Variety in New Zealand is governed by a voluntary Executive Committee (Board of Directors) elected for a three year period. This dedicated group of people bring their time, energy, expertise and passion to the organisation ensuring it continues to provide assistance where it is needed most.

Richard Spilg - President

Richard has 30 years’ experience in banking, financial and professional services, having worked in senior executive positions in South Africa, Australia, the UK and New Zealand. Richard is an accredited international executive coach, working with senior leaders and leadership teams in New Zealand and internationally. Richard was actively involved with the Prince’s Trust and NSPCC charities in the UK and joined the Variety Board in 2013 to help create equitable access to opportunities for young New Zealanders.

Vic Crone – Chair Designate

Vic has significant executive and governance experience in technology and innovation. She brings a strong customer focus, and a track record of leading and implementing strategy, and building organisational culture. Vic is CEO of Callaghan Innovation, a government agency supporting hi-tech businesses in New Zealand. She was previously the Managing Director of Xero, NZ and New Markets, following executive roles at Chorus and Telecom New Zealand. Vic is Chair of the Stats NZ Advisory Board and Figure.NZ Board. She has also been an Independent Director on the Boards of a number of companies and organisations in the technology sector, including RedShield, Creative HQ and the Hi-Tech Trust.

Sharon Henderson - Vice President

Sharon is an entrepreneurial businesswoman with over 20 years’ of business and marketing experience, including more than 12 years in executive management roles. Sharon founded her own company, Federation, to fulfil a long-standing passion to create a 100% NZ owned communications agency. Sharon’s previous roles with some of New Zealand’s leading agencies include Managing Director of DDB New Zealand and a decade as CEO of Aim Proximity New Zealand.

Dan Henderson - Treasurer

Dan is an advisory & accountancy professional with more than 10 years of experience in supporting business growth and sustainability. He is a partner and director of two accounting firms: BHW Ltd and Enable Business Ltd. Dan comes from a big four accounting background and has worked with medium to large privately owned businesses, across industries including hospitality, retail, import/distribution, property, manufacturing and investment. He works with and advises clients on a range of capacities including the virtual CFO role, business planning and strategy, growth and capital raising, as well as accounting and support. Dan’s focus is on helping companies identify and achieve their goals through a partnership focused working style.

Andrew Webster - Past President

Andrew has been a member of the Variety Board since 2007 and served as President in 2014. He has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and a Master of Commercial Law with Honours from the University of Auckland. He is a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and is General Counsel of Todd Property Group Limited.

Emma Priest

Emma is a criminal barrister admitted to the Bar in 1999 with an LLM (first class) and a BA (psyc). She has practised as a criminal prosecutor and for the Public Defence Service. In 2016, Emma re-established Blackstone Chambers, the oldest Barrister’s chambers in New Zealand. Emma has experience in consensus governance through Playcentre. She also is a legal writer, speaker and NZLS representative. Emma brings coal face experience of the intersection of poverty and the criminal justice system.

Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh 

Mahsa is the Director of Women in Technology and a Senior Lecturer at AUT’s School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences. With a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, she is heavily involved in researching and developing high-level AI strategy in contexts such as the future of work and digital disruption. She is on the Executive Council for AI Forum, and is a board member of NZ Tech representing government and education, and on their sub-board for diversity and inclusion. She is an external technical advisor on AI strategy to two New Zealand SMEs – AIDER and The Story Mint. Mahsa is also the founder and director of charitable trust She Sharp, which aims to encourage more girls to study STEM fields. She was one of ten finalists for 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year. In 2019 she was the Champion Award winner of the YWCA Equal Pay awards, and in 2020 presented with the Massey University Distinguished Alumni Award for community service.

Marama Royal 

Marama is a Director of Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust and has Chaired the Trust since December 2O17. Marama has extensive experience in strategic planning, relationship management, leadership, governance, and organisational change. She is passionate about achieving positive outcomes for whanau, especially our tamariki and mokopuna, who are our leaders of tomorrow. 

Rachael Tuwhangai

Rachael is a descendant of the Tainui Waka and of Ngati Maniapoto. She is Co-Director of MAPSS (Maori and Pasifika Support Services) which focuses on the intersection between indigenous peoples and improving social outcomes.  She is a former academic of the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education; Education Manager of the Auckland South Corrections Facility, and a former Secondary School Teacher. Rachael also holds a number of directorships for government organisations and charitable trusts. 

Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo

Karanina is originally from Samoa. She is the proud mother to 3 awesome kids and lives in Auckland. Her professional background is in statutory social work, policy, gender empowerment, and working with Pacific Peoples and diverse communities. She holds qualifications in science, social policy, and a PhD in public policy. Karanina is currently the Equal Employment Opportunities commissioner at the Human Rights Commission.