Our People

Being independent and employee-owned defines our culture.

Our diverse team has skills ranging from crisis management to brand marketing. We are creatives, problem solvers, storytellers, trusted advisers, digital experts, thinkers, and doers.

We are ethical and inclusive with shared values of creativity in our thinking, credibility in our teams, energy in our actions and real warmth in our relationships.

Our successful, talented team is driven, has plenty of character and likes to have fun. We’re a tight, collaborative team that plays to each other’s strengths to achieve the best for our clients.

We make things happen with conversations that matter.

BROWSE BY:

Adelle Keely
Alysha MacLean
Amy Wallis
Andrea Jutson
Bronwyn Millar
Christian Novak
Desmond Nash
Elle Ifill
Jamie Foote
Jon Johansson
Kirsten Blanchard
Marissa Parr
Maxine Glogau
Melissa Neustroski
Michael Dunlop
Renee Ji
Steffen Rusten

Adelle Keely

Chief Executive & Managing Director

With 20 years in the communications industry, Adelle has been trusted to evolve, promote and protect the brands and reputations of some of New Zealand’s most influential organisations. Her strength is understanding how brands, consumers, business, Government and communities interact – taking a creative, integrated approach across earned, owned and paid channels. Her diverse experience spans New Zealand, the UK and the US across sectors including building and infrastructure, ICT, FMCG, financial services, professional services and health & wellbeing. Adelle understands how to connect communications activity with clients’ commercial drivers and has extensive corporate and marketing communications capability including business advice, strategy, developing narratives & story-telling, issues & crisis management, capital markets, stakeholder & influencer engagement, brand campaigns, internal communications and media training.

Alysha MacLean

General Manager Auckland

With almost 10 years marketing and corporate communications experience in New Zealand, the UK and Europe, Alysha has strong commercial nous and a strategic problem-solving attitude. A digital native, Alysha is skilled at delivering integrated, content-led PR programmes aimed at building trust in brands and business. She has responsibility for leading client relationships and has a proven track record for running highly successful, insight-driven communications campaigns across diverse sectors including technology, FMCG, health, professional services and not-for-profit.

Amy Wallis

Senior Account Director

Amy Wallis has broad experience working in the corporate communications and PR industry and has been with Acumen Republic for the past six years. Her expertise spans corporate communications, media and government relations, stakeholder engagement, capital markets, issues management and marketing communications. Amy relishes the challenge of taking complex ideas and breaking them down into simple and engaging New Zealand stories. Based in Auckland, she has worked with clients across a range of sectors including technology, financial services, sport, education, health, commercial property and professional services.

Andrea Jutson

Account Director

Andrea is a former journalist for The Aucklander and The New Zealand Herald. Working across news, local government, profiles and feature writing, Andrea has strong media networks, a nose for a story and is adept at developing compelling, rich content across multiple channels. She also has experience in publishing, retail, information management. Andrea worked for Auckland Council during its amalgamation period and is the author of two crime novels published by Random House.

Bronwyn Millar

General Manager Wellington

Bronwyn has 20 years experience, providing business advice, marketing and corporate communications to help clients solve problems or create opportunities. She helps clients to look at things differently and to communicate and build trusting relationships. Bronwyn has extensive experience in investor relations. She is also a specialist in integrated thinking and reporting, providing advice to some of the world’s leading organisations in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Bronwyn works with clients to understand their sustainability risks and opportunities, and helps them to develop strategies and communicate to stakeholders. Bronwyn has extensive experience across a range of disciplines, including strategy, developing narratives & story-telling, issues & crisis management, capital markets, stakeholder & influencer engagement, creative brand campaigns, and internal communications. She works closely with the creative team and has a strong understanding of digital and traditional platforms.

Christian Novak

Senior Account Manager

Christian enjoys helping clients make sense of New Zealand’s political and economic landscapes.

Alongside time at a government department, Christian has worked as a Communications, Research and Policy Advisor to a Member of Parliament. Christian holds a BA from Victoria University of Wellington, together with an Honours and MPhil in History from the University of Sydney. He also enjoys contributing to international relations think tanks and blogs in his spare time.

Desmond Nash

Senior Account Director

Desmond has 10 years’ experience in New Zealand and the UK managing the consumer PR activity for some of the world’s leading brands. Creative and a natural storyteller, Desmond understands what works across earned, owned and paid channels to drive awareness, engagement and brand love. He leads integrated campaigns underpinned by insights around consumer behaviours, market dynamics and societal trends to help drive commercial outcomes. Desmond’s experience includes ideas generation, product launches and promotions, proactive PR and media relations, content creation, integrated campaign and agency management. He also understands the power of authentic influencers and brings a broad range of contacts.

Elle Ifill

Account Director

Elle has had an interesting and varied career in marketing communications over the past thirteen years. She has worked for corporate, consumer and Government agencies throughout the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. She has a proven ability to communicate effectively with stakeholders through multiple media platforms, having worked with a variety of national and international brands providing business, marketing and communications solutions.

Jamie Foote

Senior Account Director

Jamie has over 10 years communications experience having created and executed in-sights driven campaigns across New Zealand, the UK and Europe. During his career he’s covered a number of disciplines including corporate PR, consumer PR, B2B PR, marketing and content creation. Based in Auckland, Jamie has worked with some of the world’s largest tech companies on integrated campaigns that cover activations, product launches, messaging development and media relations. He also specialises in financial services having worked in-house for four years. As well as having a natural knack for story-telling. Jamie is passionate about helping organisations better understand how a cleverly thought-out content strategy can drive lead-generation, build trust and increase brand advocacy.

Jon Johansson

Group Account Director

Jon has had a very successful and diverse career. He was a political scientist at Victoria University of Wellington for 15 years, a Fulbright Visiting Scholar to Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and a published author of several books on political leadership in New Zealand and the United States. Jon’s has joined Acumen following three years as Chief of Staff in the Office of Deputy Prime Minister during the last term, placing him at the centre of decision making in that government. Jon’s deep experience in government and domestic politics brings to Acumen specialised political knowledge to help clients navigate Wellington’s policy and political networks.

Kirsten Blanchard

Group Account Director

Kirsten is a senior practitioner with 20 years’ experience in the communications industry. She has worked across the corporate and marketing communications spectrum and has diverse sector experience. Kirsten has worked extensively in technology sector having led the New Zealand communications functions for two global technology companies and advised a number of other local and international technology clients. She also has significant experience of the building, insurance and retail sectors. She is adept at partnering with large, complex organisations and has a proven track record of delivering genuine business outcomes for clients and their brands. Kirsten is highly skilled at communications strategy and planning, brand communications, corporate communications, change and employee communications, issues management and senior executive communications.

Marissa Parr

Senior Account Director

Marissa is an experienced marketing communications professional with agency and in-house experience. Having worked with well-known brands across tourism, FMCG, lifestyle and retail sectors, Marissa has a sound understanding of the ever-changing landscape that businesses operate in. She has an eye for detail and loves a to-do list which has made her instrumental in successfully running major launches, consumer media relations activity, events and activations, and influencer marketing programmes.

Maxine Glogau

Account Director

Maxine is an experienced integrated communications specialist, working for agencies in both New York and New Zealand. Skilled in creating engaging stories, Maxine has a breadth of knowledge in brand and corporate communications, media relations, influencer strategy and issues management. With her finger on the pulse, Maxine keeps up-to-date with the ever-changing media environment to deliver impactful results. Having a diverse background in accounting and finance, design and applied science, Maxine approaches her work with a unique perspective. Maxine’s enthusiasm and interpersonal skills allow her to build strong relationships with both media and her clients.

Melissa Neustroski

Group Account Director

Melissa (Liss) has over 20 years’ experience in the advertising and communications industries. Highly skilled at strategy and planning for both advertising and marketing, Liss also has deep experience in marketing and brand communications, alongside change and employee communications. In her previous role as Chief Executive of a human-centred design studio, she gained extensive knowledge of human-centred design research and uncovering actionable insights. As a Group Business Director, she has worked with big brands in the corporate, retail and financial sectors, large-scale multinational organisations and government departments, servicing clients and stakeholders at the most senior levels and delivering challenging projects tailored to diverse and complex audience groups.

Michael Dunlop

Chairman

Michael is the chairman of Acumen, and has been in the business for 25 years. Michael consults for clients in technology and ICT, financial services, professional services, health, entertainment, transport, and FMCG. He specialises in stakeholder reputation management. Prior to joining Acumen he was a journalist, strategic planner, sales manager, general manager, a CEO and a company director in radio and television broadcasting and pay television in New Zealand and Asia.

Renee Ji

Account Director

With a background and passion for marketing communications, Renee helps her clients share their stories authentically with their audience. Her experience includes media relations, content development, campaign management and event management.

Steffen Rusten

Senior Account Director

Steffen is a business professional with a diverse background. After graduating from Auckland University Steffen spent 5 years with GE Capital where he honed his skills as an Analyst before turned his data-backed decision making to the marketing world. What’s followed is a journey that’s taken him from established corporates to scrappy startups. At the NZRB/TAB he delivered innovations that beat business projections. And at Uber he launched their Wellington operations, taking them from obscurity to over 10,000 trips per month. After advising gamification and technology start ups across South East Asia, Steffen returned to New Zealand and has been consulting for clients in a broad range of industries.