Public Relations Institute of New Zealand Board Elections

PRINZ Board Elections begin Monday 16th May 2022, closing 1:00pm Monday 23rd May 2022

Please read through the candidate statements below before casting your votes HERE. You will be asked to select 2 candidates on the voting form.

You must be a current PRINZ member to vote


Fred Russo

As the current chair of the PRINZ’s Northern Division and sitting board member, I’m keen to continue my service to the membership. During my tenure I’ve managed the local committee and helped deliver events to excite and educate PRINZ members.  I’ve sat on the board and helped to guide our organisation into a space that uplifts the industry and protects our role in the business world. 

With a heavy tip of the hat to the Northern Committee, I’ve assisted with events that included our nation’s top practitioners and political heavyweights. 

I’ll be focused rebuilding Auckland committee events to their pre-pandemic levels. Trying to put bums on seats is more challenging than ever. There’s plans in place to move past ‘another webinar’ and I intend to assist with getting events cracking across the nation and in my own Auckland backyard.

For me, what matters is delivering value to PRINZ members. I want this achieved in two ways. The first is advocacy. This means not only calling out poor practice when we see it, but also providing examples and a path to show people that the industry’s aren’t just more ‘spin’.  That means education classes and events that are relevant and modern, and showing that PR practitioners are value focused and ethically driven.  I maintain my belief that our Code of Ethics is what sets us apart from other communicators and will ensure this code stays front and centre – and is shown to those who would speak ill of our industry. 

Professionally, I am the Executive Director at Botica Butler Raudon Partners, a boutique firm with an exceptional reputation.  I’ve spent the past 15 years in New Zealand working with Fortune 500 companies, IT businesses and local start-ups, and led or managed PR programmes for technology giants including Intel, Samsung, LG, and Symantec. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and minor degrees in sociology and criminal justice from Northern Arizona University. In a previous life I was an international athlete and circus performer, careers that oddly gave me skills that translate incredibly well to the PR industry. 

Megan McPherson

APR, CMInstD, BA, BCom, Director of Communications, Kaiwhakahere, Pārokoroko, University of Otago

Kia ora koutou,

I have enjoyed a fantastic 25-year career in public relations and communications and I would like to represent PRINZ members as we collectively steer our way through the next two years of opportunities and challenges.

Effective governance is about a shared purpose, an inclusive culture and accountability.  It is a culture of thoughtfully challenging and respectfully debating the status quo while also celebrating the significant successes of our industry. It is about listening to, and understanding, the quiet and measured voices that are sometimes drowned out by more vocal ones.  All members’ views are valuable and should be heard, respected and represented.  I’m particularly interested in the insights of our younger members and members from the provinces.  

Ultimately, the board is accountable to the members of PRINZ and I would consider it a privilege to represent you. 

Ngā mihi nui

Megan McPherson

Jenna Waite-Leonard

Passionate for industry

Over the last 15+ years, I’ve held numerous roles across the communications and public relations sector, including with agency, not-for-profit, corporate and government organisations. My passion is strategic communications, internal and external communication, change management, digital experience, and stakeholder relations. I’ve spearheaded multiple award-winning, integrated communication campaigns across Australia and New Zealand that promote reputation building, strategic positioning and behaviour change. Well versed in crisis and change management, I’ve guided teams and organisations through restructures, digital transformation projects and multiple health outbreaks, including the recent pandemic. The variety of my experience means that I bring a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies underpinning the sector, and the key issues and opportunities facing us as communicators.

Returning to New Zealand in 2018, I’m looking to strengthen and further develop my professional network while identifying opportunities for cross-pacific collaboration. Currently, I sit across two organisations (Toi Ohomai and Wintec) as the Communication and Digital Manager, helping to steer a once-in-a-generation education sector reform where strategic communications are front and centre. As I regularly spend time across the Bay of Plenty and Waikato, I believe this would further build and develop the PRINZ community and membership base, particularly for these thriving, growing regions.

Further to my professional experience, I bring a commitment to furthering research and insights in our sector. I recently obtained a Master of Management with Distinction, which I completed via a quantitative research thesis that explored the impact of organisation communication on employee wellbeing and commitment during the COVID pandemic. I also hold a Bachelor of Media and Communication with Distinction.

Previous board experience

From 2016 to 2018, I held two board of director positions on the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Victoria Board, including Partnerships and Sponsorships Chair and Academic Liaison Chair. Notable successes included growing the IABC student and professional membership base, initiating an inaugural, collaborative partnership between the IABC and PRIA student networks, and increased awareness of the brand amongst graduates and the Victorian academic community.

I’m an active member of the PRINZ community, including lending support to speak at events, and I’m the proud recipient of several PRINZ and PRIA Awards for my work both here and abroad.

Appreciate the time to be considered for such a dynamic role to help drive engagement in the sector that I’m grateful to be part of and love to bits!

Ngā mihi,

Jenna Waite-Leonard

Makere Carroll 

Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahu

Ko Tongariro rāua ko Maungataniwha ngā maunga

Ko Te Arawa rāua ko Mamaru ngā waka

Ko Pākira rāua ko Haiti-tai-marangai ngā marae

He uri tēnei o Ngāti Tūwharetoa, o Ngāti Kahu hoki.

Ko Makere Carroll ahau.

My name is Makere Carroll and I would welcome the opportunity to be elected as a Board member of Te Pūtahi Whakakakau Tūmatanui o Aotearoa (PRINZ). My learning journey began at kōhanga reo and kura in my home communities of South Auckland. After college Igravitated to communications, seeing it as a way for people to connect. I started this journey at Auckland University of Technology and completed a Bachelor of Communication Studies in 2012.

I have had the privilege of working in both the public and private sectors, gaining crucial experience from each. I started as a Communications Coordinator on New Zealand’s largest transport infrastructure project: City Rail Link. From there, I moved on to a Communications and Engagement Consultant role. In that role, I worked on a range of projects throughout Aotearoa, from understanding the infrastructure needs of the community in East Porirua, to engaging Mana Whenua on the newest State Highway 1 extension. This private sector experience allowed me to see the other side of communications and engagement that furthered my appreciation of how our industry shapes relationships.

As a result of my experience in this role, I was asked to present on Mana Whenua engagement for Women in Urbanism and am currently present on their Amazing Speaker List.

My current role is Kaitohutohu Whakawhitiwhiti Kōrero / Communications Advisor at Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori. As part of my role, I co-represent our tari as part of the Iwi Communications Collective. This group has been crucial to delivering important Covid-19 messaging to Māori and iwi across Aotearoa.

Our small team leads all of our organisation’s reo Māori campaign work including Māori Language Week and the Māori Language Moment that was created in 2020. We entered the global International Public Relations Awards in 2021 and by the year end, we had won the prestigious top prize ahead of hundreds of other entrants. Our work to influence New Zealanders attitudes and to help save and safeguard our endangered, indigenous language touched the hearts of the global judging panel. At the prizegiving we were told that: “As communications professionals nothing is more integral to our work than language and preserving those that are endangered. Indeed our languages connect us to our history, culture and ancestors: if we are not careful we could end up with only a handful of languages by the end of this century.”

Our work also means we collaborate alongside our colleagues at the Ministry of Pacific People’s Language Unit as so many languages across our region are also endangered. We are working towards supporting and attending the global launch of the UN Decade for Indigenous Languages that will be launched in Paris later this year.

We were proud to accept the IPRA honour on behalf of not just ourselves but the more than one million people who joined our Māori language moment, as well as the thousands of people over the years who have worked to safeguard te reo.

My ability to understand and speak te reo Māori has allowed me to move through diverse spaces and connect with a wide range of people. It also guides my approach to our industry.

I’m passionate about creating pathways for young Māori and Pasifika communications graduates. There is definitely a want for this across all sectors, and I hope alongside PRINZ we can enable this needed growth.

I am committed to contributing towards best communication practices in Aotearoa. I know PRINZ strives to provide this for our industry and I particularly note the want to increase capacity for te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. If I’m elected, I hope to be part of that journey as well.

Ngā mihi nui

Denise Mackay

Tēnā koutou PRINZ members

I welcome the opportunity to represent you, and your professional interests, as a member of the PRINZ Board.

I have been part of the PRINZ whānau for almost 20 years now as an individual member, regional committee member, regional chair, professional development participant, and judge. I am APR qualified, I have been an APR mentor, examiner, and the APR national coordinator. This year, I’ve been one of two Chief Judges for our 2022 PRINZ awards. I have been a PRINZ Fellow since 2014.

Alongside my PRINZ commitments, I’m also the Vice-President of Dress for Success (Wellington) – a global charity committed to empowering women to achieve success and economic independence.

Why me?

Don’t let people try to convince you anyone can do PR and communications, and it is all just ‘spin’. Our profession continues to gain high regard and value in most progressive organisations – just as it should.  

I care deeply about our profession and all that PRINZ, as our professional body, represents. As a Board member, I will prioritise:


  • Strengthening our profile and the role PR and communications plays in business success
  • Growing our membership and encouraging participation from practitioners of all levels of experience
  • Ensuring we receive and maintain professional recognition – ideally through a practising certificate
  • Establishing pathways for people entering PR and communications – with a strong focus on increasing our diversity, and on enabling guidance and knowledge sharing for those new to both the profession itself and the Institute
  • Continuing to offer appropriate professional development, networking, and learning opportunities at all levels, right across the country

I am committed to ensuring our Institute provides best practice leadership and is connecting and partnering with the right people and organisations to help amplify our influence and the impact.

Based in Wellington, I work in the public sector, currently as the Director of Communications and Engagement at the Treasury. Complemented by my leadership experience with other government agencies, I would bring a ‘belt-way’ lens to the PRINZ Board – in addition to my knowledge of and experience with what is important to the regions.

What will I do?

I have a strong strategic focus and will work collaboratively with our Board to govern effectively and with integrity – to the benefit of all PRINZ members. I will do all I can to ensure PRINZ maintains and observes the highest professional standards and will encourage our ongoing international connections and relationships to ensure we maintain our global best-practice standard.

Our Code of Ethics provides my professional ‘north point’. I’ll enjoy collaborating with my fellow Board members on enabling a clear and achievable strategic direction for PRINZ – one that both genuinely resonates, and has the support of our membership.

As well as promoting our ethical framework and best practice, I’ll be focused on helping build our future – and yours – and on growing and developing the next generation of PR and communications professionals, continuing all the good work PRINZ has been doing year-on-year since first established in 1954.

How will I do it? 

I have a reputation for high levels of performance and delivery:   If I say I’ll do something, you can be assured – I will do it. I’ve spent many, many enjoyable hours volunteering my time to PRINZ over the years – and look forward to being able to contribute even more in a governance role with the Institute.

What do you need to do?

As a Board member, I’ll be committed to enhancing our profession, and supporting both your and PRINZ’s future progress.

I welcome your vote to allow me to do just this.

Ngā mihi

Denise Mackay