Candidates seeking election to PRINZ Board

  • Only current financial members are eligible to vote. (You will be asked to log in to your member profile) 
  • You can vote once for up to four candidates
  • Voting closes 1pm on Monday 22 July 2019

The results of the election will be announced at a Special General Meeting of members of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand Inc. at 5pm on Thursday 25 July at Amokura Gallery, Te Papa, 55 Cable Street, Wellington.

The successful candidates will be appointed for a two-year term starting in July 2019. The Chair and up to three co-opted members will be appointed by the Board at its first meeting.

If you have any questions about voting, please contact Violet on +64 9 358 9804 or

Candidates are listed alphabetically by surname. Please click the photos to view candidate profiles. 

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    Fiona Cassidy

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    Fiona Cassidy

    LPRINZ, APR – Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa

    For the first time in PRINZ’s history will have a Board with responsibilities for governing and setting the strategic direction of the Institute’s activities. A prime role for the first board will be setting the foundations for on-going good governance. I also believe experienced Board members will be essential to the new Board’s establishment.

    With over 20 years of experience working on Boards, and a commitment to our profession’s growth, I would welcome the opportunity to serve as a Board member.

    My Board experience spans the private and not-for-profit sector. I have been a member of business boards, public relations and communication management boards, sporting associations and clubs, and Māori Trust and speciality organisations related to Veterans. I have also held executive office appointments on boards as a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

    Current Board roles I hold are:

    • Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management, Executive Member (based in Switzerland)
    • ASEAN PR Network Board (based in Indonesia)
    • Massey University Business School Advisory Board
    • Netball Wellington Centre Board Member
    • Ngataki Trust
    • National War Memorial Advisory Committee
    • Veterans' Advisory Board, appointed by the Minister for Veterans.

    I also currently serve on the PRINZ National Council and believe I could provide continuity to the new Board as someone moving from the old to the new, bringing both experience, knowledge and fresh thinking.

    As a communications professional I have been fortunate to work in the private sector, in government, as a consultant, contractor, and I also own a small business. My different roles have provided me with insight on the opportunities and challenges we face in our profession and how at a strategic level PRINZ can make a difference.

    I am committed to the continuing professional development of public relations and are actively involved in educational and research forums both in New Zealand and internationally, as both a participant and a presenter.

    I believe communication can build bridges between communities and open doors to different ways of thinking and interacting. I have a passion for indigenous communications in particular, the growing field of Māori communications.

    The establishment of the Board is a new era in our journey as an industry body. It comes at a time of significant world change which will impact us as a profession. PRINZ needs to be well positioned for these changes. I would be honoured to be part of the strategic direction of PRINZ.

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    Heather Claycomb

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    Heather Claycomb


    I’ve been privileged to serve as a co-opted member of PRINZ National Council over the past six years in my role as Chair of the Waikato Division. It’s been exciting to play a part in governance decision-making that has seen the organisation move from financial stress to strength over this period.

    Over the next few years, I’d like to see PRINZ take an even more active role in advocating for our profession. The Board can lead this work by setting a robust strategy that champions our profession to business, government and community leaders, the media and other stakeholders. The reputation of our professional will not build itself – I believe PRINZ must take the lead.

    There are four aspects of my professional background which qualify me for a position on the Board:

    1. Governance work on multiple not-for-profit boards

    • PRINZ National Council, co-opted member since 2013
    • Habitat for Humanity Central North Island, 2001-present
    • The Good Collective, director, 2018-present
    • All Good Ventures, founder/director, 2018-present
    • Hamilton Science Awards Trust, 2010-2018 (Chair, 2015-2016)
    • Willow Creek Association (New Zealand) Trust, 2013-2018
    • Habitat for Humanity New Zealand national board, 2006-2008

    2. PRINZ leadership success

    • Took over as Chair of Waikato Division, 2013
      • Operated without a committee for the first two years, and with a committee for the past four – successfully revitalised local membership through events
    • APR Viva Voce panellist
    • PRINZ Awards judge, multiple years
    • PRINZ Ethics Complaints Panel participant

    3. Business and entrepreneurial background

    • Own and manage HMC, 2018 PRINZ PR Consultancy of the Year (small), Hamilton
    • Founder and Director of All Good Ventures, a charity supporting social entrepreneurs
    • Major shareholder of husband’s business, Quantec Ltd
    • Masters of Business Administration

    4. Passion for giving back

    • I’m a firm believer that if you are blessed in business (and life in general) then it’s important to give back and be a blessing to others.
    • I enjoy volunteering my time to make positive changes for the benefit of our profession and for PRINZ.
    • I would appreciate the opportunity to continue in a governance role and to serve as a PRINZ Board member.

    For a full bio, view: Heather Claycomb, Director HMC Communications

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    Lee Harris

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    Lee Harris


    I'm an experienced, innovative strategic communications and public relations professional living on the West Coast and working as a state servant.

    I’d like to see PRINZ continue to grow its public presence as an authority and spokesperson for issues affecting public relations and communications professionals. The organisation has a broad range of professional development options for members, and I am very keen that we continue to watch and forecast trends and deliver useful ideas, thought leadership and training.

    Through contacts identified and shared by our broad membership base, we can further build stakeholder engagement with leaders of other key organisations.

    My involvement with PRINZ includes serving on the PRINZ Southern committee and chairing it for a few years; mentoring APR candidates; sitting on the Christchurch APR viva voce panel; and on National Council. As a rural practitioner, I appreciate especially the ability to upskill using the PRINZ webinar series, attend the annual conference every year, and have made an ongoing commitment to the River programme.

    My board or similar experience includes: Film For Change Aotearoa trustee (current); Taiko Festival (Punakaiki) secretary/committee (current); Christchurch Pops Choir Chair/committee; Festival of Colour (Wanaka) trustee; PRINZ Southern Chair/committee and PRINZ National Council. I’m a director of a small coffee/food business on the West Coast and involved in the West Coast Professional Women’s Network. As a board member, I’m a doer and committed contributor.

    In terms of professional experience, I’m based in Greymouth as Principal External Relations Advisor – Communication for the Pike River Recovery Agency, and am a member of the Head of Government Communications Forum.

    I’ve been a journalist, marketing communications advisor (arts festival and tourism operator), special projects officer (local government), film office manager, public relations professional, economic & community development advisor for local government and senior communications advisor for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and West Coast District Health Board.

    In terms of practical ability to contribute, I live half an hour from an airport that takes me directly to Wellington, and I have broadband at home. My kids have grown up, my partner is involved with local politics and business organisations, and the dog is happy with a walk in the mornings, so I have plenty of time to focus on advancing the aims and objectives of PRINZ and its membership.

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    Claudia Macdonald

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    Claudia Macdonald


    After more than 30 years working in the public relations industry, I still love it. What other profession allows you to learn so much, do so much and meet such interesting people?

    It is this passion I would bring to the PRINZ board if elected.

    As part of an integrated public relations consultancy owned by a global communications group, I have been lucky enough to get exposure to incredible thinking and training. While the language of advertising is different to PR, the end goal is similar – building and protecting brands, people and businesses.

    At Mango we are constantly learning about both the ‘whys’ of communications as well as the ‘how’. It is those learnings I would bring to the PR industry as a whole through PRINZ, helping steer it into the future.

    As a managing director, I have also learned about business and governance, and what organisations must do to be successful.

    There are three reasons I would be honored to serve on the PRINZ Board:

    • To help PRINZ develop a profile for itself and for PR in general
    • To help PR people get ready for the rapidly evolving digital world
    • To bring my business acumen to help PRINZ get future-ready

    If you don’t know me, my career path is typical of someone of my generation (apparently a boomer): I started as a journalist and transitioned into public relations when moving from Dunedin to Auckland. A stint overseas extended to eight years working with primarily corporate and financial clients for a large UK multinational agency.

    Upon returning to New Zealand and with young children, I contracted for a range of organisations, including PRINZ. in 1995 I was fortunate enough to be offered a role with the ad agency DDB as its internal comms manager and, importantly, to establish a public relations offering for the group.

    Our PR offering grew and by the early 2000 it was time to rebrand ourselves; Mango Communications was born. The rest, as they say, is history.

    While we have been known for big experiential campaigns and marketing communications, Mango reflects my own skill set – broadly based around public relations, experiential and social media. With this experience, passion and future focus, I believe I have the breadth and depth of experience that will prove invaluable to PRINZ and the wider PR industry.

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    Denise Mackay

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    Denise Mackay


    I’d love the opportunity to represent you and your professional interests on the PRINZ Board. I have been part of the PRINZ whanau for 15 years - as a member, regional committee member, regional chair, professional development participant, PRINZ award judge, APR mentor, APR examiner and I am currently the APR national coordinator. I am a PRINZ Fellow and on the College of Fellows Executive.

    Why me?

    Don’t let people try to convince you that just anyone can do ‘comms’. PR and communications is an increasingly professional career, is gaining high regard and value, and deserves that recognition. I care deeply about our profession and all that PRINZ represents. I want to help strengthen our profile and influence, increase our membership, ensure we receive and maintain professional recognition - ideally through a practicing certificate, establish pathways for people entering PR, and offer appropriate professional development, networking and learning opportunities at all levels. I am committed to ensuring that our Institute provides best-practice leadership.

    What will I do?

    I have a strong strategic focus and will work collaboratively with our new Board to govern effectively and with integrity. I will have a clear focus on ensuring PRINZ maintains and observes the highest professional standards and I’ll encourage our international linkages so we remain world class. Our Code of Ethics provides my professional north point. I’ll enjoy setting a clear and achievable strategic direction for PRINZ - one that resonates and has the support of our membership. As well as promoting our ethical framework and best-practice, I’ll be focused on helping build our future, and growing and developing smart young communicators who can continue the great work PRINZ has done since 1954.

    How will I do it?

    I have a reputation for high levels of performance and delivery. I partner for success and I make stuff happen. I’ve spent enjoyable hours volunteering my time to PRINZ over the years - and look forward to doing more in a governance role.

    What do you need to do?

    As a Board member, I’ll be committed to enhancing our profession and supporting PRINZ’s future progress. I welcome your vote to allow me to do that.

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    Daniel Paul

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    Daniel Paul


    I am a great believer in ensuring our profession continues to sit in the C suite set of offices as opposed to the D (delivery) suite. As communications professionals whose expertise is in engaging with stakeholders, managing relationships and reputations and helping to ‘make the boat go faster’ (not to mention handling issues adroitly), we are integral to the ongoing success of all organisations.

    Unfortunately, we are not always recognised for our skillsets, nor the value they can add to an organisation.

    For example, did Treasury Secretary, Gabriel Makhlouf, take advice from a communications professional over how the Budget ‘hack’ was addressed? Did Finance Minister, Grant Robertson? Do senior business leaders listen to us when they have organisational issues to deal with? Do leading sports stars and their administrators take heed of what the ‘comms person’ has to say on any given matter?

    If I gain a seat on the PRINZ board, I’d like to see more weight applied to lifting the profile and positioning of our profession externally. For too long, our profession has, whether by choice or by accident, adopted a low profile at a time when, in business, sports, politics and in the media, there is so much opportunity for us to share our professional views and to position ourselves as a critical element in the decision-making process.

    And that would flow on to how you, the strategic communications professional, is perceived in the work place.

    I have over 30 years’ experience in strategic communications, stakeholder engagement, advocacy/lobbying and PR roles.

    I have worked in senior positions in both the public and private sectors and my experience includes projects with some of New Zealand’s higher profile companies.

    While working in government I co-ordinated and led the government’s communications response to the 2001 hydro crisis, achieving the then Minister’s goal of 10% energy savings within six weeks. This entailed a comprehensive programme of publicity and marketing that encouraged Kiwis to cut their power use by 10%. I also managed all the publicity and marketing for the launch of one of the first inter-Island fast ferry services.

    I chaired the central region committee of the Public Relations Institute of NZ for several years and sat on the Institute’s National Council. I am a Fellow of the Institute and have served as a judge for PRINZ’s annual industry awards and as an assessor for PRINZ’s APR accreditation qualification.

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    Kathryn Ruge

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    Kathryn Ruge

    MPRINZ, MInstD

    Tēnā koutou katoa.

    Ko Kilimanjaro te mauka.

    Ko Ōtākaro taku tino awa.

    I tipu ake au i Tānahia, i Āwherika, engari i whānau au i Ōtautahi.

    Ko Ngāti Tiamana, Ngāti Ingarihi, Ngāti Kōtimana ngā iwi.

    A New Zealander of German, English, and Scottish descent, I was born in Christchurch and raised in Tanzania. As an adult I have lived and worked in Christchurch, Auckland, and Frankfurt, Germany, which has provided me with a collection of lenses through which I view the world.

    I bring a complementary mix of operational and strategic leadership skills to the board table. The majority of my commercial experience has been in the airline industry with 16 years at Air New Zealand, including two on secondment to the Star Alliance headquarters in Germany.

    In the last six years this has been supplemented by senior communications roles in the high-tech industry, public sector, and iwi organisations including social enterprise, primary sector, tourism, property and investment.

    Having worked across many levels of influence, I have strong networks and experience encompassing strategy development and implementation, stakeholder and community relationship management, and partnership building.

    I’ve been involved in not-for-profit governance for most of my life, including as a Trustee on the Board of Avonhead School and as part of a strategic advisory group that introduced an improved governance structure for Archery New Zealand. An active member of the Institute of Directors, I was a 2018 recipient of the Canterbury Branch Emerging Director Award.

    This is my fourth year serving PRINZ on the Southern Division Committee, and my third year as Chair. At this year’s Southern Division AGM I referred to the whakatauki Ma pango ma whero, ka oti ai te mahi which means ‘With red and black the work will be completed’. This references the traditional red and black kowhaiwhai patterns that are found on the inside of wharenui. It speaks of cooperation and participation to achieve a goal and get the job done.

    I value diversity of thought and would count it a privilege to continue to serve PRINZ at a national level on a board that is focused on good governance as we tackle the challenges facing our industry in the 21st century.

    Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

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    Fred Russo

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    Fred Russo

    As the current chair of the PRINZ’s Northern Division and sitting board member, I’m keen to continue my service to the membership. During my tenure I’ve managed the local committee and helped deliver events to excite and educate PRINZ members. I’ve sat on the board and helped to guide our organisation into a space that uplifts the industry and protects our role in the business world.

    With a heavy tip of the hat to the Northern Committee, I’ve assisted with events that included our nation’s top practitioners and political heavyweights.

    Should I continue in this space, I’ll be focused on following through the processes we have set in motion. Namely, working through the new board structure and constitution.

    For me, what matters is delivering value to the PRINZ Membership. That means education classes and events that are relevant and modern, and showing that PR practitioners are value focused and ethically driven. I maintain my belief that our Code of Ethics is what sets us apart from other communicators and will ensure this code stays front and centre.

    Professionally, I am the Executive Director at Botica Butler Raudon Partners, a boutique firm with an exceptional reputation. I’ve spent the past 12 years in New Zealand working with Fortune 500 companies, IT businesses and local start-ups, and led or managed PR programmes for technology giants including Intel, Samsung, LG, and Symantec. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and minor degrees in sociology and criminal justice from Northern Arizona University. In a previous life I was an international athlete and circus manager, careers that oddly gave me skills that translate to the PR industry.

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    Jacquie Walters

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    Jacquie Walters


    I would like to contribute my perspective as the Principal of a small but dynamic regional consultancy to the PRINZ board. I have experience in doing business in New Zealand and Australia and work with companies operating across a very broad range of industries and sectors.

    I am passionate about working to improve the general public's perception of public relations and I am keen to see PRINZ facilitating its members' ability to stay informed about trends and issues affecting our industry, including those members who live outside the main centres.

    My previous governance experience includes being a trustee of the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust. I am currently a trustee of Te Matau Marine Centre of Excellence in Nelson.

    I am a PRINZ award winner, an APR graduate, and I have been a member of PRINZ since 2010.