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Panel Discussion

no longer available



Unpacking governance for SMEs and Start Ups

Our panel of local SME directors will share governance insight and experiences, directors’ duties and risk in SMEs.

Mark Shirley, Bex Twemlow, Wade Pearson
5:00pm — 7:00pm, 28 June 2022
Business South
Level 3, 442 Moray Place, Dunedin 9016
Price members
$50.00 incl GST
Price non-members
$60.00 incl GST


This is the first of in a series of three events looking at governance in SME and Start Up businesses.   

In this session we will look at the understanding the purpose of governance, director’s duties and risks in an SME.

The benefits of having a governance structure and the difference between having an advisory board and a formal governance board.  We will talk to local directors and there will be the chance to ask questions of the panel.

There will be the opportunity to network before and after the panel discussion and light refreshments will be served.

 Our second session will look at setting up governance in SME and Start Up businesses.

Thank you to our event supporter:


Mark Shirley

Mark completed his training as a Physiotherapist in Dunedin 2000.

After travelling and working in the UK, he returned home and started RATA South, an interdisciplinary rehabilitation business in 2005. This expanded to cover the lower half of the South Island and employed up to 40 people contracting over another 100. With an interest in governance and a vision to grow and scale the wrap around health care service, we implemented an advisory board in 2012. This set the scene for further expansion and following a merge with Southern Rehab a more formal board was established. Southern Rehab grew to South Island wide care employing up to 350 staff and supplying over 600 contractors.

In 2018 Southern Rehab was acquired by Habit Health to become a nationwide provider and NZ largest community based health care provider. Employing over 750 staff and supplying over 1000 contractors. 

Whilst always maintaining a clinical caseload, Marks management and governance hats have included start-up co-founder, managing director of RATA South, Executive Director of Southern Rehab to an Executive of innovation for Habit Health.

The board makeup has ranged from founders, advisors, executive and non-executive directors, independent chairs to the current formal board at Habit Health which includes an independent chair, private equity, one independent directors and two executive directors.

Wade Pearson

Wade is a commercial lawyer at Gallaway Cook Allan and chair of Startup Dunedin. As a lawyer, he works with a large number of startups, SMEs and larger businesses, and he can see first-hand the value good governance brings. He has a particular interest in technology companies and game developer studios and likes explaining complex legal/commercial concepts in a clear manner. 

As Chair of Startup Dunedin, he helps lead the board to facilitate and grow Dunedin’s startup ecosystem. He is early in his governance journey but has a passion for supporting great startups from the South. Prior to returning to Dunedin, Wade worked in Wellington at another law firm, and also worked within Viclink and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, helping innovative Kiwis to succeed.

Bex Twemlow

High among Firebrand’s Chief Commander's many passions are people and technology - bringing them together to achieve social and community change. Bex has been a founder and collaborator of a long list of initiatives, businesses and product developments, especially digital transformations;  Founder of Hail (the widely used content and communication platform), Director and Shareholder to GetHomeSafe, lead strategist for the NZ Wide Youth Employment Success programme and platform and Founder of the Covid-19 “Dunedin Store” initiative.

A fiercely passionate supporter of those in need, Bex is proud of the contribution Firebrand and she personally make by giving back to the whole community.  Bex is active in governance roles including serving as the Vice President of the Otago Chamber of Commerce for six years, Director for the newly formed merger of the Chamber and OSEA: Business South, where she assists in shaping the strategic direction of our region to ensure sustainability and relevance. She is a supportive business mentor and is a key coach in early-stage discovery sessions, coaching Firebrand clients and young entrepreneurs through strategy, business and product development

Additional information

Covid-19 precautions

By registering for this event you are confirming that you agree to adhere to our Covid-19 health and safety measures. If you are unwell or have any Covid-19 symptoms please do not attend this event.

Branch event cancellation policy

Regrettably, registration fees cannot be refunded when cancellations are received within two working days prior to any branch event.

See our standard terms and conditions for more information.


Michelle Branford
Otago Southland Branch Manager

+64 20 4183 5664

Our sponsors

The Otago Southland Branch acknowledges the generous support of


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