2019 Executive committee


PORTIA SMITH - President

Portia’s goal is to make TYP an inviting space for all young professionals in the region to come along, learn some cool new ideas, make great friends and have fun. Portia joined TYP a few years ago after returning back to New Plymouth to work as a an Associate Accountant at PwC. In November 2018 Portia started her new role as a Business Advisor at Velocite. Portia found TYP to be an inviting and thought-provoking environment where she has learnt many skills useful to life as a young worker. In addition to learning new skills Portia has met some really great local people and formed long-lasting friendships. Having benefited so greatly from TYP, Portia has decided to pay it forward by joining the committee in order to develop TYP further. Portia is looking forward to the challenge of fulfilling the President’s role in 2019.

In her spare time Portia has developed a keen eye for photography and enjoys spending time exploring and going for walks.


amanda cooper - vice president / secretary

Amanda has felt the benefit of being a TYP member for the last few years and thought the time was right to step up her commitment by joining the committee. She is looking forward to the experience and working with her fellow committee members to continue providing Taranaki with fantastic social, business and networking events for young professionals.

Amanda fills up her leisure time with sewing night class, a puke ariki book group, volunteering for DOC and going to documentaries at the Len Lye cinema. For the last few years she has been working as a Helpdesk Analyst and in 2019 she is studying towards her Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching.


heinrich swartz - business events

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Heinrich’s family moved to Taranaki in 1999 after falling in love with the region. Heinrich considers himself a local lad and moved back to New Plymouth in 2014 after graduating with a Marketing degree from Victoria University. He joined TYP as he saw it as a great opportunity to meet with other young professionals and business leaders based around the region. Heinrich is planning to add a good mix of insightful and hands on business events to the TYP calendar this year.

Heinrich currently works as the marketing creative for the premium pancake brand Marcel’s based in Bell Block. Creating fresh content for social media, designing marketing materials and organising events & trade shows are just a few things he does at Marcel’s.

Outside of work you will find Heinrich having a cold one or two with friends at Freddie’s, playing fetch at the park with his bulldog, working on a project around the house or watching basketball.


william johnston - business events

Will is a passionate Taranaki man and grew up in the region and settled back to New Plymouth after completing his communications degree from Canterbury in 2013.  He finally joins TYP after being persuaded by members of the group and admits it is a great way to meet new people and develop skills along the way. Will comes on board joining Heinrich organising the business events and brings enthusiasm and dedication to the role. 

Outside of the TYP, Will has a background in media and communications and currently works for the Taranaki Rugby Football Union as a Referee Education Officer and Communications Executive. He is actively involved in rugby as a representative referee and contracts himself out as a freelance broadcaster involved in The Most FM radio station and MCs and commentates at sporting events. He has an extensive list of contacts throughout the business and sporting community which will add value to the group. 

Adding to his degree, Will has a post graduate diploma in marketing.


Lousie hunt - social events

Louise is your go to person if you want to know what is happening in the TYP scene. Joining as a way to network and meet people in different industries, she quickly fell in love with what TYP had to offer.

The utility and enjoyment attained from the mix of Social and Business events held each month has drawn her to become a member of the team that creates the aforementioned fantastic events.

In 2019 she takes on the committee role of Social Events, hoping to continue reach the young working crowd of Taranaki to allow them to benefit from all the society has to offer.

Outside of TYP, Louise is the Sales and Marketing Manager at Lushington Jackets and a phlebotomist at MedLab Central.

She has two Jack Russels.


natalie waugh - social events

(unofficial TYP photographer)

Natalie first got involved with the TYP when she was asked to photograph the TYP events frequently. What an awesome opportunity this turned out to be as she has met so many like minded, talented and down to earth young professionals! After a couple of years photographing events, Natalie joined the committee as a Social Events manager but still photographs most events also.

Natalie is a self employed award winning photographer based in Taranaki but often travels outside the region for work as well. Her favourite thing about her work is all the amazing people she gets to meet and moments she gets to capture.

Outside of work you will most likely find her running, training for her next big event or hanging out with her fur baby and partner.


jamie foley - treasurer

Jamie joined TYP to bring people together to build a strong network with the aim to promote personal growth. Jamie was drawn to the role as treasurer through his prior experience and ability to reinforce the relationship with TYPs long term sponsor BDO.

This is Jamie's 4th year on the committee in which he has seen each new committee grow from strength to strength. In his spare time Jamie plays indoor netball and football for Eltham.


Ella hawthorne - marketing and membership

Originally from Christchurch, Ella has well and truly settled into Taranaki life. After studying Optometry in Auckland for 4 years she is enjoying the local community and 2 degrees of separation in New Plymouth. She currently works as an Optometrist at Judd Opticians.

Outside of work Ella loves getting out for adventures around the mountain, will be seen dancing for all three days of WOMAD, and enjoys wandering along the walkway. She has a passion for all things eye related (an occupational hazard), as well as for singing, photography and food.

Ella joined the TYP committee to use her experiences being the new kid in town to help young professionals new to Taranaki connect with others and settle in to the region. She found TYP invaluable in forming and solidifying friendships when she first moved here. She puts her RA experience, single marketing paper at university, and somewhat excessive social media experience to good use as she heads up the Marketing and Membership team in 2019.


laura campbell - marketing and membership

Laura is currently working as a researcher in the Heritage collections team at Puke Ariki. She recently joined the TYP Committee (Marketing and Membership) and is really enjoying getting to know so many young professionals, who have made the move to Taranaki for work or even the incredibly relaxed lifestyle.

Outside of work, during the day you will find Laura checking out local art galleries and adventuring on some of the great walks on offer here in the 2nd Best Region in the World (Lonely Planet). At night, you’ll probably find her at the theatre or socialising with friends at the best cocktail/ wine bars in town.

Originally from Wellington, Laura is a big fan of New Plymouth’s growing culinary and coffee scene. If you have any questions about becoming a member of Taranaki Young Professionals, then she is more than happy to catch up for an Ozone coffee in New Plymouth sometime!