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Who's Leading the Charge

Submitted by Robyn Francis on November 16, 2021

We're putting together THE list of the most influential policymakers, practitioners and academics in data leadership across Australia and New Zealand. 

Join us in rewarding those who champion data leadership in the region.
Nominations for 2022 are NOW CLOSED! Winners will be announced in October at Smart Cities Week 🎉



data awards

Wayne Rumbles - Faculty of Law at the University of Waikato (New Zealand)
Wayne teaches and researches in the areas of Cyber Law, Law and New Technologies, Criminal Law (with a focus on Cyber Crime), and teaches in New Zealand's first Masters in Cyber-Security taught jointly by the Faculties of Law and Computer and Mathematical Science.

Nicole Stephensen - IIS Partners (Australia)
Nicole’s privacy career spans more than two decades, and she is widely recognised for her extensive local and international expertise in privacy program management and acculturation. Her frank, candid and practical approach to privacy has established her as a trusted advisor and thought leader in the industry. Nicole is an active mentor for privacy and cybersecurity professionals and is a sought-after thought-leader on the interface between privacy, cyber security, risk management, ethics and trust. She is a subject matter expert and Guest Lecturer for tertiary course curricula in Australia and abroad and is well known for her privacy discourse on smart cities and critical infrastructure, IoT/ IIoT, public interest technologies and digital policy affecting young people.

Tanya Lipus - Gold Coast City Council (Australia)
An experienced senior leader, Tanya leads the City of Gold Coast’s smart city team. Managing Australia’s largest City-owned LoRaWAN, overseeing the implementation of IoT projects and working with data to improve local economic outcomes.

Duncan Blair - Invercargill City Council (New Zealand)
Duncan has 20 years of IT experience, including 15 years of New Zealand Local Government IT experience, and 10 years in IT leadership positions. Recently he has focussed on programme-level strategies to enable Councils to be more responsive to emerging technology opportunities, while balancing affordability and the capacity for organisations and communities to adapt to digital transformation of Council services. He is an active contributor within the Digital Twin community. and advocates for environmental sustainability and conservation as well as awareness and inclusion of te reo Māori (the Māori language) and tikanga (customs/practices) within New Zealand society.

More about the Awards

What is Data Leadership?
We view data leadership through the lens of the five Data Leadership Vitals, and the ability to use data for impactful purposes - what we call 'data activation'.

Who should nominate?
Anyone working with data to enhance social, economic and environmental outcomes can nominate themselves or their peers. Nominations are open to all sectors - public, private, academia and NGO's. If you feel you or a peer has demonstrable evidence of advancing data leadership, consider nominating yourself, or them.

How many people can you nominate?
You are welcome to nominate as many people as you like. However please consider the criteria, and ensure their experience is relevant and they have had an impact in their work.

What is the cost to enter?
There is no cost to nominate either yourself or a peer. 

When do nominations close?
The Data Leadership Influencers50 winners will be announced at Smart Cities Week. Nominations for the 2022 list close on June 30th, 2022.

How are nominations assessed?
The independent Jury reviews each nomination submission to score its level of alignment with the following criteria:

  • Advancement of the Data Leadership Vitals - purpose, privacy, security, ethics and governance
  • Leadership in data activation - by supporting insights-driven decision making using emerging approaches such as data trusts, data exchanges and Digital Twins.
  • Outcomes aligned – For what purpose is the nominee advancing data leadership?

How do you submit a nomination?
Head to our online portal facilitates both self-nominations and nomination of peers.