Testimonials


“Ellen was deliberate, clear and convincing with her communications and, as a result, has significantly influenced how Army is now approaching a range of diversity and inclusion challenges, particularly those that relate to gender inclusiveness… To Ellen’s immense credit she has positively contributed to a number of organizational level working groups… Ellen’s contributions to the change, both short & long term, currently being sort by Army in these areas has been both invaluable and greatly appreciated.”
Major General John Boswell, DSD, Chief of NZ Army.
“Ellen was a fantastic speaker at a recent KPMG Inclusion and Diversity event. She spoke with passion, enthusiasm and authenticity on the topic of wellbeing, inclusion and belonging in a way which leveraged her PhD analysis to inform practical solutions that could change how we all work more effectively and efficiently into the future. The session was thought-provoking, stimulated significant discussion amongst attendees and was delivered with good humour.”
Peter Chew, Director, KPMG

“Ellen speaks with humour, warmth and inspiration. Her talk to our MBA graduates was just perfect for the occasion, leaving the graduates and their families with nuggets of wisdom and the feeling of being thoroughly entertained and inspired.” 

Professor Ted Zorn, Head of Massey Executive Development, Massey University
“Ellen presented as an MBA alumni and PhD fellow multiple times to my MBA cohort. She speaks with candour and clarity backed by her research and concrete experience about the opportunities that lay ahead for us all. How Ellen engaged with our group but also her accessibility to individuals personally gave me a great deal of confidence in my own academic journey and perhaps the impression I could leave on my own surroundings.”
Inspector Sam Keats, National Workforce Improvement Manager, NZ Police.

 “Ellen captured the audience with her humour, storytelling and inspirational insights. A room full of Executive MBA graduates hung on her every word as she took them on a journey that they will remember for a long time.”

Mandy Welch, Executive Development, Massey University

“I invited Dr Ellen Nelson to present at EY’s Wellington Monthly Consulting session. Ellen’s passion combined with the research she has completed made for an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable session. During the session Ellen captivated the team by using real world examples which connected to her research about the changing nature of leadership. Ellen’s presentation style exemplified the traits she was explaining with regards to being authentic and how when combined with leadership this delivers a more positive outcome. The team were kept rapt as she challenged them to think differently about the future of work, and how the 9-5 construct has shifted and organisations now need to not just have flexible work policies, but to build their systems and processes around this new worker. For Ellen, another pillar of the way we need to change is to stop thinking about just outputs but the people that are delivering them, ensuring their wellbeing is supported and that they form teams that are diverse and provide the psychological safety for all members to excel. Ellen’s presentation really resonated with our team with much of what she was sharing further supporting the shifts we have made to better accommodate for our multi-disciplined and diverse teams. Ellen is an excellent speaker, and it was a real pleasure to have her come speak with our team”

Eric Chapman, Director, EY

“Ellen, so many thanks for your energising and highly informative talk on the construct of work with the NZTE Women in Leadership Forum. When I invited you to speak, I knew you would bring your knowledge, experience and passion to seed this really important conversation. The more than 60 women who attended were obviously engaged and curious by the number of questions raised and conversations started. And so good to hear that several followed up with you here on LinkedIn with further questions. I imagine there will be many more opportunities ahead for you to progress this conversation with businesses and generate action.”

Jenny Cornwall

“The time flew by listening to Ellen speak about women in the workplace, and I found myself disappointed that the evening was ending! As a speaker she was humorous and energetic, very easy to listen to, and thorough in her presentation. Ellen’s talk gave me ideas and insights, and it left me feeling inspired and hopeful! Thank you for the research you have done, and continue to do, and for presenting it to us so brilliantly.”

Anne Cullen, Supporting parents so children grow up feeling safe, secure & understood

“I had the privilege of hearing Dr Ellen Nelson speak at an International Women’s Day event in Taranaki. She was able to weave together a wealth of experience, compelling stories, and her grounded theory research to get us to think about how some of our work practices are not working. She is passionate about this area and after listening to her you can’t help but see the logic, and understand the benefits of a more inclusive work environment.”

Craig Thorne, Director, Culture Culture

“I engaged Ellen as our guest speaker at our International Women’s Day event and was not disappointed! Her presence was very well received, and her knowledge and insights on women in the workplace was captivating. She sparked some great conversations around better ways we can support women and parents in our organization and I am excited to see what this brings in future.”

Captain Ashleigh Bush. NZ Army

“An engaging speaker who prepared well, therefore, was highly relatable to the audience, Dr Nelson held the room completely and led the conference in her open and honest manner through numerous and related subjects. Of particular note, although the conference was for International Women’s Day, Dr Nelson worked hard to expand her themes so that everyone could see the benefit of her assertions for all individuals. Specifically, that improving the environment for our women team members would correlate to improved productivity and satisfaction for the whole team… Dr Nelson is a passionate and knowledgeable presenter who has embraced the challenges facing the target audience, applied her professional experience and academic acumen to offer constructive solutions for leaders and team members alike. The insights she gave were meaningful and impactful and I know that within my sphere of influence, will generate tangible improvements for all personnel.”

Lieutenant Colonel Cory Neale, Commanding Officer 2nd/1st Battalion, NZ Army

“Ellen was our speaker at Venture Taranaki’s International Women’s Day event 2022. The talk covered everything from personal stories to practical tips for how employers can attach and retain great female talent. Ellen was a relatable and engaging speaker to whom the audience responded well. If you want to open up a conversation on making the workplace great for everyone, Ellen is the woman to help you.”

Rachael Berndt. Talent Advisor, Venture Taranaki.

“Every organisation should hear Ellen speak. She is so passionate about #workshoolhours and is able to articulate how organisations can solve some of their biggest (people) issues right now and carve out a major competitive advantage in the war for talent. As a parent it was reassuring to hear that so many other parents shared some of my experiences balancing work and family as I do. As an HR practitioner, this talk offered a fresh perspective on many of the issues we are facing right now, backed up by research and evidence that we can take back to our organisations to help solve our current challenges, improve our employee experience and shape the future of work.”

Toni Grimshaw, HRNZ Branch President: Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington

“Thank you, Ellen, for being the guest speaker at our Taking Charge – Leadership for Women’s conference. We enjoyed hearing your story and the journey you have been on. You engaged the audience with details of your research, and ongoing work in your areas of passion and expertise. Your enthusiasm and energy was infectious and you really added to what was a great day! ”

Liane Anderson, Membership / Events Manager, Manawatū Business Chamber

“Manawatū Business Chamber recently hosted the inaugural Westpac Smarts event. We had the pleasure of working with Ellen as the guest speaker for this event. Ellen provided a powerful presentation entitled ‘Future of Work / Disruption’, which resonated with all our attendees. She provided a compelling speech which provided many points of consideration for all. The Q & A was great, well received and Ellen was able to engage well with the audience which were both in person and through a live stream.
We will be shortly hosting a Leadership for Women Conference where Ellen will be the key speaker.
Thank you, Ellen, for your passion and willingness to engage with the team and the audience. ”

Liane Anderson, Membership / Events Manager, Manawatū Business Chamber

Ellen spoke at our Managing Burnout and Fatigue in the Workplace Conference in Auckland. Managing burnout and supporting wellbeing is clearly a topic Ellen is passionate about as she ensured the day was as insightful as possible for our delegates and provided valuable, practical take-aways. We had great feedback from speakers, delegates and all the team onsite. It was a pleasure to work with Ellen and would be delighted to work together in the future.

Catherine McCarthy, Director of Training – Australia, New Zealand & Asia

We were privileged to co-host the Agmardt/Rural Leaders Brunch event as part of the Young Farmer of the Year awards. During this event we heard skilled presenters on the theme of Leadership in changing times. Ellen Nelson is an articulate and natural presenter – She was in her element taking the room with her during her presentation. Thanks Ellen, you were truly fabulous, and we enjoyed listening to your concepts and ideas around the changing norms of the working day.

Lisa Rogers, Programmes Manager
People was Ellen’s key focus on leadership. Her experience and training in leadership enabled her to provide some messages that really resonated with the group. ‘Create a culture where people can thrive and then direct their focus, with this comes a sense of belonging, that they are valued, you can build trusted teams and enable them to excel.’ Ellen engaged very effectively with her audience with a relaxed, informative presentation style which engendered excellent questions and feedback from the predominantly under 35 year olds developing leadership skills in the agri-food industry.
Nick Pyke, Chair AGMARDT
Ellen was an impressive guest speaker – a real inspiration. She totally engaged her audience on the topics of promoting women in the workforce (including that of the NZ Army) and her experience of helping evacuate civilians from Afghanistan. Ellen is an effective communicator with a lovely clear voice and evident enthusiasm, all of which kept her listeners spellbound and wanting to hear more.
Roz O’Leary, Manawatu Women’s County Club
Ellen presented #workschoolhours webinar to the Otago branch of HR Institute of NZ in August 2022, and it was one of the liveliest sessions we had in a long time. She is an incredibly engaging speaker able to clearly articulate her ideas. Her research is novel, exciting and practical – our audience was excited about commercial application of the concepts Ellen shared. I would wholeheartedly recommend engaging Ellen as a speaker and consultant.
Elena Calvert, Recruitment Manager, University of Otago
Ellen, I just wanted to say how much I appreciated your workshop yesterday. I loved the humour and thought provoking conversations. I had a headache when I left! I have just reflected back on all the information I scribbled and also went over the Q’s again as I wanted to maximise the benefit. Thank you so much. I am about to move into a new role and will be talking about the benefit of having you come and talk to our health leaders
Sharron Feist, Clinical Services Manager, Wellsouth Primary Health Network
I heard Ellen at the Women in leadership pre-conference where she facilitated and ran a workshop on the topic of “Authentic Leadership: The best version of you, is you!”. Ellen’s delivery, style, and approach certainly was keeping in tone with the topic. Her witty, honest, and passionate facilitation of interactive table sessions, complimented by sharing her own personal experiences was both brave and inspirational. The best part, the content was underpinned by research which brings credibility to her many areas of expertise.
Sam McDonnell, Head of SAS Change Enablement, FMG

From the very start Dr Ellen captivated us with her evidence and storytelling. A knowledgeable and passionate presenter she is engaging and relatable. A thoroughly enjoyable workshop with lots of opportunities to discuss and contribute. Her passion for her subject matter is contagious and compelling.

Rachel Wilson, Senior Communications Manager, Wellington Free Ambulance.

I attended Ellen’s workshop “Authentic Leadership: The best version of you, is you!” and it was amazing! It enhanced the beauty of how each of us are different, that there is no “right way” to be a leader and the true value of being truly authentic. The content was insightful, well structured, relatable and informative. Ellen’s communication style was vibrant, positive, extremely engaging and down to earth. I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone who is wanting to learn a little bit more about themselves and what they bring to the table… by just being themselves!

Abby Perry, Clinical Paramedic Advisor, Wellington Free Ambulance.

I was lucky enough to hear Ellen speak at a local business gathering. Speaking on a few different topics she was passionate and engaging and provided many thought provoking ideas around the work life balance for both employees and employers. Something which resonated well with me having a young family and trying to be present in their lives while trying to succeed in business.
David Hallett Owner Sttellah Construction
Thank you to Ellen for speaking at the Madison PACE Professional Development Forum 2022. Ellen presented to an audience of the most senior Executive Assistants in Wellington and her knowledge of her topic, energy and enthusiasm kept us all engaged. For many of our delegates, particularly those with children of school age, it was extremely relevant and pertinent. Thanks again Ellen – definitely food for thought!
Antoinette Wilcox & Ciaran Hyslop, PACE Co-Chairs

Ellen ran a leadership workshop for us and I am happy to say that the respondents to the feedback survey (half of the participants completed the survey) all scored their entire experience with the workshop, and also Ellen’s presentation skills, as ‘Very Satisfied’, giving the workshop a customer satisfaction score of 100%!! A few of the comments from the participants: “I enjoyed how Ellen related the conversation to the participants” | “Loved it” | “Great overall” | “Ellen was fantastic” | “I loved this session as you felt safe to open up and there was a great depth of experiences and styles to learn from” | “Ellen has given me so much confidence”

As the event organisor, I wanted to share that Ellen was organised, great at communicating and was able to effectively adapt the content of her workshop to best cater the needs of our attendees, to ensure a personalised workshop experience! Ellen was overall an amazing facilitator and I look forward to working with her again in the future. Ellen is a pleasure to work with, has great ideas for workshops, and is able to draw on her experience in both defence and business to deliver valuable and inspiring training to our audiences.”

Paul Mumme (Leadership Portfolio Director) and Mallary Wu (Product Delivery Manager), The Hatchery

Ellen ran the pre-workshop to the Auckland Women in Leadership forum, focused on Authentic Leadership. Thank you Ellen so much for your involvement in the event! We were glad to have you on board for this year’s Women in Leadership Summit. On behalf of the team here at the Women Leaders Institute and Aventedge, a big thank you for taking the time to speak at the Women in Leadership New Zealand in Summit. The team is sure that attendees took away some key insights from each session. It was a pleasure working with you leading up to this event and we hope your experience was similar. We hope to host you at another one of our events in future. Some of the feedback from the delegates:

  • I liked how interactive it was, and how Ellen created a space that felt safe for people to be open and share their experiences
  • This workshop rocked! Ellen did an awesome job creating a safe environment where stories were shared, and women were empowered to be themselves and to bring their best self forward every day! Thanks Ellen 🙂
  • Ellen Joan Nelson is fantastic.  Well researched and well prepared. 
  • Ellen did an amazing job at facilitating, engaging the room and providing great stories and content to get your brain going!
  • Really resonated with me. I like to believe I am authentic, but it’s taken me years in leadership to get here. I think Ellen was easy to listen to, inspirational and provoked thoughts and learning
  • Ellen was so engaging and real.
  • The first day session run by Ellen Nelson was very informative.  Ellen was vivacious, relatable and approachable.  Ellen was available during breaks to answer questions
  • The facilitation was great. Ellen got everyone involved in the discussion even when it was sometimes confronting.
  • Ellen was engaging and generated thoughtful discussion
  • Ellen is able to deliver this really important message in a way that you feel is possible to achieve. Its not hard but it is scary. She makes you feel comfortable in your own skin and inspires you to be you  
  • Really great, experienced leader. And I particularly hearing about Ellen’s time in service, repatriation work of Afghans, and research. Ellen could be less apologetic about sharing these experiences.
  • The presenter was great! Ellen did a great job with the big group. There was a lot of trust and respect built and I felt free to share my story.
  • Ellen Joan Nelson is really inspirational.  She comes from a place of deep experience and research and presents in a really accessible manner.   She set the bar very high for the rest of the event. 
  • Loved Ellen’s energy

Elizabeth Lie, Divisional Manager & Leigh Anne Payne, Project Manager & Angel Mortimer, Event Manager: Aventedge

Elizabeth Lie, Divisional Manager & Leigh Anne Payne, Project Manager & Angel Mortimer, Event Manager: Aventedge

Ellen was the keynote speaker at a Workforce Hui we ran for Rotorua tourism, accommodation and hospitality businesses – and she was the perfect choice! We’ve received so much positive feedback from the people who attended, both on the content that Ellen shared and the engaging style of her delivery. I was initially unsure how relevant Ellen’s #workschoolhours movement would be to a sector so reliant on shift work. However, her stories and tips brought the idea to life for the audience and inspired lots of ongoing discussion about how all businesses – even those in tourism – can be more flexible to meet the needs of their staff.

Jo Holmes, Head of Insights & Marketing, RotoruaNZ

I’d spotted an article online about Ellen’s work and immediately I was inspired. As a late starter working parent with a career, balancing work life with home life has been quite an adjustment. Owning and operating our own tourism business throughout Covid, adaptive leadership, keeping our team together meant working hard, differently and collaboratively. I wanted a keynote speaker from a different industry that would be able to showcase all of these qualities, no matter where you work. This was an important part of being able to set up the rest of the forum that focussed on workforce retention and opportunities. Hearing from Ellen about her work with the NZ Army and bringing Afghanistan families to NZ, was both inspirational and aspirational. Following Ellen’s down to earth approach and engaging presentation – it’s sparked conversations about rethinking workforce behaviours, retention and what else businesses might do to move their own practises into the future.

Melissa Craig, Destination Manager, RotoruaNZ

Dynamic workshop with an engaging speaker that really unpacked concepts regarding authenticity and leadership. Loved the challenges raised and plenty of inspiration to take away.
Naomi (Williams) McIntosh, Chapter Lead for Design GM & Home, The Warehouse Group

I had the privilege of listening to Ellen speak at a forum held for the Tourism and Hospitality Industry of Rotorua. She shared her PhD research findings in an engaging way, keeping them relevant to our industry, especially in our challenging labour market where staff retention is key for team leaders. She threw out a few challenges of her own, backing up statements with authentic real-world findings.

Ellen encapsulated her own experiences of “getting stuff done” in the toughest political environment, riddled with bureaucratic obstacles and yet managing all this within a remote team. It was a heartfelt share, and particularly moving for her and the audience who I could see were as engaged and overwhelmed with the enormity of the task (evacuating 563 refugees out of Afghanistan), as I was.

Full disclosure here, Ellen is my niece through marriage. This session only served to add to my pride in her achievements as an ex-army Captain, mum, wife, academic, business leader and all-round tough gal!

Vicki Jessop, Sales and Marketing Manager, Polynesian Spa

I was fortunate enough to participate in Ellen’s workshop at the Women in Leadership Summit in Auckland this year. Ellen’s candid, honest and vulnerable approach to presenting the workshop on Authentic Leadership was inspiring and Ellen created an environment where what was a large group scale workshop, felt like a small, intimate conversation and a safe space for reflection. Would highly recommend attendance if you have the opportunity!

Sandra Hutchison, Senior People & Culture Advisor, Loyalty NZ

I was fortunate enough recently to spend a day in a workshop with Ellen. Her enthusiasm for why it’s important to be authentically yourself in your leadership journey was infectious. The way that she shaped up a day, that at times was challenging mindsets, was excellent. I’m certain that everyone walked away with an action to take back to the everyday.

Jane Fowles, People and Culture Officer, Dairy Holdings Limited

Dr Ellen Joan Nelson was a guest on our EMA online series about The Dynamic Workplace. Ellen helped us to understand how #workschoolhours and other alternative working patterns, such as the 4-day work week, could have benefits for employees and employers. Ellen brought energy, humour and wider insights to our discussion about how businesses could achieve better business results through progressive people strategies.

What stood out to me was Ellen’s view of leadership in businesses. Ellen presented clear easily understood ideas and practical recommendations that were backed up with research and personal experience. Her experiences in this area are unique and impressive, but her views apply to everyone in a leadership role. I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from, and discuss with, Ellen how New Zealand businesses can grow their people to grow their business.

John Bradbury, People Experience Practice, EMA (Employers & Manufacturers Association)

I would like to sincerely thank you for your exceptional contribution to this years’ Women in Defence and Defence Industry Summit . We’ve had some fantastic feedback from attendees, and wanted to pass along some of the comments from your session which scored an amazing 4.6 out of 5 stars!

  • Great pacing and positivity!
  • Amazing! We all need to hear this talk.
  • I got many tools and ideas to take away and think about.

I would also like to say a personal thank you to you! You have been a joy to work with. Your communication, efficiency and quality of work has been so much more than I could have asked for so thank you again! I look forward to working with you again very soon and seeing many more of your presentations. 

Emma Black, Conference Producer, Liquid Learning
Ellen’s research on authentic leadership is literature that I have been looking for to support my own views on contemporary leadership in a military context. Ellen proved that putting good leaders into a box of being regimental, wearing a veneer of respectability and being at arm’s length from their followers does not drive performance. This has unlocked a freedom that I did not know existed. A freedom to be myself knowing that I can still be a leader and be successful without ridicule and judgement.
Allison Murphy, Contract Advisor, Jet Aviation Defence
Ellen is a really intuitive facilitator. Her life experiences are fascinating to hear about, and her ability to gently guide participants through a journey is, in my experience, unrivalled. Ellen has many insights to share, but allows space for participants to step in and share and learn from each other. I would enthusiastically attend other workshops that Ellen was involved with.
Jo Bonner, Senior Military Officer, Royal Australian Airforce

An upbeat, energetic and thought provoking session at our monthly Business After 5 network this evening, led by Dr Ellen Joan Nelson on the future of work.

Ellen challenged us to think about the way we structure our work days and the way in which it enables #workingparents to sustainably engage and thrive in work. Like many organisations, staff attraction and retention remains a challenge for many organisations. Tonight I was reminded yet again, about the importance of enabling a work environment that is #inclusive #flexible, celebrates #diversity and encourages authenticity through a connection to our emotions.

Thanks Dr Ellen Joan Nelson – inspiring and uplifting messages that will no doubt make a difference in the way we work and the way we think about work.

Monique Davidson, CEO, Horowhenua District Council

We at FarmRight had Ellen do two half day leadership sessions focused on: bringing your authentic self to work, how to think about productivity not hours, and how can the job fit individuals’ life/hours. The two groups left inspired by Ellen’s story and what she has achieved in her career. Feedback showed all participants said it was well worth taking half a day out of their busy schedules. The main takeaways from the Farm Managers and other management staff were:
How they would start measuring output/productivity.
How to make the most of their, and others, natural strengths rather than hiding them.
Spend more time reflecting on their leadership positions and how to get more value out of the relationships already existing.

Some of the comments from the farm managers and other management staff participants included:

  • These sessions are important to encourage awareness and self-refection.
  • I thought Ellen was great! She has a pretty inspiring story and was really engaging.
  • She really made me realise that it is ok to have weaknesses and that sometimes our greatest strengths come from these. I will now stop feeling bad about not knowing all the answers right now and will instead aim to generate good discussion around coming up with an outcome.
  • Very inspiring on what can be achieved when we heard her story. I found it very encouraging that what she believed in was the same journey that we have already begun: encourage our staff to be more efficient in their jobs to create more time at home and the feel of working less.
  • I will now think about working to my strengths and have I got the three drivers right – purpose, autonomy and belonging to get the best out of our guys.  Re-thing around productivity.
  • I thought the value of this session was good, Ellen engaged the group, and everyone contributed. Ellen is good at challenging the status quo. I will now work on achieving better work life balance, being more effective in leadership to grow more leaders underneath me. I am also now thinking of alternative ways to measuring efficiency rather than hours worked
  • I thought this session was valuable to get the team thinking about how they operate themselves and it is important to understand what that actually means. I think we miss this part with our people and naturally we default to a process/system to get things done (as we are predominantly people that operate that way) and possibly we miss the parts that engage those that aren’t system or process driven. I now want to try to find a way to better coach people to understand their self and how to use that to their advantage and how we create complete/balance approach of goals, purpose and fit. Learning how to operate to our potential in our roles once we recognise who we are. We can solve lots of problems (improve productivity) when we have good communication, engaged people who understand what they need to do.
Tony Cleland, Farm Investment Manager, Farmright

Ellen presented an engaging, thought provoking session. It was relatable and really encouraging of looking at the workplace through a different lens to achieve optimum outcomes for both team members and business owners. If you are wanting to encourage change thinking, then I encourage you to book Ellen as your next keynote speaker.

Angela Transom, Where it’s AT Sales & Marketing.

Dr Ellen Joan Nelson spoke at an event I organised called EnVision Unstoppable. Dr Nelson is an inspirational and powerful speaker who is passionate about the cause of working school hours and empowering people to succeed. I would recommend her to anyone who wants to be inspired to regain power over their work hours and life.

Anna Maria Lang, Founder & CEO, EnVision Life Solutions & Global Empowering Women Organisation (GEWO)

Ellen is a dynamic and impactful speaker. Her messages and delivery are clear and compelling, and she makes a strong case for re-imagining how we structure work. A though provoking and challenging session which was thoroughly enjoyed by many of the people from the business community of Horowhenua. I recommend Ellen if you want to think differently about how to increase productivity in the workplace.

Catriona McKay, Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae, The Horowhenua Company

I had the honour of watching Ellen present at the Manawatū Women and Business Function, October 2022. Wow! What an inspiration Ellen is. She captured the crowds’ hearts with her energy and passion, proving the worth of fighting for what is important to you, and emphasising the importance of using the people, resources and knowledge available to you. With that, she has shown that amazing achievements can be made- and even as a busy working mum! It’s so humbling also that the achievements were not for herself or her team either, but for the safety and security of 100s of others! I know I wasn’t the only one starting to feel emotional hearing about her work with the team to rescue Afghanistan families and bring them to New Zealand. I look forward to following Ellen’s continued inspiration and achievements.

Rebecca Buchanan. Sales Manager, Massey University (Working mum).
Ellen has been someone I have followed and admired for her audacity in leading the #workschoolhours charge since connecting through my business RecruitMum. Ellen’s speech made simple sense to me – aligning the school schedule with the work schedule and bucking the trend away from archaic systems as is the 9-5pm work day. Ellen delivered practical insight into how organisations can attract and retain staff as well as the commercial benefits of moving to #workschoolhours to condense the workload to improve productivity. Her authenticity, passion, and scope of knowledge around the topic resonated hugely with her Women in Business audience, some even giving a standing ovation! Thanks for championing this work Ellen!
Clare Russell, Founder of RecruitMum / Communications & Media Senior at CEDA

I have heard Dr Ellen Joan Nelson speak twice now at Women’s events and I could honestly listen to her 100 times over. The first time was at the most relevant time for me – I felt like I wasn’t able to give my all to my work, my kids or anything in my life. I had a bit of imposter syndrome. I just about cried because everything she spoke about resonated with me and she made me realise I’m human and just trying to do ALL ‘the things’. I left the event feeling human again and knew I was doing ok.

Ellen is a raw, honest speaker with content that is so very relevant to everyone. #workschoolhours is clearly well researched and she makes it known how this initiative is beneficial to everyone, not just parents. She engages the audience and her life experiences & achievements have everyone in awe.

Kristy Gardner, Commercial Partner, BNZ

I was fortunate enough to hear Ellen speak at a recent Women and Business event in Palmerston North. I had heard so many amazing things about Ellen so knew it would be good however it exceeded my expectations and more. Ellen is so passionate about what she does, and it is so empowering to listen to. As a businesswoman and Mum of 2 young children it excites me to have someone like Ellen in our corner promoting the benefits of #WorkSchoolHours and it also inspires me to continue practising this in my own business. Ellen should be at the top of the speaker list for any team event, the value added is invaluable

Jen Taylor – Founder and Director Taylored Mortgages

We had the pleasure of hosting Dr Ellen Joan Nelson as our guest speaker at the October 2022 Women and Business Event. Ellen’s presentation style was both engaging and hugely inspiring with what I can only describe as a captivated audience. Ellen shared her vision for her #workschoolhours movement whilst demonstrating the underlying foundations of this through the ‘real world’ model of this in action with her volunteer work in evacuating 563 people from Afghanistan to New Zealand. The below quote, shared by one of our WAB Members beautifully summed up Ellen’s impact on the night: “I cannot remember the last time I teared up listening to someone speak but Dr Ellen Joan Nelson what an inspirational woman. Your vision and passion for #WorkSchoolHours was amazing to listen to and I took so much out of tonight”. I highly recommend Dr Ellen Joan Nelson for your next event – engaging, inspirational and a highly driven individual.

Pauline Meredith-King, Founder, Women and Business Manawatu

I had the pleasure of attending one of Dr Nelson’s workshops on the “future of workplaces” – I found Ellen to be interesting, engaging and someone who actively listens to feedback and questions. In particular I found her research and ideas around barriers facing women and parents in the workplace, and the #workschoolhours movement, to be very relevant to the problems real people face in today’s society. Ellen, I really hope to catch up with you again one day too – I will be keeping an eye on your future events. I cannot get enough of forward-thinking people (and inspiring women such as yourself).  Thanks again!

Julia Turnbull, Practice Manager, Cullinane Steele Limited (CS Law)

We hosted Dr Ellen Nelson in The Mahi Space for a workshop in November 2022. It was an intimate group so Ellen facilitated positive around-the-table discussion about previous experiences with flexible working arrangements and leadership. Ellen kept to time, kept the conversation constructive and kept the group on topic. Dr Nelson has a respectful way of inspiring people to think differently, while allowing them to express their thoughts and ideas. Ellen is inclusive of people’s opinions, backgrounds and values. When having a conversation or group discussion with Ellen she really seems to really listen and care deeply in an engaged manner. Ellen is considerate and empathetic with a great energy and passion for bringing change that will benefit everyone. We would happily welcome Ellen back to The Mahi Space soon.

Narita Dixon, Coordinator, The Mahi Space
I was so impressed by Ellen when she spoke at Manawatū Women & Business. I had followed her online for a couple of years and tautoko her message of #WorkSchoolHours. Ellen is engaging, charming, funny, knowledgeable and most importantly authentic.
Wendy Carr, Talent & Skills Senior, Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA)
Ellen is a dynamic speaker and is working to change the culture of work. I am excited about the work she is doing and how she is working to change the culture for not the amount of time a person works but the value of work they get done each day.
Amanda Huffman, Women of the Military Podcast Owner

Ellen’s presentation at BCITO’s Construction Summit was absolutely on point. She clearly set out advantages for workplaces where managers recognise and celebrate the diverse range of skills that people bring to their world of work. Ellen argued strongly for firms where people know they belong, have purpose, and are valued by the team – all of which are in business leaders’ hands. Ellen has a down-to-earth style of presentation that makes the audience feel at ease and engaged. Feedback from our 120 industry representatives present was extremely positive. I recommend Ellen as a public speaker whose messages and style appeal across a wide range of industries and community groups.

Greg Durkin, GM – Te Kāhui Whakawhitinga (Transformation), BCITO

Ellen was amazing to work with. From the contact pre-event to understand our objectives, to delivering on the day she was highly professional and organised. Ellen’s speaking was engaging with some really positive feedback received from our audience. Looking forward to working with her again!

Rebecca Travers, Events Specialist, BCITO

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  • “Ellen was a fantastic speaker at a recent KPMG Inclusion and Diversity event. She spoke with passion, enthusiasm and authenticity on the topic of wellbeing, inclusion and belonging in a way which leveraged her PhD analysis to inform practical solutions that could change how we all work more effectively and efficiently into the future. The session was thought-provoking, stimulated significant discussion amongst attendees and was delivered with good humour.”
    - Peter Chew, Director, KPMG.
  • “Ellen was deliberate, clear and convincing with her communications and, as a result, has significantly influenced how Army is now approaching a range of diversity and inclusion challenges, particularly those that relate to gender inclusiveness… To Ellen’s immense credit she has positively contributed to a number of organizational level working groups… Ellen’s contributions to the change, both short & long term, currently being sort by Army in these areas has been both invaluable and greatly appreciated.”

    View reference letter from the Chief of the NZ Army

    - Major General John Boswell, DSD, Chief of NZ Army.
  • “…Ellen’s passion combined with the research she has completed made for an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable session. During the session Ellen captivated the team by using real world examples which connected to her research about the changing nature of leadership. Ellen’s presentation style exemplified the traits she was explaining with regards to being authentic and how when combined with leadership this delivers a more positive outcome. The team were kept rapt as she challenged them to think differently about the future of work, and how the 9-5 construct has shifted and organisations now need to not just have flexible work policies, but to build their systems and processes around this new worker…”
    - Eric Chapman, Director, EY
  • “Ellen was our speaker at Venture Taranaki’s International Women’s Day event 2022. The talk covered everything from personal stories to practical tips for how employers can attach and retain great female talent. Ellen was a relatable and engaging speaker to whom the audience responded well. If you want to open up a conversation on making the workplace great for everyone, Ellen is the woman to help you.”

    - Rachael Berndt. Talent Advisor, Venture Taranaki.
  • “Every organisation should hear Ellen speak. She is so passionate about #workshoolhours and is able to articulate how organisations can solve some of their biggest (people) issues right now and carve out a major competitive advantage in the war for talent. As a parent it was reassuring to hear that so many other parents shared some of my experiences balancing work and family as I do. As an HR practitioner, this talk offered a fresh perspective on many of the issues we are facing right now, backed up by research and evidence that we can take back to our organisations to help solve our current challenges, improve our employee experience and shape the future of work.”

    - Toni Grimshaw, HRNZ Branch President: Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington
  • “Ellen spoke at our Managing Burnout and Fatigue in the Workplace Conference in Auckland. Managing burnout and supporting wellbeing is clearly a topic Ellen is passionate about as she ensured the day was as insightful as possible for our delegates and provided valuable, practical take-aways. We had great feedback from speakers, delegates and all the team onsite. It was a pleasure to work with Ellen and would be delighted to work together in the future.”

    - Catherine McCarthy, Director of Training – Australia, New Zealand & Asia
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