Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, New Zealand

Juliet Gerrard, DPhil, is a graduate of Oxford University and a researcher with a broad and interdisciplinary background in fundamental and applied protein science. She has held various roles in both Crown Research Institutes and universities since moving to Aotearoa in 1993. Juliet has chaired the Marsden Council and served on the Board of Directors of Plant and Food Research. She founded a start-up company and held an Industry and Outreach Fellowship with Callaghan Innovation.
As the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor since 2018, Juliet has supported the science and science advisor community in providing advice to the PM, ministers, and the public on various topics, including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Her Office has released several major reports, including Kotahitanga – Uniting Aotearoa against infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance and has a current focus on food waste. Juliet works from the founding principles of rigour, inclusivity, transparency, and accessibility.

Sr. Director, Engineering at Otis Elevator Co., USA
President, IEEE Computer Society

Nita Patel, MSCpE, is Senior Director at Otis’s lead design center in Farmington, where she is leading global engineering development and providing new capabilities in connected, smart, IoT-based platforms. Nita is 2023 President of the IEEE Computer Society.
Nita has served in many IEEE volunteer roles: IEEE Foundation Director, founder of the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (WIE ILC), past Women in Engineering International Chair, Eta Kappa Nu Board of Governors, IEEE-USA Vice President and more. Nita received her MS Computer Engineering, BS Electrical Engineering and BS Mathematics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Vice President and Professor of the Faculty of Commerce and Economics at Chiba University of Commerce, Japan
IEEE R10 Director-Elect (2023-24)

Takako Hashimoto, PhD, is a Vice President and Professor of the Faculty of Commerce and Economics at Chiba University of Commerce. With over 24 years of experience as a technical leader at Ricoh Co. Ltd. in Japan, she has made significant contributions to the development of various software products. Her research interests include data mining and social media analysis, with a focus on topic extraction from large volumes of tweets related to disasters and current events such as COVID-19.
She has held leadership roles in several prestigious organizations, including serving as the Past Chair of IEEE Women in Engineering (2015-16), and currently serving as a Board Member of the Database Society of Japan, Chair of IEEE Japan Council (2021-22), and BoG of IEEE Computer Society (2021-23). In recognition of her contributions, she was awarded the IEEE 2019 MGA Larry K. Wilson Transnational Award and is a Fellow of the Information Processing Society of Japan. She has also been elected as IEEE R10 Director-elect (2023-24).

Chair, IEEE Women In Engineering Professor, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology

Celia Shahnaz, SMIEEE, Fellow IEB, is a distinguished academic and IEEE member with over 22 years of experience. Holding a Ph.D. from Concordia University, Canada, she serves as a professor at BUET, Bangladesh. Celia’s achievements include winning the Canadian Common Scholarship, receiving the Bangladesh Academy of Science Gold Medal, and being elected a Fellow of TWAS. She’s an active IEEE contributor, serving as IEEE WIE Committee Chair and having various roles within IEEE committees. She’s also known for her editorial work, having been an Editorial board member for IET Signal Processing since 2018. Her honors encompass the IEEE MGA Achievement Award and the R10 Humanitarian Activities Outstanding Volunteer Award, among others. Celia is an accomplished leader in technical, educational, and humanitarian projects globally.

Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology (AUT), New Zealand

Mahsa McCauley, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Women in Tech at AUT’s School of Computer, Engineering, and Mathematical Sciences. As a renowned leader in AI and machine learning, she founded the charitable trust She Sharp to encourage young girls in New Zealand to consider a career in technology.
Mahsa has received numerous awards and accolades for her work, including being named the winner of the Emerging Leader category in the 2013 Westpac Women of Influence Awards and being a finalist for the 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year. She also won the Champion Award in the 2019 YWCA Equal Pay awards and received the Massey University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2020. Mahsa believes that bringing about change in the gender split in tech requires working together.

Sport Business Growth & Social Impact Specialist, Away We Go ~ Matike Mai, New Zealand

Rachel, BBus/Bcomm, is a sport business growth and social impact specialist, director, and equity advocate. With 20+ years of experience in international commercial, sponsorship, and brand roles, she has worked in various sports such as Formula 1, golf, rugby, cricket, and football, as well as the global and local Olympic and Paralympic worlds. Her work on the London 2012 Paralympic Games inspired her to focus on advancing social change and driving financial investment into sports and not-for-profits for disabled people, women, girls, and indigenous peoples.
Rachel recently finished a successful four-year tenure as Secretary General of the International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport and Chief Executive of Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine Hākinakina o Aotearoa (WISPA). She launched her consulting business, Away We Go ~ Matike Mai, in 2023, focused on supporting organizations at the intersection of sport business growth and social impact. Rachel is currently working with NZ Rugby, Whai Basketball, Paralympics NZ, and other clients.

Regional Vice President, ENTRUST Solutions Group, USA

Kerry Emm is a dynamic leader and accomplished executive with 17 years of experience in the power delivery industry. As the Regional Vice President for ENTRUST Solutions Group, Kerry drives business growth and delivers exceptional customer experiences across the company’s accounts in the Northeast Region of America.

Kerry began her career as a drafter/designer, drawing gas and electric installation plans for new housing developments. Over time, she progressed into leadership roles, including her current executive position. With a deep understanding of emotional intelligence and a passion for continual improvement, Kerry has helped her company succeed in a highly competitive market.
Throughout her career, Kerry has been a strong advocate for women in engineering and a champion of diversity and inclusion. She is passionate about empowering the next generation of women leaders and has been a mentor and role model to many young professionals.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Waikato, New Zealand

Bryony James is a materials engineer by training, who strayed from the true path of metals, plastics and ceramics, when she realised that food was just a material too. She has developed an internationally recognised research programme in the structure and properties of food, particularly what goes on when we chew. This includes chocolate. Seriously.
She has nearly 30 years’ experience in research and innovation in universities and is passionate about engineering education. She is adamant that research excellence and teaching excellence are not mutually exclusive within the university sector, but it is clear that the tertiary model needs to rapidly evolve to meet the needs of students, employers and society. Her current role, as Deputy Vice Chancellor Research at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, The University of Waikato, gives her the opportunity to do something about that.

Associate Dean of Equity and Diversity in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Catherine is currently Associate Dean of Equity and Diversity in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland and an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Software Engineering. She has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Canterbury, and was Director of the Software Engineering program for nearly 10 years. She does research at the intersection of speech processing and phonetics, focussing on New Zealand English and te reo Māori. Her outlook has always been transdisciplinary. She passionately believes in the importance of diverse ways of thinking in the Engineering profession, and is fortunate she can use her Associate Dean’s role to foster change.

Vice Chair, IEEE Future Directions, USA

Jeewika is an engineer, an author, an illustrator, an inventor, a sustainability champion, a frequent conference speaker, and an avid volunteer for IEEE and various women in tech organizations. She is an IEEE Senior Member, an ABET PEV, the vice chair for IEEE Future Directions Committee, a member of the ABET team and the Committee on Engineering Accreditation Activities (CEAA). Jeewika authored an eBook about her engineering journey for IEEE Women in Engineering to inspire others to follow STEM careers and illustrated the 1st children’s book published by IEEE. She is listed as one of the “Women Engineers You Should Know in 2023” by Society of Women Engineers.

She received her bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering from ISPJAE in Havana, Cuba and her Master’s and PhD degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto, Canada. She has authored and co-authored many papers published in technical journals and presented at international conferences. Jeewika holds five US Patents.

Senior Lecturer, The University of Auckland, New Zealand

Craig Sutherland is a senior lecturer in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineering, where he is interested in the “human” side of technology. His research interests fall into three categories: how do children use robots, what do Māori think of robotics, and how will robots influence our society in the future? Throughout his career, Craig has worked as a programmer, an early childhood educator, and an ambulance officer, before ending up in academia. These are all skills he uses to prepare the next generation of roboticists and engineering to act in our best interests.

Senior Technical Leader, ENTRUST Solutions Group, USA

Jo Scott, a Senior Technical Leader at ENTRUST Solutions Group, is a seasoned professional with 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and energy industry. Jo’s journey throughout her career has shown her that struggles can be redefined as hidden strengths. As she supported her son on the autism spectrum, Jo realized that diversity of our brains and experiences can bring unique talents. Now, Jo is passionate about mentoring and helping others harness their strengths. In particular, she focuses on empowering females in engineering who face additional barriers and biases. She fosters a sense of belonging, resilience, and inspiration in her mentees.

Jo helps others recognize their talents and overcome challenges by sharing her journey and insights. She aims to create an inclusive and diverse engineering community that drives innovation while breaking down barriers. Jo Scott exemplifies the impact of mentorship, emphasizing the importance of embracing individual strengths to shape a brighter future in engineering.

General Manager Engineering, Kiwirail, New Zealand

Lynne is a senior manager with over 30 years experience in the rail and roading industry in New Zealand and the UK. She has worked in both the public and private sectors, specializing in operations and maintenance and asset management. Lynne has strong leadership, management, and influencing skills, as well as a proven track record in building high-performing teams and driving positive culture change. Lynne is also committed to safety and embraces SFAIRP and SiD principles to drive safer outcomes. She has a highly commercial approach and excellent procurement and contract management skills, including significant experience with Private Public Partnerships

Chief Executive Officer, Transpower, New Zealand

Alison joined Transpower in 2014 as Chief Executive. She has held a number of senior executive roles across various industry sectors, most recently as Global Head of Chemicals for Orica PLC. She is currently a Director of Ports of Tauranga, CIGRE, and has also been a Director of Genesis Energy.
Prior to these roles, she held a number of senior roles at Fonterra Cooperative Group and across the Fletcher Challenge Group in Energy, Forests and Paper. Alison has a MBA from Warwick University, and studied Engineering (Chemicals and Materials) at The University of Auckland.

Lecturer, The Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney, Australia

Dr Perez specialises in autonomous vehicles at The Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney. With a Ph.D. in Engineering, her work focuses on scene understanding and map maintenance for autonomous vehicles. She leads several significant projects, including Data Analytics tools for developing and testing autonomous urban road vehicles.

She is a key collaborator in projects concerning Trust and Safety in Autonomous Mobility Systems. She has received several awards, including the DAAD’s Postdoctoral Networking Tour in Artificial Intelligence and the UNESCO/POLAND Co-Sponsored Fellowships Programme Engineering. She’s an active member of various IEEE societies; currently, she chairs the Young Professionals Committee of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Society.Julie Stephany has made considerable contributions to the scientific community with several top publications, demonstrating expertise in sensor fusion, map maintenance, and semantic mapping for autonomous vehicles.

Managing Director, Aurecon, New Zealand

Tracey Ryan is Managing Director, New Zealand for design, engineering & advisory company Aurecon, and is responsible for the leadership and performance of approximately 900 people across five locations. This includes health, safety & wellbeing, client engagement, staff engagement and project, financial and operational performance to meet Aurecon’s strategic and operational business goals for New Zealand. She is a Director of Aurecon NZ Limited and is part of Aurecon’s Group Top Leadership team, the L50. Her career to date has been focused on business growth, leading enterprise-wide multi-disciplinary teams and creating inclusive and engaged cultures. She has held senior leadership roles and directorships in several global professional services companies and has strong Aotearoa New Zealand, Australian, and global networks gained from professional services experience throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Pacific Rim, China and the US.
Tracey is Chair for Infrastructure New Zealand, Co-Chair to The Construction Sector Accord’s Steering Group, and Chair of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) Sustainable Development Committee. Tracey’s technical STEM background and 28 years international professional services experience makes her incredibly passionate about getting more young women and girls to choose STEM careers.

Team Lead – Integrated Operations Team X, Rocket Lab, New Zealand

Julia holds the position of Team Lead – Integrated Operations Team X, where she oversees a functional team of test and operations engineers. She has been with Rocket Lab New Zealand since 2019, holding roles as Propulsion Test Engineer, Senior Test and Operations Engineer and Test and Operations Team Lead. To this date, she has continuously operated as either sub-system expert, Test Lead, or Launch Director for over 50 launch vehicle stack tests and 28 consecutive space launches.

Prior to her time with Rocket Lab, Julia worked as a Modelling and Calculation Engineer in the Ground Safety Division for the French Space Agency, CNES, at the European Space Port in French Guiana and as a trainee in the Material’s Physics & Chemistry Section for the European Space Agency, ESA, in the Netherlands. Julia holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Applied and Engineering Physics with focus on nano technology from the Technische Universität München (TUM).

Diversity Agenda & NZ Land and Water Leader at Aurecon, New Zealand

Josie is Aurecon’s Land & Water Leader for New Zealand. With over 25 years’ experience in delivering a range of urban development and infrastructure projects, Josie leads a team of 170 people across five locations. Josie is passionate about looking at infrastructure from a broader social outcomes perspective and understands the importance of reflecting the diversity of our communities in infrastructure that will impact many generations to come.
Josie is Chair of The Diversity Agenda, the award-winning movement, committed to helping the architecture and engineering consulting industry become more diverse, equitable and inclusive. As a female in a male dominated sector, Josie is personally committed to creating inclusive workplaces for her colleagues and for future generations. As a full-time working mum to 3 teenage girls and in a senior leadership position, Josie is dedicated to being a role model and driving positive change

Corporate Social Outcomes Programme Manager - Downer, New Zealand

Cecilia is a Programme Manager for the Corporate Social Outcomes team at Downer. A unique team which works towards shaping and evolving the culture within the civil infrastructure industry. These are delivered through programmes which creates talent pipelines into the business and also working towards building an infrastructure workforce that reflect the local communities and values associated with socially responsible organisations. Cecilia is also a Board Member for the Auckland Māori & Pacific Trades Initiative which is a scholarship and workforce development programme which has seen more than 3000 Māori and Pacific peoples take on traders since 2015.
Cecilia has over 10 years’ experience in developing programmes and events in particular with young people from primary/elementary school right through to young adults. She is passionate about addressing inequities within Aotearoa NZ and aligning opportunities to foster positive generational change within families. She has built a career which allows her to be in positions to influence change, whether it be in supporting educational aspirations through a scholarship programme that provides the opportunity for those from lower socio economic and often first in their family to pursue tertiary education or creating programmes and initiatives which promotes an inclusive workplace.

Ms Karen Frew

General Manager Electricity, Powerco Limited, New Zealand

Karen’s team manages our electricity network, responsible for planning, designing, constructing, maintaining and operating our network 24/7. Karen has an electrical engineering degree and a diploma in management. She’s a chartered engineer with over 25 years’ experience in electricity generation, distribution and large industrial sectors in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
She has held leadership roles in Powerco across engineering, asset management, strategy, system project delivery, regulation, and service delivery and operations. Karen was appointed to the Electricity Engineers’ Association (EEA) Executive Committee in May 2023.

Ms Megan Couture

Senior Associate, Beca, New Zealand

Megan is a Senior Associate – Planning with over ten years of specialist experience in the planning, consenting and consultation for infrastructure projects. She has extensive technical skills in the preparation of resource management documentation including designations and resource consents and in supporting clients in engagement. Her projects include water supply and wastewater transmission infrastructure and transport (rail and road) process across NZ.
Megan serves as the Deputy Chair on the New Zealand Planning Institute board and has been responsible for the management of technical specialist inputs and stakeholder engagement and consultation on regionally and nationally significant infrastructure projects. Her recent roles include leading compliance and planning teams for the Wynyard Edge Alliance (36th America’s Cup), coordinating the statutory approvals for the Northern Pathway Alliance, and leading the planning and technical specialist teams for several wastewater transmission / tunnelling projects for Watercare.

Ms Ying Yang

STEM Project Manager, Te Hononga Akoranga COMET, New Zealand

She manages multiple projects for this innovation hub that trials and develops community-based solutions for equitable, life-long learning. Ying chairs the STEM Alliance Aotearoa (a COMET-led initiative). The alliance brings together STEM industry leaders and educators, working in partnership to advocate for, and innovate towards, more effective STEM outreach and engagement. She is also the coordinator of the Curious Minds Participatory Science Platform, South Auckland region, a funding programme that has supported over 4,500 students to participate in youth-led science research in their local communities since 2015.

Dr Sneh Patel

Project Manager, Te Hononga Akoranga COMET, New Zealand

Sneh is the project manager for the WeSTEM science in action programme at Te Hononga Akoranga COMET. This programme engages Pasifika youth in STEAM learning through hands-on scientific research experiences. Sneh also contributes to COMET’s data & advocacy work on campaigns including STEM outreach, attendance and Māori and Pasifika education. Prior to this, Sneh completed a PhD in chemistry, where her passion for STEAM education grew through working with and engaging young people through STEAM outreach activities