September 29, 2021

Meet the Top Diverse Board-Ready Directors 2021: Part 3

The Superdiversity Institute and the Ministry for Ethnic Communities are pleased to announce that the ‘Top Diverse Board-Ready Directors List 2021’ has been decided. Meet the next sixteen below!

Jacque Lethbridge
Jacque represents clients across a wide range of contentious and significant civil litigation in the High Court and other senior courts, has been a partner since 2008 and currently Head of Litigation at Martelli McKegg Lawyers. Between 2004 and 2008 Jacque was a Prosecutor for the Ministry of Social, a Defence Lawyer for the Public Defence Service. Jacque was Chairperson of the board of the Auckland Community Law Centre which won Governance Organisation of the Year in the Women on Boards awards. Jacque was a co-founding Chair of Women in Restructuring and Insolvency and the first woman to be appointed to the board of RITANZ, the industry (and now regulatory) organisation for the restructuring and insolvency industry. Jacque is VicePresident (Auckland) of the New Zealand Law Society and on the NZLS board and was recognised in the NZ Lawyer Most Influential Lawyer 2021 awards in the Changemaker category.

Rachel Sanson
Rachel Sanson is a professional director – a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors with experience in the public, private and community sectors – and an Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) Fellow. Currently an elected member at Nelson City Council, she’s held portfolios and appointments in Governance and Finance, Audit and Risk, Iwi Council Partnership, Forestry, Biodiversity. She sits on the boards of Ākina Foundation and of Nayland College, where she’s led development of a Sustainability and Global Citizenship strategy framed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Rachel cofounded a global education and leadership development company, working with staff and hundreds of partners across 16 countries. After two decades at the helm, she turned her focus to supporting and leading positive impact and outcomes in her community and for Aotearoa NZ. Rachel is committed to partnership with tangata whenua, to honouring Te Tiriti O Waitangi, to being a good ancestor, tūpuna pono, and to a just transition in the face of inequity, climate change and biodiversity collapse. She believes nurturing a governance environment that embraces difference and diversity in all its forms, allows people to bring their whole selves to the table – their unique perspective, lived experience, innovation, and connection to people and place.

Matanuku Mahuika
Matanuku is a lawyer and founding partner of the law firm Kahui Legal. He has been in corporate and private practise since 1991. He is Ngati Porou and Ngati Raukawa and was born at Te Puia Springs on the East Coast of the North Island. He is the current Chair of the Eastland Group, a director of the New Zealand Merino Company, and a member of the board of Callaghan Innovation. He has also been the Deputy Chair of Aotearoa Fisheries Limited (now Moana New Zealand), Chair of Sealord Group and Chair of the Ngati Porou Holding Company. Matanuku Lives in Gisborne. He is married to Tiana (who is also a lawyer) and has four children the eldest of which is 25 and the
youngest of which was born in November 2020.

Jaydene Kana
I am an experienced chartered accountant that has served in a variety of iwi, not for profit, public sector, and private sector governance and leadership roles. My iwi experience taught me to value mana motuhake and giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, to achieve better outcomes for Maaori. My not-for-profit experience taught me to value people that dedicate their time and resources, often without compensation, to achieve better community outcomes. My public sector experience taught me to value diversity, wellbeing, and better outcomes for minorities, that result in better outcomes for Aotearoa. My private sector experience taught me to protect shareholder value whilst being staunch about the health and safety of employees. As a governor and a leader, I value collaboration, healthy debate, and a mix of traditional and transformational thinking. As an individual, I value
challenging the status quo which my teenage son describes as “always asking for more”.

Ripeka Evans
Ripeka Evans is an equity and te tiriti advocatet, Māori and iwi development leader and a director of Crown and iwi owned companies. She is Deputy Chair of the Ngāpuhi Investments, Chair of Northland Polytechnic and Deputy Chair of Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, and the latter companies are at the leading edge of the reforms of vocational education. She is inaugural chair of Courageous Conversation Aotearoa a philanthropic racial equity foundation and Chair of Te Aupouri ki Poneke an iwi taurahere – connectedness – trust. She is a lead Claimant in the Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry to the Waitangi Tribunal along with 160 wāhine, whānau, hapū and Māori women claimant groups. Ripeka holds a Master of Business Administration from Massey University. Her iwi affiliations are Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Te Aupouri and Ngāti Porou.

Nevak Rogers
Of Māori and Tongan descent, Nevak Rogers has 25 years’ experience as a journalist, producer and network executive of content in the media industry. The Deputy Content Director at TVNZ oversees the commissioning of more than 100 local shows annually where she’s helped spearhead the state broadcaster’s Māori strategy and Cultural Integrity framework for their local slate. The mother of two is a second language-learner with strong links to her iwi in Tūranga as well as Pasifika media networks and urban Māori communities in Tāmaki. Nevak served on Te Putahi Paoho for eight years; held the deputy chair of Ngā Aho Whakaari; represents TVNZ on Te Pae Tawhiti and is a member of AUT’s Auteur Network. “I believe I have many transferable skills and can be of service to boards in Aotearoa by offering a diverse perspective born of my whakapapa, extensive networks and lived experiences,” says Nevak Rogers.

Hongyu (Carol) Cheng
Carol Cheng, the founder of Hong Consulting Limited, is an experienced business advisor with more than 20 years of accounting, auditing and advisory experience in New Zealand, Hong Kong and China. Carol is an independent director and the Chair of the Risk Committee of Auckland Unlimited Ltd. Carol previously was an Executive Director at PwC and a partner of Grant Thornton China. She was the Executive Board Member and Treasurer of the New Zealand China Trade Association from 2014 to 2020. Carol has professional experience in a wide range of industries such as retailing, manufacturing, trading and services, real estate, freight forwarding and technology etc. She is passionate about improving organisations’ performance and contributing to the diversity of thoughts in boardrooms. Carol speaks fluent English and Mandarin. She is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors and a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Jen Lin Wong
Jen’s big picture capabilities, coupled with being a skilled operator, is a culmination of her experience in bringing companies and projects to life in both the non-profit/impact space, as well as spending the past decade immersed in South East Asia’s tech startup ecosystems, and exposed to global ecosystems in Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia. Jen’s role has provided her with extensive engagement with government ministries, Board of Directors, entrepreneurs, and investors. Upon returning to New Zealand late 2020, she is committed to contributing towards the tech and innovation ecosystem, as well as building talent in New Zealand as she believes that it is key to driving the country’s economy forward. Jen believes that businesses can and should be a force for good. With that, strong governance provides the sustainability businesses require for the long term.

Lalita Kasanji
I am of Indian heritage, born and raised in Wellington. My Masters in Sociology from Victoria University of Wellington was one of the first to look at Indian migration to New Zealand. This led to a role in the Department of Internal Affairs to establish the Ethnic Affairs Service, a precursor to the new Ministry for Ethnic Communities. At the Ethnic Affairs Service I was the sole person connecting ethnic communities and organisations to government and nongovernment agencies, identifying their economic and social needs. Since then, I have developed broad business experience as a director of two companies and manage a property investment portfolio in New Zealand and Australia. I am a board member of a local business organisation, and on the committee of a community organisation.

Adrienne Miller
Adrienne, a lawyer by training, has worked for more than 20 years in and around the infrastructure and construction sector. She has a range of perspectives having worked within a professional services firm, inhouse as a General Counsel, as an executive, in board roles and in a boutique consulting practice she herself founded in 2018. She has worked in the waste industry, for a building products supplier (timber), for contractors, for a public sector water utility; and now a NFP that serves the infrastructure sector. Her day job is as General Manager NZ for the Infrastructure Sustainability Council – a NFP helping ensure infrastructure delivers cultural, social, environmental and economic benefits for the communities it serves. She also sits on the Building Advisory Panel for MBIE and volunteers her time mentoring and on a range of boards and initiatives looking to address diversity and inclusion – a particular passion of hers. She is a foundation member of the WIN Advisory Board at INZ, in her second term as a trustee on the board of Diversity Works NZ and chairs the Steering Committee for the Construction Diversity Roadmap project, a Construction Sector Accord work stream. She also mentors privately and as part of schemes, for example women’s mentoring programs at the Auckland Business and Law Schools and through leadership development programs like GHD Smart Seeds design thinking program which she has been involved with over many years.

Duncan Matthews
Kia ora! I have volunteered and worked in (and for) the Rainbow communities of Aotearoa since 2008. Today I serve as Treasurer for the Rule Foundation, and as a member of the Ministry for Youth Development Partnership Fund Board. Alongside these appointments I work for Foundation North and am completing a Masters in Social and Community Leadership. As a director, employee and student I am interested in collaboration, breaking down systemic barriers and creating environments for equity to develop. I have a passion for community organisations and youth development, and personal interests in investing and technology. Based in Tāmaki Makaurau, I grew up in the Waikato and have a strong affinity with both regions.

Arran Hunt
I specialise in immigration law, helping thousands of people to secure life in New Zealand, and online/social media law, helping people be protected online. New Zealand is a country where diversity is celebrated, where people can be both a New Zealander while retaining their own heritage. As a first generation New Zealand, I understand the desire to retain a cultural identity, and encourage that others so the same. However, that diversity can often cause issues, whether it is in securing the right to be in New Zealand, or from online harm. My approach is that everyone deserves to know and understand the law that impacts them, and have the right to proper legal information, so I do what I can to make that a reality. In doing so, I’ve had the pleasure of helping thousands of people.

Laura Scampion
Laura Scampion is a partner at DLA Piper specialising in employment and health and safety law. Laura is a Board member of the DLA Piper New Zealand Board and leads the employment practice group. She is the driving force behind DLA Piper New Zealand’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group and is a Trustee on the Board of the DLA Piper Global Scholarship Programme. Laura entered the legal profession from a modest background attending a low decile school in West Auckland. Against this background she led the introduction of the Head Start programme into DLA Piper New Zealand, a bespoke social mobility programme which aims to improve access to the legal profession to those from low socio-economic backgrounds and underrepresented areas of our community. She is responsible for the oversight of four different diversity and inclusion working groups at DLA Piper including those relating to cultural identity, LGBTI+, mental wellbeing and age. She also sits on an Asia Pacific diversity and inclusion council.

Rodney Wong
Rodney brings over thirty years’ experience across the private and public sectors. With an initial background in food production technology, he has held CEO roles (including NZ managing director of FMCG brands e.g. Yoplait, Birdseye, Edgell & Leggos). More recently held numerous board director & Chairman on many diverse organisations e.g. Iwi Investments, Airports and Social Service Agencies. He is a former Chair of Crop and Food Research and led the merger to form Plant & Food Research before becoming their Deputy Chair. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology. He received the Palmerston North City Civic Award, its highest recognition for voluntary service to the community, for projects such as co-founding the Wildbase Recovery Centre.

Suneil Connor
Suneil is the Group Chief Financial Officer for Service Foods. He is on the Auckland Branch Committee of the Institute of Directors where he is also the treasurer. He is a board observer for CAANZ Auckland, a director of KiwiHarvest, New Zealand Food Network, and is a board member of Auckland Foundation. Suneil chair’s Audit and Risk KiwiHarvest, New Zealand Food Network and Auckland Foundation. Outside of work Suneil enjoys testing new craft beer spots, and spending time with his wife Hannah, his son Barney, and their Rhodesian Ridgeback and British Bulldog – Sully and Basil.

Vivienne Scott
An experienced board director who has chaired PSGE commercial risk, governance, Health and safety and FAR committees. Brings to boards deep knowledge of infrastructure by involvement in more than 500 projects working in the areas of health and safety, environmental, value engineering, stakeholder engagement, quality management, resource planning, programme management, operational execution, pricing and financial implications, contractual obligations and risks, as well as compliance to relevant legislation and regulation. Understands innovation in AI, machine learning and digital sectors, better risk management, and stronger connections with customers, employees and business partners. She can identify patterns in raw data that help provide insights into, or solve, realworld problems based on spatial analysis using ARCPro GIS (ESRI). This includes Python software programming. Understands and is committed to working within a Te Aō Māori framework and ensuring the principles of Nga Uaratanga, Rangatiratanga, Kaitiakitanga, Kotahitanga, Manaakitanga, Whanaungatanga and Mana Motuhake are included.