Comment: Great speakers to headline RTF Conference

By: Nick Leggett, Road Transport CEO

GirlBoss NZ founder Alexia Hilbertidou, transport minister Michael Wood, National party leader Judith Collins, and Supercars legend Greg Murphy will be at this year's RTF Conference

The NZ Road Transport Industry Awards gala dinner is a great night out

After COVID-19 forced the cancellation of last year’s Road Transport Forum Conference, I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone at The Road Ahead – 2021 Transporting New Zealand Conference in Invercargill on 25 and 26 September.

I am also excited at the diverse line-up of speakers we have presenting at the Conference and know that they will entertain, challenge, and inform delegates around the significant issues facing our industry and the country as the world begins to look beyond COVID-19.

Speaker, activist, and entrepreneur Alexia Hilbertidou will speak about her mission to get young women around the boardroom table and into roles they’ve previously been absent from, such as truck driving.

Getting women into non-traditional roles is a passion for GirlBoss Founder Alexia Hilbertidou

Alexia is the founder of GirlBoss New Zealand. Her passion for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths) led her to create GirlBoss NZ when she was just 16. It is now a 13,500-strong network for ambitious, young New Zealand women.

Now 22, Alexia is a Deloitte Global Scholar, National Geographic Explorer, a Facebook Leadership Fellow, and is currently studying for her Masters in Emerging and Disruptive technology. She believes the decisions made while young are crucial in paving the way for women to get into leadership.

Transport minister Michael Wood and National party leader Judith Collins will provide both the Government and Opposition’s view on the state of New Zealand’s transport network, our economy, and the Government’s decisions in the wake of COVID-19.

This should provide delegates with the opportunity to contrast and compare the visions of our two major parties a year into Labour’s second term in office. Other speakers include Supercars legend Greg Murphy on the importance of driver training, economist Cameron Bagrie with his economic forecast, and Paul Mackay from BusinessNZ, who will provide an analysis of the Government’s proposed industrial relations reforms.

It’s also exciting to welcome the return of the New Zealand Road Transport Industry Awards at this year’s Conference. The awards were set up a number of years ago to recognise best practice and achievement in the industry.

They are a way of honouring individuals, organisations, and companies that have gone above and beyond industry requirements in raising skills, safety practices, knowledge, training, industry awareness, innovation, and expertise.

The categories are: VTNZ Supreme Contribution to NZ Road Transport, EROAD Outstanding Contribution to Health and Safety, Teletrac Navman Outstanding Contribution by a Woman in the Road Transport Industry, EROAD Young Driver of the Year (under 35), and Castrol Truck Driver Hero

Entry guidelines and the nomination form are available for download from the events section of the RTF website ( In your nomination, please include some background on the business, including how long it has been operating, and say why the nominee and/or business should be the winner.

Nominations are also open for the Castrol Truck Driver Hero Award, so if you know someone who has through their actions helped others while out on the road, go to the RTF or Truck and Driver magazine websites to nominate.

Make your conference booking by 31 July 2021 for an early bird registration discount of $675 for both days. Special rates are also available for accommodation at the Ascot Park Hotel and other accommodation providers in the city. 

You can register and get more information about the conference on the dedicated website

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