The Women4Climate Auckland Mentorship Programme matches committed leaders from the business sector, international organisations, and community organisations with emerging women leaders. The mentors will share their knowledge and experiences, supporting the mentees in becoming powerful leaders in their chosen field including politics, NGOs, business, media, and community groups.

The Women4Climate Auckland mentors are:

FRITH WALKER, Head of Placemaking, Eke Panuku

Frith began her placemaking journey in 2011 for Waterfront Auckland with the redevelopment of the waterfront, a 20 plus year regeneration project. Frith and her team now “sprinkle their magic” in many neighbourhoods throughout the city for Eke Panuku. As a placemaker she understands that the people, stories and needs of an area are crucial to create successful places. Eke Panuku has a vital role to play in making places where people feel a strong relationship with their communities and a commitment to make things better. Frith is one the NZ representatives for the global network Placemaking X, the recipient of the 2021 Place Leaders Asia Pacific Place Leadership Award, and an advocate for the UN ratified New Urban Agenda. She’s an enthusiastic supporter of the difference a healthy public realm can make in terms of creating liveable cities for all.

THERESA ROIGARD, General Manager, Advisory and Performance

Theresa of Te Arawa, Waikato Tainui and Ngāpuhi descent brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from across the public sector in various senior leadership roles within local and central government. Theresa is passionate about te ao Māori and ensuring sustainable outcomes are delivered for a better tomorrow and future generations. As the General Manager, Advisory and Performance at the Independent Māori Statutory Board, Theresa supports the Board in their advocacy to advance the interests of Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau. Theresa holds a Post graduate Diploma in Business, specialising in Māori Development and a Master of Business Administration from Auckland University.

HELEN TE HIRA, Director, Māori Outcomes - Auckand Unlimited

Helen Te Hira is a senior Māori leader within Local Government in Aotearoa- New Zealand and is active in indigenous, migrants and women's rights campaigns internationally. She brings an intergenerational perspective on climate change, seeing the current climate crisis as an outcome linked to the experience and impact of colonialism on people globally and the ecosystems to which they are all intimately connected. She knows women's leadership has been and remains an essential element for the survival of communities and their wellbeing. She looks forward to supporting the work to address inequities and to shaping a better future for the generations to come with a new generation of leaders in Women4Climate. 

KATE WILSON BUTLER, Head of Climate Action

Kate is Head of Climate Action at the Sustainable Business Council, responsible for driving implementation of SBC's strategy to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon future. Before she joined SBC, Kate spent nine years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where she focused principally on trade and economic and environment/climate change issues, including during a posting to Berlin. Her roles included negotiating for New Zealand at the UN climate talks, and as Private Secretary in the office of the Minister of Climate Change. Prior to that, Kate was a lawyer at a major New Zealand law firm.

SAMANTHA HILL, Head of Natural Environment Specialist Services

Samantha (Sam) Hill is the Head of Natural Environment Specialist Services at Auckland Council. Sam is an ecologist and strategic leader with a Masters in Science  from the University of Auckland and over 20 years of experience in local, regional and national policy, regulatory, management, steering and advisory roles. Sam thrives on innovation, tangible outcomes, collaboration and impact. She is an advocate for community-led conservation and demonstrates a trust-based leadership style. Being the mother of two daughters, Sam is particularly passionate about championing and supporting women to enter and progress their careers in science-based industries. Sam is an avid adventurer and explorer of both the water and land, and loves a good dance party!

RACHEL KELLEHER, General Manager Environmental Services

Rachel Kelleher is an experienced people leader, strongly committed to public service and achieving positive environmental outcomes for the benefit of future generations. Following completion of a Master of Science degree at Waikato University, she has worked for central and local government organisations for over twenty years and is currently General Manager Environmental Services at Auckland Council. As General Manager, Rachel is responsible for a department of talented specialists delivering climate action, natural environmental management and sustainable education outcomes. Rachel is also one of the Group Controllers for Auckland Emergency Management responsible for leading, directing and co-ordinating multi-agency responses to emergencies across New Zealand’s largest city. Motivated by complex and challenging issues, Rachel is energised by working with and supporting others and looking for integrated solutions to our environmental/climate challenges.

RACHEL BROWN, Founder & CEO Sustainable Business Network

I started my career in waste minimisation and business sustainability. While at Waitakere City Council I established the Auckland Environmental Business Network which became the Sustainable Business Network (2002) - a social enterprise, a community and a movement. We transform leading ideas into action enabling system change in climate, waste and nature. I drive SBN’s strategy, its work programmes, deliver training and oversee our reporting. I am a member of Jobs for Nature Advisory Panel $ 1.3Bill fund. On the Boards of The Milford Foundation and Million Metres Streams. I have provided advise to: NZ Small Business Council, the Green Investment Fund, APEC Business Advisory Panel; Auckland Covid Mayoral Business Advisory and National Waste Minimisation Strategy. I was awarded ONZM in 2018. I have a Post- Graduate in Environmental Management and a Bachelor of Science Degree I have two adult children and live with my partner on Waiheke Island. I am a keen cyclist. I love swimming, walking and gardening!

SARAH ANDERSON, Programme Director - Climate Connect Aotearoa

Sarah Anderson is Programme Director for Climate Connect Aotearoa, bringing together partners across government, industry, academia and community in identifying solutions to system-wide climate challenges. Prior to CCA, she was a Manager at the Ministry for Environment, leading a team in the development of a Climate Adaptation Act, addressing adaptation funding and managed retreat. Sarah led on development of Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan while at Auckland Council, bringing together multiple stakeholders and interests to establish an integrated approach. Before moving to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2017 with her partner and daughter, Sarah was Environment Strategy Manager and Head of Flood Risk, Resilience and Natural Environment at Kent County Council, managing teams working on innovative climate mitigation and adaptation programmes locally, nationally and across the European Union.

DEBBIE O'BYRNE, Circular Economy Principal

Debbie has been involved in the Circular Economy (CE) space for almost a decade working with a range of organizations to integrate CE principles into redesign of business strategies. For the past 2 years she has worked in Australia on projects related to policy, material & data flows, low-carbon economic development and incorporating an indigenous perspective into a local government Circular Economy Framework. She has recently taken up a role at Beca where she continues to work with clients across multiple sectors to enable a CE transition. She has delivered a CE Masterclass for Green Building Council Australia, been appointed to the College of Assessors as a CE expert for MBIE and is an Affiliate Academic to the University of Newcastle. She has also been appointed to the Australian Circular Economy Hub Procurement and Circularity 2022 Conference Working Groups and participates in Technical Advisory Groups on workforce development and system enablers.

REBECCA MILLS, Managing Director of The Lever Room

Rebecca Mills is the Managing Director of The Lever Room, a strategy consultancy focused on leveraging science and research to help clients deliver and measure systems-level positive impact. She has designed and launched several systems-level change initiatives both in NZ and around the world, making her a leading
sustainability and net-zero strategist. Rebecca holds qualifications in Impact Management and Measurement from Oxford Saïd Business School and Biosphere Science from Waikato University. She was selected as New Zealand’s first Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum in 2013 and she played a central role in helping to establish Sir Richard Branson’s B Team.