Rachel Kelly (Nyriad)

What role do you play in the local/NZ tech sector?

I’ve played a variety of roles in this sector since I returned to New Zealand 5 years ago, including consulting in technology transformation and contracting to tech start-ups in relation to sales, marketing and commercialization. I’ve also spoken at events and published many articles as a technology and digital ethics advocate. You can add a sprinkling of governance roles within this space too.

What is your favorite habit to keep up to date with the latest technology trends? 

I rely heavily on Google alerts (for specific keywords), podcasts (while I drive) and my close personal network within the tech sector.What are your priorities as a tech enthusiast/leader?I fundamentally believe in a Human-Technology partnership. But, being human comes first every time. So, that means my priorities fall as follows: 

  • Family - no matter my professional commitments, I work hard to prioritize my family.
  • Positive role model - if I can’t walk the talk or lose belief in the work I’m doing, then I won’t do it. I want my kids, family and friends to set a higher bar for themselves.
  • Positive impact - I want to make the world a better place because I existed. My biggest objective here is to get inter-generational conversations about our digital future around the dining room table. In that way, I want to empower individuals and their family unit to make better decisions around technology.

What advise would you give to young people wanting to get into careers in tech?  

To start, you need to figure out what drives you first – it’s hard to listen and take notice. Perhaps you get fired up when animals get hurt, or maybe you have a calling to serve others. Technology is just a tool and an enabler. Technology should always come last in that process.

What in your opinion are the greatest opportunities and challenges the technology sector faces in the Waikato/NZ? 

Firstly, technology doesn’t solve everything. You’ve got to deeply understand the problem first. New Zealand has significant social challenges and we need to deeply understand why and learn from other country’s attempts to solve similar issues before throwing technology at it. Socioeconomic divide and mental health are probably the most critical to assess in this country. It will take longer than a 3-year political cycle to tackle this and requires a bipartisan approach – both from the social and technology leadership perspective. 

Secondly, financing and revenue. Generating significant commercial revenue is a numbers game. We are a country of $4.8 million and only 52% of us are of income generating age. If your tech company is only looking to sell in New Zealand, you’re automatically restricting yourself. Play bigger. 

Our greatest opportunity? Innovation. We live in the perfect place to experiment (safely and ethically, of course).


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