Sam Johnson, social entrepreneur
Sam Johnson is one of New Zealand’s most inspiring young citizens. His relentless energy to mobilise people around ideas has a magic ability in building movements that matter! Farm boy turned social entrepreneur, Sam’s work is on the leading edge of using the collective to overcome the bureaucratic – shifting our belief system about what is possible when teams, organisations and communities authentically connect and build empathy.
Sam is founder and chief executive of the Student Volunteer Army and is well-known for his entrepreneurial ideas that continue to make significant differences to the lives of others. Sam leads the team to design and operate projects that impact over 65,000 volunteers each year in New Zealand. The Student Army partnered with New World supermarkets during COVID to design, develop and deploy an end-to-end shopping service for people most at–risk from the virus within a week. Sam oversaw his team scaling from a team of seven to 98 and building capacity to deliver contactless groceries for up to 10,000 households a week. Sam and the team are continuing to make the most of the crisis, as every organisation must do, by rapidly testing new initiatives, and evolving their business model to fit the challenging times we are in.
Jehan Casinader, journalist
Jehan Casinader is of New Zealand’s leading storytellers. He has spent 12 years reporting for TVNZ’s top current affairs programmes, including Sunday, Seven Sharp, Close Up and Breakfast. He was named “Broadcast Reporter of the Year” at the Voyager Media Awards in 2020.
As a survivor of depression, Jehan wants all Kiwis to be able to tell hopeful, helpful stories about their lives – stories that promote mental wellbeing.
He is the author of a moving and inspiring book called This Is Not How It Ends: How rewriting your story can save your life (HarperCollins).
Jarrod Kerr, Kiwibank Chief Economist
Jarrod Kerr is Kiwibank’s Chief Economist. Jarrod has a passion for the environment, financial markets, and everything economics. Although born and schooled in New Zealand, he cut his teeth in US, Swiss, and Australian banks, and has spent his entire career overseas. Jarrod started off as an economist at JP Morgan in Sydney. He then moved into financial markets as an interest rate strategist for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, before moving to Credit Suisse in Singapore as Head of Australian and New Zealand fixed income and economic research. After 16 years abroad, Jarrod returned home to the mighty Kiwibank in 2018.
Vic Crone, CE of Callaghan Innovation
As the CEO of Callaghan Innovation (New Zealand’s Government-backed innovation agency), Vic Crone knows first-hand how innovation can change the trajectory of individual businesses AND of New Zealand.
While forestry, dairy and tourism have been stalwart industries in the past, it’s time to diversify and future-proof our economy and raise living standards for all – to do this, Vic says, we must turn ourselves into a hub for high-value, knowledge intensive businesses.
Her vision for innovation in Aotearoa is to encourage businesses to invest in research and development, build businesses’ confidence, and beef up the commercialisation of ideas to take overseas. We’re already doing some incredible stuff in our industry – now it’s time to amplify it and take it to the next level… and to the world. Robot lawn mowers, voice-activated household tools, 3D printers – Vic will share upcoming trends, and local and international examples of innovation, to inspire you and show you what is possible. Her challenge to us is to embrace the possibilities of technology and focus on nurturing your entrepreneurial and innovative potential to realise your ambitions. The future is coming – learn how to embrace it, rather than holding on to the past.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles
As one of New Zealand’s most recognised and respected scientists, Dr Siouxsie Wiles describes herself as a microbiologist and bioluminescence enthusiast but to many she is “that pink-haired science lady”.
Siouxsie studied medical microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, followed by a PhD in microbiology at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxford. She spent almost a decade at Imperial College London, before relocating to Aotearoa as a Health Research Council Hercus Fellow in 2009. Siouxsie heads up the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab, where she combines her twin passions to understand infectious diseases and to find new antibiotics.
Siouxsie also has a keen interest in demystifying science; she is a tweeter, blogger, podcaster, and media science commentator, and has worked with artists to make living works of art for various exhibitions in Aotearoa and overseas. In 2017 she published her first book, ‘Antibiotic resistance: the end of modern medicine?’, and recently collaborated with her daughter to make a kid’s show about microbiology.
Siouxsie has won numerous awards for her research and science communication efforts, including the UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) 3Rs prize, the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize, and Royal Society Te Apārangi’s Callaghan Medal. She was one of three finalists for the 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of Year award and in 2019 was appointed a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to microbiology and science communication.