After a successful completion of this event we would like to make some of the presentations available for attendees

Bernard Powell Nurture Change

Tim Williams The Business Mix Tim Williams

Sarah Judkins Global trends in media

Rob Hamill Motivational Speaker


Thanks again to all of our sponsors:

Operating a business in Northland is a worthwhile pursuit with many benefits.  At the same time there are challenges for local businesses being exposed to the kind of thought leadership that can help them, innovate, grow and be successful.  Our geographic location accompanied by the profile and scale of many our regional businesses means that the opportunity to attend conferences that are normally available to business in a metropolitan area do not exist either due to direct financial costs incurred in travel and accommodation or in time away from their businesses or through not being engaged with an industry body that undertakes conferences.

Even in these days of social media, online presence and Ted Talks there is still a place for a face-to-face networking event with like-minded people that is relevant to business, the attendees and has speakers that you can learn from with real life stories.

Based on feedback from our membership base and the wider Northland business community it has been identified that there is a need for a business focussed event of a similar nature to a conference where local business people can exchange ideas and be exposed to fresh thinking.  With the help of various partners, we intend to hold an event at Forum North Whangarei on May 25 2018.

It will be single day event consisting of 4-5 speakers delivering messages of elements key to today’s business people.  At the conclusion of the speaking sessions there would be a full panel discussion of all speakers with opportunity for audience participation and supported by a high-quality master of ceremonies.  The day would be fully catered with lunch and refreshment breaks and would culminate with a networking event at the conclusion of the speaking day.   

The purpose    –    of this event is to:

  • inspire business success through understanding best practice
  • strengthening inter and intra-business relationships
  • provide an opportunity to focus on business on their core strengths and competitive advantage.
  • network with other Northland business leaders and professionals.
  • examine those components integral to future business success.

The audience   –     Northland business people from all backgrounds but specifically targeting those who do not traditionally have the ability to attend existing conference style events outside of Northland.  This would include management from larger companies, support services such as banking, legal, accounting and local and central government agencies operating in Northland.

The speakers:

Bernard Powell

Founder and Ambassador for Premier Group International and founder of

Bernards personal BHAG is to change the world by helping people to build happy and engaged workplace cultures!

He is super passionate about family, health and fitness, playing piano, singing, landscape design, gardening, beach, travelling and sharing the Premier Group story to help and inspire others.

Premier Group is a fast growing kiwi company who won the prestigious IBM Kenexa Best workplace award in 2016 and 2017 and also the Westpac service excellence award in 2016.

Premier Group International is well known for its world class brands: Premier Pavers, Premier Brick, Premier Schist, Premier Block and Premier Stone.

Here is a testimonial from a recent event that Bernard spoke at:

‘I had the pleasure of seeing Bernard speak last year at Nurture Change in Fiji. I was not aware of Bernard prior to this, but by the end of his presentation I was a believer in the power of culture change. I described Bernard in a follow up blog as a ‘pocket rocket’ of a speaker. His energy, enthusiasm, authenticity and general good nature is infectious and clearly shows on stage. He will have any audience laughing, smiling and leaving the venue feeling more confident and energised than when they arrived. I am looking forward to seeing more of Bernard’s presentations in the future and learn how he continues to develop his culture change journey.’ Nichola Quail, Founder and CEO of Fresh Focus NZ

And another……

‘I invited Bernard to speak at our recent Franchise Conference and I am so glad I did. His passion and enthusiasm is infectious, and his message spoke directly to our group right where we were at as a company. His communication was flawless with both humour and earnest to get his point across. I can thoroughly recommend Bernard for any speaking engagements and with him all the best in his mission to keep the culture first message spreading across the globe’

Bernard looks forward to sharing his learnings with you all!


Rob Hamill

Olympian and marathon rowing champion as well as narrator-protagonist of the award winning documentary Brother Number One

Anything is Possible
“An extraordinary mental and physical effort
– something very, very special.”

is how Sir Peter Blake described Rob Hamill and the late Phil Stubbs’ incredible achievement in winning the inaugural Atlantic Rowing Race.

Olympian and marathon rowing champion Rob Hamill has been a New Zealand International rowing representative for 16 years. Rob’s numerous rowing achievements include World Champs silver, Commonwealth gold and a world record on the indoor rowing machine.

Rob represented New Zealand at the Atlanta Olympic Games and published ‘The Naked Rower’ on how he and Phil Stubbs captured headlines around the world winning the gruelling and inaugural Atlantic Rowing Race in 41 days. He then led teams to successful defences in the next two editions making it a 3-peat of victories for New Zealand.

He is co-organiser of ‘The Great Race’ an annual rowing 8s clash between Waikato and visiting universities Cambridge/Oxford/Harvard/Washington on the Waikato River.

Rob was recently the narrator-protagonist of the award winning documentary Brother Number One, which recounts the story of his return to Cambodia to retrace the steps of his brother Kerry, tortured and murdered by the Khmer Rouge.

Rob’s account is a powerful and inspiring message on tenacity, hope, love and the last human freedom: the power to choose your attitude and how you respond to any given situation.

Rob will inspire you to pursue your dreams whatever they may be, to take on new challenges, overcoming hardship against the odds and know that with passion anything is possible.

It doesn’t hurt to be just a little bit crazy too!



Russell Stanners

Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone New Zealand

Russell was appointed Chief Executive of Vodafone New Zealand in April 2005.  During his time as CEO he has led Vodafone’s efforts to expand into the total communications market – securing the acquisitions of TelstraClear, iHug and WorldxChange – repositioning the business from a mobile operator to a full service communications company with a strong focus on innovation, customer service and value as key strategic platforms.

Russell joined Vodafone in 2002 as Director of Enterprise Markets to lead its entry into the business market.  He led this division for two years, materially growing revenues and market share.

Before joining Vodafone, Russell enjoyed a successful career in the global information technology industry.  Just prior to Vodafone he was Managing Director of Unisys New Zealand Limited for two years, based out of Wellington.

Before Unisys, IBM was his employer for 15 years.  He started in sales and progressed through management to become Global Director, Telecommunications Services based out of New York.  In IBM he worked in many roles spanning sales, marketing, services and systems integration across all major markets.

Russell qualified with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Auckland University.  He grew up in Manurewa and still connects strongly with the Manukau community.

Outside of the office he is a committed family man.  He is married to Michelle and they have three children.  Beyond the family he enjoys fishing, diving, watching sport and is a very proud supporter of the Vodafone Warriors.


Tim Williams

Tim WilliamsShareholder and director of Donovan Group

Tim spent 17 years in Japan where he co-founded ValueClick and later founded ValueCommerce. ValueClick was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2000 and bought out in 2004. In 2005 ValueCommerce sold a 49% stake to Yahoo Japan and later listed the company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Tim is invested in numerous sectors and actively involved at the board level in four companies. These range from start ups, grow companies, to a publicly listed company.

Tim holds a BSc(Hon 1) in molecular genetics from the University of Canterbury. He joined Donovan Group in 2015 as a shareholder and director.

Sarah Judkins

Sarah JudkinsChief Strategy Officer NZME

Sarah is responsible for a number of strategic projects across NZME and the development of new business initiatives.  Sarah joined NZME in 2014 to lead the transformation and integration of the APN, TRN and GrabOne businesses into NZME.  Sarah joined NZME from KPMG where she was a Director in the transactions team, specialising in operational strategy, transaction support and integration planning. Sarah has 20 years’ experience working with business managers and stakeholders in a wide range of industries in New Zealand and Asia developing and implementing strategic plans. Since returning to New Zealand, Sarah has worked with several New Zealand companies on a range of strategic projects and brings a breadth of financial and strategic experience to NZME.


Michael Barnett

Michael BarnettChief Executive/Director and MC for The Business Mix

Michael Barnett is Chief Executive of the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and a Director of both the Auckland Chamber and NZ Chambers of Commerce & Industry.

Michael was recognised by the Queen in the 2011 New Year’s Honours with a NZ Order of Merit.

Mr Barnett has been Chief Executive of the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce since 1988 and a Councillor of the Auckland Regional Council from 2004 to 2010, with the last three years as Deputy Chair. He was a leading advocate for the creation of a single city across the region.  As Chair of the Auckland Business Forum since 2000, he has been an energetic advocate for Auckland to complete its motorway network.  As Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce he co-ordinated the restructuring of the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce movement to strengthen opportunities for local and regional Chambers. He has also been Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust and is a longstanding member of the Auckland Santa Parade Trus.

Present Roles

  • Chief Executive Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce (1992 – Present)
  • Director Auckland Chamber of Commerce


  • Chairman Local Government Forum
  • Chairman Auckland Business Leaders Group
  • Chairman Auckland Business Forum
  • Chairman Auckland Children’s Santa Parade Trust
  • Director New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Chairman of Management Committee
  • Director Grow Rotorua
  • Ministerial appointee to National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women
  • Chairman NZ Infant Formula Exporters Association
  • Eastern Bay of Plenty Economic Development Agency( TOI-EDA)
  • Co-Chair of the Rules Reduction Taskforce

Event details

25 May 2018 – 9.30am until 6.00pm

Forum North, Rust Ave, Whangarei

Draft programme 250518 The Business Mix – WEB Draft programme

General admission – $140+GST (table of 8 $1000+GST)
Chamber member discounted – $120+GST (table of 8 $900+GST)

Supported by: