Meet The Judges


Dame Alison Paterson was appointed as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business in the New Year’s Honours 2014 and was previously awarded the QSO for services to the community. Dame Alison’s experience spans a range of industries in both the public and private sector. She is recognised as being a trailblazer for women in governance roles. She is a chartered accountant who operated a sole farm accounting practice. Her first major board appointment was in 1976. Dame Alison served on the Reserve Bank board from 1996 to 2010 including as chair of the audit committee and Deputy Chair. Her past appointments include the chair of several organisations including Landcorp Farming, Abano Healthcare, Crown Irrigation Investment, Waitemata Health and as a director of Metrowater.

Dame Alison is a Fellow of the University of Auckland, D.Com [Massey], a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Directors, an FCA. She was 2010 QBE Chairman of the Year and was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame in 2015.


Sandy serves, and has served, as Chairman or Director for numerous organisations in both New Zealand and overseas. He has a wealth of experience in corporate governance and finance, having spent 15 years working in international commercial and investment banking, including as CEO of Citibank New Zealand.


Sandy has lived and worked in New Zealand since 1986, serving on the board of the Bank of New Zealand and as the statutory manager of DFC New Zealand Limited for which he received a 1990 Commemoration Medal.


For the past 25 years, Sandy has had his own international management consulting firm, specialising in strategic financial and human resource issues and has served as Chairman or Director of several New Zealand companies.

FRAN O'SULLIVAN (Judging Panel Convenor)

Fran O’Sullivan is Head of Business (Content) for NZME and a high-profile business columnist for the New Zealand Herald. She has a strong interest in New Zealand's international business success and is a frequent television commentator and public speaker.

Fran chairs the NZ US Council’s Advisory Board, is a member of the NZ China Council’s Advisory Board and the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (NZ) board. She is a regular participant in NZ’s partnership forums with the United States, Australia and China.

Fran also chairs the Metropolis Body Corporate committee.

She is a former editor of National Business Review and has an award-winning track record in business journalism.


Jonathan Mason has over 30 years of experience in financial management roles in the oil, chemicals, forest products, and dairy industries with an emphasis on emerging markets. Jonathan was CFO of Fonterra Co-operative, CFO of Cabot Corporation (a Boston based chemical company), and CFO of Carter Holt Harvey.


Jonathan also served in senior financial management positions at US based International Paper from 1990-2000.


Jonathan is currently a director of numerous large organisations and an Adjunct Professor of Management at the University of Auckland.


Neil Paviour-Smith has over 25 years' experience in various roles in New Zealand capital markets. He is Managing Director of Forsyth Barr Limited, a leading NZX sharebroking firm and investment bank. Neil is Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington, chair of the NZ Regulatory Board and past director of Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand (CAANZ), director of The New Zealand Initiative and former director of NZX Limited. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Finance Professionals NZ (INFINZ) and former chair of the NZ Society of Investment Analysts. Neil was an inaugural recipient of a Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Award in 2005.


Cathy Quinn is a senior partner (and former Chair) of Minter Ellison RuddWatts. Cathy was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2016 for her contribution to the law and women. Cathy was the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award Winner 2010 (New Zealand). Cathy is on the Board of Fletcher Building, Tourism Holdings , the NZ Treasury and the NZ China Council.


Young Executive of the Year Judge

Liam Dann is the Business Editor of the New Zealand Herald, overseeing all business content in print and online. He has been a journalist for 20 years, covering business for the last 15 of them. He has also worked in the banking sector in London and travelled extensively. His passion is for Markets and Economics, because they are the engine of the New Zealand economy.


Young Executive of the Year Judge

Barbara Chapman is the Chairman of Genesis Energy, a Director of The New Zealand Initiative and a non-executive Director of NZME and Fletcher Building. She has a wealth of governance experience as a former Chair of Oxfam New Zealand and a former Member of the Board of Supervisors of Oxfam International. Barbara was also an inaugural Trustee of the New Zealand Equal Opportunities Trust and was its Chair for several years.

Barbara has extensive and diverse trans-Tasman experience having served as Chief Executive and Managing Director of ASB Bank for seven years, and has held a number of senior executive roles responsible for marketing, communications, human resources, insurance and retail banking in New Zealand and Australia.

Barbara has an extensive list of professional achievements to her credit, including being named New Zealand Herald’s 2017 Business Leader of the Year and was awarded New Zealand’s inaugural "Marketer of the Year" in 1997.


Young Executive of the Year Judge

Chris Moller is the current Chair of Meridian Energy and former Chair of SKYCITY, New Zealand Transport Agency and New Zealand Cricket. In 2006 he received the QBE Insurance Chairperson of the Year award as part of the Deloitte Top 200. Prior to his governance career, Chris was Chief Executive of the New Zealand Rugby Union and the inaugural Deputy Chief Executive of Fonterra.


Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Judge

Bev Cassidy-Makenzie is the Director of Diversity Consulting Ltd, having been the Chief Executive of Diversity Works NZ for many years (formerly the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust).
She believes that to bring out the best in diverse individuals and teams we need to cultivate a workplace culture that values difference and makes the most of everyone's talents; an approach that values the transmission of valuable knowledge and experience from one generation to another, from one culture to another, and from one team to another.
She brings important experience from her previous roles, appreciating the challenges of diversity in large, complex business environments but also recognising the importance and value of creating environments that foster diversity of thought. From New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, to the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, the NZ Youth Mentoring Network to being self-employed. Her career has been varied and followed life’s journey, which she is proud to champion on behalf of female leaders.


Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Judge

Stephen has been the Chief Executive of Auckland Council since 2014. He has held a variety of Chief Executive roles in the education and local government sectors over the past 20 years.
Stephen is a strong Champion for Change and a passionate sponsor of the council’s Inclusive Auckland (diversity and inclusion) Framework, a transformational plan for improving how council responds to the needs of, and leverages the strengths of, the diversity of staff and Aucklanders.
Stephen walks the talk and champions diversity and inclusion goals at every opportunity. He communicates regularly with staff on important cultural occasions, has led the council’s Pride Parade float two years running and supports staff to actively participate in staff networks. He also champions the changes needed to achieve better representation in council’s leadership, and ensures the council reflects the voices and needs of all Aucklanders through its engagement, decision-making, service delivery and governance.
Stephen advocates for the Inclusive Auckland Framework with Government agencies and council-controlled organisations. He was the only male speaker at the inaugural Auckland Women in Public Sector Leadership Conference 2017 and has been asked to speak at the 2018 conference.


Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Judge

Agnes Naera Director Business, Student & Community Partnerships, AUT University, leans strongly into amplifying the importance of diversity and inclusion and advancing the aspirations of Māori and Pacific people. She is purposeful in her mentorship of emerging female leaders particularly early career academics and professionals.
Agnes is a trustee for a number of charities with a special interest in unleashing the potential of young people to enable them to’ be the change they want to see’ in Aotearoa NZ. She brings a wealth of experience from her professional, community roles while drawing from her lived reality of her hapu and iwi Ngapuhi experience.
In the words of Sir James Henare “maha rawa wa tatou mahinga te kore mai tonu, tawhiti rawa to tatou haerenga te kore haere tonu” (we have done too much not to do more, we have come too far to not go further)