te Ata. He is a fluent te reo Māori speaker and is well connected to both Iwi and Pacific leaders across the motu.

Donovan is an experienced senior executive with a proven history of leading transformational change and improving accessibility. He also brought executive Primary and Secondary health experience to his role as the inaugural chief executive of Toitū te Waiora, having led significant change projects across primary care, mental health and addictions, and the disability sector over many years. In addition to this, Donovan is also the chair of the Board of Directors for the Anglesea Clinic Charitable Trust, an organisation that provides urgent medical and injury care in Kirikiriroa, and the chair of Te Rau Ora Board of Directors. He is an active member of his iwi and is passionate about transformation and ensuring equity across sectors.

Presentation brief: Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) are industry-led bodies re-shaping vocational education across Aotearoa New Zealand. They work with industry and employers to understand the skills that are needed now and in the future. They set standards, develop qualifications and help shape the curriculum of vocational education. The presentation will outline the focus areas of the WDCs and discuss how they can collaborate with PTEs.

Tim Fowler 2022

Tim Fowler is Chief Executive of the Tertiary Education Commission, a position he has held since April 2013. He was previously Deputy Chief Executive, Quality Assurance at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. Tim has held international and management positions in Australia and New Zealand in both the private and university sectors after starting his career in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Tim has an Honours Degree from Victoria University, a Masters from the East-West Center and the University of Hawaii, and executive education from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and INSEAD.

Tim is married to Louise and they have two children, Samantha and Zac.

Alison McDonald

Immigration New Zealand helps to build a strong economy, deepening links with international markets and providing the skills and capital we need to grow New Zealand for all.
Alison was appointed as Deputy Secretary Immigration within MBIE in 2021 and leads Immigration New Zealand (INZ). INZ works hard to deliver immigration services that bring the right migrants to New Zealand, while remaining trusted stewards of New Zealand’s border.
Alison has a wealth of operational leadership experience from public service in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. She served in a variety of leadership roles within the UK Civil Service at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for her work there. Alison arrived in New Zealand in 2013 and spent 3 years at Te Kawa Mataaho (formerly the State Services Commission) as Deputy Commissioner for Performance Improvement. She went on to roles as Director of the Customs 2020 transformation programme, and Deputy Chief Executive Services for Children and Families at Oranga Tamariki before joining Immigration New Zealand.

Presentation brief: Immigration is a key part of New Zealand’s story. Alison will talk about INZs strategic direction and her vision for INZ’s operations. She will provide an update on Accredited Employer Work Visa and international student visa processing, both of which have recently implemented policy changes

Damon is a specialist provider of professional development to the tertiary sector, focusing on adult literacy and numeracy. He focuses on generating and connecting research to real-world contexts and using the results to develop effective teaching and learning approaches.
Damon is at the forefront of adult education and works toward empowering and reengaging adult learners with their dreams, passions and potentials through numeracy and literacy education.

Pale Sauni is Ako Aotearoa’s Pacific Priorities and Cultural Leader. He was born in Samoa and has had all his formal education in New Zealand.
He is a highly experienced workshop presenter and co-author of the ‘Pacific Cultural Centredness Pathway’ featured on Pathways Awarua. This online interactive tool provides practical ways to use specific Pacific values and principles, ethnically centred to safely approach seven Pacific community groups who live in Aotearoa: Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Fiji, Cook Islands and Niue.
Pale uses humour, research, song, activities and role-play to engage workshop participants and build their cultural capability.

Presentation brief: The team behind Ako Aotearoa’s Manako programme is striving to enhance the range and quality of services to support tertiary organisations and educators. These include building capability in: 

1. embedding language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) into programme design and delivery 
2. developing a culturally centred approach to enhance Māori and Pacific success and creativity
3. designing learning environments that meet the needs of neurodiverse learners 
4. creating a whole-organisation approach to embedding LLN, and cultural centredness.

 This presentation provides an overview of the services and new developments within the Manako programme, including: 
1. existing and new professional development opportunities 
2. the Tapatoru and Tapa Tolu
3. the Dyslexia-Friendly Quality Mark 
4. learner agency.

Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October


Chris Hipkins is Member of Parliament for Remutaka. He is Minister of Education, Minister for COVID-19 Response, and Minister for the Public Service. He is also Leader of the House.

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 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.

In 2019 Minister Hipkins announced the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) with the aim of delivering a single, strong and sustainable vocational educational system for education and workplace training. He calls RoVE the biggest change to vocational education in a generation. 


Ola is drawn to roles that reduce inequities and has a decade of experience providing solutions in the finance and health sector. With his experience in managing dynamic projects and transforming equity initiatives through innovation, he is energised to also use his lived experiences to convert conversations about inclusion and fairness into meaningful action. Ola has a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Auckland and Master’s degree in Business from the University of Queensland. From this, he has worked with clients in health, hospitality and not-for-profits to create messaging that improves organisational outcomes.

Katrina Sutich

Katrina has worked at the Ministry since early 2018 when she joined as policy manager responsible for vocational and skills policy and has been Group Manager for Tertiary since March 2020. She has been involved in the Reform of Vocational Education work programme since its outset and has been closely involved in helping to navigate the tertiary system’s COVID-19 response.

She has previously worked at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in a range of policy areas including intellectual property, KiwiSaver, Retirement Savings and corporate governance. Earlier in her career she worked as a lawyer in New Zealand and the United Kingdom and has run her own business.

Glenys Talivai 2022

Glenys Talivai is the Chief Executive Officer of Public Trust where she joined in March 2019 from Tower Insurance. Over the last three years, Glenys has led the organisation through significant and positive cultural change while also navigating challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

She is a highly regarded executive with extensive leadership experience in the financial services sector, recognised as the Young Executive of the Year at the Deloitte Top 200 Awards in 2012. Glenys has previously led transformation, sales, claims and customer retention in a various senior leadership roles including with Medical Assurance Society and ANZ Bank.

She currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Epsom Normal Primary School, and previously served as the Deputy Chair on the Board for the Institute of Management New Zealand. She is the proud mother of two young boys, and stepmother of two.

Presentation brief: Glenys Talivai, Public Trust CEO, is delighted to join the 2022 ITENZ Conference to share her insights and practical tools for any leader tasked with leading through change. Glenys will draw on the themes of courage, collaboration, creativity and capability to share usable insights, tools and tactics that leaders can adopt to help them and their teams navigate change. As a highly experienced senior leader in the financial sector, she will bring her extensive knowledge of what it takes to successfully lead through VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – environments. Glenys’s people-centric leadership of the nearly 150-year-old Crown entity through Covid helped keep the organisation’s people and customers as safe as possible, while continuing to deliver the organisation’s essential services.

Dr Grant Klinkum 2022

Grant Klinkum has worked as a Dean / Deputy Chief Executive in the PTE / Polytechnic Sector and has been a member of the SLT of Tertiary Education Commission, Ministry of Education and New Zealand Qualifications Authority. Grant has been Chief Executive of NZQA since 2020 and is a member of the RoVE programme Governance Group. Grant has a Master of Education Administration, a Master of Arts and a PhD in Political Science.

Presentation brief:  Grant will share developments in NZQA’s regulatory approach arising from RoVE and the pandemic. Implications for the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, qualifications, ‘national curricula’, skill standards and quality assurance arrangements will be canvassed. The presentation will finish with a description of how NZQA plans to support opportunities for Mātauranga Māori to be more fully reflected in qualifications.

Gillian Dudgeon 2022

As Deputy Chief Executive of the Delivery Directorate at the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), Gillian oversees the customer-facing unit, and leads the teams responsible for implementation and delivery of its products and services, relationship management, performance management and monitoring.
Gillian is also the TEC’s business owner for the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) programme and has been involved with the programme since the initial consultation in 2019. She is a member of the RoVE Programme Board which governs this transformation programme, and engages frequently with organisations, agencies and individuals on these reforms.
Gillian joined TEC in July 2018. Prior to this she spent four years with the Earthquake Commission. Gillian has also held executive roles at ANZ and the National Bank across customer-facing, product management, IT and risk management teams.
Gillian is married to Nigel and they have two children, Meaghan and Liam.

More speakers' info is coming soon!