Rachel Reese

Nelson City Council, Mayor

Rachel was elected Nelson’s first female Mayor in 2013 and re-elected in 2016. After graduating from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Commerce, she built her first career in Australia and established a successful design and logistics business in the real-estate industry.

Since returning to New Zealand Rachel has built a second and third career. To her role in Local Government she has brought extensive experience and expertise in resource management involving business and the community, including over 15 years’ experience in resource consent and plan change processes for private clients and as a Council decision-maker. She is an accredited Resource Management Commissioner and qualified mediator and arbitrator.

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Chris Rodley

Snap Information Technologies, CEO

Chris is the CEO and co-founder of Snap Information Technologies who design and assemble systems, hardware and AI for computer vision applications. This includes working in the maritime industry installing cameras and satellite tracking systems on fishing vessels around the world.

Snap IT won the Innovative Agritech category of the NZ Hi-Tech awards and the Restorative Innovation award in the NZ sustainability awards.

Chris was a finalist for the 2014 and 2015 New Zealander of the Year - Innovator of the Year awards.

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Kerry Topp

Datacom, Associate Director – Innovation

Kerry is a passionate business transformation & innovation leader who is driven to improve Enterprise Value and connections between people. His focusses are corporate and eco-system innovation, venturing and capability development. 

Having worked within the software, airline, telco, utilities, manufacturing, and internet industries, Kerry has significant cross-sector experience. His role now is to identify, unlock and enable future capability, opportunity and value for corporates. He does this by applying a unique blend of foresight, analysis, network & collaboration skills.

Kerry is experienced in the areas of corporate-level transformation, eco-system innovation and venturing. He is passionate about strategy, talent & capability development, process improvement, and organisational change management. 



Jen Lund

Jen has a deep love for people and uses various tools to help others become focused, creative and resilient. Born in Germany, she studied social law and professional coaching. A sabbatical in 2010 turned into moving to New Zealand and assisting people in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes. Her work history covers government, social welfare, coaching, training, project coordination and recruitment in various countries and industries as well as being branch president of the International Coach Federation.
According to Gallup, her top five strengths are strategic, activator, relator, maximizer and individualization.
In her free time, she loves reading about all things psychology, doing hot yoga, running community meetups, driving around New Zealand in her mobile office van and drinking too much coffee.


Richard Chadderton


Director of Co.Starters (NZ) an entrepreneurial training programme that runs in the US and Australasia.  Owner of The Concept Cube a consultancy business that helps entrepreneurs and business owners raise finance from banks & investors, strengthen their businesses, and develop new concepts. Chad also coaches leadership teams in developing from good to great and has created several communication models that enable diverse teams to collaborate harmoniously.


Adam Barnes

Adam is a Software Business Manager in Wellington, New Zealand. He has spent time in Wellington, London and Melbourne building software and drinking coffee.

He loves finding simple ways to solve complex problems. Adam believes we are on the precipice of a step change in software development where internet connected devices and cloud computing are revolutionising the way we do business.

Adam has been involved in a number of Hackathons and loves helping teams through the highs and lows of the weekend and getting to the pitch on the final day being proud of what has been achieved.


Matthew Dodd

As the Regional Leader for Datacom in the Top of the South, Matthew enjoys working with a team of IT professionals to design, build and run technology platforms for businesses. Datacom is committed to creating long-term partnerships with clients and Matthew is proud of the relationships he has been able to maintain as well as the value that Datacom has been able to deliver to its clients.

Matthew's specialties are strategic thinking, team building, relationship management, program management, business development, and consulting.

Matthew has an entrepreneurial focus, a collaborative approach and a bias for action. He continues to work with others in the Nelson Tasman region on sustainable economic development.


Midu Chandra

Principal Consultant – cX, Digital and Innovation

Midu recently returned home to NZ from Australia and joined Datacom heading Customer Experience and Emerging Tech.

Prior to joining Datacom, Midu has worked both locally and internationally in the cX, Marketing and Technology space, notably as the General Manager for Digital & Social at Telstra, Director of Social and Performance at IPG Media Brands and for the last 3.5  years had his own start-up in Australia, Mobiddiction, which focussed in the mobility and cX space commercialising products.

Midu has a particular passion for technology and specifically how you create experiences which deliver online and offline connected experiences.


Brian Russell

Brian has 27 years of experience in global technology commercialisation, venture financing and innovation, with 16 years abroad in Europe and America. He was the founder and CEO of the venture backed company called Zephyr Technology Corp (acquired by Covidien COV: NYSE in 2014), a global leader in wearable sensors. His experience includes venture capital, strategic financing and strategic relationships with organisations such as Under Armour, 3M, Motorola, NASA and US Defense Department. 
Brian has a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and is subject matter expert in artificial intelligence, wearables and FDA approved remote physiological monitoring consumer products. He is studying for a PhD in Artificial Intelligence at AUT.

Brian's focus since selling Zephyr has been in starts ups that can use artificial intelligence. Current activities include investing in start ups, assisting several universities commercialise science and mentoring entrepreneurs.  He is chairman of the Return on Science Physical Sciences board and sits on the AgTech Commercailisation committee. He is also on the board of PlantTech, the Regional Research Institute in Tauranga. 

 Brian is active in the Top of the South Innovation strategy and involved with the Nelson Artificial Intelligence Institute specialising in AI applied to the Top of The South region.


Jochen Seybold

Jochen has over 25 years of IT expertise in various roles, ranging from Microsoft Certified Trainer, IT Consultant, Lead Architect and Senior Leader of Professional Services. Currently Jochen is part of the Senior Leadership team of Datacom South Island and in charge of the Professional Services team with a broad range of responsibilities which includes managing a team of fourteen professional services staff, thought leadership, consulting, building new business offerings and helping businesses to get the most of IT. 

Jochen’s passion is solving business requirements with technology and explaining complex IT issues at any business level in everyday language. 


Leon Jay

Leon is founder and designer of FusionHQ, the world's first drag and drop online marketing platform, as well as several other web-based software projects. As a result of these projects, he became very experienced in UX, implementing agile development processes, and team management.


Prior to FusionHQ, he was Director of Marketing for an international multi-million dollar company and has since taught digital marketing and online business on stages around the world, as well as authoring five books on business and marketing, the latest of which (How To Become A Superhero: Build A Better Business And Help Save The World) focuses on how to make businesses more sustainable.


These days Leon teaches digital marketing for local businesses, is the founder of Zenbags (a reusable shopping bag that creates a solution out of a problem), and is also founder of EthicallyMAD (a web development and marketing agency for socially and environmentally responsible businesses). 

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Naomi Aporo

Over the last ten years Naomi has a broad and varying career across a range of industries and sectors including finance, property, education, aquaculture and agriculture. Her areas of expertise include strategy development, operational modelling, organisational design, organisational development, performance improvement, risk management, and capability development.

Naomi is passionate about Māori economic development, and building prosperous communities where our land in nourished, our waterways are cared for, and families thrive.