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Leading NZ business personality.


Theresa Gattung is a leading New Zealand business personality and author of her best-selling autobiography Bird on a Wire. Named in Fortune magazine's list of the 50 most powerful women in international business several times since 2002, she was also included in Forbes' list of the world's 50 most powerful women across any sphere in 2006.

Current work

With a professional background spanning financial services, telecommunications and agriculture, Theresa is passionate about business and has a particular interest in opportunities for New Zealand businesses in global export markets. She currently holds a number of governance positions, including Chair of AIA Australia, which in 2012 won the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) Life Insurance Company of the Year and the Australian Financial Review (AFR) Smart Investor Life Company of the Year.

Previous experience

Wool: As the inaugural Chair of Wool Partners International from July 2008 to March 2011, Theresa led the company's drive to reinvigorate the international market for New Zealand's strong wools, applying her leadership skills, international business experience and marketing and branding expertise.

Telecom: From October 1999 to June 2007 Theresa was CEO and Managing Director of Telecom New Zealand, a $5 billion turnover telecommunications business operating in New Zealand and Australia and listed on the NZX, ASX and NYSE. During her tenure as CEO she led Telecom through world-changing technology developments and the evolution of the business from a traditional telco to the number one IT provider in New Zealand.

Manager: Before becoming CEO of Telecom, Theresa held roles there as Group General Manager, accountable for revenues of NZ$3 billion and responsibility for over 3,500 staff, and General Manager, Marketing. Prior to joining Telecom, Theresa held a number of marketing roles in the financial services sector.

Thank you so much for joining us as the keynote speaker at our Seventh Women in Multinationals Forums in Melbourne and Sydney. Your luncheon presentation was the highlight of two very successful meetings. It was highly entertaining and inspiring for the audience of high-potential women, most of whom face a familiar struggle in balancing family and other commitments as they seek to progress their careers within global companies. Your frank reflections on what you'd learned about yourself and corporate life since leaving the fast-paced world of publicly listed companies were particularly valuable - especially the importance of pacing oneself and of maintaining a sense of perspective, personal health and well-being. CEO Forum Group

Theresa opened Leadership week for us at Hamilton City Council. She captured everyone's attention with her personal insights, quick wit and humour, and a glimpse into a world most of us only dream of. The feedback was very positive and many commented that they had taken away something to think about. Thank you for your thought-provoking insights into leadership.

Hamilton City Council

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak to us. We all gained a lot from the interesting insights you shared and the stimulating questions and answers that followed. We have had excellent feedback from our members and the turnout alone was testament to the interest women have in learning from each other.

Rachael Dewar Law

Numerous emails from various women around the country have expressed that they have enjoyed meeting you and hearing you speak. More importantly, some were so touched that they have changed the outcome on where they are now heading, purely from hearing you speak, all in a positive way. That I feel speaks volumes, so thank you for doing that, for inspiring those who really have heard what you wanted to put across.

Her Business Wellington

Since your talk, I have been thinking how your many experiences have led you to the role of Chair of Wool Partners. If anyone can assist New Zealand's wool farmers to realize greater opportunity in global markets, it's you. Hope they realise their good fortune in having someone with your wealth of experience and laser-like focus on their side.

University of Waikato
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