Our People

John Robertson, Managing Director

John Robertson & Associates Ltd (now JRA (NZ) Ltd) was established in 1993, with the goal of assisting organisations improve their performance – through people. As the founding Director, John has had more than 20 years experience in the field of industrial relations and human resource management, both in New Zealand and overseas. He has an honours degree in economics from the University of Otago, and has particular expertise in the areas of strategic human resource management, organisation development and the management of change. Following eight years as an industrial relations advocate for the Wellington Employers Association, John subsequently headed the human resource management functions of a number of prominent NZ organisations during the 1980s, including EMCO Group, Steel and Tube Holdings, Trustbank Holdings, and the NZI Group. John is also a frequent presenter and chair of HR and related public seminars and conferences.

John’s primary role is to ensure JRA has both the people and the resources needed to deliver world-class products and services.  He is also very involved in business development initiatives in New Zealand and offshore, in managing key client relationships, and providing expert advice to those organisations requiring customised survey solutions.

Leighton Abbot, Senior Consultant

Leighton joined the JRA team in 2003, following his graduation from the University of Auckland with an MCom(Hons) in Management & Employment Relations and a BA in Psychology. Leighton’s Masters thesis investigated the fulfilment of the psychological contract held by employees in a professional services environment, and his related research interests include career theory, organisational psychology, and social psychology.

Within JRA, Leighton’s role involves client management across the financial services, IT/telecommunications and transport industry sectors, as well as ongoing involvement in the JRA Best Workplaces Survey. Leighton also ensures that our client database and websites stay up-to-date and informative.

Moya Bawden, Senior Consultant

Moya started with JRA in early 2010 and brings to the team international experience in a variety of disciplines and industry sectors. On graduating with a BSc in Chemistry and Geology from Auckland University, Moya initially worked in IT before joining Western Mining Corporation in Australia where she held a number of roles and worked on projects internationally, including a 12-month secondment to McKinsey & Company in Chicago. Moya completed her MBA at MIT as a Sloan Fellow in 1994, and shortly after this established her own consulting business in Chile where she was involved in a variety of business analysis and process improvement projects over a four-year period.

On her return to New Zealand Moya consulted to organisations in the health services, retail and business services sector on a range of business improvement, management systems, risk analysis and strategic planning projects.

Moya has spoken at the World Congress for business improvement, and has a special interest in understanding how different companies support the changes they intend to make within their organisation. Her extensive skill-set and experience will be applied to her sector-responsibilities within JRA.

Jenni Blake, Consultant – Special Projects

Jenni joined JRA in June 2008 upon her return home from her travels in North America. Prior to this she studied for three years at Massey University. From her studies she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. On top of her core psychology papers she also studied sociology, social work and human resource management. Professionally Jenni comes from a background of customer service with experience in retail management, and sales and promotions. Jenni is interested in people on all levels from culture and group dynamics to individual personalities.

Jenni’s role in JRA involves survey administration, quantitative and qualitative analysis as well as liaising with clients.

Catherine Donohue, Receptionist/Administrator

Catherine joined JRA in June 2007 after a period working in the retail sector. In addition to reception, Catherine handles many of the administrative tasks that ensure our busy office runs ‘like a smoothly oiled machine’, including organising travel, booking venues, and coordinating our data entry activities.

Catherine also undertakes survey administration for clients, with a particular emphasis on making sure the programmes undertaken by our 360-degree feedback survey clients run smoothly.

Jenn Edwards, Senior Consultant

Jenn joined the JRA team in 2006, after 13 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry in the United Kingdom. Her work initially began in sales and then progressed to a project management role, which included the design and implementation of the support function for a customer relationship management software system for a UK-based company. On her return to New Zealand, Jenn worked part-time administering pharmaceutical clinical research projects whilst raising her two young children.

Her background of a BSc from the University of Auckland majoring in both Statistics and Psychology, together with her experience within the pharmaceutical industry, brings a diverse knowledge base for her role as Survey Administrator/Analyst at JRA.

Anna Firmin, Accountant

Anna joined JRA in June of 2007. Anna has extensive experience in both management and financial accounting roles in New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the diverse industries of executive search, financial services and aviation. Anna graduated from the University of Waikato with a BMS in accounting. After graduating she joined KPMG in their audit division and gained CA status during her time there.

Anna’s role is part-time at JRA and she has responsibility for the internal accounting function.

Nicola Halliday, Senior Consultant

Nicola joined JRA from an academic background; her key areas of expertise are around organisational creativity, innovation and design management. She has many years experience of designing and implementing educational training packages for middle managers. Coupled with this is a solid background in marketing which began fifteen years ago in the UK at a BBDO subsidiary. Her last major role prior to joining JRA was as project manager for a $1.2m government funded research project looking at growing innovation between New Zealand organisations.

Nicola’s role at JRA includes fostering new client relationships, JRA’s 360 Reflect, project management and customised surveys. She has a BA (Hons) in Management and a Master of Design Management degree. Nicola is currently studying towards a PhD exploring the tension between organisation and creativity at the University of Auckland.

Cathy Hendry, Senior Consultant

Cathy joined the JRA team in early 2010 following her return from overseas. With around 10 years experience working in a variety of HR roles in London, Canada and New Zealand, Cathy spent the past four years providing specialist remuneration advice to a wide range of local and international clients for a leading HR consultancy in London. During that time Cathy was exposed to the very latest HR research and thinking as well as a variety of leading-edge HR and organisation development initiatives. Prior to her overseas stint, Cathy headed the knowledge management function for a leading HR consultancy before taking on responsibility for that firm’s most high-profile remuneration surveys and delivering the results of these to clients.

Cathy graduated from Auckland University in 2000 with a BSc/BCom conjoint degree majoring in Psychology and Management. Her responsibilities at JRA will see her strengthening existing client relationships and developing new business within specific sector groups.

Neal Knight-Turvey, General Manager, JRA (Aust) Pty Ltd & Research Director

Neal joined the JRA team in 2006 as its Research Director, and in 2007 became the GM of our Australian operation. Neal brings seven years experience in survey research linking people management practices and employee attitudes with organisational success. At JRA Neal applies his expertise in advanced analytics to the JRA Best Workplaces Survey to help further determine the drivers of ‘best workplaces’ in New Zealand. Neal is also responsible for providing Higher Level Analyses to individual companies seeking to identify and model the key people management practices that best promote their employees’ level of engagement and subsequent business performance.

Prior to joining JRA, Neal was an academic and a senior consultant with a Brisbane-based HR consulting firm. Neal has presented his research to numerous international conferences and his study on the innovative use of employee survey data was nominated for an outstanding research award at the 2005 Annual Academy of Management Meeting in the US.

Neal has a conjoint Masters and PhD in organisational psychology from the University of Queensland. He is a registered psychologist and a member of the Academies of Management in Australia and New Zealand, the US and the UK.

Iain McCombe, Development Manager

Iain joined JRA in 2002, after graduating with an MA(Hons) in Organisational Psychology from Massey University and a BCom from The University of Auckland. He is also a certified PRINCE2™ Practitioner. Particular research interests for Iain include the effects of stress in employment (his Masters thesis) and organisational structure and its influence on culture.

Iain provides a valuable contribution to JRA on three main fronts. Firstly, he oversees the development and maintenance of JRA’s world-class online survey application www.survey-online.com to ensure it meets client needs both in terms of functionality and user-friendliness. Secondly, Iain provides training and on-going help desk and technical support to Survey Administrators within our ‘subscriber’ client base. And thirdly, Iain is a key member of our diagnostic team, applying high-level statistical methods skills to assist clients analyse their data for greater insight into the drivers of ‘great workplaces’. In this capacity, he is also heavily involved in the design and implementation of customised surveys.

Anna Montague, Consultant – Survey Administration & Support

Anna started with JRA in May 2009 as a temporary telemarketer, and we like her so much we persuaded her to stay on full-time! With a BA in Psychology from Auckland University behind her, Anna spent 18 months living in France and Australia before returning to New Zealand and taking up a position in the recruitment industry. Her sales and marketing flair and strong customer relationship skills have been put to good effect promoting our ‘Best Workplaces’ survey and assisting with JRA’s PR, advertising and client communication activities. Anna is currently undertaking her Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration and Marketing at Massey University.

Along with other members of the team, Anna is fully involved in survey administration and assisting clients with their survey projects.

Brett Oetgen, Senior Consultant

With an extensive background in business management, consulting and leadership coaching, Brett joined JRA at the beginning of 2010. Alongside his industry sector client management role, Brett is also responsible for JRA’s 360 Degree Feedback tool and JRA’s customer feedback survey, FoCust. He also manages JRA’s growing network of consulting partners and is part of the JRA Best Workplaces Survey team.

Prior to joining JRA, Brett spent ten years with an international executive training and consulting firm, setting up their New Zealand and Canadian operations and leading highly-successful consultancy teams in both markets. During that time, he also facilitated numerous communication-skills and new business development workshops with middle and senior management and also played an advisory role in helping clients win many high-stakes new business pitches. Having successfully led both the NZ and Canadian businesses, Brett then became part of the international management team where he was responsible for establishing a global learning centre for over 100 consultants worldwide.

On top of this experience, he has also had consulting roles with a senior management leadership development firm and an international organization culture specialist.

Brett holds an MBA in International Management.

Eunice Oh, Consultant – Survey Administration & Support

Eunice joined the JRA team in 2010, after obtaining an MSc (Hons) degree from the University of Auckland specialising in Industrial, Work and Organisational Psychology – her Masters thesis investigated fatigue, motivation and performance at work. Eunice achieved distinction during her time at university winning the University of Auckland Masters Scholarship prize in 2009, the Senior Prize in Psychology in 2007, and the New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Prize in Statistics in 2006. Outside of her passion for psychology, statistics, systems and programming, Eunice also loves sports, reading, music and cooking.

Eunice is currently working to complete her Organisation Psychologist Registration. Her responsibilities at JRA will involve survey administration, quantitative and qualitative analysis, survey software testing, as well as liaising with clients.

Nicola Richmond, Consultant – Survey Administration & Support

Nicola joined JRA in June 2009 after completing a Masters of Arts in Industrial Psychology from Massey University. Her thesis examined the relationship between resilience and positive outcomes such as engagement and well-being. Prior to this Nicola completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration in Human Resource Management and Commercial Law at Victoria University in Wellington. She comes to JRA with a background in HR and Learning and Development in the professional services sector.

Nicola is involved in survey administration, quantitative and qualitative analysis as well as providing clients with assistance throughout the survey process.

Amy Silvester-Brooks, Consultant – Special Projects

Amy joined the JRA team in 2007, after four years study at the University of Auckland. Her background is in Psychology, Economics, and Marketing, with a diverse range of other subjects thrown in for good measure – chemistry, physics, pure mathematics, international business, history, and biopsychology to name a few. She has a particular interest in ‘what makes people tick’, as well as love of numbers; both of which come in handy when working at JRA.

Amy’s role in JRA involves survey administration, analysis, and liaising with clients.

Jessica Xu, Consultant – Research & Special Projects

Jessica joined the JRA team in May 2008, after obtaining an MSc (Hons) degree in Industrial, Work and Organisational Psychology and a BSc (Hons) at the University of Auckland. Jessica’s Masters thesis investigated the potential impact of employee citizenship behaviours on workload and stress levels. On top of her passion for psychology, her educational background also extends to statistics, chemistry, ergonomics, linguistics and German. With a multi-cultural background, Jessica is particularly interested in diversity and cultural issues in the workplace, as well as individual differences, employee attitudes and well-being. Jessica is a registered organisational psychologist.

Jessica’s role in JRA involves survey administration, quantitative and qualitative analysis as well as liaising with clients.