Our Team

David Shanks
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Michael Ahie - Chairman ComplyWith NZ Ltd Board

Governance, Strategy & Leadership Wise Head

BBS (Hons), business guru by day, country rocker by night…

“I agreed to chair the ComplyWith board because I believe in the people, the business model and the difference ComplyWith can make to New Zealand companies.” ...read more

We at ComplyWith feel hugely privileged to have had Michael on our board since mid-2014.

Michael has extensive executive and governance experience with multinational, cooperative and crown-owned companies.  He held senior roles with Toyota New Zealand Ltd, the New Zealand Dairy Board and Wrightson Ltd, and he was a founding partner of AltusQ New Zealand, part of the Australasian leadership and business coaching group, AltusQ.

He is Chancellor of Massey University, chair of the board of Plant & Food Research, chair of the Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council and a director of a number of companies including Farmers Mutual Group (FMG), Spring Sheep Milk Co., The Bio Commerce Centre and MIG Angels.  He is also the chair of Inland Revenue's Risk and Assurance Advisory Committee.

Michael is passionate about his country and is dedicated to the commercial and cultural success of organisations in New Zealand.  He speaks regularly at industry groups and forums and has specific expertise and experience working with the agriculture and horticulture industries, Māori businesses, professional services, the science and innovation sector and local and central Government agencies.

One of Michael’s mantras is “manage your energy not your time” – this really must work, as how else could anyone with all the roles listed above find the time and energy to also rock-out as a member of the High Plains Drifters country & western band AND undertake ground-up restorations of classic(?) English motor cars like his Vauxhall Chevette and Rover 3500 Vanden Plas.

Of Taranaki, Ngā Ruahine and Ngāti Ruanui descent, Michael lives in Wellington, New Zealand with his wife Janine and their two sons.

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David Shanks
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David Woodnorth - Leader & Ideas Man

Founder & driving creative force behind ComplyWith

LLB, BA, LLM(Hons), ex-Timaruvian, Mountain bike enthusiast ...

“Making the complex simple is challenging - and doing this with the law is really really challenging, but also hugely satisfying. We see how it can really make a difference. I’m incredibly proud of what our team has achieved so far and we are only just getting started!” ...read more

David is an eternal optimist and a born communicator. He would have made a fantastic hostage negotiator, had he not chosen to indulge his passion for demystifying law and assuaging the fears of fretful clients.

He realised his powers at a young age, assuaging the concerns of his mates before taking on the challenge of restoring a 1952 Ford Prefect as a 15 year old.

He managed to counter the doubts of his parents too when heading off to the ‘fun Uni’ in Otago. He returned with both Law and Arts degrees. While studying, David worked as an ice cream stick maker, fixer of beer crates, and pea truck driver, giving him experience that would come in handy never.

What was useful however were his years after graduating, working as a litigator for both large national law firms and small boutique litigation firms, and gaining qualification as a first class Master of Laws. These experiences landed David in-house legal manager roles with IRD, Treasury (CCMAU) and the Department of Building & Housing, before heading back to private practice and eventually down this entrepreneurial path.

Humbly, David is reluctant to claim responsibility for founding ComplyWith, instead saying that government agencies’ need for a smart legal compliance program created the business. He’s much less coy when asked about creating space between the ground and the rapidly spinning wheels of his mountain bike. Though he hasn’t specified whether he’s still on the bike when he’s ‘catching air’.

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David Shanks
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Rob Old - Director ComplyWith NZ Ltd Board

Business Growth Trailblazer

Technology strategist, family man, and marathon running machine

“It’s a no brainer!” sums up why I believe ComplyWith has huge growth potential. When businesses get to understand the value and benefits of having ComplyWith on board it is simply a no brainer that they should have it. While ComplyWith has an amazing customer community of over 100 organisations, we have a wonderful opportunity to further enhance our offering to deliver even more value to our customers.” ...read more

Rob’s formative years were spent growing up in the bright lights of Invercargill, before escaping to less glamorous places to live like Queenstown, Auckland, Surfers Paradise, Sydney, London and finally Wellington.

While Rob’s tertiary education might have been a little on the short side (10 weeks at Otago University in ’86) this does not appear to have unduly limited his career development. Rob landed his first sales job selling cleaning and hygiene chemicals to restaurants and hotels in Central Otago and Southland. Roll on 28 years and Rob’s career has evolved to encompass multiple senior leadership roles in the technology sector. He has a knack for identifying how organisations can grow and enjoys learning about the challenges and opportunities in different industries.

A family man, Rob loves spending time with his wife Mel and their two sons Jake and Max. He also enjoys setting personal goals. This manifested itself when Rob successfully completed Ironman New Zealand in 2009. His Ironman days are over however he still gets out for regular lunchtime runs up Mt Victoria and in 2015 ran the Wellington marathon, his fifth. He’s not sure his knees have any more marathons left in them but time will tell.

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David Shanks
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Jackie Grimes - Head of Content Development

Lead Content Developer

LLB(Hons), BA, multi-tasker extraordinaire ...

“Translating a complex and unwieldy piece of legislation into plain English questions and commentary is immensely satisfying. I love that we are constantly improving our content for use by those people who need to comply (non-lawyers!).” ...read more

It’s been said that every New Zealander knows at least one person from Waimate. Now you know two. Jackie grew up in the deep south town alongside three brothers and as such, knows a ruck from a maul, can drive a boat, and doesn’t take offence when a coach yells, “you’re playing like a bunch of girls!”

Wielding an LLB with first class honours from the University of Canterbury, Jackie left the mainland and gained experience covering all things litigious and contractual in Rotorua and London. It might surprise you to hear, these are very different places to practice law.

Jackie’s broad range of experience is invaluable to ComplyWith, where she leads the development of legal compliance content as well as implementation of projects in larger client organisations. Multi-tasking is clearly a strength. She’s the only working mother of two boys in the whole world who has managed, while her husband was away, to bake and ice, in perfect tiny squares, in many different shades of green, a flawless Mine Craft birthday cake.

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Nick Brook - Senior Operations Officer

Clutch Player on Compliance and Legislative Process

LLB, proud Wellingtonian, keen sports fan ...

“I have been at ComplyWith since 2007, playing a key role in making ComplyWith what it is today. I believe in ComplyWith big time, and am working hard to make it even better.” ...read more

Nick was born when the rest of us were clumsily trying to do a dance move called the moonwalk that we’d just seen on television for the first time. It’s completely unrelated, but he’s a terrible dancer. He was an exceptional summer law clerk however, prompting David Woodnorth to sign him upon being admitted to the bar in 2007.

You’d be hard pressed to find someone as calm and collected when faced with a torrent of deadline driven, diverse tasks. Nick’s the epitome of cool under pressure. For instance, the fact that he hasn’t been able to catch a trout bigger than the first one he caught in 1994 - in twenty whole years of fishing - doesn’t seem to phase him in the slightest. Ask him about it.

When Nick isn’t fishing, he can usually be found working on his own personal ‘groove’ on the couch at home – with a remote control in one hand, and possibly a bowl of something in the other.

As you can imagine, Nick now leads our ComplyWatch project with perfect poise. He also provides invaluable input into the development of the ComplyWith software, and assists clients with implementation and ongoing support.

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David Shanks
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Lauren Donnellan - Head of Delivery

ComplyWith Implementation Lead

LLB, BCom, skilled communicator, armchair All Blacks coach

“It’s great to be working at the top of the ‘compliance cliff’ making sure people don’t fall off rather than at the bottom picking up the pieces!” From my previous roles, in which I advised corporates on regulatory breaches and worked for a government regulator, I’ve seen first-hand how hard it can be for businesses to achieve clarity about what they need to do to comply with the law, and the costs and impacts of not complying." ...read more

Lauren joined ComplyWith in late 2015, ready for a change in focus from “regulating companies” to “assisting the regulated”.  After spending 5 years as a scarfie at Otago University, Lauren graduated with degrees in law and commerce (and a penchant for cheap red wine and South Island cheese rolls) and moved to the big smoke of Wellington to start her career as a litigator at national law firm Simpson Grierson. Lauren then worked for nearly five years at the Takeovers Panel, including a stint on secondment to the NZX.

Lauren is known among her friends and workmates as being a master planner and organiser and a skilled and responsive communicator.  These skills, together with her great experience, sharp legal mind and can-do attitude make Lauren a very welcome addition to our ComplyWith delivery team.

Lauren is very client-focused and is looking forward to creating connections with current and future ComplyWith clients.

Lauren is an ardent supporter of New Zealand sporting teams, especially the All Blacks and Black Caps. In fact she tells us she has a ‘free pass’ from her partner if she ever gets the opportunity to pash Richie McCaw. When not at work Lauren will be planning her next trip to South East Asia, spending time with her dog Gus and cat Rufus, and watching bad reality television in her active wear (we should note here that Lauren once crashed her car speeding home to watch a Survivor reunion show).

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David Shanks
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Vicky Donaldson - Head of Corporate Services

Finance & Office Administration

CA, organiser extraordinaire & expert green-thumb gardener

“I love the passion of the people I work with and the belief in the solutions that ComplyWith can offer in the compliance space. Having started out in a very part-time role I have become more and more involved in the business and am enjoying it even more!” ...read more

Vicky was born in England but moved to Wellington at five years old quickly losing her English accent. She’s a true blue Wellingtonian, as she grew up in Eastbourne and had her school years in the Hutt before heading to Victoria University. At 21 years old Vicky grabbed her English passport and headed to London. Her first job in the UK was in the Finance Department of the Save the Children Fund head office where she worked in every finance role during her 5 years in London.

When it came time to head home to NZ, Vicky had no qualification to match her considerable finance work experience – so she determinedly headed back to Uni for a post-graduate Diploma in Accounting course and went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant. Since then she has worked in a variety of Finance Manager and Corporate Services Manager roles in banking, education and IT, including time as Company Secretary. Vicky then bought a sign writing business with her husband in 2009 – although neither of them knew anything about the industry! They worked hard for a number of years before selling the business in April 2015.

While running her sign writing business a mutual friend called Vicky out of the blue to see if she could help David Woodnorth set up the finance functions in-house for ComplyWith. It took Vicky a couple of months to set it up – but over four years later she’s still here! She has stepped into our Company Secretary role and since selling her own business has taken on more administration support tasks alongside the finance functions.

When Vicky’s not busy keeping the ComplyWith team organised, you’ll find her at home working her green thumb magic in the garden.

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