Our People

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Meet the ExportNZ Team

Our team is our greatest asset. Every member of our team has the right knowledge, skills and motivation to achieve quality, efficient and professional outcomes for our exporter members.

  • Kirk
    Hope

  • Catherine
    Beard

  • Catherine
    Lye

  • Kathy
    McCombe

  • Joanna
    Hall

  • Sharon
    Robertson

  • Adrian
    Seymour

  • Amanda
    Liddle

  • Sam
    MacKinnon

  • Shirley
    van Waveren

  • John
    Rigby

  • Kathryn
    Asare

  • Steph
    Gundersen-Reid

Kirk Hope

Chief Executive

Kirk Hope is Chief Executive of BusinessNZ, New Zealand's leading business advocacy group, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes.

Mr Hope and his Wellington-based team work with companies, organisations and political and other decision makers, advocating for New Zealand's success through sustainable economic growth.

Before joining BusinessNZ, Kirk was CEO of the New Zealand Bankers' Association. Prior to that he was Executive Director of the Financial Services Federation, the industry body representing the non-bank sector. He has previously held a range of senior positions at Westpac, including Head of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs.

A qualified barrister and solicitor, Kirk holds a Master's degree in law, focused on regulation of financial services, and a Bachelor and Post-Graduate Honours degree in political science. For five years he was a member of the Commercial and Business Law Committee of the New Zealand Law Society.

Catherine Beard

Executive Director

Catherine Beard has a wealth of experience in government relations and communication on behalf of industry associations, and is a champion for New Zealand manufacturers and international traders.

Catherine has close connections to key Government Officials and Government Ministers that have responsibilities for trade.  As Executive Director of ExportNZ she provides strong advocacy on behalf of industry to communicate their business challenges to politicians, policy makers, the media and the public.

Catherine also co-founded a design and manufacturing business called Fohfum that has won national design awards for children’s furniture.

Catherine Lye

Executive Officer

Auckland

Catherine has 20 years international sales and marketing management experience.

Prior to this role, 7 years was spent principally in overseas locations working for Hotel Dynamics Group (PTY) Ltd managing guest loyalty programmes for my client - InterContinental Hotel Group, and as Telemarketing Manager – South Asia/Pacific for an infomercial programming company, Quantum International (UK) Ltd.

Through these roles, Catherine has gained invaluable experience in negotiating, selling and motivational skills amongst a wide variety of cultures in Australia, London, South East Asia, Japan, Middle East and UAE. Catherine has been involved also in the recruitment, training and management of staff where the achievement of sales budgets has been a priority. Central to herroles has been the PR element - building relationships, reputation and trust.

Adrian Seymour

Programme Coodinator

Waikato

Amanda Liddle

Executive Officer

Amanda has been involved with Hawke’s Bay exporters for the past 12 years and has a wide range of experience in helping businesses grow through strong local and national networks. Before joining ExportNZ in 2012 Amanda had 6 years with the Hawke’s Bay Economic Development Agency which included Callaghan Innovation and worked with various government organisations. Prior to this she worked for several years in finance roles in the advertising and banking sectors in London.

Sam MacKinnon

Executive Officer

Wellington

Sam is the Wellington Executive Officer, and helps businesses grow through strong local and national networks.   He has experience in a wide range of businesses and organisations, most recently working in policy and advocacy at the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, building links in both local government and business.

Sam is also ExportNZ's Policy Advisor and supports the Executive Director in providing advocacy for New Zealand's exporters.

Shirley van Waveren

Executive Officer

Canterbury

Shirley is the Canterbury ExportNZ contact working with the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce in Christchurch. She has a background in exporting having previously worked at NZTE and run her own consulting business. Shirley is the go to person for any export related problems, issues or getting connected to the right person or organisation. Shirley also carries out business assessments for companies looking to improve their business capability, experiencing rapid growth or looking at starting a business. Having previously worked with Recover Canterbury Shirley has broad business experience in all business sectors.

Kathryn Asare

Manager Communications

Writer and journalist Kathryn Asare manages BusinessNZ communications, including stakeholder communications business commentary and publications.

Kathryn has a Master of Business Studies from Massey University.

Steph Gundersen-Reid

Executive Officer

Steph joined the Business Central team in January 2017, looking after the Business Central and ExportNZ members in the Wairarapa and the Horizons Region.

Steph is absolutely committed to supporting the Central region’s business community, as a place to do business, and assisting exporters to pursue trade opportunities in support of the wider region’s success.

Steph’s previous roles include economic development, local government and business directorship experience. Previously Steph was Chief Executive of both the Wairarapa and Manawatu Chamber’s of Commerce from 2008-2016 and 2011-2016 respectively, and prior to that held roles as the Wairarapa Economic Development Manager and as the Business Relationship Manager at GO Wairarapa.