Speaker information

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.


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.

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. 

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!