#JAFAC Speakers

BizDojo Tory St, Wellington, 5-6 Sept 2019

Sandy Davey

Sandy Davey

Founder of ProductSpace

Having been involved in more than 30 digital (hardware and software) products across B2C and B2B, she has a deep love of digital product management. Sandy’s seen the best, and worst, so she mashes agile, lean and new ways of working with passion, humour and pragmatism to help people, teams and organisations optimise the way they bring digital products to market.


JAFAC 2019 Topic
Upon retrospective: the Board went Agile
Someone recently said they’d be dead before Boards and Board of Directors become Agile! But, at CHOICE, we feel optimistic.

A 60 year old social enterprise, CHOICE is largely funded through a digital business that has undergone significant transformation. While much of this transformation has been within CHOICE, it’s been supported by a transformation at Board level. This is a Board that has learned to focus on what the organisation is trying to achieve rather than how, and favours OKRs over traditional business plans. Most of all, it’s a Board committed to continuous learning and improvement.



Board Chair Sandra Davey will talk about their ‘accidental’ Agile journey, and how and why they’re practicing new ways of working. If you’ve ever thought that Boards don’t think about user needs and will never understand Agile, this is the session for you.

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Sam Laing

Sam Laing

Agile Coach at Nomad8

Sam wants people to be happy and productive at work. Working with purpose and meaning and joy. From starting out as a software developer, she now uses and enthuses about agile with many different industries and teams. A regular speaker at international agile conferences, she has co-authored a number of books on agile and Scrum. She is mildly obsessed with her dogs.

JAFAC 2019 Topic
Being Curious about YOU

Who are YOU? Is the person you see in the mirror the person you want to be? This is a story about discovery, learning lessons (sometimes the same lesson a few times) and limiting beliefs.

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Sonya Williams

Sonya Williams

Co-Founder of Sharesies

Sonya saw an opportunity to make investing more accessible and provide everyone the chance to grow their wealth. She is a Co-Founder, Director and day-to-day runs the product and marketing at Sharesies. She comes from a career in startup, Saas and banking communities where she’s lead global marketing and product management—specialising in product strategy, customer acquisition, engagement and retention.

JAFAC 2019 Topic:
Sharesies is on a path to creating the most financially empowered generation! Just over 2.5 years ago they launched an online platform that made it easy to invest, and now have over 60,000 Kiwis investing. She'll share their experience from starting up to now, and lessons they've learned along the way.


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Vanessa Oakley

Vanessa Oakley

GM Strategy & Business Operations at Chorus

Vanessa is a long-time telco person, most recently driving the introduction of New Ways of Working across Chorus. In 2019 she was the recipient of the Prime Minister's Business Scholarship for which she recently spent 5 weeks at MIT working on management, innovation and technology. Vanessa is values and people led. She’s a firm believer that everyone has super powers and she's also a strong Agile advocate - the world is moving too fast to be anything other than Agile.

She might talk about the importance of environments for human beings to grow and adapt in an organisation and how Agile contributes.

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Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Last time we heard from Ruth she was the Head of People Experience at TradeMe and her work potentially touched all of you at some point as you bought and sold things. Now out on her own Ruth has been sharing her Agile and UX skills with clients, focusing on research, strategy and leadership. We are very excited to hear her speak at JAFAC for a second time, and even more excited to find out what she’ll speak about!

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James Magill

James Magill

General Bigshot for Retail Markets at Genesis Energy

James has a big job that sounds both majorly daunting and exceedingly cool. He is responsible for driving growth across Genesis’ retail portfolio, which involves leading product development, providing brand leadership, developing customer applications, digital architecture and data governance. How could one man do all this? He’s been doing it for a while, working in the energy sector around the world over the past 12 years.

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Nigel Dalton

Nigel Dalton

REA Group's Chief Inventor

Arguably the best title in the world. He leads a small research and development team focused on what will impact the global real estate industry beyond 2020. Using virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics and artificial intelligence, Nigel’s work aims to solve complex problems that improve time, trust and transparency in the property market.

JAFAC 2019 Topic
The Agile Manifesto: yet another Book of Dave?
Will Self’s 2006 sci-fi novel of a far-flung future London, flooded by rising sea levels and subject to cruel and illogical religious law, raises parallels for our own organisational predicaments, as we read far too much into a dozen simple ideas, knocked together by 17 middle-aged white guys, of how to stop software development being consistently shitful. What can we do to avoid history judging us naive and foolish transformation jesters as a result?

Hiria Te Rangi

Hiria Te Rangi

Kaiwhakahaere at Whare Hauora

Hīria (Ngāti Porou, Tūwharetoa) loves her community and loves technology, so Kaiwhakahaere for Whare Hauora was a natural role for her.


With almost 20 years in tech with numerous technical and business roles in open data, open source, digital technologies and infrastructure. Hiria loves the way building out these incredible systems, is actually about the people, the tech is the easy part and she freely admits, being māori actually made things a lot easier.

JAFAC 2019 Topic
How Whare Hauora product development is driving the decolonisation of data collection and management. Why, "why" matters. In a World where everyone is connected, we assume that our personal data is being collected, managed and on-sold. It has become naturalised, that this is the fee we must pay in order to use the service. But what if it wasn't?

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Bron Thomson

Bron Thomson

Founder and CEO of Springload

Springload is a highly successful digital design agency in Wellington which Bron has built up to a 75+ strong team. Over the last 15 years she has worked with many high profile clients including a number of large banks in both NZ and Australia, the NZ Red Cross, multiple local and central Government agencies, international arts festivals, and many highly successful medium to large size corporations across NZ.


Her strength is in human-centred future thinking, and digital strategy. She is a disruptor and an innovator, and brings both humanity and a huge wealth of digital thinking and behavioural science to her clients' businesses as well as her own.

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Charlotte Walshe

Charlotte Walshe

CEO Jade Software

Charlotte currently heads up one of NZ's tech success stories; Jade Software - a company built on innovation that is based in Christchurch but works all over the world. She has a wealth of experience in the technology sector and has a particular focus on global new product commercialisation, and operations.


She will potentially speak about yodelling techniques of South America ... unless she tells us otherwise.

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