Introducing Fellow NZer Holly Johnston / Fancy A Vacation In A Hut? / Meghan Markle’s Impression of NZ / Situations Wanted.

Holly Johnston moved to America in 2011 as a recruited athlete to the women’s rowing team at Syracuse University after winning three national crew championships and being selected to row on several regional and provincial teams. Choosing Syracuse for its highly regarded journalism school, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Holly majored in magazine journalism and English and edited the Orange Oar, the Syracuse rowing alumni magazines and worked as a staff writer for The NewsHouse. She continued to flourish in her rowing career throughout her time at college, stroking the Varsity 8+ from her sophomore year through her senior year and winning the collegiate champ double at the 2014 Head of the Charles. Holly’s graduating class helped move Syracuse’s Women’s Rowing national ranking from 42nd to 16th in the country.

 In 2014, Holly interned for NY1 News where she worked in the living department across the health, finance, fashion and the arts verticals. Here she assisted reporters in scouting, filming, writing and editing news segments to run on NY1’s broadcast and digital channels. Of particular note, Holly worked closely with NY1 veteran Stephanie Simon helping to produce the weekly YWSN feature and Friday morning live broadcast from locations throughout all of New York’s five boroughs.

After graduating Syracuse in 2015, Holly joined the Worth Group, an integrated media company with the 25-year old printed product, Worth magazine. Throughout her tenure, Holly has held pivotal roles in the fast-paced nature of the start-up/turnaround media company that is the Worth Group. Starting as the Head of Digital, Holly oversaw the relaunch of and other social digital platforms while also developing and implementing a digital sales strategy.

In mid-2016 Holly moved into a strategic role as Chief of Staff to the CEO, Eric Sinoway, and worked specifically on investor communications, oversight of company-wide marketing and PR initiatives, hiring new talent, operations and B2B/B2C business development. In this role Holly also helped develop a new venture called Worth Destinations which is an editorial franchise and business amplification program that annually explores 15 American cities with thriving entrepreneurial, economic, cultural, philanthropic, tourist and civic activity. Holly now focuses full time on the development, implementation and execution of Worth Destinations having assumed a Senior Director role last October. In this position, she spends her time working closely with local government, tourism offices and economic development centers in cities across the U.S. As part of this work, Holly runs Worth Studios and it the primary individual heading up video production. Currently this involves creating a series of short films for Las Vegas and Savannah, all which will be ready for release at the end of May.

Holly lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with a fellow kiwi and media executive, Georgina McWhirter, is an avid traveler, wine enthusiast and outdoors junkie.

Holly can be contacted at –


If any of your American friends want to visit NZ they may want to consider staying in one of the many Trail Huts of NZ. Great story about them in the New York Times


After a camper-van trip around the South Island, the soon-to-be Duchess of Sussex is a big fan of our fair country. Such a beautiful story about NZ here

Situations Wanted – Fellow NZer looking for position with a company that has global operations/aspirations. Her primary skill set sits at the intersection of business development and content creation across print, digital, video and social mediums. She has agility working with both B2B and B2C clients across the luxury, travel, healthcare, consulting and sports verticals. For more indication please email me at and I will do introduction


Introducing Fellow NZer Michael Witbrock / Don’t Forget Helen / Who Remembers Anne?

Originally from Christchurch, Michael now lives just outside New York City. He graduated from Otago University in 1984 with a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Psychology and received his PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. He’s now a distinguished research staff member in IBM Research AI, leading work on reasoning and the intersection of learning and reasoning.

Previously he Founded and acted as CEO at Curious Cat Company, building assistants that actually understand you and what you do, and was Vice President for Research at Cycorp, and CEO at Cycorp Europe, where he lead research in automated knowledge acquisition from text and dialogue, automated reasoning, and intelligent human-computer interaction.

Before that he was Principal Scientist at Terra Lycos, working on integrating statistical and knowledge based approaches to understanding web user behavior, a research scientist at Just Systems Pittsburgh Research Center, working on statistical text summarization, and a systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon on the Informedia spoken and video document information retrieval project.

His dissertation work at CMU was in the area of machine learning (with very early Deep Neural Networks) for speaker modelling. Dr Witbrock has frequently acted a an expert consultant to the European Commission in the area of human-computer collaboration for eGovernment and in text understanding, and was technical director of the FP7 LarKC project. He is author of numerous publications in areas ranging across neural networks, parallel computer architecture, multimedia information retrieval, web browser design, genetic design, computational linguistics and speech recognition and is a inventor on seven US patents.

He can be contacted at; be persistent if you’re a NZer. He gets a lot of email.


The movie My Year With Helen will be screened at 6pm in the Held Auditorium at Barnard College in NYC on February 23rd.

My Year With Helen is a feature length documentary by esteemed NZ director Gaylene Preston, who spent a year observing former Prime Minister Helen Clark’s bid for UN Secretary-General.

While we all know the eventual outcome, the film goes deep behind the scenes to reveal gender politics in the United Nations and is proving to be a galvanizing influence for women as well as a source of pride for New Zealanders. It also has moments of typically appealing kiwi humour, like the scenes with Helen looking after her father by putting 90 meals in his freezer.

The film has been selected for the Athena Film Festival, a prestigious festival of women’s films held annually at Barnard College.

Helen Clark and Gaylene Preston will be in attendance and will have a Q&A session after the screening. The Q&As at other places have proven lively, inspiring and stimulating events, with Helen saying things like “now that I’m free, I’m a dangerous woman”, revealing her inspirational and funny side.

More information can be found on the Facebook page

With reviews, images, and news stories on the website:
Tickets are available here


Fellow NZer Anne Audain was adopted as an infant and suffered through her younger years with bone deformities in both her feet. After successful reconstructive bone surgery at age 13, she joined a local athletic club and a running star was born! Through her career Anne set records and pioneered professional running for women. She has since been inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, the USA Running Hall of Fame, and honored with a Member of the British Empire Medal from Queen Elizabeth II of England for her contributions to her sport worldwide.

More details here –


Born in Invercargill and mostly raised in Auckland, David graduated with an M. Com (1st class Honors) and B. Com from the University of Auckland before moving to the California where he attended Stamford University. At Stamford he earned a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Business and an M.S. in Statistics from the Department of Statistics.

He now lives and works in NYC. During his teaching semester (fall) he commutes to Philadelphia where he teaches Digital Marketing and E-commerce at The Wharton School as a tenured and chaired Professor. He introduced this course to both the Wharton | Philadelphia and Wharton | San Francisco campuses and is the Academic Director for Wharton’s Executive Education offering Digital Marketing Strategies for the Digital Economy. His book Location Is (Still) Everything is a playbook for how to win in the digital economy.

David has a very impressive academic profile and is especially passionate about investing in and working with entrepreneurs who are founding the next generation of great consumer lifestyle companies. He was an early investor is some category defining companies including Bonobos (acquired by Walmart), (acquired by Walmart), Quidsi (acquired by Amazon), Harry’s and Warby Parker, among many others. Several of his portfolio companies are changing the game in established categories (e.g., apparel and accessories, eye-wear, grooming, health and wellness) by delivering true value to consumers and doing it with a great narrative and a vision for social change as well. He is also an expert in intellectual property matters pertaining to choice behavior online and offline.

He is setting up Idea Farm Ventures, a NYC-based consumer lifestyle venture studio which he co-founded with a good friend. .

If you would like more information on David, please contact him directly at or



In 2014 Stu Webster traded his 6-day-a-week suit-and-tie job as a partner in a well known law firm in New Zealand for sunny Los Angeles and the joys of working in shorts and jandals year-round.

The most recent check on his bucket list is being a newly minted member of the CA Bar, which means he can now sue/help people in 2 countries!

Stu offers a mixed legal practice encompassing business, corporate, contract, employment and immigration law, so if you’re in the market for some legal direction in either NZ or the US or know someone in a pickle, drop Stu an email


A few years ago Stu co-foundered a company that helps Kiwi’s realize their key market potential in the US and on the flip side helping American’s relocate to NZ.

Although in a niche market, Pinecone has grown another branch and needs a specialist tax expert for referrals – a tax attorney or CPA who has had experience with both the US and New Zealand tax systems.  That person does not have to be a Kiwi, but must have had experience in dual tax jurisdictions and can point to NZ on a map. If you would like to be considered or know of someone who is a perfect candidate for a referral role please email Stu



Fellow NZer Richard Bowman, an internationally acclaimed master teacher, coach and répétiteur, has been named artistic director of the Napa Valley Ballet.

Bowman will oversee all students and faculty in the open-enrollment program. The academy follows a specific curriculum, divided by age.

Born and trained in Auckland, New Zealand, Bowman was awarded a full scholarship to complete his training at the Royal Ballet School in London, England. He has danced as a guest artist and as a principal artist with renowned ballet companies including, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Leipzig Ballet, the Australian Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

The recipient of the 1987 Sir Jon Logan Campbell Award, he has been noted for his technical brilliance and his ability able to capture audiences with ease.

More information here –