Thursday 7 June 2018, Rutherford Hotel, Nelson

Join us at our one-day annual Aspire Conference where we’ll focus on how we can strengthen our region’s workforce to enable economic growth.

As one of the fastest growing regions in the country with one of the lowest unemployment rates, it’s critical our businesses have clear plans in place to attract and retain skilled and seasonal labour at all levels of the workplace across all sectors.

Jam-packed with inspiring and high calibre speakers from a range of industries and different sized businesses, this year’s Aspire will take on a new format with a keynote speaker and two interactive panel sessions. Each session will provide you with the opportunity to contribute to the discussion and interact with our panellists.

You’ll hear about workforce attraction issues including immigration and recruitment, through to retention and development of staff and how we can use digital disruption in the workplace to our advantage.

The Chamber is committed to driving forward and advocating on your behalf on key actions that come out of the day, so make sure you attend and have your voice heard.

Let’s aspire for great things for our region.

Aspire 2018 line up

MODERATOR: Liam Dann, Business Editor for NZ Herald

Liam Dann is the Business Editor at Large with the New Zealand Herald. He was Business Editor for eight years before moving to a more expansive role in 2016 – writing opinion, covering markets, economics and politics. He has been a journalist for 23 years, covering business for the last 18 of them.

Born and bred in Christchurch, Liam is older brother of TVNZ political journalist Corin Dann. His passion is for Markets and Economics, because they are the engine of the New Zealand economy.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Antony Welton, Human Resources Director, Vodafone NZ

Antony was appointed Human Resources Director Vodafone and Chair of the Vodafone Foundation in October 2012, but has worked for a number of Vodafone entities since 2002. He started his career as an occupational psychologist and has specialised in change management. Under Antony’s leadership Vodafone won the 2018 HR Diversity and Inclusion Award, which recognises excellence in identifying and acting in a way that shows a “one size fits all” approach to managing people does not achieve fairness and equity of opportunity for everyone.

Panel One – Attracting our Region’s Workforce

PANELLIST: Aaron Jay, Managing Director, Hortus

Aaron has been at the forefront of recruiting seasonal workers as the Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme representative for Marlborough. His company has frequently been held up as an example of an employer following best practice guidelines for seasonal workers.

PANELLIST: Renee Wilson, Business Owner

Renee moved to Nelson 5 years ago to take up an HR role with Sealords, before becoming Fleet Harvest Manager. Renee has recently left to pursue her own business. As a member of the Nelson Young Professionals, Renee will discuss what attracted her to Nelson, and how can we continue to attract younger skilled workers – and keep them.

PANELLIST: Paul Bell, Managing Director, Intepeople

As one of New Zealand’s most experienced HR practitioners, Paul has been at the forefront of introducing leading edge organisation change programmes into the corporate world. Intepeople provides human resources, recruitment and business consulting services, so how does Paul and his team ensure they have access to top talent to attract to the region?

Panel Two: Retaining and Developing our Workforce

PANELLIST: Christine Brotherton, Head of People and Capability, Perpetual Guardian

The announcement of the four-day work week trial may have been a hallmark of her leadership within Perpetual Guardian, but Christine’s career has been marked by globally significant projects for recruitment and retention of talent. Is taking a creative approach to the traditional working week the key to retention and productivity?

PANELLIST: Brent Foote, General Manager Regional Maintenance, Air New Zealand

Regardless of size and brand reputation, Air New Zealand still has to work hard and be creative to attract and retain its regional maintenance workforce based in Nelson. Brent joined Air New Zealand as an Avionics Engineer in 1990 for seven years, before returning in 2006 where he has been there since. How does Air New Zealand create the right incentives?

PANELLIST: Kirsten Wood, Human Resources Manager, Duncan Cotterill

With over 220 employees in four locations, Duncan Cotterill works hard at maintaining a high standard of employee satisfaction. With 18 years of HR experience, Kirsten’s role is to tap into and realise the potential and talent of the firm’s employees to launch and further grow careers.

PANELLIST: Johny O’Donnell, Founder ShiftOn

Johny is a young entrepreneur with a passion for bridging the generational divide. His business ShiftOn works to help businesses meet the demands of an ever-changing and rapidly evolving business world. He has a unique ability to simplify the world of digital and generational change, helping people gain confidence in tackling these complex and overwhelming shifts in the way we do business.


8.45am    Registrations and arrival tea and coffee

9.15am    Welcome from Chamber CEO Grant Kerr
Introduction from Liam Dann, NZ Herald Business Editor
Keynote Speaker Antony Welton, Human Resources Director, Vodafone New Zealand

10.15am  Morning Tea

10.45am  PANEL SESSION ONE –  Workforce Attraction

12.30pm  Lunch

1.30pm    PANEL SESSION TWO –  Workforce Retention and Development

3.45pm    Conference Wrap-Up

4.15pm    Drinks/Nibbles/Networking

Register for Aspire


Marketing opportunities for your business at Aspire

We have a great opportunity for your business to gain additional exposure at Aspire through exhibiting a stand at the conference venue. You’ll be able to directly market to over 100 business owners and employers at a very affordable price. Talk to Jane Crampton, Chamber Events and Partnership Manager on 03 548 1363 or email for further information. As a Chamber member you’ll receive an exhibition fee discount. There are limited exhibitor spaces so don’t miss out!

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