When life gives you lemons...


There can be no denying how we live and work has changed forever.

The challenges we have experienced over the past year won’t be the only ones we will confront in our business lives. We have certainly found that the support of a strong community is key to building a resilient business. We have also seen numerous examples of businesses adapting and re-inventing themselves in order to thrive.

Join us to hear inspirational speakers and business leaders sharing their insights about how they turn challenges into opportunities.

Keynote speakers

We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers: 

  • David Downs, GM - NZTE, Founder of SOS Business & author
  • Cam Calkoen, Inspirational Speaker 

David Downs

In his ‘day job’, David Downs is a General Manager at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE),working with the Technology sector to help fast growing tech companies grow internationally, and leading a cross-government project for the Agritech sector. David has held various roles at NZTE, in the Services, Customer and Corporate Services teams.

David spent 13 years at Microsoft, in New Zealand and as regional director for South East Asia, and he has set up and run successful businesses of his own. David is a published author on New Zealand Innovation, with two highly successful books No.8 Re-wired and No.8 Recharged.  

He’s an ex-comedian, TV and Radio actor, semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year, and a genetically modified organism who documented his battle with cancer in the book A Mild Touch of the Cancer. David regularly presents and gives talks on his cancer journey and on the power of positive thinking and optimism.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, David co-founded sosbusiness.nz a not-for-profit initiative to help bars, cafes and other small businesses sell vouchers. It quickly became a huge hit and to date has sold over $1.5 million in vouchers for over 2500 small businesses. All the money goes to the businesses.

Cam Calkoen

Cam Calkoen dreams of a world where everyone is inspired to embrace their opportunity and our physical being is no barrier to succeeding in our dreams and aspirations. It is dreams that have brought the world to what we see today and our aspirations that will propel it into the future. No one can walk and talk at birth. Some people like Cam, are presented with this likelihood for the rest of their lives. He chose to defy the odds, and now showcases what can be achieved when we identify a challenge, leverage our opportunities and uniqueness, and indeed live for awesome!

Born with Cerebral Palsy Cam was told that his biggest challenges would be the way he walks and talks, he dreamed big becoming an athletic gold medalist, highly effective charitable fundraiser, social entrepreneur and now a globally renowned inspirational speaker who ignites a connection and clarity between inspiration, dreams and people. Through strength of human attitude and potential Cam chose to embrace the challenges he was born with, and harnesses his gifts to live in the pursuit of excellence and make life as awesome as it can be.

He is a living example that life is what we make it, and the values needed to achieve awesomeness are simple -we need to believe! In doing so, we leave no stone unturned. Through charisma, stories and artistic flair Cams presence sees people identify the unturned stones on the path, he ignites, inspires, enlightens and delights others by modeling what it looks like to dream big and achieve more!

Panel discussion

Aiming to generate a great debate there will also be a panel discussion where panel members will share their unique perspectives on the topic. 

Angus Allan, Chief Creative Officer - The Collective

Chief Creative Officer and founder of dairy company, The Collective, Angus Allan is both an entrepreneur and chef. Combining his passion for business with his other love, food, makes for a winning combination. Since starting The Collective over ten years ago, customers from all over NZ, the UK, France, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East now have access to awesome dairy and plant-based products. With a strong brand tagline of “Great Dairy, No Bull” Angus continues to stand by his winning formula of creating high quality, great tasting yoghurt.

Rachel Antony, CEO - Greenstone TV 

Rachel has an extensive background in factual, entertainment and documentary production in NZ and internationally.

Rachel has over 20 years' experience in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. She set up Greenstone’s first Australian production office in 2007 and was Series Producer of CIU: Crash Investigation Unit for Channel 7 in Sydney and also worked on Conviction Kitchen, So You Think You Can Dance and The X Factor Australia. Rachel has worked on over a dozen documentaries; she has produced an award winning short film; been a publicist for BBC-TV in London; and a travel writer.

She has a degree in Communication Studies majoring in Journalism from AUT and a Post Graduate Diploma in Screen Business from AFTRS [the Australian Film, Television & Radio School.

James White, Founder - Legend Story Studios

20 years dedicated to the Trading Card Game (TCG) industry. From a highly competitive player, to a marketing and community leader, to running a national distribution company for over a decade, and ultimately founding Legend Story Studios, publisher of Flesh and Blood TCG. James' experience across a wide spectrum of the industry has given him insight into how the full ecosystem of the industry comes together to create meaningful experiences and successful outcomes for all stakeholders.

Rebekah Heal, GM - Bowel Cancer New Zealand

General Manager of Bowel Cancer New Zealand for the past five years, Rebekah Heal, is determined to beat bowel cancer through life-saving awareness, education,  advocacy, research and support. Under Rebekah’s leadership, the charity has grown exponentially to be a voice for bowel cancer patients and their families. Prior to her work with the charity, Rebekah spent ten years working with not for profits and has developed a keen sense of how to navigate this sector. Under her guidance, Bowel Cancer New Zealand has developed a support network for patients that includes the appointment of a registered nurse, counselling and physio rehabilitation programmes.    

Event details

Date: Thursday 15 April 2021  

Time: 2:15 pm - 5:15 pm  followed by networking (drinks & canapes will be served).

Venue: Hudson Gavin Martin, Level 16, 45 Queen Street, Auckland 

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