Mariken O’Donnell - Volunteer Engagement

Written by NZBWN. Posted in Our Board.

Joined the board: May 2020Mariken ODonnell

Role: Volunteer Engagement Director

Length of time with the network: 3 years

Mariken is specialist in providing talent acquisition and development solutions, connecting individuals and business in Renewable Energy and Green Technology.  

By facilitating the creation and development of great teams, she supports in generating business success and individual career growth with professionals, working for a greener and more sustainable future.  

Passionate and experienced in building teams and networks that generate both personal and collaborative success, Mariken is working with our volunteers to fulfil their personal ambitions, while together supporting the projects and initiatives of the NZBWN. 

With a background in education, Mariken taught in NZ Primary Schools and on the first Disney Narnia Movie before relocating to London and starting her career in recruitment in 2005. She grew up in Auckland and has lived in Dunedin, Christchurch and Tauranga. 

Mariken is a Director and the Founder of Hummingbird Recruitment and Consulting. She promotes allergy awareness through “Nut Free Adventures,” and is involved in Allergy UK and the Anaphylaxis Campaign.

Her qualifications include a Master of Educational Management, a Degree in Physical Education and Diploma in Teaching. She is also a Chartered Recruitment Consultant. She has completed several endurance events including the Auckland Marathon and Ironman in Taupo.

Mariken loves spending time with her husband and two young boys, friends as well as coffee, travel and fitness. 


Leah Rodrigues - Operations Manager & Company Secretary

Written by NZBWN. Posted in Our Board.

Joined the board: May 2020Leah bio pic 2

Role: Operations Manager & Company Secretary 

Length of time with the Network: 6 years 

Leah's background reflects her passion for female personal development, empowerment, and entrepreneurialism. 

With broad-ranging experience in operational and entrepreneurial roles, Leah spent four years running her own business in which she designed and successfully implemented a sustainable female employment and personal development framework for her production facility in Cambodia.

Her experience spans from delivering community-level economic empowerment projects in the developing world, to administrative positions in international corporate settings.

Leah organised NZBWN's "Game Changers 125" event in September 2018, celebrating 125 years since women's suffrage in New Zealand, and has worked as Operations Manager for the network since then. Working closely with our founder Bronwen, she has helped the network register as a social enterprise and the subsequent development of our board. 

For her, the network serves a powerful social purpose in bringing together thousands of Kiwi women to learn, connect and be inspired - and enrich their careers and lives in the process.

Originally from Rangiora, North Canterbury, Leah has lived in the UK since 2004, having previously spent two years in Denmark.  She is married with two young children. Any spare time she can find is spent competing in open water swimming (having completed the Henley Mile, the Bewl Open Water Swim, and Swim Serpentine) and cycling (having cycled 500km around southern Cuba in 2014).


Claire Kavanagh - Membership & Engagement

Written by NZBWN. Posted in Our Board.

Joined the board: May 2020ClaireKav

Role: Membership & Engagement Director

Length of time with the network: 3 years

Claire’s career has been defined by her passion to get involved and relish the new. Encouraging businesses to switch from dialup to broadband for Telecom New Zealand was her first big project in marketing nearly 20 years ago. This gave Claire a taste for the transformative power of cutting edge technology – in a geek chic way – and a passion for exploring the art of the possible with projects and people. She’s focused on future-facing opportunities ever since.

Her career naturally lead her to London where she has enjoyed launching start-ups like giffgaff – the 100% online mobile company – and the socially-minded mobile company TPO in the UK and US with Wikipedia’s co-founder Jimmy Wales.

With her own business as a customer experience consultant, her role is often to help her clients reinvent the journey their customers go on with a brand. She’s helped Spurs launch a new football stadium, and Newsflare understand their members who’s user generated content reaches millions.

Claire’s latest project pulls together all her learnings to help support women who're considering setting up a service business themselves through providing practical advice and support via an online course.

Claire’s had her fair share of helpful and supportive contacts along the way. As the network’s Membership Development Director she’s looking forward to giving back all she can to our community.

A Londoner for 15 years, though Claire’s rarely in the country for long. Her well-worn passport shows that while you can take the girl out of Wellington, like all of our members you’ll never take the Kiwi out of her.