Future Thinker of the Year 2020


NZGBC Future Thinker of the Year is back for 2020!

After Kate Boylan took out the inaugural Future Thinker of the Year award in 2019, the search is on for the next champion for green building.

What is Future Thinker of the Year?

Future Thinker of the Year is awarded annually to a student or recent graduate who has demonstrated environmental knowledge and leadership. This could be through activism, research, or achievements in and out of work. It recognises success and passion for green buildings, and offers an opportunity to make a real difference across Aotearoa’s built environment.

We’re looking for someone who lives and breathes sustainability and is keen to champion the values of the NZGBC and help inspire change.

Future Thinker of the Year 2020

Entries are now open for the next Future Thinker of the Year. It’s open to apprentices and students from any tertiary organisation, as well as anybody who graduated in the last 4 years. Entrants must be over the age of 18 years.

To enter, complete the nomination form here.

You’ll need to provide:

  • answers to a series of questions
  • a short bio (half a page)
  • a recent CV
  • proof of your accomplishments
  • a recent headshot
  • details of two referees
  • any additional supporting documents, diagrams etc.

Entries are open from 12 December 2019 to 11.59pm Sunday 1 March 2020.

How is the Future Thinker of the Year chosen?

After entry is closed, the best applicants will be shortlisted and invited to enter a 3 minute video putting forward their ideas (check out last year’s videos here).

These will then be considered alongside the initial written applications by a panel of judges.

The judges will agree 4 finalists who will be invited to speak at the awards evening where the Future Thinker of the Year will be decided.

The Future Thinker of the Year 2020 awards evening will be held on Thursday 9 April at AUT.

In addition to the award, the winner will receive:

  • entry to Housing Summit 2020 in Auckland on 19 May
  • a place on the Future Thinkers leadership group
  • free entry to all NZGBC networking events in 2020
  • two NZGBC training courses of their choosing
  • an invitation to stand on the selection panel for Future Thinker of the Year 2021
  • involvement in numerous events and speaking engagements

Full terms and conditions can be found here

NZGBC Future Thinker of the Year 2019

Kate Boylan, Sustainability Engineer at Tonkin + Taylor; See lightning talk here

When Kate become NZGBC’s first Future Thinker of the Year she said she intended to use the platform to “inform, educate, and inspire – and be inspired.” Since then she’s been an amazing champion for green building and sustainability. She’s spoken at the Sustainable Development Goals summit in Auckland, attended the 2019 MAPWiST & YWS Camp in Seoul, Korea, and been involved in numerous local events including closing off our very own AGM

Kate’s passion for sustainability saw her leave behind her career as a mechanical engineer and take a leap into a career that aligned more closely with her personal values.

Now working full-time in sustainability, Kate dedicates a lot of her spare time to spreading the environmental message as widely as possible. She initiated and now chairs T+T’s green team (the Kākāriki Team) that’s purpose is to engage and encourage colleagues to be more conscious of their impact on the environment. Kate also sits on the Board of ‘The Now Crowd’ – a young professionals network for ‘intrepreneurs’ who are passionate about sustainability and driving positive change within their organisations, powered by SBN. Kate is the editor KiwiGalSaysReduce, aimed at educating family, friends and followers about how to lead a sustainable lifestyle.


Priscila Besen, PhD Architecture, University of Auckland; See lightning talk here

Delight M Sedzro, PhD Engineering, AUT University; See lightning talk here

Alice Couchman, Assistant Development Manager, Willis Bond & Co; See lightning talk here

Principal sponsors