Lesley Kennedy

Lesley is the Managing Director and co-founder of OnlyFromNZ, a New Zealand-based company specialising in leading and delivering complex international programmes of work in the Middle East.

She has operated at Managing Director and Chief Executive levels for the past 20 years. An accomplished programme manager, she has managed multinational teams to deliver complex projects across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Prior to focusing on the Middle East, Lesley managed the delivery of global technology projects for IBM spanning 21 countries and involving delivery teams located in the US, UK, Singapore, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

For the past 10 years she has led a NZ government-supported programme for the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (UAE). This is a multi-party multi-year contract in partnership with leading New Zealand public sector agencies encompassing 29 projects across a range of sectors including fisheries, groundwater management, eco-tourism, and conservation.

Lesley understands the nuances of operating in an Arabic context having lived and worked in the UAE for a number of years and is adept at stakeholder engagement (across multiple countries), business leadership, strategy, governance, and management. She is acknowledged in New Zealand as one of the country’s most successful businesswomen in the Middle East, cementing her company’s reputation for uncompromising excellence in delivery, client service, and results.

Lesley creates opportunities, solves problems, thinks big, collaborates and always takes a positive “how can we make that happen” approach. She is a firm believer in working with interesting, talented and smart people and enabling them to do what they do best.