We provide
strategic direction

to help you make

better decisions

Effective decision-making is all about turning facts into compelling narratives. We work with data teams, evaluators, and policy teams to help you build and deliver a persuasive argument to the people that matter.

The real value of our work is realised when decisions change and people live better lives as a result of the insight generated.

Generous Insights

Literature Scan

We conduct literature scans of national and international evidence to support better decision making.


We provide robust early-stage thinking to help define the problem and support your ongoing policy work.

Bold Expertise

Briefings and Cabinet papers

We produce high-quality Cabinet papers and briefings for Ministers and Boards that simplify complex issues into tangible advice.

Operational Strategy

We can help you develop your operational strategy and provide advice on the people, processes, tools, data and governance you need to put it into practice.

Rigorous Abundance

Policy Peer Review

We offer a rigorous peer review service that supports the development  of the author and ensures the quality of your final output.

Submissions Analysis

We analyse and synthesise submissions from the public and stakeholders for policy and regulatory proposals.

Download our services booklet

We want to make
the world better, faster

We believe that learning together makes for more effective decision-making. That’s why FrankAdvice supports you and your team to improve your policy quality through a capability development programme that focuses on team and organisational capability, policy skills, and various aspects of delivering better quality advice.

Topics covered in our programme range from high-level policy team infrastructure to the nuts and bolts of the policy toolkit. We also offer bespoke courses to meet your specific needs.

Download the brochure

Interested in discussing your development needs?

Please get in touch!

Our values
guide everything we do

Frank is kind
to ourselves and others

Frank is patient
the answer will come

Frank is generous
we offer our time and share our ideas

Frank is rigorous
New Zealanders deserve the best

Meet the team helping you make better decisions

Emily Mason

Prior to founding FrankAdvice, Emily worked in senior strategic and operational roles across New Zealand’s central government (including with the Social Investment Agency (now the Social Wellbeing Agency), the Ministry of Education, and ACC). She is passionate about bridging the gap between understanding what works for whom at what cost and better decision-making.

Emily is a Teaching Fellow lecturer at Victoria University’s School of Business and Government, as well as for Wellington Uni-Professional, its executive learning company. She is also co-founder of Impact Lab, a company helping for-good organisations value the good they create everyday.

Emily has a Master of Public Policy from Victoria University, was awarded the Prime Minister's Public Policy Prize (VUW) in 2004, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Auckland University.

Catherine Proffitt
Head of Policy
BA (Hons 1st class), BCA, MA, PGDipPM

Portrait of Becky Essery

Catherine specialises in understanding complex problems and drawing together the threads to build workable advice aimed at improving outcomes for New Zealanders.  Her public sector background of thirteen years spans policy, strategic planning, performance reporting and analysis, programme management and evaluation disciplines.  She has significant experience providing strategic advice to Ministers, Chief Executives and Boards.    

Catherine has held principal advisor and management roles at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and most recently at PHARMAC, where she oversaw the foundational development of a multi-faceted strategic change programme, leading PHARMAC’s work on ensuring equitable access to medicines.  She presented at the World Conference on Health Promotion in 2019 and is published in New Zealand and international journals including the NZ Medical Journal, the Journal of Primary Health Care and Accident Analysis & Prevention.    

Catherine holds a Masters in English Literature, a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Management and a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing, all from Victoria University of Wellington.  

Sarah Habershon
Senior Consultant - Narrative Strategy

Effective storytelling connects people and ideas to drive action, change, and improvement in the real world. Sarah’s knack for idea synthesis and rapid learning makes her a highly adaptable storyteller, combining analytical, digital, interpretive and design skills to craft focused narratives out of complexity, and present evidence-based advice in accessible, engaging ways.  

Sarah has worked in the liminal space between analytics and policy teams within the Ministry of Education and Social Wellbeing Agency, using written, visual, and digital storytelling to create information products that direct the user towards a clear path for well-informed action.  

Sarah holds a BA in History and Religious Studies from Victoria University and an MSc in Investigative Journalism from the University of Gothenburg. She is a graduate of Enspiral Dev Academy and a Google News Initiative Fellow. Her data-driven stories have been published in The Economist, The Financial Times, The Guardian, and The Spinoff.

Kira Oldfield
Policy Consultant

Kira is passionate about finding creative solutions and communicating them well. With a background in science, she has a strong grounding in research, and can translate between academic and real-world decision making. When solving problems, she thinks about how the people who are affected fit into the wider system.  

Kira has held advisor roles at DIA and most recently at Statistics NZ, where she was responsible for providing advice to senior leadership and governance boards. At Statistics NZ she provided advice to the programme director of Census and developed an innovative tool for conducing privacy impact assessments which was published for wider use.  

Kira holds a Master of Policy and Governance and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Computer Science from the University of Canterbury.  

Marie Laurie
Policy Consultant

Marie specialises in using different perspectives to deal with complex policy problems that affect everyday people. She is interested in organisational values and principles and how they affect organisational outcomes.   

Marie has experience working in high-pressure environments to provide excellent policy and operational advice to senior executives and Ministers. She has held positions in the New South Wales Government; most recently in the Department of Education where she worked in Training Services NSW.   

Her experience gives her insight into the high-level operations of Ministers, ministerial staff and senior executives. She has developed, analysed and reviewed briefs, correspondence and other governmental documents, often under considerable time pressure.   

Marie’s academic background has allowed her to put the experiences of working in public service into a theoretical context, further developing her analytic and writing skills to better approach policy problems.    

Marie holds a Master of Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Victoria University of Wellington and a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of New South Wales. 

Nicole Howarth
Head of Capability


Nicole’s expertise lies in providing strategic direction to drive business growth. With a background in communications and public relations she has spent the last 14 years in senior business development roles within education, IT, media and most recently, government.  

She has extensive experience establishing market access and building strategicand/or commercial partnerships at senior level in 22 countries across Asia,Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Europe. She is skilled at new product development, having conceptualised, developed, and commercialised media, and educational products for local and international markets.

Nicole holds a Bachelor of Communication Studies, majoring in Public Relations from Auckland University of Technology. She speaks fluent Spanish. 

Barbara Mavor
Senior Consultant - Capability & Evaluation
BSc (Hons), PGCE (Dist) Oxon,
PGC (Evaluation) Melbourne

Barbara’s keen sense of inquiry means she thrives on working closely with clients to gain a thorough understanding of the context she is working in. She is personable and values developing strong partnerships with clients to deliver deep insights.  

Barbara has 13 years' experience as an Evaluator  predominantly in the education sector as an education review officer and the manager of the Evaluation and Policy team in the Education Review Office. Her strength is in taking a whole-person approach to analysis evaluation to produce insights that drive better decision making.  

Barbara has also been in senior management in three top secondary schools, seconded as manager to the teaching council and has been a science advisor, delivering workshops and tailoring support for individual and groups of teachers. She has presented at conferences both nationally and internationally.  

Barbara has an Honours Science degree from St Andrews University. Postgraduate qualifications include a Certificate in Education (Distinction) from Oxford University and  a Certificate in Evaluation from Melbourne University.  

Semira Davis
Team & Office Administrator

Semira is a creative thinker and logical organiser. As Team & Office Administrator they provide support to FrankAdvice and quietly keep things operating.  

Their passion is in helping others to learn and grow. 

Semira’s background is in customer service, administration, and creative writing – where they have developed skills to build relationships and assist others in the creation of ideas and help organise their thinking. 

They have mentored people in writing, volunteered for social and community projects, and consulted on written and community projects for a variety of people from tender applicants to museum curators. 

Semira holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts and a Diploma in Creative Writing from Manukau Institute of Technology.   

unapologetically frank

Here are some of the clients we’ve worked with.

If you’d like to work together to create better outcomes, then get in touch


166 Featherston Street
New Zealand

FrankAdvice is generous with our time and knowledge and committed to learning with others. We offer a free half hour of frank advice.

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Like the look of what we do? Although we aren't currently recruiting, let us know if you think you'd be a good fit for our team in the future.

Please get in touch!