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Global business entrepreneur


Derek Handley is a well-known entrepreneur. He formed Aera Foundation, which invests in causes and companies tackling social issues in imaginative ways. Before this, he was Chief Innovation Officer with New York-based social impact startup studio, Human Ventures, and has helped found multiple companies in digital media and technology

Previous experience
He was the Founding CEO of The B Team, where he worked with Sir Richard Branson to form a group of global business icons catalysing better ways of doing business for people and planet. There, he helped recruit its founding team of 16 iconic leaders such as Sir Richard, Arianna Huffington, Ratan Tata, and Noble Laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus.

Current work
Derek has helped found multiple companies in digital media and technology, was a founding member of the Air New Zealand Sustainability Advisory Panel (NZX:AIR), an Adjunct Professor at AUT in Auckland, a director of Sky Television (NZX: SKT), and has been named a World Class New Zealander.

In 2015 he was named a visionary leader on two "top 100" global leadership indexes and he was also listed as one of the top 10 most influential social entrepreneurs on Twitter. He is a former New Zealand EY Young Entrepreneur and has been previously named in the Silicon Alley 100 most influential technology people in New York.

Derek is an amazing innovator and thought leader. His energy can inspire the largest audience to the smallest group. His keynote address on the opening night of the 2014 Nexus Australia Youth Summit was certainly a highlight of the summit and I can unreservedly recommend him to conference organisers around the world. Nexus Australia

Derek was an exceptional speaker at our 2015 conference. His presentation style was engaging and through his range of global examples and thought-provoking anecdotes he challenged the audience to think about how we can make businesses more meaningful for society; it was well received by our conference delegates.


Derek was the stand out speaker of our 2014 Go Global Conference. His ability to connect and engage with our audience was world class. His candid assessment of what the world out there is doing and how to move towards that was so inspiring. Our audience found Derek incredibly thought provoking, as business owners themselves, they really connected with Derek’s vision and gave overwhelmingly positive feedback from his session. He is an excellent communicator and has a unique way of engaging business to world class endeavours.

Employers and Manufacturers Association

There are few presenters like Derek - a transnational, global entrepreneur who is hellbent on leadership for social impact. This is the second time we have had him speak for the Global Women Breakthrough Leaders Programme - he is refreshingly honest, open and always inspiring.

Director of Leadership Development, Global Women

We asked Derek to be the closing keynote at our Congress as we wanted to finish on an uplifting and inspirational tune. Derek delivered in spades leaving our group with a real buzz in the room. Needless to say he was rated very highly in feedback

Executive Director, PWN

We recently had the absolute pleasure of having Derek Handley as a panellist in our first Impact Investing Forum held at Deloitte in Melbourne. We wanted this Forum to provide a unique and practical set of insights into what impact investing actually is - and why it is a growing investment approach. The views, perspectives and experience Derek brought, coupled with an ability to distill the seemingly complex into a simple story - was just incredible and resonated with everyone in the room.

Director - Deloitte Private, Australia

Derek is a dynamic speaker who knows how to capture audience while remaining genuine and offering viewpoints from experience. His thoughts on innovation, marketing and impact entrepreneurship were relevant and forward-thinking.

Creative HQ

For the HR Game Changer Conference we look for business leaders who are changing the world, and how we can apply that to transforming and reinventing HR. Derek was an inspirational speaker; thought provoking, challenging and he shared excellent examples of what the audience could do to help grow social responsibility. It was a pleasure to share the stage with him.

HR Game Changer’s Conference

When we hired Derek to open our second Wellbeing Now conference he asked how we wanted our audience to feel at the end of his presentation. I’ve never been asked that by a speaker before - but what an excellent question it was. We replied “uncomfortable”, thus setting up the rest of the conference as a means to find the answers to the big questions that Derek was asking. And on the day he absolutely nailed it, absorbing our audience in a stunning presentation set against a huge video backdrop that created drama, energy, and ultimately engagement. Thanks to Derek’s opening, our event was richer, deeper and more thought provoking overall

Southern Cross Health Society
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