Jennah Wootten – Chief Executive

Jennah has an extensive background in major events having worked both in the public and private sector for more than a decade. As Manager of Major Events at ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) and prior to that at the Auckland City Council, Jennah managed the team responsible for the delivery of Auckland’s $97 million Rugby World Cup 2011 programme. Jennah has also led Auckland’s bid processes and subsequent contract negotiations for such events as the FIFA U17 Womens World Cup, FIBA U19 Mens World Cup, Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover, ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Series and the V8 Supercars ITM 400 Auckland. She was a member of the Bid Advisory Group for the World Masters Game 2017 and was instrumental in securing $22 million of the $35.9 million needed to deliver the event in Auckland. Jennah was appointed Chief Executive of the World Masters Games 2017 after a global recruitment search. She is also a past board member of the New Zealand Association of Event Professionals.

Sheryl Nichols – General Manager, Communications & Marketing

Sheryl Nichols

Sheryl Nichols will lead the communications and marketing portfolio, which brings with it a goal of attracting 25,000 athletes from across the globe to participate in the Games. Sheryl is a senior leader in the industry with 20+ years experience in New Zealand and abroad, across varying sectors including forestry, energy, telecommunications, digital publishing and local government. She has held roles with Carter Holt Harvey, the Carlson Marketing Group, Telecom New Zealand, British Telecom, Mighty River Power and Yellow. Most recently she held the roles of Group Manager Marketing & Communications with the Auckland City Council and Head of Product & Marketing with Localist. She joins World Masters Games 2017 following 18 months in San Francisco | Silicon Valley.

Shelley Empson – General Manager, Commercial

Shelley Empson

Shelley joins the World Masters Games 2017 team as an experienced partnerships and commercial manager. Following eight years in Japan and the UK, Shelley returned to New Zealand to specialise in major event sponsorship, and has spent the last five years working across Auckland’s event and tourism industry. Most recently Shelley held the position of Manager Commercial Partnerships at ATEED, and as part of that role provided commercial expertise to World Masters Games 2017.

Greg Warnecke – General Manager, Sports & Games Operations

Greg Warnecke

With more than 15 years experience in the sport and event industry, Greg brings to the WMG2017 team both strategic and operational experiences at an international level. Most recently, Greg held the role of Head of Sport for the highly successful Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Prior to this, past roles have included the 2009 Australian Paralympic Youth Games, 2007 FINA World Swimming Championships and Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. Between 1995 and 2002, Greg split professional roles at Melbourne University Sport and in the Australian National Basketball League with a passion for all sports, including coaching athletes with a disability and managing Australian basketball teams at four consecutive World University Summer Games.

Tim Dowson – General Manager, Ceremonies and Events

With responsibilities including delivery of the Opening Ceremony, Entertainment Hub and Closing Ceremony, Tim brings a wealth of experience to WMG2017. Tim has held a range of senior positions over a 30+ year career in the entertainment and events industry, leading large teams responsible for all aspects of strategic planning and operational delivery for myriad performance and conference events, including staging and technical production, event co-ordination, food & beverage and security. These skills were engaged during Rugby World Cup 2011 to help deliver a fantastic visitor experience on Queens Wharf during that tournament. 

Tim has also worked on large infrastructure projects within the sector including the operational commissioning of Auckland’s Aotea Centre, the build and operation of the Bruce Mason Centre, the $43M refurbishment of Auckland’s iconic venue The Civic and more recently the build and commissioning of Q Theatre (in downtown Auckland) and the development of a strategic master plan for the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Robert Campbell – General Manager, Finance and Corporate Services


Rob joined World Masters Games 2017 from KPMG where as an Audit Director he had a portfolio across a broad range of listed, foreign owned and privately owned companies. Rob joined KPMG in the UK as a graduate and his career has spanned both the UK and New Zealand. Whilst in London, Rob has completed Group finance roles in the head offices of large Global organisations. Rob is a Fellow Chartered Accountant of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Virginia Terpstra – Governance Manager

Virginia brings more than 20 years’ experience in major events and project management involving many of Auckland’s seminal events, including Cricket World Cup and FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2015, V8 Supercars and Auckland NRL Nines, Rugby World Cup 2011, as well as the Americas Cup 2003 and Volvo Ocean Race 2002. Virginia leads the Games governance portfolio, with responsibilities covering stakeholder relations and reporting, risk management, business programme planning and post-event evaluation. Virginia was also the project lead for developing the WMG2017 registration system in 2015.