Our Staff

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
Alex Popham
Alysha MacLean
Amy Wallis
Andrea Jutson
Ben Kieboom
Bronwyn Millar
Christian Novak
Declan Podmore
Desmond Nash
Elle Ifill
Greta Morrison
Hayley Smith
Jamie Foote
Jon Johansson
Kirsten Blanchard
Libby Greatnews
Lucy Smith
Mandy Hancock
Marissa Parr
Maxine Glogau
Melissa Neustroski
Raman Prabhakar
Reilly Hodson
Renee Ji
Shaneil Kant

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.

Alex Popham

Senior Designer

Alex has over 10 years experience as a graphic designer and finished artist working in a variety of advertising agencies and media companies. Starting his career in newspaper editorial design, Alex then moved on to digital design and retail design for high profile New Zealand & Australian clients. Outside of design Alex also enjoys illustration and painting, commissioning his services as a freelancer for a variety of clients.

Alysha MacLean

Director 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.

Ben Kieboom

Account Manager

Ben is a communications advisor skilled in corporate affairs, government relations and issues management. With degrees in political science and communication, he understands the messaging and nuances needed to engage with decision-makers. He has experience operating across corporate, public and political environments and possesses strong relationships with leaders and media in these sectors. Ben’s clients include Coca-Cola, Chorus, BCITO and the Motor Trade Association.

Bronwyn Millar

Director 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.

Declan Podmore

Designer

Declan uses graphic design to solve problems and communicate ideas. He gained his experience in-house in the New Zealand wine and beer industry before working as a freelancer in 2020. Declan works across a range of platforms, and his approachable nature helps him build relationships with his clients to better develop and communicate their ideas.

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.

Greta Morrison

Account Executive

With a fresh and creative perspective, Greta challenges communication strategies with her out of the box thinking. Greta’s experience includes work in the FMCG and construction sectors, alongside work with charity and humanitarian organisations. Greta has specialist experience in social media content creation, media relations, and research analysis. Greta holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology, with a double minor in communications and marketing, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the University of Otago.

Hayley Smith

Account Manager

Hayley is passionate about helping businesses communicate their brands in creative ways. After joining the Acumen team in 2018 as a Media Analyst she is now an Account Manager, supporting us on a range of clients. She recently completed a double degree in Communications and Business at Auckland University of Technology, where she was awarded the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand President’s Award for the Top Academic Student majoring in PR.

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 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

Client Partner

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.

Libby Greatnews

Account Director

With broad experience across marketing and communications, Libby primarily comes from the world of social media, specialising in social media strategy and customer care. From nationwide Christmas campaigns to COVID crisis communications, she's seen it all - the good, the bad and the intensely practical. Having worked in both private sector and public sector organisations, they’re passionate about providing a holistic omnichannel experience for brands and organisations.

Lucy Smith

Account Executive

With her people-centric personality, the client and the consumer are always at the forefront of Lucy’s mind. Her strength in understanding client needs, brand personalities and consumer preferences inspire engaging campaigns that resonate with people. She is passionate about telling brands’ stories and connecting them with consumers. Lucy joined the Acumen team after completing her Bachelor of Communication degree with an A GPA and numerous certificates of excellence. She is an expert in all things social media and community management.

Mandy Hancock

Chief Operating Officer

Mandy is a Board member and director of Acumen and is part of the Executive Leadership team. She is a key contributor to the company’s business planning and strategy. Mandy leads the financial and operations team and is responsible for all the financial, commercial, technology, property, HR and administration functions for Acumen nationally. Mandy is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and previously worked for Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte in the UK.

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

Client Partner

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.

Raman Prabhakar

Accountant

Raman is our in-house accountant overseeing billing, banking, filing tax returns and much more, with his careful analytical mind he can accurately represent our management accounts. Raman is also a provisional member of the chartered accountants ANZ.

Reilly Hodson

Account Manager

Reilly is an exceptional storyteller, and his writing has been published in a range of top tier NZ media, including Metro and the Spinoff. Reilly is constantly coming up with ways to share clients’ stories in creative ways and he uses his strong understanding of the local media environment, great contacts and relationships to make sure those stories get seen by the right people. Passionate about content, Reilly produces his own online newsletter called Clipboard, focusing on Auckland life and fashion. ​Reilly joined the Acumen team after graduating with a double degree in Communications and Law (with First Class Honours).

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.

Shaneil Kant

Finance Assistant

Shaneil is responsible for communicating and providing financial information to management while ensuring that our day to day business is running smoothly. He loves a bit of teamwork as he has a huge interest in sports. Shaneil loves to work with numbers hence why he emphasises the importance of accuracy and being detail orientated.