The Netsafe Team

Netsafe’s depth of experience is unique in New Zealand and respected internationally. The team come from the education, government and business sectors and have backgrounds in project management, design, software development, network administration and security, IT sales, marketing, communications, education, policy, mediation and conflict resolution.

Netsafe’s Senior Leadership Team

Brent Carey, Chief Executive Officer

Brent has broad and extensive experience in regulatory, privacy, safety and justice environments along with a good understanding of both local and global online safety ecosystems. He was New Zealand’s second Domain Name Commissioner (2017 -2022) overseeing the .nz domain name space. He has worked for two Privacy Commissioners and an Australian Senator.

He has previously lived and worked in Australia holding senior positions at various integrity bodies, for example, the Australian Telecommunications Ombudsman, the Independent Broad Based Anti-Corruption Commission, the Victorian Institute of Teaching and the Victorian Privacy Commissioner’s Office.

Brent serves on the Governance Committee of the Aotearoa New Zealand Code of Practice for Online Safety Harms adopted by Meta (Facebook and Instagram) Google (You Tube), TikTok, Twitch and Twitter. He is involved with several international bodies, including the International Council for Online Dispute Resolution and the Global Internet Forum to Counter-Terrorism. He is an Associate member of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand and Member of Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa iwi, the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa (New Zealand). He is Co-Founder of Taranaki Agribusiness Green Meadows Beef.

He graduated from Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand with Law and Arts Degrees and has a Graduate Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution ( Industry) from Boxhill Institute of TAFE  Melbourne, Australia.

Some of his recent collaborations include the development of Global Principles on Digital Safety: Translating International Human Rights for the Digital Context for the World Economic Forum, Project Dragon with the University of Swansea to develop Online Grooming Spotting Tools and Advisor to the University of Otago Department of Marketing on its Datification of Children Project ( 2023-2026). He is an industry representative of the Human-Centred Phishing Susceptibility Research programme, comprising of researchers and partners from The University of Auckland, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Tainui Group Holdings, NIWA and ESR, Datacom. The research program is examining aspects of social engineering, psychology and cyber security to focus on the people side of phishing attacks.

Catherine Abel-Pattinson, Chief Operating Officer

Catherine brings a wealth of experience to her role as Chief Operations Officer at Netsafe New Zealand, having worked extensively across various industries in both senior leadership and governance capacities within the public and private sectors. Her career is marked by a deep commitment to technological and business transformation, with a focus on achieving operational excellence.

In her current role, Catherine is instrumental in steering strategic operational initiatives, leveraging her expertise in information and communications technology.

Andrea Leask, Chief Digital Harms Officer

Andrea joined Netsafe with responsibility for ensuring Netsafe’s products and services are consistently delivered to the highest standards, and in line with regulatory, legal and contractual obligations. Her previous experience in a variety of industries, including banking, utilities, health and aged care, is proving invaluable as Netsafe continues to find new and innovative ways to keep people in Aotearoa New Zealand safe online.

Sean Lyons, Chief Online Safety Officer

Sean is Netsafe’s official storyteller/media spokesperson and leads our innovation arm “Netsafe Lab”. At the end of 2022 Sean was announced to take up the position of Vice President of the INHOPE global helplines to combat child sexual explicit imagery distribution – a position he will hold for two years.  Sean comes from a background in the IT industry and the education sector having spent part of his career as a classroom teacher and school leader. He is incredibly knowledgeable about online challenges and is responsible for Netsafe’s programme to combat child sexual exploitation material.

Leanne Ross, Chief Customer OfficerLeanne-Ross-Netsafe-CCO

Leanne leads Netsafe’s harm prevention and reporting referral campaign work by the Marketing team, Netsafe’s education outreach in schools and communities, and our partnerships and sponsor relations in the business development function.

Leanne previously served as Executive Director of the New Zealand Game Developers Association, after leading the external relations teams at Otago Polytechnic and teaching digital marketing at the University of Otago. Leanne is based in Dunedin.

Michael des Tombe, Chief Legal Advisor

Michael joined Netsafe after recently returning from the United Kingdom where, for the past 18 years, he worked in a number of legal roles in the public sector. He was most recently Deputy Director at Cabinet Office Europe Legal Group and was a core member of the UK team successfully negotiating the UK’s post-Brexit trade and security relationship with the EU. Michael is based in Wellington.

Netsafe’s Board

Colin James, Chair

Colin has been on the Netsafe board since 2014 and was appointed Chair in 2021. He is the Chief Information Security Officer for Fletcher Building, working across the broad group of businesses that make up the overall Fletcher group. He also has a strong background working in the telco space having spent more than 15 years in the industry, including working closely with law enforcement and national security services on identifying and blocking malicious activity online. Colin continues to be an advocate for providing safe and trusted internet access, allowing for curious young minds to explore and learn without the risk of online harm.

Anita Killeen, Deputy Chair

Anita joined Netsafe’s board in 2020 and is Deputy Chair. She is a Barrister at Quay Chambers with 24 years’ legal post qualification experience and 13 years’ governance experience. She has specialist expertise in financial crime and fraud, commercial and criminal litigation, compliance and regulation, and governance and decision-making. She is an experienced governance professional and qualified lawyer who offers directorship, ministerial review and tribunal experience, together with strong legal, advocacy, financial and analytical skills capability. She is also skilled in dispute resolution and commercial mediation.

Anita is the former Chief Prosecutor and former Chief Legal Advisor of the Serious Fraud Office and hold governance roles in the legal, financial, local government, health and not for profit sectors including serving as Chair of the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board, Deputy Chair of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki’s Commercial Investment Board (East Auckland Iwi), Deputy Chair of Netsafe New Zealand, Independent Director of Domain Name Commission Ltd, and Director of UNICEF New Zealand. She is a member of the Icehouse and Arc Angels, which are angel investment organisations focused on building investor knowledge and dedicated to investing in early stage businesses across New Zealand. She is also a member of Global Women Leaders and the Institute of Directors.

Claire Amos

Claire is Principal at Albany Senior High School in Auckland, New Zealand. She was also one of the three foundation Deputy Principals at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. Claire has worked for a variety of schools and educational organisations in her twenty-plus year teaching career. This has included working at a number of new and established secondary schools as well as working on various national projects with the NZ Ministry of Education, the Network for Learning and, and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. Claire was a member of the Teachers Council and was a founding member of the Education Council of Aotearoa. Claire is also a member of Global Women NZ and co-founder of DisruptEDNZ. She joined Netsafe’s board in 2013.

Dr Natalia D’Souza

Natalia is a consultant at Habilis New Zealand Ltd., engaged in social investment and strategic consulting. Her background as an academic means she has nearly a decade of research expertise in the area of online safety and cyber abuse, with a specific focus on gendered outcomes. She also represents the Netsafe Board as a founding member of the Women’s Online Safety Partnership: a multi-sector working group with the purpose of addressing technology facilitated gendered violence. Her previous research has involved industry sponsors and collaborators including Netsafe and TechWomen and her work has received significant media interest. Natalia joined Netsafe’s board in 2020.

Steve Honiss

Steve is the Director of Cyber Strategy & Risk at ZX Security, and a member of the government Cybersecurity Advisory Committee. He is Chair of the Trailblazers Charitable Trust which provides running and physical fitness programmes to rangatahi from marginalised groups. His background is in law enforcement and cyber security, and he has a keen interest in international cooperation to boost cyber security. He was a Netsafe board member in 2014 before resigning when he moved overseas for work. He re-joined the board in 2021. Steve is a Member of the Institute of Directors, and a Member of IT Professionals NZ.

The governance of the Netsafe Society is vested in six board members elected by our members. You can apply to become a Netsafe member, by completing this form. The Board considers all applications at its monthly meeting.

Dr Warren Williams

MBA, PhD (Waikato)

Warren is the Chief Executive for the 20/20 Trust where the core service provision is digital inclusion programmes across Aotearoa New Zealand. He is passionate about enabling and empowering people through education and technology.

He has executive and senior management experience in IT, business and tertiary education spanning more than 25 years.

Warren currently holds governance or director roles for Te Ao Matihiko Kāwanatanga, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand, Trust Tairawhiti, Te Huarahi Tika Trust, Te Mana Raraunga – Māori Data Sovereignty, Tōnui Collab Charitable Trust, Community Networks Aotearoa, Library and Information Advisory Commission, and Digital Taniwha Ltd. Previously he’s held governance roles in the technology, community and disabilities sectors. Also, he is a member of the Institute of Directors and IT Professionals NZ.

His research background consists of increasing Māori participation within the IT industry, as well as Māori leadership and governance with Rangatahi (Youth) and Wāhine Māori.

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