Our 2023 speakers are: 


Shelly Davies

Writer, Trainer and Joyful Badass

Meet Shelly Davies, the popping candy of the corporate training world: sweet, exhilarating and effervescent!

Shelly is authentic, vulnerable and commands the room with her lifetime worth of stories and lessons. Degrees, dead husbands, divorces, diets, depression – all the Ds. She started university at 16, taught and studied around the world, buried her first husband on her 24th birthday, drank coffee and red wine for the first time at 38, and Te Reo is her second language. 

With 20 years of experience in education, Shelly has been a high school teacher, university teacher, indigenous educator, researcher and writer. In 2012, she jumped into the communications landscape where she is currently the Managing Director of Hamilton-based, Shelly Davies Writing & Training.

Since then, Shelly’s brand has exploded across a surprising mix of sectors and industries, rivalling players who’ve cornered New Zealand’s writing training market for decades. Because, as it turns out, business writing is more about being courageously transparent than it is about having an impressive vocab or where to put a semi-colon. Also true for life. When we choose to operate with authenticity, integrity, and courage, both our writing and our lives achieve the outcomes we’re craving. Because it’s never been worth your time to pursue bland, boring, or already been done.


Dr Catriona Wallace

Founder of Responsible Metaverse Alliance

Catriona is an expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence and the Metaverse and is an Adjunct Professor, keynote speaker and Founder of the Responsible Metaverse Alliance. Catriona is also the co-author of the book Checkmate Humanity: the how and why of Responsible AI.

As the founder of one of the first Artificial Intelligence companies to list on the Australian Securities Exchange, Catriona has truly lived the life of an entrepreneur and CEO in the emerging technologies field. Indeed, Flamingo AI was the second only woman-led (CEO & Chair) business ever to list on the Australian Stock Exchange.


James Hurman

Founder/Co-founder of Previously Unavailable, Tracksuit, AF Drinks and Toothcrush

A passionate believer in the power of creativity and storytelling in business, James Hurman works at a crossroads of brand strategy, storytelling, creativity and entrepreneurialism.

As founder and CEO of Storytech, the world’s first ‘brand strategy in a box’ he has turned this theory into practise, allowing start-ups and small businesses to develop a robust brand strategy for a fraction of the traditional cost.

His Auckland-based venture studio Previously Unavailable specialises in the rapid development of innovative products with non-traditional business models, helping companies big and small bring exciting new ideas into the world.

James’ prior career in the advertising industry was recognised with dozens of marketing effectiveness awards, and in 2013 he was named the world’s #1 strategy planner. His 2011 book The Case for Creativity proved the link between imaginative marketing and commercial success and has been republished several times in multiple languages.



Lexi Sydow

Head of Insights at data.ai 

As the Head of Insights & Analytics at data.ai (formerly App Annie), Lexi leads a team of analysts and mobile experts to provide actionable insights from aggregating and assessing mobile market trends and consumer behavior. As the company’s lead analyst on its annual industry reports, including data.ai’s flagship State of Mobile Report, Lexi specializes in observation and analysis of trendlines in high-growth app categories and strategies for businesses looking to win on mobile. 

Her mobile industry insights have been quoted among the world’s leading publications including Forbes, BBC World News, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Venture Beat. 

Prior to data.ai, Lexi held roles in digital strategy, data analysis and research at ntegrity agency, Peazie and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Lexi is an avid runner, enjoys yoga and always has a book in tow. When not crunching mobile metrics, you can find her hiking with her dog, volunteering as a wildlife rescuer or playing soccer.


Kris Hadley

Managing Partner, Digital

Kris is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s most experienced digital media leaders. 

 An advocate of connected customer experiences, he has a history of applying insight through technology to develop intuitive, meaningful, and effective ideas.  

 Across his career, he’s worked for many of the biggest integrated, direct, and media agencies in the Asia Pacific, and has driven digital, technology, and customer strategies for many of NZ’s biggest brands.