We will be updating our speaker page as we finalise our programme
Naseem Ameer Ali
I am a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Chartered Construction Manager, mediator, and adjudicator. I have a Bachelors degree in Quantity Surveying from Reading University UK, a Masters degrees in Architecture from University College London, another Masters degree in Construction Law from King’s College London, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
After 20 years as a consultant in the construction industries in the UK and Malaysia I am now a Senior Lecturer at Massey University, New Zealand where I lead the Masters degree in Construction with a Construction Law specialisation.
I have served as President of the Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia and Vice-Chair of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Malaysian branch. I now sit on the committees of the Society of Construction Law and New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Auckland branch.
Among my contributions to promoting plain language include (i) a part of my PhD thesis where I critically reviewed the drafting style of legislation governing payment and adjudication in the construction industry; and (ii) the drafting of a couple of standard sets of terms of construction contracts in plain language, one of which is accredited as a Clear English Standard document by the Plain Language Commission, UK. I also incorporate plain language writing in all the construction law papers I teach at Massey University.
Judi Altinkaya is the National Manager of Immigration New Zealand’s Settlement Unit. She is responsible for developing informative and clear collateral to support new migrants to settle into their work and local communities, as well as overseeing the all-of-government implementation of the New Zealand Migrant Settlement and Integration Strategy (2014) and supporting the retention of skilled migrants in regions throughout New Zealand.
In 2004 Judi was recruited from her former role as CE of New Zealand’s largest settlement NGO (English Language Partners) to design and implement a nationwide network of migrant resource services. She has subsequently transformed Immigration New Zealand's approach to migrant settlement, reviewing and adapting settlement information and services to align with changing migrant trends.
A hallmark of Judi’s leadership is her innovative resource development tailored to support the end-to-end migration pathway. Judi has always been a champion for keeping the written word for a new migrant clear and simple.
John has been NZIER’s Deputy Chief Executive since November 2008. He previously worked for NZIER between 2001 and 2005. John advises a wide range of clients on regulatory and policy issues related to trade, agriculture, water allocation, infrastructure, tourism and transport. He also works with government agencies to improve the quality of their policy advice.
Cathy Basterfield is a Speech Pathologist with 28 years experience working with people with Complex Communication Needs. Cathy runs Access Easy English, a specialist business writing documents for people with non-functional literacy. In 2011 Cathy was awarded a Victorian government study scholarship to investigate accreditation and universal standards internationally, for people with limited literacy. Cathy is an internationally acknowledged expert in the area of developing documents for people with limited literacy, the language, the techniques, the images and format to use. She presents both nationally and internationally about Easy English. Her business provides training, consultancy and translation services to Easy English. Cathy has previously been involved in establishing Australian quality benchmarks, resource development and the development and adherence to in-house standards for Easy English.
Marie-Claire Belleau is Full Professor of Law at Laval University in Québec City in Canada. She also teaches in graduate programs in Europe.
She has an LLB from Laval University. She was called to the Québec Bar in 1986 and received the Advocatus Emeritus distinction of the Barreau du Québec in 2010. She clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada. She pursued her graduate work at Harvard Law School, receiving both her LLM and SJD. She also obtained a D.E.A. from Paris II. She was recently elected to the Royal Society of Canada for her scholarly contributions.
She practises mediation in family law, Small Claims, civil and commercial law. She acts regularly as expert counsel to the Canadian judiciary. She has wide-ranging interests and expertise: alternative dispute resolution, legal theory, judicial dissent, history of legal thought and comparative law. Her research is driven by one main preoccupation: access to justice.
Elisa Berg is Deputy Director - Manager Online Strategy and Publishing at Victoria Law Foundation where she manages the publishing program and the digital strategy for Everyday-Law.org.au website. She has over 15 years' experience driving content strategy across multiple channels for media leaders including the ABC. She regularly advises government and non-government organisations on website development and user experience design.
Mark is an expert process analyst and plain language devotee with over 20 years experience analysing and documenting processes in a variety of industries. He also applies his linguistics skills to editing material for clients around the world. Mark has an MBA (Monash University), a Graduate Certificate in Linguistics (Open University Australia) and Six Sigma certification.
Alexia Black is the Communications Manager for People First New Zealand Ltd. Ngā Tāngata Tuatahi. As part of her role she manages the organisation’s growing Easy Read Translation Service – which has tripled its output in the last 3 years and is fast-growing into a world leader in the creation of accessible information for people with learning (intellectual) disability.
Alexia’s work in the disability sector has focused on strengthening self-advocacy and improving access to information. She has been invited to speak on disability issues in Japan, and is also Chair of the Disability strand of the Wellington Regional Action Plan for Refugee Health and Wellbeing.
Ralph Brown has a background in business, psychology and television journalism.
He founded what is now Skillset New Zealand more than 30 years ago and remains its managing director. The company provides training in communication skills for large organisations throughout New Zealand and overseas.
Ralph still leads training workshops – and considers them a highlight of his week.
Ralph has written six books and more than a hundred articles on writing and psychology – including two published by international peer-reviewed academic journals.
He has taught his writing and editing method to thousands of writers in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Adam Bushby is a lawyer and art history graduate. He holds bachelor's degrees in commerce, law and art history from the University of Melbourne, and a master's degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art. He is currently a Senior Parliamentary Counsel for the Victorian Government, and the Curator of the Peter O'Callaghan QC Gallery at the Victorian Bar. Parliamentary Counsel draft Bills for the Parliament, settle statutory rules, and provide other legal advice regarding government and parliamentary processes. Adam is interested in issues regarding the accessibility of the law.
Nicky is Communications Manager at the Electricity Authority. She’s worked in communications for the last 15 years and has had roles in the engineering, transport , tourism and arts sectors. The jargon in the electricity sector is the worst.
Meghan Codd Walker
Meghan’s approach to communication reflects her numbers wizardry, insatiable curiosity, and bookworm nature. As co-founder of Zuula, she provides precise, compelling content for organizations ranging from tech startups to global corporations. Whether she is coaching professionals, improving content, or refining brands, Meghan helps clients understand — and unleash — the power of plain language.
Meghan is co-chair of the ClearMark Awards, an annual event celebrating the best plain language in North America. She is also a Board Member at the Center for Plain Language and a member of the International Plain Language Federation (formerly the International Plain Language Working Group).
Justine is Plain English Foundation’s Managing Editor. She specialises in substantive plain English editing and document assessment. Recently, she has put these skills to good use as a judge for both the WriteMark and the ClearMark Awards. She has also co-presented a paper and roundtable session at the PLAIN 2013 conference in Vancouver. Justine has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English from the University of Sydney and a Postgraduate Diploma in Book Editing and Publishing from Macleay College.
Sue Costello has worked in government, community and education sectors in Australia, and has post graduate qualifications in adolescent counselling, education and career development.
She has worked for many years with young people and is passionate about the importance of education as an enabler of enriching lives.
After long stints in Canberra and Melbourne, Sue returned recently to her birthplace of Hobart, Tasmania.
She now manages the state’s 26TEN Strategy, a cross-sector collaboration of people united by a shared vision to lift adult literacy and numeracy levels, and make it possible for all Tasmanians to participate fully in everyday life.
Deborah has been in practice since 2011 and has had a specialist family law practice since that time. Deborah joined Wellington Family Law in 2013; before that Deborah was working at a boutique family law practice in Porirua. Deborah is a member of the Family Court’s Association and Family Law Section. Moving from Porirua practice to central Wellington Practice highlighted to Deborah the importance of providing information and advice to clients in a way that is accessible to them.
Castalia is an international economic advisory firm, founded in 1980 and built around innovative thinking and collaboration between the public and private sectors to develop infrastructure while meeting social and business goals. For the past 30 years, Castalia has worked to improve infrastructure service delivery through innovative and practical solutions. Castalia has worked in over 60 developing and OECD countries, working from our offices in Washington, DC (United States), New York (United States), Bogota (Colombia), Paris (France), Sydney (Australia), and Wellington (New Zealand). Castalia has over 50 professional staff members across its offices, with experts in finance, economics, law, and institutional design; and language capabilities in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and German. Castalia’s clients span a range of governments, multilateral lending agencies, and private companies, illustrating the firm’s ability to analyse and understand economic and policy issues from a range of perspectives.
Gina is a lawyer, editor and wannabe investigative journalist. She first worked in industrial law in South Africa and then in commercial litigation in Sydney — a spectrum of work that extended from a large law firm to a support centre in a squatter camp. She later studied journalism after recognising the power of story in all our lives.
Gina developed an interest in clear communication while drafting documents for time-poor high-flyers and for disaffected community housing tenants. Watching both groups do battle with turgid documents led to training in the legal, banking, not-for-profit and government sectors
Steven Graham is an innovation and foresight specialist. Whether he’s leading teams at Fortune 500 organisations Microsoft, KPMG (currently NZ Head of Digital Futures) or creating new possibilities as a start-up founder his passion never wanes. A native Californian who has lived and and travelled in over 50 countries, Steve has developed a fondness for cultural diversity, new thinking models and an enthusiasm to challenge existing norms. Working as a product development specialist in all Japanese environment for three years taught him the power of simplicity. Steve is known for his passion, propensity to innovate and for his ability to tell a good story.
I am a leadership and team development specialist, founder and director of two businesses focusing on lifting the performance of leaders and of their teams. Not surprisingly, these are the things I’m most passionate about.
From my own management and consulting experience (30 years), I have a deep appreciation of the challenges leaders face to build high performing organisations. I hate to see great people wasted in organisations, as I hate to see money wasted on training that isn’t bearing fruit. So this is why I work with Shaun Sheldrake and the Growability team to fix these problems.
While my formal education includes degrees in Biology and Business, the desire to develop and improve myself is now satisfied by setting aside considerable time each year to study current thought leaders and emerging research. Discoveries made during this time have influenced the innovative approaches and products Growability is becoming famous for.
Simon Hertnon is the founder of Nakedize, a professional development training company devoted to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge workers.
Simon has published several non-fiction books including Clear, Concise, Compelling (a writing guidebook).
Through his books and courses, Simon helps professionals to provide better value from their work. He advocates systems thinking, collaboration, and simple processes.
Simon currently teaches two professional development short courses for Victoria University of Wellington: Writing Essentials and Managing for Optimal Documents. He is a regular judge of the New Zealand Plain English Awards and is a consumer advocate for Southern Cross Hospitals.
Teresa Heinz Housel
Dr. Teresa Heinz Housel is an adjunct Communication faculty at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. Before relocating to Wellington in 2013, she was an Associate Professor of Communication in Michigan. She has also worked as a plain language specialist and trainer at Write Limited. Teresa is an expert on critical thinking and qualitative research. In addition to co-editing three books, her research has appeared in Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journal of Critical Inquiry, and Information, Communication & Society. Her co-authored essay, “The Impact of Smartphone Educational Use on Student Connectedness and Out-of-Class Involvement,” will appear in a special issue of the Electronic Journal of Communication later this year.
Cleo Igglesden is Office Manager at Write, New Zealand’s leading plain language consultancy. Her role focuses on streamlining policies and processes, and running a tight ship. Cleo writes the plainest, clearest operational policies you ever did see. Her catchcry is ‘no one wants to read that’. So she ensures her communications hit the mark by being short, punchy, and funny, getting people’s attention and achieving better compliance.
Judy's passion is making sure that documents meet the needs of their readers — because reader-friendly documents work better.
Judy holds a Masters in Communication, and is accredited in public relations through the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand. She has been writer and editor on a broad range of government and private-sector organisations, applying her clear writing skills to topics as diverse as insurance, climate change, income tax, genetics, finance, local government, and health.
In her other identity as Jude Knight, Judy is an award-winning author of historical mystery and romance novels. Several of her books have been Amazon bestsellers.
Megan is a perfectionist plain English writer who specialises in interpreting government requirements and the law for business. After 15 years at the BBC News website, she returned to New Zealand in 2014. She spent a year writing with flair and care for government and a bank before joining business design studio Empathy.
Her role involves acting as editor-in-chief of business.govt.nz, the government website that helps small businesses understand compliance — with a side order of how to flourish and grow. A major undertaking in her first year at Empathy was to shepherd the Employment Agreement Builder into being — an online tool for employers to create legally safe staff contracts. Megan translated legalese into plain English and crafted supporting text to help employers know which clauses to use, and which to avoid like the plague. The Employment Agreement Builder launched in April 2016 to rave reviews from users.
Rachelle Ballesteros- Lintao, PhD, is Assistant Professor of English at the Faculty of Arts and Letters, University of Santo Tomas (UST) and at the College of Graduate Studies and Teacher Education Research, Philippine Normal University (PNU), Manila, the Philippines. She is also a research associate at the Research Center on Education and Social Science Issues in UST. Rachelle worked on simplifying a Philippine consumer-finance contract for her dissertation leading to her PhD Major in English Language Studies degree (Magna Cum Laude) at the UST Graduate School. She first attended Clarity’s gathering at the IC.Clear/Clarity 2014 in Belgium and has since become a member before being appointed as Clarity’s country representative to the Philippines. Rachelle has presented papers in local and international conferences and has published numerous articles on the comprehensibility and simplification of consumer contracts in line with her plain language advocacy.
Deanna is co-founder of Zuula, a content consultancy that helps organizations transform convoluted messaging into clear, compelling communication. As a strategist and trainer, she brings an analytical, creative approach to language and speaks regularly about using clarity as a brand strategy. Deanna has served clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to emerging businesses across industries such as financial services and scientific R&D. Since 2015, she has co-chaired the ClearMark Awards, an annual event celebrating the best plain language in North America. Deanna is also a member of PLAIN and the Center for Plain Language.
In 2014 Morag received a cry of help from one of Dunedin’s principal corporates. Poor writing practices were wasting time and company resources. From this The Writers’ House consultancy began. Morag has now mentored and run courses for workplace writers from all spheres; from senior executives to staff that spend the majority of their day in the field.
With over twenty years' English teaching experience, Morag brings to her workshops a deep knowledge of the English language coupled with an extensive understanding of the best ways to promote learning. Her lively, no nonsense approach, uses plenty of humour creating a constructive environment where real learning can take place. Morag has held numerous significant English education positions, among them; English Head of Department, Literacy Specialist Teacher, NZQA Marker and NZQA Examination Moderator. Still very much enjoying her teenage learners Morag continues to work part-time at a one of Dunedin’s secondary schools.
Stuart is a senior lecturer in Environmental Health at Massey University, Wellington where he lectures in occupational and environmental noise, water and wastes and environmental health and housing. For many years he has worked extensively as an environmental health officer and also as a national science advisor at the Ministry of health. He has specialised in noise in the work place, environment and education settings. Due to many years of working with the enforcement of law and now in teaching to others, he is a strong advocate for legislation and standards to be written in clear plain language.
Brigit is the Director of the Donald Beasley Institute (DBI) and has been a member of the Institute's research team since 1994. The DBI is based in Dunedin and is New Zealand’s only dedicated learning disability research centre. As a sociologist Brigit has a strong interest in understanding the social lives of people with learning disability and is committed to initiating and achieving social change through research. Brigit has been involved in research on a wide range of topics including deinstitutionalisation, physical health, mental health and wellbeing, parenting and the law. Her current research, which is funded by the New Zealand Law Foundation, is focused on the experiences of people with a learning disability in the legal system and included people with learning disability, judges and lawyers as participants. Since conducting the research Brigit has been working to translate and disseminate findings to encourage more responsive policy and legal practice related to people with learning disability and other vulnerable witnesses. She is particularly experienced in qualitative research methodologies and regularly undertakes transformative evaluation projects within the disability sector. Brigit is also a Senior Lecturer with the Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies, University of Otago, (Christchurch), and provides postgraduate supervision across a range of disciplines.
Eamonn Moran has been involved in legislative drafting in various capacities for more than 40 years. He was Chief Parliamentary Counsel in Victoria, Australia between 1999 and 2008 and Law Draftsman in Hong Kong from January 2008 to June 2012. He received an Australian Public Service Medal in 2005 for ‘outstanding public service to legislative drafting and public law and to the promotion of plain legal language’and in 2012 was awarded by the Hong Kong Government a Silver Bauhinia Star for his contribution to the development of plain language drafting in Hong Kong.
He now works as a consultant legislative counsel for various governments and government entities in Australia and elsewhere as well as practising as a barrister in Victoria. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in Victoria in 1998. Eamonn was a member of the Victorian Law Reform Commission from September 2012 to September 2016. He has also been appointed over the last several years by both the Australian Government and the Victorian State Government to lead or participate in legislative reviews in areas as diverse as water law and adoption by same sex couples.
Eamonn is an instructor for the Graduate Diploma in Legislative Drafting offered by Athabasca University, Canada. He is a former President of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel and a current member of the Clarity board.
The Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner Scheme (EGCC) resolves complaints about electricity and gas providers. As a best practice dispute resolution scheme, EGCC commits to communicating clearly to reduce the misunderstanding that often accompanies complaints.
EGCC was a finalist for Best Organisation at the 2013 Writemark Plain English Awards, and the winner of Best Small Workplace for the 2015 IBM Kenexa Best Workplaces Survey.
Hannah Morgan-Stone is a senior conciliator and plain language champion at EGCC. Hannah helped develop and implement a writing standard for all staff.
Greg is Plain English Foundation's Training Manager. He has presented workshops for hundreds of professionals in legal, corporate and government organisations. In 2013, he co-presented a workshop at PLAIN in Vancouver. He co-presented a paper at Clarity 2012 in Washington and delivered workshops at Clarity 2014 and PLAIN 2015. He has also spoken publicly in Australia. He is Secretary of PLAIN.
Sissel C. Motzfeldt is a Senior Adviser at the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment. The goal of the Agency is to strengthen the government's work in renewing the Norwegian public sector. Sissel has since 2012 been a full time manager for the project 'Clear language in laws and regulations' and was the first manager for the project 'Plain Language in Norway’s Civil Service' (2009 – 2011). She has 40 years of experience from the Norwegian Central Government as a communication advisor and communication manager. She had a major role in the development of the Central Government Communication Policy and over the years, she has been managing projects in different areas such as environment, cultural heritage and immigration. She has extensive experience from strategy development and user involvement both in ministries and agencies. Her skills combine lecturing, consulting, project management, and being an eager globetrotter whenever the possibility!
Mami is Professor of law and language at Takasaki City University of Economics in Japan. She served as dean of the School of Regional Policy and the Graduate School of Regional Policy at the university. She holds a PhD in Forensic Linguistics from the University of Sydney, Australia. She is a public member of the Gunma Prefecture Local Labor Relations Commission and a mediator at the Maebashi Family Court. She worked for the plain courtroom language project of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. She now serves as president of the Japan Association for Language and Law and trustee of the Japan Association of Access to Justice and the Japanese Association of Sociology of Law.
Ingrid Olsson is an examined language consultant in Swedish with extensive experience working with Swedish public agencies. She works at the Language Council of Sweden (Språkrådet) as a language adviser with special responsibility for plain language in the public sector. Previously, she worked as a language adviser at the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority.
Award-winning plain English editor and writer, Andrew Pegler, formed www.andrewpeglermedia.com.au in 2000 in the belief that everyone should have access to easy-to-understand, concise information. He calls this ‘plain English’, and is a loud and proud enemy of gobbledegook, official-ese, legal-ese and bureaucrat-ese. His plain English clients include the Australian Prime Minister’s Department, CGU Insurance, Sustainability Victoria, NAB and Rio Tinto.
Andrew is an accomplished speaker and plain English trainer. His lively presentations are enjoyed by governments, corporations and academic institutions.
Andrew appears on Australian radio and TV as a commentator on current affairs, he writes opinion for The Melbourne Age and has written two works of fiction. He’s been a speechwriter for Victorian premiers and ministers, and was editor of Monash Business Review for three years. He also wrote and taught an introduction to advertising course at Monash University.
Andrew’s philosophy is neatly summed up in a quote from Albert Einstein – “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.”
From 1985 to 2006 I worked as a legislative drafter in the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, Victoria, Australia. From 2006 to 2013 I worked at the National Transport Commission (Australia) as the Commission’s chief legislative drafter, but also as a lawyer and policy-maker. Since late 2013 I have tried to live a life devoted to dissipation, although I still do occasional work if it can’t be avoided. However, my change of direction has not stopped me from continuing to be a serial attender of Clarity, PLAIN and CALC (Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel) Conferences.
Claudia Poblete has a PhD in Spanish Language from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. She completed her undergraduate studies at PUCV, and also studied for her doctorate in applied linguistics there. She has been the coordinator of postgraduate programmes, and established units in communication competency in the region’s universities.
Claudia is a joint project researcher in writing and academic literacy. She is also an assessor of writing projects and clear language in the academic world, as well as in professional areas such as the parliament and the judicial system.
Claudia is a specialist in forensic linguistics, and is qualified in cultural journalism. She lectures at the Law School of the Catholic University of Valparaiso and the University of Valparaiso; is editor of the parliamentary magazine, and is an assessor for the Commission for Clear Language of the Judicial Power of Chile.
Victoria Rea is a fourth-year student for a conjoint degree of LLB (Hons) and Arts in International Relations and Public Policy. This year she’s Law Society President while juggling working at the Ministry for Primary Industries and Inland Revenue, and training for the Wellington Marathon. As if that’s not enough, she’s also writing her thesis on the place of self defence for primary victims of domestic abuse.
Ragnhild I. Samuelsberg
Ragnhild I. Samuelsberg is a Specialist Director in the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality. She has more than 30 years of experience as a professional communicator being Director of Communication in the Ministry, the National Theatre, the Directorate of Labour, anchor- woman in TV program, editor and journalist. Building a plain language culture in the Ministry is now a major undertaking, and her experiences helps her to campaign for more effective and democratic language. Her skills combine rhetoric, redrafting and editing. She includes linguistics and rhetoric early in the legal writing process. Much of her work involves complex government documents. She has given lectures about clarity in the University of Oslo, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology and inprivate and public organizations. 'I have been searching and striving to find the meaning in many texts and often blamed myself for not understanding, instead of blaming the author'.
Sonia Sanchez Moreno
Sonia is the Production Manager at Polaron Language Services. She has managed over 1,000 translation and interpreting projects, many of them comprising of up to 40 different languages. Over the last two years, she has been working closely with non-for-profit organisations and government bodies to help them be more creative and clear when communicating with diverse communities in Australia.
Sonia holds a Master’s Degree in software and multimedia translations and is a sworn translator. Before moving to Australia from Spain, she was one of the founding members of a non-for-profit organisation aimed at improving social inclusiveness of the Arabic-speaking communities in southern Spain.
Gabriella Sandström is an examined language consultant in Swedish and experienced at working with Swedish public authorities. She works at the Language Council of Sweden (Språkrådet) as a language adviser with special responsibility for plain language in the public sector. Previously, she worked as a language adviser at the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and the National Agency for Education. She also has a great deal of experience from the publishing business.
I’ve been a lawyer with New Zealand’s largest bank, ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited, for 17 years. For the last 9 years, I’ve championed plain English. A finalist in the 2015 WriteMark Plain English awards, I’ve:
- championed the value of plain English within ANZ and to our customers
- driven the delivery of an impressive number of plain English documents for our mass-market Retail customers
- taken the lead in training ANZ staff on plain English
- acted as ANZ’s representative on a government advisory group on responsible lending,
championing the use of plain English, with recognition from the Minister of Commerce, officials, and the banking industry.
I am driven to help organisations lift their performance through the development of their people. The challenge is how to do this effectively.
My passion, creativity, twenty plus years of business and learning and development experience culminated in the launch of Growability to create solutions to this challenge.
Along with my business partner, Phil Hartwick, I specialize in the creation of Learning Transfer solutions. Our solutions are designed to make learning stick, resulting in organisations getting more value from their training dollar.
We are now recognised as a Learning Transfer market leader, having had a number of significant wins working within both commercial and government organisations to get more value from their internal learning & development programs.
Using similar thinking, but with a different client set, we also work with training providers who want to add more value for their customers by making their learning content stickier.
Vanessa is a corporate lawyer with significant commercial and regulatory experience. Prior to joining the FMA, Vanessa was associate general counsel at Meridian Energy Limited and a Senior Associate at Russell McVeagh. Her experience spans many industries and subjects including corporate governance, SOEs, energy sector and information technology, as well as financial markets.
Katherine Spivey serves as the U.S. General Services Administration’s Plain Language Launcher. She was a 2015 NextGen Public Service Award Finalist (NextGen 30) for Exemplary Leadership in her plain language work. She also cochairs the Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) as well as teaches plain language courses for Digital Gov University and many federal agencies. Katherine manages web content on GSA.gov, coordinates social media, and edits Assistant Commissioner Mary Davie's blog, Great Government through Technology. Before GSA, Katherine was web content manager at the Department of Homeland Security, web content editor at international law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and websites manager at the International Association of Chiefs of Police. She has taught at local community colleges and at the Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, Virginia. She has an M.A. in English from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in English from the University of Mary Washington.
Dr Jo Stewart has worked in the Australian Taxation Office since 1995. For most of that time, she was a tax-technical specialist in indirect taxes, but was also building expertise in the theory and practice of technical writing in plain language. She has been involved in developing and delivering training programs in plain language for technical writers since 2006. Presently, she is the director of a cell that provides technical editing services, and leads the ATO’s technical writing improvement program. She was awarded a PhD from the University of Queensland in 2013, after completing the Writing, Editing, and Publishing post-graduate program there. Her thesis brought together her work and varied fields of study, examining the technical writing of the ATO, plain legal language, writing instruction, a little history, and a dash of cognitive science.
Colleen delivers Write workshops and coaches clients one-on-one. The most satisfying part of her job is watching people develop power over their writing process and style.
Colleen came to Write after years of teaching English to speakers of other languages. She was drawn to English-language teaching while on volunteer service overseas — when asked how to decide between ‘a’ and ‘the’, she realised that she couldn’t explain. This experience led to a big learning curve, and to a career that carried on after her return to New Zealand.
Colleen first caught the travel bug when she was just 15, with a trip to the USA and South America. Since then, she has lived in Australia, Africa, China, and Europe.
I’m a Plain English Specialist at Write Limited. I train people to use plain English in business writing, whether they write emails, instructions, proposals, or reports. I train people to create useful A3 reports and infographics by applying plain English principles. And I always stress the benefits of clear commissioning.
Using the Rewrite for Change™ Model, I support businesses to make positive, lasting change to the way they communicate
I draw on my experience in broadcasting and communications to deliver focused, interactive workshops. People describe me as practical and approachable, and discover a plain English workshop can be fun!
Richard has a background in commercial law, having practised in New Zealand and England.
He has worked at New Zealand's Parliamentary Counsel Office since 2003, first as a legislative drafter, and then as a Drafting Team Manager. He is interested in how technology and document design can be used to more effectively communicate legislation to the public.
Richard is currently leading the Access to Subordinate Instruments Project. New Zealand’s tertiary legislation is drafted and published in various ways by over 200 agencies. The project aims to collect and publish all of New Zealand’s tertiary legislation on the NZ Legislation website.
Sheryl Ward is an experienced teacher and adult trainer who runs her own training consultancy, Training Works, specialising in public sector writing skills. Training Works offers customised workshops in ministerial documents, case notes, court reports for correctional officers and editing and proofreading skills.
Sheryl is focused on helping all her workshop participants become better writers and is particularly proud of the long-term relationships she has with clients.
Verity’s passion for clarity and efficiency in business runs deep. With her blog Checklist Legal, Verity explores the areas she loves that make the law more accessible; Checklists (of course), Plain Language, and Legal Visuals.
After having dabbled in tourism, marketing, radio and even being a traveling carnival employee, Verity finally found her true passion in the legal world and hasn’t looked back since. Her diverse career background gives Verity a strong commercial edge.
Verity currently spends her workdays acting as a Corporate Counsel for one of the top 4 telecommunications companies in Australia, where she has put in place an automated funnel for complicated contract processes resulting in a reduced sign off approval times and less pressure on the legal team.
Verity was a Finalist in the Young Achiever Award at the 2015 Australian In House Lawyers Awards and has recently joined the Board of the Communication Research Institute as its youngest ever Director.
Anniken Willumsen works as a senior adviser at the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment. She has since 2011 been manager for the project "Plain Language in Norway’s Civil Service. The goal of the project is to stimulate government administration to use good and user-friendly language. Every year several activities are initiated, and this year Anniken has been manager for a new and major subproject: developing an e-learning course in plain language. She has a master degree in media science and has many years of experience as a communication adviser in both central and regional government in Norway, as well as from the organizational field. Anniken is an experienced project manager and her skills combine digital work, e-learning, strategy work, lecturing, consulting, project management and communications work.
Patrick is a New Zealand lawyer, originally from Dallas, Texas. He is currently the Accident Compensation Corporation's Senior Associate Company Secretary. He advocates for precise usage and clear direction for all documents, but especially for legal and board documents. He loathes legalese.
Previously, Patrick taught Legal Writing at Vermont Law School; worked as Gas Industry Co’s legal counsel; and advised the Civil Aviation Authority on legal issues. He has a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from Saint Louis University and a Juris Doctorate from Vermont Law School. He was the youngest person to run for the United States House of Representatives from the 5th District of Texas. But that didn’t quite turn out as he had hoped.
He has keeps a library of writing, usage and poetry books at his desk that he references when writing.
Kate has been leading the FMA's transition to the use plain English in its publications, legal guidance and website content. Kate is a seasoned communications specialist with experience across a number of industries including ICT, infrastructure and finance. Prior to joining the FMA, Kate was communications manager for Spark Digital, Spark New Zealand’s ICT services division. Kate is a former Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) committee chair and was awarded PRINZ Fellow status in 2013.