Lesley Kennedy


Lesley is a co-owner of OnlyFromNZ and the former Chief Executive of Maven International Ltd. She is widely regarded for her expertise on doing business in the Middle East, having led Maven’s expansion into the region for 10 years. She was integral to the development of a commercialisation model and successful approach to exporting NZ government intellectual property.

Lesley leads a multi-year, multi-million dollar programme of work for Environment Agency Abu-Dhabi. To date, this programme has encompassed 26 projects across a range of sectors including fisheries, groundwater management, eco-tourism and conservation. She works at all levels of the programme – from Ministers in NZ and UAE to scientific teams in the field – and has a detailed and in-depth understanding of the challenges and key success factors of complex multi-cultural programmes.

Along with Paul, Lesley developed the concept for working with NZ producers to export their product to the Middle East. This concept was founded on the premise that NZ products are high quality and more value needs to return to the producers, while still maintaining a competitive market position. Successful prototyping of this model resulted in OnlyFromNZ being established.

Lesley brings a broad range of skills and experience to the table. With a background in Information Technology and Management Consulting, she has also established and run a retail business and a restaurant, and is comfortable working with Ministers and Chief Executives, to working in the field, or manning Expo stands. She has strong sales and business development capability and a pragmatic “can-do” attitude to life.