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Iconic inner city church leads discussion on cultural diversity in the workplace

St Matthew-in-the-City presents its second annual Business Leaders’ Breakfast event

The iconic inner-city parish St Matthew-in-the-City will present its second annual Business Leaders’ Breakfast event on 22 September. Following a sell-out inaugural event in 2014, this year the discussion will be centred on The value of difference: cultural diversity in the workplace.

The 2015 presenters include Founding Partner of Chen Palmer, Mai Chen; Matthew Ensor, Business Director for Beca and Dr John Evangelista, General Manager Nirvana Health Group. The event will be facilitated by St Matthew’s Vicar Rev Dr Helen Jacobi and a response to the presentations will be delivered by AUT University’s Professor of Diversity and Fulbright alumnus, Edwina Pio.

St Matthew’s has a long tradition of serving and engaging with the Auckland business district, which it is located in the heart of.

In 2014 the first Business Leaders’ Breakfast was held as part of a commemoration of the visit of President Nelson Mandela to St Matthew’s in 1995. In 2015, the breakfast has become a stand-alone event and, according to Vicar Helen Jacobi, “an opportunity to check-in with the business community in Auckland and drive dialogue about issues of mutual interest.”

Mai Chen chairs the Superdiversity Centre of Law, Policy and Business, which has won a NZ Law Foundation Grant to publish research in 2015 on the impact of superdiversity on electoral law and policy. Superdiversity is a term that acknowledges how New Zealand, particularly Auckland, has a superdiverse population with a uniquely high proportion of indigenous people. Chen is a thought-leader on securing the ‘diversity dividend’ – ensuring that our law and policy is fit for purpose in a superdiverse society. Mai is also Managing Partner, Chen Palmer Public and Employment Law Specialists; BNZ Board Director; Adjunct Professor at the University of Auckland Law School; Chair of New Zealand Asian Leaders and Inaugural Chair of New Zealand Global Women.

Matt Ensor is Business Director – Advisory Services at Beca. He is a nationally recognised leader in making organisational cultural diversity into a competitive advantage and in 2007 his team were awarded the EEO Trust Diversity Award for the Private Sector. He is an alumnus of both the University of Auckland and Massey University, and in 2012 he attended the prestigious INSEAD Business School in France on a Prime Minister’s Business Scholarship. Matt will speak on the challenges and successes on the cultural diversity journey at Beca and his aspiration and strategies for enabling increased cultural diversity in leadership roles.

John Evangelista is General Manager of the Nirvana Health Group. The group is the largest network of primary care services in New Zealand which includes the East Tamaki Healthcare clinics as well as the White Cross A&M centres. He has over 20 years of international experience in executive healthcare management having worked before in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He was previously the Director of the Ambulatory Healthcare Services at SEHA which owns and manages all public healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi. He also worked with the UK National Health Service (NHS) and also as Executive Director at BMI Healthcare, the largest provider of hospital services in the UK.

East Tamaki Health Care won the “Walk the Talk” award at the EEO Trust Diversity Awards in 2104, recognising their work across diverse communities in Auckland and the integration of medical staff from those same communities.

Edwina Pio is New Zealand’s first Professor of Diversity and a Fulbright alumnus. She is the leader of the research group Immigration & Inclusion under the auspices of the New Zealand Work Research Institute. She is Co-Director of the Global Centre for Equality and Human Rights UK, an Associate Director of the New Zealand India Research Institute, a member of the Migration Integration Group, and the Gender and Diversity Research Group. She is on multiple boards, has won awards for her work and written a number of books, including Sari: Indian women at work in New Zealand, Longing & Belonging and Work & Worship.

Rev Dr Helen Jacobi has a Bachelor of Arts (Auckland), Diploma in Social Work (Victoria), Bachelor of Divinity (London), Doctor of Ministry in Preaching (Chicago), and Certificates in Congregational Development and Consulting (New York). She was previously Dean of Napier Cathedral and has lived and worked overseas.

The Business Leaders’ Breakfast event is a partnership between St Matthew-in-the-City and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.


The Value of Difference: Cultural Diversity in the Workplace


Tuesday 22 September 2015

St Matthew-in-the-City, 187 Federal St, Auckland

$60 + GST individual, or table of 10 $600 + GST

Bookings are essential – register at or visit


For more information, images and interviews, please contact Siobhan Waterhouse at Mr. Fahrenheit Publicity on or 022 126 4149

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