Women Inspiration for Organic Food Brand

Shazi Visram is the Founder and CEO of organic baby & toddler food company, Happy Family.

Founded in 2003, Shazi was inspired by her friend to make a premium product for child nutrition. She raised $500,000 from friends and family, including investments as small as $2,500 in the early days.

Happy Family today has over US$130 million in sales, 100 products sold over 34 countries, and was forecast to surpass $150 million in revenue in 2016. In May 2013 Shazi sold 92% of Happy Family to Groupe Danone. The brand now sells more than 100 products in 34 countries.

Some of Shazi’s awards and accolades include:

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the New York region in 2011
Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40 in 2012
Being nominated as one of of Babble’s “moms who are changing the world” for 2011
Being ranked #2 in Inc Magazine’s list of 500 Fastest Growing Companies in the food industry

Shazi holds a BA from Columbia University in History and Visual Arts and an MBA from Columbia Business School in Management and Entrepreneurship.

Newell Brands is a publicly listed global-leading consumer goods company, with a market capitalisation of over $20 billion dollars (NZD), over $16 billion (NZD) in global sales and more than 50,000 employees. It houses many leading brands around the world, including Rubbermaid, Coleman, Sharpie, Parker Pens, Pure Fishing, Krazy Glue, Bicycle and Bee Playing Cards, Sunbeam, and Yankee Candles.

Newell Brands acquired Brendan Lindsay’s Sistema Plastics for $660 million in November 2016.

Prior to joining Newell Rubbermaid, Mark was the former head of Global Corporate Strategy for Unilever, where he spent 14 years in a variety of senior strategy, business and finance roles, and the founder of the international consulting firm Tarchetti & Co. Ltd.

Mark has a Bachelor of Arts degree in joint honors, economics and politics from Durham University in the United Kingdom.

Be a successful venture capitalist

James Joaquin is the Co-Founder of Obvious Ventures, which he co-founded alongside Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams. 

James has decades of experience starting and selling startups, with some of his roles including:

                •  Co-Founder of Clearview Software, which was acquired by Apple;

                •  Co-Founder of When.com, acquired by AOL;

                •  President and CEO of Ofoto, acquired by Kodak;

                •  President and CEO of Xmarks, acquired by LastPass.com;

                •  President and CEO of Xoom.com, which he lead to an IPO in 2013 (later acquired by Paypal for almost $900 million)

James has been working in venture capital since 2007 and has also invested in a wide range of #worldpositive startups, including Plum Organics (acquired by Campbell’s Soup), TenMarks Education (acquired by Amazon), and Opower (IPO April 2014). 

Strategic Initiatives

New Zealand-born Dan Ammann is the President of General Motors, a role he has held since January 2014. As President, he is responsible for “managing the company’s business operations around the world, the global Chevrolet and Cadillac brand organizations, global product planning, new business development and GM Financial.” As at January 2017, GM was Number 8 on the Fortune 500, with 219,000 staff and a market capitalisation of $58 billion.

Dan currently sits on the board of Shanghai General Motors, GM’s largest Chinese joint venture, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company and Lyft Inc., and is the Chairman of the Opel Supervisory Board. He is also a certified industry pool test driver at the Nürburgring Nordschleife racetrack in Germany.

Dan joined GM in April 2010 as Vice President of Finance and Treasurer, where his first assignment was helping lead the $23 billion GM IPO (the largest in the world at the time) alongside fellow Kiwi, Chris Liddell.

Before joining GM, Dan was Managing Director and Head of Industrial Investment Banking for Morgan Stanley, where he was instrumental in many high-profile assignments including advising GM during its 2009 restructuring. He holds a Bachelor of Management Studies (First Class) from the University of Waikato. Until recently the Chief Financial Officer of WME/IMG, Chris Liddell was recently appointed to U.S. President Trump’s Executive team, as Director of Strategic Initiatives. Chris Liddell is the Chairman of Xero and the Next Foundation.

Amongst New Zealand’s most accomplished businesspeople on the international stage, some of his former roles include:

– Senior Vice President and CFO of Microsoft worldwide (2005 – 2009), where he was responsible for “leading Microsoft Corp.’s worldwide finance organization and overseeing accounting and reporting, strategic planning and analysis, treasury, tax, audit, and investor relations”

– Vice Chairman and CFO of General Motors, where he led its $23 billion IPO

– CFO of International Paper Co. the world’s largest forest products company, where he was responsible for “strategic planning, accounting, tax, treasury, risk management, pension plan and internal audit”

– CEO and (separately) CFO of Carter Holt Harvey Ltd.

– Managing Director and joint CEO for CS First Boston New Zealand.

Chris holds an engineering degree from the University of Auckland and a Master of Philosophy from Oxford University.

Founder & CEO of Zoom

Founded in June 2011, Zoom has today hosted over 20 billion annualized meeting minutes, has 800,000 users, 600 employees worldwide, and a valuation well north of $1 billion.

In January 2017 Zoom raised $100 million in Series D funding from Sequoia Capital, taking its total capital raised to $145.5 million.

Prior to founding Zoom, Eric was Corporate Vice President of Engineering at Cisco, where he was responsible for Cisco’s collaboration software development. He was also one of the founding engineers and Vice President of Engineering at WebEx, where he grew the WebEx team from 10 engineers to more than 800 worldwide, and contributed to revenue growth from $0 to more than $800M. Eric is a named inventor on 11 issued and 20 pending patents in real time collaboration.

In 2017, Eric was added to the Business Insider list of the 52 Most Powerful People in Enterprise Tech


As Chief Creative Officer, Miguel directs all architecture, design, and construction activities at WeWork.

“Just let go and be brave, and just do it, rather than always worrying what someone’s going to think, or what people are thinking of you. Just find the strength within yourself to just go do it.””The corner office, as a premise, is just dumb. Like, we should make that a conference room so all of us can share that nice view once in awhile.””Getting over the hump of “Should I start it or not?” that’s the part that I think is a waste of time. If you have it internally that you want to do it and it’s burning inside of you, then you should just go. Like, that’s the right time.” “People need structure. They need to have clarity in terms of what their role is and what their impact is and those are things that I think probably people wait too long to start thinking about.” “Culture fit, especially for a sort of mission-focused company, has to be number one.””We haven’t built the brand through media or through marketing. We’ve done it through our own authentic story and I think if you have an interesting, authentic story, that’s a great way to build a brand.”

A Leader’s point of view

“Realise that making mistakes is really part of the journey. And you want to make mistakes the fastest, and build a culture in your company that it’s okay to make mistakes, and talk about it all the time. Because if, you know, if you’re building for this perfect future and you build a culture that supports building that perfect future, by the time you get there you, you know, it could be completely empty.”
On choosing your investors: “And I just had a conversation with an entrepreneur who is raising money now. And he called me about an investor and I said…he was debating, and I told him exactly this advice which is, I would choose that person even though that person is not from your industry because he’s an amazing person to work with. And if you’re going to be with that person for 10 years or more, that it’s better than going for someone necessarily from the industry. Not that I have something against someone that knows what they’re talking about. I’m just saying it’s secondary to being a great person to work with for the next ten years.”
On why he looks for passion, intelligence, and kindness when hiring: “I just found that, first of all, every time I didn’t go by that it was a mistake. And I found that if you focus on passion, intelligence, and kindness, you aim at people that will be with you for a long time because they feel like they have something to win, together with you. They will learn fast and they’ll become better than people that perhaps already knows what they’re doing, but afraid to lose their brand. You have a bigger pool of people because they’re more passionate, intelligent people than necessarily experienced, expert people.”
On why culture is so important: “So I think a lot of it is making people feel like they’re part of something that they can do for a long time. And remember that you can copy everything, you can copy your company’s logo, you can copy your competitor’s product line, but you can’t copy your competitor’s culture. So it takes forever to build it and it’s very difficult to copy it. So I think that for us we put a huge emphasis on that. And primarily emphasising mistakes is okay, transparency, communication, and things like that.”
On how startups can attract the best talent: “I think you actually have an advantage when you’re 10 to 20 people over a thousand people and even over a bigger company because remember good people never make a decision based on if you gave me another dollar or less dollar from an annual comp, never. So people always make a decision based on, do they think that for them, this is an opportunity to evolve themselves as professionals into the next phase.”
On success: “Most people are not geniuses. I think that if you look at most people that have succeeded the most…I think most people are average. I’m average, most people are average, what differentiates between people that have reached amazing success, in their mind, to people that have not, I think it’s mainly themselves. If you wake up in the morning determined, passionate, crazy about today, I think you have this better chance than someone with a perfect SATs, or someone that has access to money, because you’re crazy, obsessed, passionate person. And those qualities they don’t mean you have to be genius or wealthy or coming from a good place or none of that. It just means that you are who you are, so I think that most of us are average and it’s up to us to decide how tomorrow looks like.”
Adam Singolda is the Founder and CEO of Taboola

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Nobody likes doing performance reviews: they’re cumbersome, time consuming, and expensive. So do we even need them? In this short video, Samantha Gadd, Managing Director of Humankind, explains the challenges of performance reviews, and what we should be doing instead.

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We’ve heard it time and time again: business is all about people. Top talent are hard to attract, and even harder to retain. So what can you do to ensure that your business is a world-leading workplace? In this short video, Samantha Gadd, Managing Director of Humankind, explains what you can do right now to craft the best possible experience for the most important people in your business.