OUR TEAM

Karen Stephens crisis management expert photo

KAREN STEPHENS
Phone: +64 274 070 888

Karen’s 20 years in the crisis management, business continuity and emergency management field have taken her around the world, managing assignments in the Pacific, US, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. She initially developed her knowledge in these areas as a lead consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Since 2004 she has been providing advice and support in a consulting role and joined Kestrel in 2010 as a Director.

Crisis management exercises are Karen’s forte and she has worked with Transpower, ACC, Spark, Chorus, ESR, Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Inland Revenue as well as many small and medium businesses. Karen has also worked closely with civil defence agencies on major national exercises, including scenarios for a Wellington earthquake, a pandemic and a volcanic eruption in Auckland.

As well as offering crisis management services, Karen works with large and small corporate and government organisations on the design and implementation of business continuity solutions in line with international standards.



Dave Brunsdon emergency management expert photo

DAVE BRUNSDON
Phone: +64 21 679 338

Dave has a wide range of experience in the building, infrastructure, emergency management and research sectors. The majority of his work involves the co-ordination of complex multi-agency projects within and across these sectors, working at project governance level.

He is currently providing oversight to the technical group developing guidelines on the seismic assessment of buildings for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. He also chairs the Ministry of Education’s Engineering Strategy Group, which provides a technical focal point to the seismic assessment and design of school buildings.

He is a Life Member and Past-President of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, and was awarded Life Membership of Structural Engineering Society New Zealand in 2016. Dave is a Distinguished Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), and in 2012 received the Minister of Civil Defence’s Silver Award in recognition of his contribution to civil defence emergency management in New Zealand.



Sandra Pedersen crisis management expert photo

SANDRA PEDERSEN
Phone: +64 21 683 113

Developing and facilitating crisis exercises is just one of Sandra’s areas of expertise.

Sandra has assisted a range of organisations with their planning for emergency events, covering everything from developing crisis management and business continuity capabilities to preparing for pandemics. She has also helped organisations to prepare for their involvement in both local and national exercises.

Prior to joining Kestrel Group in 2006, Sandra spent eight years with the Wellington City Council Emergency Management Office honing her skills in emergency management.

With her postgraduate Diploma in Emergency Management from AUT, Sandra combines academic with practical knowledge in delivering solutions to our clients.

Sandra’s hands-on operational experience includes working with Regional Public Health and the Ministry of Health during the H1N1 swine flu influenza pandemic and with the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management during the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011 as Lifelines Utility Co-ordinator.



John Hamilton emergency management expert photo

JOHN HAMILTON
Phone: +64 27 687 9542

John joined Kestrel in January 2015 after eight years as Director of the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM). Prior to this he served 35 years in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, culminating in a four-year period from 2002 to 2006 as the Chief of Air Force.

During his time at MCDEM John was responsible for the development of New Zealand’s disaster resilience and the country’s ability to prepare for emergencies and manage response and recovery activities.

Following the 22 February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, John was National Controller responsible for the management and co-ordination of the national response.

John was made a member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in 1981 for his service to the Queen as an Equerry. He was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001 for leading the planning for the New Zealand deployment to East Timor, and in 2006 he was promoted to Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in recognition of his leadership as Chief of Air Force.



David Middleton disaster recovery photo

DAVID MIDDLETON
Phone: +64 21 1896 176

David joined Kestrel Group in 2010 after stepping down after 17 years as Chief Executive of the Earthquake Commission (EQC). This role followed a 20-year involvement with the New Zealand insurance industry.

His areas of specialisation are insurance and reinsurance, disaster recovery planning and the financial aspects of disaster recovery, public policy and research administration. David also has a wide knowledge of the natural disaster schemes implemented in other countries.

David is currently the Chair of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Natural Hazards Research Platform and Chair of the steering committee for the University of Canterbury-led Resilient Organisations research programme.

During his time at Kestrel David has provided advice to a wide range of tertiary institutions, government agencies and organisations and provided expert advice on legal cases.

He has received an Honorary Fellowship of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), Honorary Membership of the Wellington Lifelines Group and Lifetime Membership of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering. In 2010 David became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.



Michelle Isaac crisis exercise manager photo

MICHELLE ISAAC
Phone: +64 22 658 1614

Michelle joined Kestrel in 2014. She is the product specialist for Talon – Kestrel’s new service for mobile crisis management. Michelle also provides project management support to the Kestrel team and assists with the development and facilitation of crisis exercises.

With a 15-year background in IT operations, Michelle became a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer in 2000. In recent years her interest has shifted to the human side of technology and she is currently studying communications and psychology part-time. Michelle is now focusing on organisational psychology – how the working environment affects behaviour, and how organisational behaviour can be changed.

As a volunteer for the Autism Intervention Trust, Michelle has helped the organisation to use technology to streamline many of its previously manual processes.

She retains a strong interest in technology, with particular attention to how technology can enable the achievement of business goals.