Scott Duncan 

Managing Director

As Co-Founder and Managing Director of Aspire Executive Search, Scott Duncan possesses a wealth of consulting experience, having worked across a range of recruitment environments and market verticals.

Prior to establishing Aspire Executive Search, Scott worked for the world’s largest executive search firm, with national portfolio responsibilities that included the industrial, financial services, and technology and telecommunications sectors. During this time, Scott also spent time exclusively contracted to assist New Zealand’s largest organisation with their critical hire needs. A specialist in the appointment of senior executives, Scott holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Auckland.

“At the executive level, the impact individuals can have, either in a positive or negative fashion, can’t be understated. To be trusted by organisations and individuals with these most critical appointments is a responsibility that I take very seriously. It’s a privilege to partner with our clients, and to feel part of their team on these key engagements.”

Emma Mackie  


Emma has a diverse background in business, education, journalism and communications, both in the UK and New Zealand. After gaining a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Manchester, Emma spent several years as a behaviour improvement specialist in UK schools. Bringing her training and experience to New Zealand in 2006, she initially worked as an international education advisor with the Ministry of Education, before taking on postgraduate training in journalism and working as an online reporter with 3 News. She also spent time working with the world’s largest executive search firm. Emma latterly spent four years as a corporate communications expert in one of New Zealand’s leading banks, most recently as communications manager for the chief executive.

“I’ve always been curious about what motivates a person to feel fulfilled both personally and professionally. I think the most important part of helping people realise these ambitions is to listen to them closely and help them recognise and articulate what’s truly important to them. I’ve worked with some incredibly high performers and inspired leaders across industries, so I’m always excited by the potential of the next great leader to ignite passion and drive a group of people to achieve their potential.”

Vanessa Thomson  

Operations Manager

Vanessa has an extensive background in administrative management and sales and marketing, along with experience in the recruitment industry. After graduating from the University of Auckland in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree she worked in human resources for a nationwide travel company before joining an executive search and pre-employment screening agency. Her career in the recruitment industry was further developed while working in the UK as a recruitment consultant providing crew for international cruise ships and super yachts. Upon returning to New Zealand, Vanessa worked with a well-respected education provider where she built upon her sales and marketing and management experience.

“My role is about ensuring we continue to build robust client and candidate relationships. I enjoy seeing a candidate succeed through the recruitment process from interview to placement, and achieving their goal of a ‘dream’ role. The operations team is focused on ensuring the business runs smoothly. Our contribution is imperative to the success of our business and aligned with the values of Aspire.”

Tara Dennehy 


Tara brings a warm and professional welcome to Aspire. Coming from New Plymouth, she moved to Auckland after graduating, and secured her first role in recruitment. Tara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communications from the University of Otago where she specialised in communication studies and tourism.

“I love being the first point of contact when a candidate or client comes to visit Aspire. I take pride in offering them a unique and tailored experience so that they feel welcome and comfortable during this important process.”