Management team

Cath Tate (Chair)

Cath joined PACE in October 2016, within months of starting her first role as executive assistant to the board and CEO at Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA).  She willingly admits she underestimated the role of an EA before ‘taking it on’.

Until October 2020, Cath juggled multiple work-steams as Operations and Membership Manager, then became fully focussed on CE, board and trust support asTIA’s Manager-Executive. Since leaving TIA in 2022, Cath has worked in short term roles reporting to the CE, at Toi Mai WDC, Toka Tu Ake EQC and currently at RNZ.

As a relative newbie to the EA world, Cath has been very appreciative of PACE. By joining the Management Team in October 2020 and now as chair, she hopes her association management experience and governance training can contribute to PACE’s continuing success. 

Brigid Kavanagh-Dee (Treasurer)

Brigid is currently taking a break from the paid workforce to manage her farm and home projects with her husband and enjoying the company of her many pets .  Prior to this she had worked at Massey University based in Palmerston North since 2004 and from 2008-2023 as Executive Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor.  Previous to this she had been employed in various administrative roles in the private sector in Auckland, the Australian local government NSW and the Royal New Zealand Air Force which took her throughout NZ and overseas.

Brigid has been a member of PACE since 2015 and joined the Management Team as Treasurer in 2017.

Emma Holmes (Secretary)

Emma has been a member of PACE for a number of years and joined the Management Team in October 2019. Emma works as the EA to the President at NZ School Trustee Association. Previously she was EA to the CEO and Board at WellingtonNZ, the regional development agency which markets Wellington to the world; and EA to CEO of ServiceIQ, the Industry Training Organisation for the service industry. Prior to that Emma worked at Parliament for 17 years, being Rt Hon Sir John Key’s EA for 12 years including 6 years as the Prime Ministers Personal Private Secretary. As relaxation Emma enjoys reading, cinema, travelling and medieval history - currently being Chair of the New Zealand branch of the Richard III Society

Kelly Nelson (Membership Coordinator)

Kelly is currently the Executive Assistant to the Secretary General and National President at New Zealand Red Cross, starting the role in February 2022. Prior to moving to NZRC, Kelly worked with three CEOs over 9.5 years at Volunteer Service Abroad. Before finding her niche with service-oriented "for purpose" organisations, Kelly also has professional experience supporting senior leaders in both public and private sectors, including four years in a multi-national office based in Brussels, Belgium. Homelife includes keeping tabs on a husband, one son at university in another town, one son new to flatting, and a reclusive elderly cat. She enjoys the occasional gin, pinot noir, or bubbly.

Kelly joined PACE in 2020, and stepped into the Membership Coordinator role in July 2022. 

Antoinette Wilcox (General Member)

Antoinette was appointed Senior Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of Police in October 2020.  Prior to this she was the Executive Manager to the Chief Executive at the Ministry for Social Development for three years, the Executive Assistant to Dave Gibson, Chief Executive at the New Zealand Film Commission from April 2014 and for the six years before that was the CE’s EA at Te Papa Tongarewa.  Antoinette has extensive EA experience having worked in Government departments since arriving in NZ in 2000.  She previously worked in London for commercial property and advertising companies for 16 years and has worked at CE level for more than 30 years.   She is passionate about animal welfare and in her spare time volunteers at HUHA, a non-profit, no kill, animal shelter based in Otaki and the Wellington region.

Antoinette joined the PACE Management Team in 2013 and has been a member of PACE for more than 15 years. 

Ciaran Hyslop (General Member)

Ciaran joined the Management Team in October 2017, was Co-Chair from Nov 2020 to Nov 2022 and has also held the positions of Secretary and Events Coordinator.  Ciaran is also the PACE website administrator.

Rebecca Dobbs (General Member)

Rebecca is EA to the Chief Executive at Greater Wellington Regional Council, having worked for the General Managers of Corporate Services and People & Customer previously.  She joined GWRC in 2019 after spending 12 years as Business Services Manager at Hospitality New Zealand .

She has been a member of PACE since 2007, and been part of the management team for much of that time.  She has previously held the positions of Membership Coordinator, Events Coordinator and was Chair from 2014-2017.

Laraine Thomson (General Member)

Laraine joined the Management Team in December 2022 as a General member.