As an 18 year-old, Dr Paul Wood was completely off the rails. He wasn’t coping with the impending death of his mother, he was dependent on drugs, and was an unemployed high-school dropout who was committing crimes to feed his habit.

Two days after his mother died he lost control when his then drug dealer attempted to sexually assault him. Paul was convicted of murder for this offence and then spent more than a decade in some of New Zealand’s toughest prisons. During this period Paul became the first person in New Zealand’s history to progress through undergraduate and Masters degrees while in prison. He was also the first person to begin a Doctorate while incarcerated. Paul’s educational pursuits dovetailed with a journey of personal exploration and change, both of which gave him a profound understanding of the ingredients required to successfully strive towards our potential, deal with the challenges of change, and build the mental toughness and resilience necessary to flourish in adversity.


Paul speaks to the human experience and provides practical insight on how to build mental toughness and resilience, the importance of self-reflection and personal accountability in growth, how to identify and maximize our potential, and how to turn adversity to your advantage



Pic Picot is the Owner/Founder of Pic’s Peanut Butter, a simple blend of roasted peanuts and salt that in nearly 12 years has become the best-selling peanut butter in New Zealand.

Pic, a legally blind peanut butter lover, with no experience in the food industry, made his first peanut butter for him and his son’s enjoyment in 2007, roasting nuts in a concrete mixer in his garage and selling his first jars at the Nelson Saturday market.

Pic’s Peanut Butter World, his new factory, cafe and visitor experience, opened in February this year, employing 45 people, and producing around 25,000 jars a day, with exports to Australia, China, the UK, the US, the Middle East and South East Asia.

In 2018, Pic was made a member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy.



New Zealand native, Cath Brands has spent the last 16 years as a marketeer working around the globe for some of the world’s largest companies – Lion Nathan, Maxxium, Pepsi, Westfield and Coca-Cola.

Cath pivoted to the tech industry in 2013 and joined Amazon where she spent 5 years working across several ground-breaking consumer tech innovation projects, including being one of the founding team members of Amazon Go.

Cath is now the Global Industry Marketing Director for Retail and Consumers Goods at Microsoft, applying her lessons learned from the retail and FMCG industry to help big and small business on their digital transformation journey.


Customer obsession should be at the heart of every business strategy in today’s digital economy. US-based kiwi Cath Brands will share her experience working at the forefront of consumer tech innovation. She will share her experience on how Amazon Go became a game changer for the physical retail experience and lessons learnt during her time at Amazon and Microsoft. Cath will also discuss what it truly means to innovate on behalf of your customers and share some of the leading edge technology in the US real estate market.

Harcourts Q&A Panel

Topic: The Power of a Great Partnership
Facilitator: Bryan Thomson – Managing Director, Harcourts New Zealand

Mike and Debbie Beazley

Business Owners, Harcourts Optimize Realty

Mike and Debbie are passionate about real estate and they started Optimize Realty Ltd on 1 April 2008. In September 2009, they joined Harcourts and it has been a decision that they have never regretted. They have built the business to where it is today on a solid foundation of client experience combined with defined business strategies.
The Harcourts values have been the building blocks of creating a great culture across the business and within the Group. With Mike’s extensive sales background spanning many years, and Debbie’s financial and legal experience, this combination works well for them.
They are both passionate about helping people succeed, whether in business or their personal life and they are committed to giving back to the community and support many local charities and organisations.

“Speed Dating” Session

Similar to the speed dating session you may have experienced at the National Conference we will have another interactive session during NZLC where you will have the opportunity to participate in a “speed dating style” session with your Harcourts peers and corporate team members.

We will be discussing content and topics we have identified during the Interfirms sessions that require a more in depth “chew” or discussion as a wider group and each table leader will facilitate a different topic.

It will be “first in, best dressed” on the day as to which table you take a seat at and after 15 minutes you will be asked to move to the next table of your choice.” There will be a total of 5 rounds.

Hot Spot Speakers

Hear from your peers and their top tips in this fast-paced hot spot session!
Facilitator: Bryan Thomson – Managing Director, Harcourts New Zealand

Aaron Davis

Harcourts Henderson

Topic: The keys to running an auction friendly business

Andy Freeman

Managing Director
Harcourts Grenadier Real Estate

Topic: Creating business transformation

Holly Fordham

Harcourts Khandallah

Topic: Team leadership – what really works

Karl Martinovich

Harcourts Tandem Realty

Topic: Sales Consultant to Business Owner / Manager

Peter Sund

Business Owner
Harcourts People First Real Estate

Topic: Real Estate from the view of a non-real estate agent

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