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Founder & CEO Nanogirl Labs, Author of ’Silver Linings’


Joe Davis is a leader, innovator and author with a deep passion for bringing teams together around big challenges with real purpose.

Co-founder & CEO of Nanogirl Labs with wife and business partner Dr Michelle Dickinson, Joe’s current mission is to democratise access to world-class education, working across technology, education and entertainment to inspire, educate and empower learners.

Current work
Joe is the author of Silver Linings, a book (published by Penguin Random House) which explores the journeys of more than 100 NZ businesses and community leaders who have found ways to respond and thrive during New Zealand’s first COVID-19 ‘lockdown’. The work behind the book has led Joe, and co-author David Downs, to form a clear thesis as to what makes companies able to innovate and be resilient when a crisis strikes.

The book was inspired by Nanogirl Labs’ own lockdown experience. Faced with the loss of their business, Joe and Michelle pivoted from a live-engagement-led business to an online platform. They created a brand new digital platform in just 4 days, grew the business dramatically, and ultimately reached more than 340,000 young people with STEM learning during the lockdown period. “Everyone, everywhere deserves the chance to access a world-class education - and that’s now genuinely in our reach.”

Joe’s leadership career has spanned sectors from software development to design, performing arts to sea rescue, automotive CX design to education. The common thread - great people, deep culture, and a clear sense of ‘why'.

Speaking work
Joe is an experienced MC, workshop facilitator, panellist and energetic keynote speaker. As a speaker, Joe loves to speak on leadership and culture building, entrepreneurship, innovation, resilience, the power of diversity, and the opportunity ahead of us to shape ‘the new normal’ - a challenge, drawn from ‘Silver Linings’, for leaders to proactively shape our post-COVID world.

Outside of his professional career, Joe has more than 20 years’ experience as a sea rescue skipper in the Royal New Zealand Coastguard, and has been actively involved in political campaigning and advocacy.

Talking Points

What Will You Make of Your New Normal?

An exploration of the lessons - both business and personal - that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. From flexi-work to rapid innovation, this interactive and engaging talk challenges audiences to think deeply and proactively shape the ’new normal’.
Prepared as a 45 min keynote, also available as workshop (3hr).

Leading Resilience

What is ‘resilience’, and why does it matter? How can we develop resilience personally to live happier lives, and what can we do as leaders to build resilient, innovative organisations?

D & Me - The Power of Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity - both in terms of origin and lived experience - brings incredible power to teams. We’ve come a long way, but have a long way yet to go. This talk - from a ‘pale, definitely not stale male’ - explores the importance of taking everyone on the journey towards more diverse, more interesting, and more successful teams.
Thank you for joining us at the conference, and for the fantastic contribution you made as our dinner speaker. Your perspectives and insights hit exactly the right mark for the dinner! Institute of Directors

Energising, thought-provoking and interactive - a breath of fresh air. You really shifted the conversations for us around resilience, diversity and innovation.

New Zealand Defence Force

A wonderful session and your contribution was the highlight as reported back by the team! Really really inspirational and the poignancy of finishing on that final question was brilliant - shows that shared values and beliefs can truly make a difference.


Fantastic bespoke response to the brief and thoroughly engaging for a very diverse audience.


Joe was an engaging and super polite speaker, with awesome humorous elements that fit really well with our 'informal', casual style of event. We really liked his ability to include personal topics and experiences, as well as his eagerness to answer questions and hear from the event-goers too.

Spectrum Consulting

Joe was engaging and covered a wide range of topics, very easy to listen to.

A1 Homes

Very engaging and personable. A lot of notes were taken during his talk and his points were referenced back on throughout the rest of the days topics.


Thank you SO much for the last couple of days. You have mad skills. And needed to deploy a fair range of them of the course of the two days which you did with sublime grace judgement and focus. I’m in awe! You set that group up so well which gives us the best possible chance to have an impact.

Local Government New Zealand

Excellent! I have never seen an MC bring a rowdy audience into line so well!

Engineering New Zealand
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