Meet our team

The Tech Futures Lab team is genuinely passionate about learning, teaching and the future. We are a network of approachable, humble, supportive and open-minded people who look at the world from a different angle. 

Frances Valintine


Fiona (Fee) Webby
General Manager
Craig Hilton

National Academic Director

Frances Valintine CNZM is a thought-leader in emerging and disruptive technologies and has 20 years’ experience across business, technology and education.

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Fee's personal purpose is to enable others. She does this by removing barriers so that they can discover their authentic selves and reach their potential. 

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Craig is our 21st century ‘Renaissance’ man, equally at home and phenomenally qualified in the realms of art and science, with a keen interest in higher education and technology.

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Deborah Ross

Director of Studies

Richard Rowley

Innovation Advisor

Paula Gair

Lead Advisor

Deborah has true empathy for the student experience - and it’s her goal to ensure each and every student at Tech Futures Lab feels that wrap around support that’s so essential to positive learning experiences.

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Rich Rowley is the Innovation Advisor to Tech Futures Lab and our resident Champion of Change.

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At Tech Futures Lab Paula advises current Masters Students; including ensuring Privacy by Design and Security by Design are included in project planning.

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Saskia Verraes

Innovation Advisor

Nagaja Sanatkumar

Innovation Advisor

Taurean Butler

Innovation Advisor

Taurean is a research-oriented designer and product manager armed with a utility kit of psychology, design thinking, and statistical analysis.

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Nagaja is a Professional Non-Executive Director with 22 years’ international executive and leadership experience.

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Saskia is a devoted fighter for a better world. One that is socially just, economically inclusive and environmentally restorative.

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Megan Rorich

Programme Lead -  Graduate Studies

Sylvia Hach

Masters Supervisor/Advisor

Yuka Gray

Programme Co-ordinator

Yuka has  awesome project delivery experience, honed further by her most recent position at Tourism NZ where she developed and delivered a major PR and marketing initiative for the Japan Rugby World Cup 2019.

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Sylvia’s passion lies in research that has the power to make a difference in people’s lives. 

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Megan is a top notch change and project management consultant - perfectly qualified to keep us both in line and moving forward.

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Lisa Traill

Master’s Industry Advisor

Hayley Sparks

National Academic Manager

Maheshi Wadasinghe

Programme Lead -
Postgraduate Studies

Maheshi is driven by a passion to help others succeed. A self-confessed life-long learner, Maheshi is well qualified with a Master’s degree in Marine Conservation and also Bioscience Enterprise. 

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Hayley had visions of a traditional academic career but disrupted that by joining us to fulfill her passion for teaching, learning and research.

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With diverse professional experience and hands-on understanding, Lisa supports Master’s candidates through our innovative degree experience.

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Kate Bruce


Brad Smith

Marketing Manager

Anna Reid


Senior Leader and Growth Agent with demonstrated capabilities and proven success across marketing, digital and innovation specialisations. 

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Anna comes with a strong background in direct and relationship-based marketing but has made a slight yet considered pivot into writing. 

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Kate joined Tech Futures Lab via acting and scriptwriting for theatre and film - just the right kind of squiggly line career that we attract!

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Diego Nievas

Programme Ambassador

Melissa Wragge

Marketing and Business Coach

Mahsa Mohaghegh

Artificial Intelligence and

Machine learning

Diego is a serial entrepreneur who has been focused on health innovation for many years.

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A strategic marketer, business leader and design-led practitioner, Melissa’s track record is in architecting the future and delivering results for the people and businesses she works with.

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Mahsa has combined computer engineering and education as a learner, lecturer and leader in Iran and New Zealand. 

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Peter Swanson

People, Culture and Organisational Design Expert

Fredrik Bergström

User Experience Design Expert

John McDermott

IoT (Internet of Things) Expert

Peter currently plays in the space where innovation strategy and culture collide, helping organisations adapt and thrive in a modern disrupted world.

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Swedish import and award-winning UX designer Fredrik is passionate about creating engaging digital experiences that people like to use.

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John is a technology engineer, product marketing specialist and Internet of Things (IoT) evangelist.

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Isuru Fernando

Artificial Intelligence and Digital Design

Allan Froy

Chatbots and Conversational AI

Melissa Baer

Food/Agri Tech and Sustainable Business

“I believe that AI will augment our intelligence in our very human endeavours. As it becomes more pervasive it is important that AI is human-centric, aligned with values and ethical principles that are inclusive, accountable and infused with trust.”

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“When a customer is connected to where their food comes from you get higher quality products, more sustainable businesses and vibrant eco systems that produce far more than the sum of their parts.”

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“The field of conversational AI is rapidly advancing and is on the cusp of being able to deliver some truly revolutionary experiences that users can trust.”

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Roy Davies

Mixed Reality and Calm Computing

Simon Martin

IP and Technology Law

John Graves

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science

“Technology is evolving a paradigm shift from the information age to the intelligence age; placing powerful, mind enhancing tools at our fingertips, new non-physical ways to alter our realities.”

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“AI is about unleashing intelligence. By applying better tools to our basic abilities, exponential leaps in understanding can be achieved.”

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“Before you insist on ownership, understand what you own, what you could own and what you need to own. Ownership may not be all it is cracked up to be and may come at a cost that is not reflected in the value it returns.”.

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Alisa Edwards
Salesforce Specialist
Jarin Klee
IT Manager
Frank Li
IT Security and Technology Expert

Part of our short course training team, Alisa's solid Salesforce experience is backed by nine certifications and 500 badges.  

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Frank is an Accredited AWS Instructor and part of the ​AWS Short course teaching team. 

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IT Manager by day, AWS Accredited Instructor for the Tech Futures Lab AWS Academy courses by night, Jarin's two hats keep him busy.

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Christelle Blanchet-Aïssaoui

Master's Industry Advisor

Michael Moka

Māori Values and Leadership Inclusion

Chong Looi

Business strategy,
AI and cloud solutions

Helping Kiwi businesses go global is what gets Christelle up in the morning and she has twenty years’ experience in marketing, innovation and technology to back up her mission.

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"My core focus is about creating happiness in the IT support experience by using AI. Imagine calling your service provider to get something fixed and instead of frustration, you experience some happiness! Aportio wants to change how you feel in these interactions, for the better.”


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“Indigenous values and paradigms are even more relevant in a world where we need to think holistically, collaboratively and in a diverse way.”

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Felix Scholz

Blockchain, ERP, Experience Design, Project Management

Kendra Ross
Advisory Group Member

Jerome Faury

Blockchain and Digital Assets

"I help teams evolve from talking about innovation to achieving it!"


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“We see a future where value is transferred as easily and efficiently as information. Where the possibilities for what we constitute as currency are infinite; where consumers, brands and businesses can engage and transact directly with each other.”

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Kendra is founder and GM of Duo NZ’s largest Cyber Security VAD, which was acquired by business technology company Sektor in July 2019. In 2018, she was the first woman inducted into the NZ IDG Reseller News Hall of Fame.

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Paul Cameron

Advisory Group Member

Marcus Williams

Advisory Group Member

Priti Ambani

Advisory Group Member

Paul has considerable experience as a Director, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of building and leading fast growth technology companies to global markets.


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Marcus’s impressive list of Unitec titles include Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Design and Visual Arts Research Committee, and Director of Research & Enterprise at Tuapapa Rangahau Research and Postgraduate Office.

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Priti Ambani is an engineer, researcher, entrepreneur, educator and mum whose life has led her from India’s Mumbai, to America and NZ.

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Maru Nihoniho

Advisory Group Member

Dr. Tresna Hunt

Co-founder, director of The Institute for Social Sustainability and Programme Designer

Maru is managing director, game producer and designer, and development team leader for her award-winning business Metia Interactive. The company is internationally recognised for designing and developing medically therapeutic games.

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Tresna has been researching and working with organisations for over twenty years  and is passionate about helping businesses to recognise the fundamental importance human agility influences an organisation’s ability to flexibly and sustainably adapt to change.

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Brett Oetgen

Co-founder, director of The Institute for Social Sustainability and Course Facilitator

Brett is committed to disrupting the way that organisations and leaders think and act by moving them towards more contemporary and sustainable ways of working that reflect the constantly-changing modern-day era.

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Melissa Fincham

Office Manager and Assistant to Frances Valintine

Melissa has a wealth of experience in implementing, managing and helping to run programmes in the education sector and for NZ business.

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Ground Floor
99 Khyber Pass Road

Grafton, Auckland 1023

New Zealand


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Tech Futures Lab is an education facility of The Mind Lab, a NZQA registered Tertiary Education Organisation under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. Candidates who are studying on a programme delivered by Tech Futures Lab are enrolled with The Mind Lab.