Auckland SME&E 8 & 9 November 2022 - Early Bird Tickets Starting From $159. Get yours here.

Craig Hudson


9:35am Wednesday
Sir Woolf Fisher Arena

Managing Director XERO Aotearoa & Pacific Islands

Craig Hudson is Managing Director for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands at Xero. A champion for wellbeing in business and a key member of the senior executive team responsible for driving relationships with government, financial institutions, enterprise and promoting the small business economy.

Growing up in Tauranga on a Kiwifruit orchard with his Mum and two sisters, Craig found school challenging but held onto a dream of becoming an All Black. He went on to have a very successful career in professional rugby for eight years, being selected for the Crusaders during one of their most successful periods and going on to play internationally in France, England and Wales. During this time Craig struggled with the effects of imposter syndrome living in an extremely high pressure environment. Craig’s contract was terminated due to illness and upon returning to New Zealand, Craig continued to struggle with his mental health.

Upon receiving a role at a supportive family owned business in New Zealand, Craig was able to thrive and ultimately receive the help he needed to improve his wellbeing.

Alongside his wife and four children, Craig moved to the United Kingdom where he began his career at Xero, working through the company leading Xero's entrance into Europe, the Middle East and South Africa. Returning to New Zealand in 2017, Craig’s work as Managing Director for Xero New Zealand and Pacific Islands has created a huge impact on mental health in businesses around Aotearoa with a focus on wellbeing support for small business.

Mental Health and Wellbeing
Craig has been recognised for his work around mental health in business and has been awarded the Walk the Talk Award at Diversity Works, was a semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year and was voted The Most Inspiring Individual in Tech at the Hi-Tech Awards.

His work at Xero which has emphasised the importance of looking after employees’ mental health includes championing the introduction of wellbeing leave, flexible working practices, and the development of an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Craig has been hugely influential in putting the spotlight on the stresses small businesses face, including setting up a programme offering mental health support to 5000 small business owners, their employees and families via access to anonymous counselling through its Employment Assistant Programme.

Alongside being a role model and leader in wellness, Craig actively encourages a diverse workplace where team members are free to share their ideas and concerns. Most importantly to him though, he is a husband and Dad to four.

As a speaker, Craig shares his mental health journey, his work at Xero and the importance of giving your people purpose, vision, leadership and trust to support wellbeing in your organisation.

Why wellbeing makes cents
In his keynote, Craig will explore the future of leadership and wellbeing in Aotearoa, discussing the role empathy plays in connecting people, as well as the importance of viewing wellbeing holistically - drawing on influences from Te Ao Māori. He will also discuss the undeniable link between wellbeing and business success.

Craig Hudson on video:


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