2023 Speakers + Convenors

These are our currently announced speakers and panellists. Keep checking back for further updates.

Master of Ceremonies (MC)

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Korrin Barrett

Life Unlimited

Introducing Korrin Barrett, Master of Ceremonies for the Disability Inclusive Pathways Conference 2023. Following on from her outstanding presentation at the 2022 DIPC Conference, we are thrilled to welcome Korrin back this year as conference MC.

International Speaker

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Kate Nash OBE

Founding CEO - Purple Space

Kate Nash OBE is founding CEO of PurpleSpace. She is External Advisor to GSK’s Global Disability Council, Strategic Disability Advisor to Post Office Ltd and a member of the UK Government’s Minister’s Disability Confidence Business Leaders’ Group.

In 2007 she was awarded an OBE for services to disabled people.

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Melanie Francis

Director of Neurodiveristy at Work - Do-IT Solutions Ltd

Mel Francis, Chartered FCIPD, is an accomplished HR Director with over 25 years’ experience gained in the public, private and not for profit sectors.

Mel has gained her significant experience working in the Higher Education, Edtech, Publishing and Telecoms sectors.

She has been taught by Professor Amanda Kirby, CEO of Do-IT Profile and a globally renowned neurodiversity specialist and achieved a qualification in neurodiversity. She is an Associate Trainer at Do-IT Profiler where she supports organisations to become neuroinclusive in their people practices, throughout the employee lifecycle.


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Ed Collett

Air New Zealand

Ed is the Enable employee network founder and chair at Air New Zealand. The Enable Network provides support for employees with disabilities or employees that have family members with disabilities.

Ed is co-presenting with Rachel Moon.

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Rachel Moon

Air New Zealand

Rachel is Senior Manager - People Safety Business Partnering/Special Assistance Team Operations Manager at Air New Zealand and a member of the Enable Network.

The Enable Network provides support for employees with disabilities or employees that have family members with disabilities. The network also advocates for employees and customers with disabilities to ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Rachel is co-presenting with Ed Collett.

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Red Nicholson

Executive Director - The D*List

Red is a creative thinker, social innovation practitioner, and proud disabled person. He now leads The D*List, a social change movement to transform attitudes towards disability in Aotearoa.

Red is co-presenting with Olivia Shivas.

Young mixed- race woman with white top looking at the camera

Olivia Shivas

Editor - The D*List

Olivia Shivas is a multimedia journalist specialising in disability issues and currently editor at The D*List. As a wheelchair user herself, she is passionate about empowering underrepresented and marginalised groups.

Olivia is co-presenting with Red Nicholson.

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Phil Turner

Chief Executive - NZDEN

Phil is committed to seeing a change in the inclusion of disabled and neurodiverse people through supporting employers to make meaningful and sustainable changes to their culture. He believes that this can only be achieved by treating them as a partner and empowering them to have ownership of their own journey.

Panel Convenors

Head shot of a woman, Sandra Budd. She has short hair, glasses, and is smiling warmly at the camera

Sandra Budd

Senior Relationship Manager - NZDEN

Following a career as a senior executive in the Australasian health, disability and not for profit sectors and with governance experience on social purpose Boards, Sandra is passionate about working with employers to build capability and confidence within their organisations to unlock the potential for more disabled and neurodiverse people to gain employment.

A man, Selwyn Cook, with short brown hair and glasses, smiling at the camera.

Selwyn Cook

Selwyn Cook - Disability Employment

Selwyn is an independent facilitator of Disability Employment. This allows him to continue to promote the benefits to employers so they consider the disability talent pool. His work with providers, the wider disability community and with employers not just supports the building of more inclusive workplaces but also a more inclusive New Zealand.

Blonde haired woman (Julie Woods) smiling. She has a black lace top on and a pearl necklace.

Julie Woods

That Blind Woman

When Julie Woods went blind in 1997 as a 31-year-old mother, she thought her life had ended; little did she realise it had only just begun. Soon, Julie couldn't stop saying 'why not'. She believes that people are often scared of disability and doing the wrong thing and she aims to make them more comfortable with the world of disability by playing the ‘Accessibility Game’.


A man (Phil O'Reilly) in a blue suit, business shirt and tie.

Phil O'Reilly ONZM

Chief Executive - Iron Duke

Phil O'Reilly ONZM is the Managing Director of Iron Duke Partners, a public policy advisory firm located in Wellington. With his extensive experience and advocacy, he is a renowned global business leader.

His governance and advisory roles have covered a broad spectrum of areas, such as trade, sustainability, diversity, pay equity, manufacturing, tertiary education, child poverty, social welfare, and the future of work, for both New Zealand and overseas organisations.

Phil is on the panel with Kirsten Patterson.

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Kirsten Patterson

Chief Executive - Institute of Directors

Kirsten Patterson is a Chartered Member of the IoD. A strong advocate of diversity, KP is a member of Global Women New Zealand and was one of the founding members of Global Women’s ‘Champions for Change’, a group of senior executives and directors who commit to diversity in the workplace.

Kirsten is on the panel with Phil O'Reilly.