Meet our team

Good relationships are the cornerstone of any successful event partnership – and that’s where our team come into their own. We’re enormously proud of our people: cheerful, unflappable, unfailingly courteous, they’re always willing to help in any way they can.

Your project team will be led by a senior conference or event manager, supported by a conference coordinator, backed by the expertise of our finance and operations teams and overseen by our managing director.

We work with an understudy system so that in every eventuality, there’s someone who can step in who knows your project inside out. 

The senior members of our team of 30 are: 

Jan Tonkin

Managing Director

Jan is the founder of The Conference Company and a leader in New Zealand's conference industry, with a long professional history in both New Zealand and the UK.

Jan Tonkin is President of the UK-based International Association of Professional Conference Organisers and the Vice-Chair of the association’s International Training Faculty, speaking regularly at overseas conferences and teaching in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.

Jan is responsible for overseeing the service delivery of The Conference Company's team, budget monitoring, risk assessment and contingency planning. She holds a BA from the University of Auckland.

Miriam Wilkins

Wellington Manager

Born and bred Wellingtonian Miriam heads our team in the capital. She has been a key part of the company since 1990, managing numerous government, national and international conferences in Wellington and throughout New Zealand. She has also worked at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and in design and advertising. She holds a MA from the University of Victoria.

Miriam Wilkins

Margaret Tracey

Financial Controller

As the head of our finance team, Margaret oversees The Conference Company's rigorous financial management, planning and reporting processes. Her strong accountancy and business management background has seen her work around the world with organisations ranging from charities to leading corporations, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Telecom New Zealand and World Vision.

Margaret is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ACA), one of the world's leading business and finance qualifications, and holds a MBA from the University of Otago.

Margaret Tracey

James Brehaut

General Manager

James contributes to The Conference Company’s strategic planning and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company.  He moved into this position after 7 years as the company’s Operations Manager.  

Prior to that James gained eight years' experience in business and operations management with multinational investment banks and legal firms overseas. He holds a BCom from the University of Victoria.

James Brehaut

Stephen Noble

Manager Asia-Pacific

Stephen has been involved in managing conferences, corporate events and sporting tournaments both in New Zealand and overseas. Since joining The Conference Company, Stephen has managed a number of international conferences and is currently managing New Zealand, Australasian and international meetings ranging in size from 500 to 2000 plus participants.

Stephen consistently receives accolades from event organisers for his proactive approach and his aptitude for dealing with the myriad of details calmly and without fuss.

James Brehaut

Katrina Aro

Conference Manager

Katrina began her career in conference management shortly after leaving University in 2007. Since joining The Conference Company she has been involved in the planning and delivery of both national and international conferences.

Katrina holds a BSC and MSC from the University of Auckland and a Graduate Diploma of Business Studies (HR Management) from Massey University. In 2012, she also completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Administration at Massey University.

Theresa Managh

Conference Manager

Theresa has 20 years' experience organising and managing national and international conferences.  

Theresa's conference knowledge stems from a strong background in Hospitality, holding the roles of General Manager and Convention Services Manager at the prestigious Dunedin Club and Sheraton, Auckland.   She is recognised by all who work with her as a knowledgeable and approachable professional.

Theresa enjoys developing relationships with both clients and suppliers and has a strong eye for detail. 

Jodi Preston Thomas

Conference Manager

With over 11 years' experience in the events industry, Jodi's expertise in the delivery of meetings, conferences and functions is extensive.

Initially overseeing medical conferences and exhibitions for the Medical Industry Association of New Zealand, Jodi moved into managing country wide fundraising events for Variety - The Children's Charity. For the three years prior to joining The Conference Company, Jodi managed Coastguard New Zealand's annual conference.  

Jodi Preston-Thomas

Kim van Duiven

Conference Manager

Kim has a wide ranging professional career with over 10 years in the international and local financial markets and in the last 10 years working for Not for Profit organisations.

The more recent roles included project and event management and sole charge as an Executive Director.  She brings strong commercial acumen, outstanding organisation management and great leadership skills to the challenges of conference management.  

Jodi Preston-Thomas

Donna Roberts

Conference Manager

Donna’s interest in working in the conference industry began while working for Habitat for Humanity New Zealand where she had the opportunity to organise their national conference and a number of small events. 

After moving to the UK, Donna worked in event and conference management for the British Council, managing a range of small and large events and conferences for five years. Moving to Canada, Donna worked for a PCO based in Vancouver where she managed national and international conferences for four years.

Chris Peak

Conference Manager

Chris joined The Conference Company in 2014 and gained experience as both a Delegate Services and Conference Co-ordinator before moving into the role of Conference Manager. 

Originally from the UK, Chris spent 6 years in Queenstown in management positions at AJ Hackett Bungy, running onsite operations and growing their Conference and Incentive business, before moving to Auckland.

Chris holds a BA in Communications and Management from the University of Leeds.

Nihal Fernandez

Sponsorship & Exhibition Manager

Nihal has a passion for sales and has spent several years securing sponsorship in the highly competitive conferencing market in Dubai. As well as sales, he was responsible for ongoing communication with sponsors, ensuring that they were more than satisfied with their investment and keen to be involved in future conferences.

Nihal has delivered excellent sponsorship and exhibition sales results for our projects to date. He holds a Post Graduate Diploma in International Business and a BCom from the Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Chennai.

Nihal Fernandez

Jane Holt

Onsite Team Manager 

Jane Holt worked for Air New Zealand prior to joining The Conference Company and has been manager for our onsite team for many years. 

Jane Holt

Jennifer Donaldson

Delegate Services & Awards Manager

Jennifer started with the Conference Company in 2010 as a Delegate Services Coordinator in Christchurch. In 2013 she moved to Auckland to work as a Conference Coordinator and subsequently a Conference Manager. Prior to joining TCC, Jennifer worked in marketing and event management in Australia and venue management in Christchurch.

In her role as Delegate Services and Awards Manager, Jennifer manages The Awards Company and leads the Delegate Services team. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Canterbury and a Graduate Diploma in Event Management from CPIT.  

Jennifer Donaldson