Speaker Series



Friday 2 August, 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Zespri, Tauranga

The Women of Influence Speaker Series is an opportunity for people all over New Zealand, who aspire to make a significant contribution to their community, to fully realise their own potential by learning from some outstanding leaders who have done just that.

Join us for networking drinks and canapés, and hear from some of our amazing speakers including:
Sophie Pascoe – Paralympic Champion
Rikki Swannell – Sports Broadcaster
Jen Scoular– CEO of NZ Avocado
with MC Paula Penfold



Jen July 2018 a.jpg

Jen Scoular

Jen is the Chief Executive of New Zealand Avocado. She has been called the most enthusiastic CEO in New Zealand, thanks to her passion and drive to promote avocados, the industry and the country. She has successfully raised both the profile and value of the industry, and continues to advocate for growers in the primary industries.

Jen joined NZ Avocado after a four year diplomatic posting heading the New Zealand Consulate in Hamburg, Germany. She was charged with driving commercial success for New Zealand exporters in Germany, Northern and Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey.

Before this she spent seven years with Zespri, most latterly as Group Treasurer. In London she became director of Barclays Capital following early roles with Unilever and IBM. These days, she and her family are happy to call Tauranga home.


Sophie Pascoe

Sophie is one of New Zealand’s most decorated sport people being a fifteen-time Paralympic medallist, nine of which are Gold.

A below-the-knee amputee following a lawnmower accident aged two, Sophie made her international swimming debut aged just 13 and shot to fame two years later by winning three golds and one silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.  

Away from the pool, Sophie is a staunch advocate for inclusion and equality, and a role-model for New Zealanders chasing their own dreams. She’s been a Westpac ambassador since 2010.

Already a winner of nine golds and six silver medals, Sophie will be looking at add to that tally in what will be her fourth Paralympic Games at Tokyo next year, not before competing at the World Para Swimming Championships later this year.


Rikki Swannell

Rikki is one of the most knowledgeable, talented and versatile broadcasters in New Zealand sport. She’s also a trailblazer for women who have long struggled for equal footing in a male-dominated profession.

A native of Tauranga, Rikki smashed a glass ceiling in 2018 when she became the first female play-by-play commentator in Super Rugby.  By then, she was already widely respected for her knowledge and expertise on a range of sports, including cricket, tennis, hockey and netball.  Starting out as a junior reporter for Radio Sport, she’s also gone on to cover Olympic and Commonwealth Games. 

Although she plays down her own inspirational rise through the ranks of sports broadcasting, Rikki is a strong supporter of getting more female voices on the airwaves.