Our Stories: Brooke Dennis

Written by Bronwyn Huband.

Brooke Dennis is one of many expat New Zealanders in London who have had to diversify their businesses over recent weeks. She’s one of the brains behind The Scrub Hub – an initiative created to provide scrubs to doctors when suppliers couldn’t meet demand.Brooke Dennis

For Brooke, COVID-19 has meant she can’t run the business, she set up only six months ago to provide a space for textile making. However, instead of wallowing in this she looked at what she could do to help.

The chance to do something to help came by way of a friend asking Brooke if she could sew some scrubs for one doctor. That one doctor’s request turned into creating hundreds of PPE-type scrubs for consultants across London. The scrubs are not certified PPE but instead are used by consultants and the like, who wanted to be easily identifiable and not be in their usual clothes for work.

Quality is not compromised. Brooke set out a standard for quality and craftsmanship – volunteers had to be very good sewers. She also uses cotton, because it’s better for the environment, as well as being comfortable and breathable.

Rachel Hindley - Finance & Revenue

Written by NZBWN.

Joined the Board: May 2020RachelHindley

Role: Finance & Revenue Director

Length of time with the network: 6 years

Rachel is a qualified finance professional who currently works as a senior Mergers & Acquisitions Professional at Royal Mail Group. Her role sees her leading the execution of the North American growth strategy through the acquisition of companies in the US, as well as producing strategic insight for the board on key structural matters.

Rachel moved to London in 2011 on a supposed two-year secondment with PwC. However, like many kiwis she stayed on and moved around various finance roles within PwC, before venturing into Private Equity, where she evaluated investment opportunities and helped grow and improve the financial performance of the investments. 

Her broad experience within finance spans mergers and acquisitions, private equity investment and portfolio management, valuation, financial analysis and business planning, structuring and taxation. 

Rachel is a great believer in the power of the network to help further Kiwi women’s careers and is passionate about helping the network grow and provide further opportunities Kiwis in London. She will be overseeing the finance function and is excited to be utilising her valuable skills in both financial oversight and investment. 

Brought up in Auckland, Rachel studied at the University of Auckland while also pursuing an initial career as a professional athlete, representing New Zealand in Badminton at the Commonwealth Games and qualifying for the Olympics in Beijing. She now spends less time on the court and more time running around after her husband and 2 year old daughter.

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Roimata Claasen - Legal

Written by NZBWN.

Joined the board: May 2020Roimata photo

Role: Legal Director

Length of time with the network: 2 years 

Roimata (Ngāti Porou – Ngai Tāne, Te Whānau-a-Hinepare) is an experienced legal advisor and business partner.  She is motivated by a desire to fill up her basket of knowledge and experience and to contribute to the development and wellbeing of her iwi and hapū.  

Roimata started out as a corporate / commercial lawyer at a top tier law firm in New Zealand, where she worked with iwi and Māori organisations to create innovative corporate structures and robust governance processes.  

Roimata now works for the largest food and beverage company in the world, working closely with executives and senior management in the UK and Ireland to appropriately assess legal and reputational risk to inform strategic and tactical decision making.

In 2020, Roimata was accepted to the University of Oxford to pursue a Master of Business Administration, where she intends to explore the fields of social impact and responsible business.  She is particularly interested to explore how iwi and Māori organisations can better balance commercial objectives with obligations to iwi members, past, present and future.   

Having completed the network’s leadership mentoring programme, Roimata understands first-hand the value of the network in encouraging and uplifting New Zealand women. She is excited by this opportunity to give back to the network, and in her role as Legal Director is focused on legal and internal compliance, as well as ethical decision, centred on doing the right thing.

Roimata grew up in Rangitukia, on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (with honours) from the University of Auckland, and is a proud graduate of Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa. 

Roimata moved to London in 2017 with her husband. As well as working with our network, she is also Secretary of Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club.  

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