Business Owners Forum

Immigration Changes, Tuesday 12 November

Very low unemployment and skills shortages mean that employing migrants has become a necessary recruitment option for an increasing number of businesses. However, the work visa application process can be challenging and there have been recently announced changes to work visa policy that are being rolled out over the next 12-18 months that have significant implications for employers.

If your business employs migrants or is looking to do so, join us to learn more about the changes and their implications.  There will be an opportunity to discuss the issues and ask questions.


Hear from Lukas Sousa, Business Development Manager, Malcolm Pacific Immigration, providers of specialist immigration services to employers. Lukas is an experienced immigration adviser and will discuss what to consider before hiring migrants, the recently announced changes to the way employers must support migrant workers and how to navigate the process to become an accredited employer.

Case studies/local examples.  We will also have several local businesses who are having difficulties with the policy settings, and case studies, to illustrate the issues and complexities.

Advocacy:  GETBA intends to make Immigration a key advocacy area in the lead up to the election as the current policy settings are impacting negatively on businesses.

Facilitator: James Smith, Xennial Marketing

When: Tues 12 November, 4.00 – 6.30pm
BNZ Partners Business Centre, Level 1, 86 Highbrook Drive
Refreshments: Beer, wine, pizza, sushi
Cost: Free of charge



 Note: This event is reserved for GETBA members only.


Succeeding in Export Markets, Thursday 10 October


This Forum focused on exporting. GETBA members heard from Sir Ken Stevens, Charles Sampson and Peter Rowe. They learned what assistance is available to help NZ exporters succeed in overseas markets and how to address any risks and concerns they had.  

Facilitator: James Smith, Xennial Ltd



Photos by Grant Southam 

GETBA Business Owners Forum




An education and networking series, sponsored by BNZ Partners, for owner/managers in East Tamaki. Each forum focuses on a different topic and has a panel of three people, made up of subject specialists and business owners. The panel leads off with a 15-minute presentation each, followed by open discussion facilitated by James Smith from Xennial Marketing.


 ROI: The admission price for Business Owners Forum events would normally be $49.95, however, thanks to sponsorship from BNZ Partners, they are free of charge! 

 Note: This event is reserved for GETBA members only.


Supported by promotional partners:




Wellbeing in the Workplace, Tuesday 30 July 2019


It is recognised that businesses that create a work environment where employee’s physical and mental wellbeing is considered have lower absenteeism, fewer injuries and experience higher productivity and customer satisfaction. A workplace culture of support is also good for attracting and retaining employees. The panellists discussed the practical ways you can support your staff.



  • Julie Cressey, General Manager NZ, Benestar
    Benestar provides employee assistance programmes when staff need help with physical, mental, social and financial aspects of their life.  Julie gave examples of what Benestar’s clients are currently doing to ensure their staff’s mental health, including a great initiative that Xero is piloting with their customer base of SME companies. 

  • Jacki Rowles
    Jacki has a background in HR, Counselling and Coaching. She is NZ’s first and only certified teacher in a programme that was invented at Google called Search Inside Yourself, that enhances employee wellbeing. Jacki shared insights from this programme and talked about why these kinds of personal/professional workplace programmes are being implemented in some of the greatest companies in the world.

  • Sarah Mannion, Global Support Centre Manager/Customer Experience, Fisher & Paykel Appliances
    Sarah talked about the wellbeing initiatives she has introduced for her team of 200, and the lessons she has learned over a decade implementing such programmes as a way of increasing employee engagement in different organisations. She gave practical advice on how to access programmes for staff when you have little or no budget.


Facilitator: James Smith, Xennial Marketing Ltd



Photos by Grant Southam




Previous Forums:



Sustainability: How your business can reduce its impact on the environment, Tuesday 23 May 2019



Climate change, pollution and a greater awareness of environmental responsibility are just some of the reasons sustainability is becoming increasingly important to businesses’ long-term strategies.


  • Dave Watson, National Network Manager, Sustainable Business Network
    Dave set the scene identifying the drivers for sustainability and the business benefits. He covered the different areas of focus and where to go for help.
  • Kate Ellingham, Enviro-Mark Solutions
    A subsidiary of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, a Government-owned Crown Research Institute, Enviro-Mark Solutions provides simple and effective environmental management programmes, tools and certifications. Kate discussed how businesses can accurately measure, manage, and reduce their environmental impacts, alongside case studies of how clients of all sizes realised benefits to their business and improved environmental performance.
  • Kevin Obern, Managing Director, OfficeMax
    OfficeMax has ISO 1401 Environmental Accreditation and is an industry leader in sustainability – not just with their eco-friendly products but in the environmental management of their operations. Kevin took us on their sustainability journey highlighting the steps they took, including embedding it into their company culture, the challenges they encountered and the keys to success.

Facilitator: James Smith, Xennial Ltd


Photos by Grant Southam




How to be exit-ready, Tuesday 23 October 2018


This is an aspect of doing business that is often overlooked or put off by business owners but is something that should be considered from the outset.

Ross Peden, Director, Exit Strategist reminded us that:

  • 150,000 baby boomer business owners will transition out of their business in the next 5-10 years
  • 50% of owners exit because of outside forces – distress, disagreements, divorce, disability and death
  • Only 20% of businesses actually sell!

He talked about the exit planning process to build value and make a business attractive to a buyer, so that when the transition day comes the business owner can exit on their own terms and for the maximum value.  

Nick Steele, Managing Director, Boyd Visuals Ltd, as the GM working for the former owner brought his experience as a GEN Xer undertaking a management buyout from a retiring baby boomer. Former owner David Boyd stressed the importance of a business not being reliant on the owner.

Sharn Rayner, founder of Pod Consulting and Head of Business Consulting, AdviceFirst, brought the ‘seller’s perspective to the panel and shared the nine steps she took developing Pod into an attractive strategic acquisition.


Facilitator: Ryan Castle, The Breakthrough



 Photos by Grant Southam 


Note: This event is reserved for GETBA members only.


Flexible Working: a win-win? 14 August 2018


Another well supported event with value-added facilitation from Ryan Castle of The Breakthrough.


Heidi Rosser, Diversity Advisor at Diversity Works NZ set the scene with recent research showing that flexible working is increasingly in demand by employees and it’s becoming accepted that it has business benefits including improved staff engagement, wellbeing and productivity. She outlined a wide range of flexible work options, and pointed out employers obligations to consider requests for flexible work arrangements, and the process for responding. Check out MBIE's toolkit.

Mike Joslin, People Culture and Change Manager at Lion NZ took us through the steps Lion took to implement its LionFlex programme, outlining the different 'flexperiments' and the keys to its success. Lion won the Diversity Works NZ Work Life Balance Award last year. ‘Flexing’ has become part of the Lion vocabulary and flexible work practices are raising staff engagement and improving wellness at Lion.

Kerryn Strong, Change Manager at Pod Consulting mentioned her own experience as a young mum at POD and also discussed SME business owners fears that are holding them back from effectively embedding a flexible working culture, ranging from monitoring remote workers, retaining a team feel, meeting health and safety obligations, and perceived unfairness for those staff for whom flex doesn’t suit. She recommended SME owners be open to discussing tailored options and upskill to be able to actively manage and measure staff 'outputs' vs the tradtional 'presence' culture.



 Photos by Grant Southam 



14 May 2018, Emerging technologies – what are the implications for the workplace?


Priti Ambani, engineer, researcher, entrepreneur and educator at Tech Futures Lab gave an overview of emerging technologies and the challenges and opportunities facing business.

Nathan Stantiall, Callaghan Innovation’s Business Innovation Adviser for manufacturing spoke about how staff shortages and productivity issues are common pain points in NZ factories. Nathan highlighted the opportunities digital technologies offer the manufacturing sector, and how Callaghan can assist SMEs in particular to adapt and prepare for the future so as not to be left behind.

Check out the new Industry 4.0 Hub for more information.

John West, Industry 4.0 Technology Manager, Fisher & Paykel Production Machinery Ltd (PML) discussed how modern technology is revolutionising manufacturing and how PML is helping manufacturers with the digital transformation of their factories.



 Photos by Grant Southam 

19 October 2017, Is your marketing delivering results?


James Smith, Director of Expert Marketing Ltd/Volom gave an overview of the key marketing principles and how businesses can utilise digital marketing effectively to generate leads. 

Nicky Luis, General Manager at The Breakthrough Co. spoke about her learnings from marketing in a large corporate and how they can be applied in a SME.

Sam Morrhal, Marketing Executive at Total Supply has an extremely active B2B marketing programme and has tried a range of tactics to help grow the business over many years. Sam discussed what worked, what didn’t and some of the key learnings along the way.


 Photos by Grant Southam 


Investing in youth employment, 17 August 2107


Peter Wilson of Carters and John Kotoisuva of Oceania Career Academy (OCA) spoke of how they have teamed up to provide a pipeline of work-ready employees for Carters manufacturing site, and employment and a career pathway for local, largely pasifika youth. John stressed that OCA's core business was not so much about the trades training, but building up these young people into good men with self belief and a purpose, and using the trades to prove it. An inspirational case study!

Gil Laurenson, Pathways Manager at MIT, and previously Principal of Otahuhu College, spoke about how employers can tap into hundreds of trainees at MIT's Trades Academy who are keen to work locally.



 Photos by Grant Southam