Meet the Team

Chantelle Venter

Director Australia

Chantelle is the Director of Pillar Consulting Group Australia, the sister company of Pillar Consulting New Zealand. Chantelle started at Pillar in 2020, and brought with her a modern safety approach to business. 

At 22 years old Chantelle started her own business, fulfilling her lifelong goal of self-employment. Growing up in a family of successful entrepreneurs, Chantelle was instilled with empathetic values by her widowed mother, who worked as a high school teacher and passed on her passion for making a difference to Chantelle. Chantelle’s late father also inspired her to make a difference through his own example and character; and was a man who would give the shirt off his back to help a stranger. 

Chantelle was inspired to make a change in people’s lives after working for years in human resources and recruitment, where she witnessed first hand gaps in organisations’ Health & Safety systems. Chantelle has lived and worked in four different countries – South Africa, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia, which gave her global and in-depth experience. 

With her role as both a mum wishing to be around her kids more than weekends, and a professional seeking to make a difference; Chantelle joined forces with her New Zealand business partners to bring into life Pillar Consulting Group Australia.

In her personal life, Chantelle is a proud mum of two wonderful kids, with additional furbaby Monty the Labradoodle adding joy to their lives. Chantelle also loves to boast that she is married to the finest BBQ master in Australia, and that she can call herself friend to many who attend those barbecues (where she supplies the cupcakes). 

Chantelle is currently studying a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Health and Safety part time, and is the associate director of Volunteer Engagement at PMIQ (Project Management Institute). 

Amanda is the Director of Pillar Consulting which she started in 2016 after moving back to New Zealand from Australia. With experience working in the coal mining sector in Central QLD, Amanda has also worked with a large number of organisations across NZ from a range of sectors since beginning Pillar four years ago.

Currently engaging with more than 20 businesses across NZ, Amanda has experience working in tough environments such as Ports, Farms, Orchards and Construction sites. She often engages with Boards and senior staff to ensure that they understand their duties when it comes to NZ Health and Safety and Employment legislation, as well as ensuring best practice systems and processes are implemented to build a strong culture.

Amanda sits on the BOP branch committee for NZISM (New Zealand Institute for Safety Management) and is passionate about providing her clients with tools and skills to build a strong health and safety and people culture. She thrives on having robust, educational conversations with people about their business and providing training and coaching sessions to staff, empowering them with the skills to do their jobs safely.

As a business owner, Amanda is also a member of the Business Women’s Network (BWN) committee in Tauranga and is passionate about seeing small businesses in NZ thrive. She was also the first Premium Partner in New Zealand to sign up to using the NZ owned ‘Safe365 – Intelligent Health and Safety Software System’, an online tool that has been named as one of the Top 50 Enterprise Start Ups in 2018 by APAC CIO Outlook.

Amanda Barker


Tauranga – Bay Of Plenty

Mariska Carlson-Smit



Mariska started her career in her country of origin South Africa and then relocated to the UK where in London she worked for a couple of large Recruitment Agencies, both of which have global footprints as a brand. After falling in love with New Zealand on a working holiday, she decided to make NZ her home. She has worked with three major Recruitment Agencies over the last 13 years with a variety of success and challenges as a senior consultant, or senior manager. As a recruitment professional Mariska can think with an innovative lens which has paid off for her previous employers, landing significant clients and training and developing high performing teams.

In her last role as Group General Manager for one of Wellingtons major recruitment players, the day to day would cover leading a team of Consultants and Administration staff, driving sales and ensuring the right culture was in place so that operationally the company would have excellent continuity.

Mariska gained accreditation on psychometric assessment interpretation and facilitation through OPRA Consulting; this is a powerful tool to ensure clients and candidates find the right fit which improves employee retention by making the right hiring decisions. In this role, she was also the Human Resource and Health and Safety Manager across Wellington and Auckland which she has a particular passion for and boded well for her next journey with us here at Pillar Consulting.

Kat joined the Pillar Consulting team in Tauranga in 2018, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge, experience and qualifications across a range of industries.

Having worked in the Kiwifruit industry in NZ, where she was a Health and Safety Manager for a local Bay of Plenty post-harvest operator company, as well as in the education sector as a Safety & Wellbeing Business Partner, Kat enjoys the variety of working with a range of Pillar Consulting clients.

Originally from Germany, Kat worked as an Environment, Health and Safety Manager for a multinational conglomerate company in the Renewable Energy sector, which had her regularly travelling across Europe as part of the management team of major offshore construction sites, planning and implementing safety initiatives throughout their various locations.

She has a Bachelor of Engineering in Hazard Control as well as the German version of the NEBOSH Diploma (called SIFA in Germany) and has recently completed the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety in NZ. She is a Graduate member of the NZISM (New Zealand Institute of Safety Management) and a member of Engineering New Zealand and the New Zealand Society for Safety Engineering.

Kat is qualified to lead health and safety incident investigations. Her methodical, detail-oriented approach makes her particularly accomplished in this area and many of our clients highly value the conclusions that she articulates in her reports.

Kat is passionate about what she does and loves educating others on health and safety initiatives, systems and processes as well as behaviours. She is process driven as well as results oriented, loves partnering with her clients and having exposure to a range of industries.

Katharina Schmidt

Heather Mackay

Health & Safety Coordinator


Heather joined the Pillar Consulting team in August of 2019.

Having recently returned to NZ after living in Seattle with her husband and three children, she is excited at the opportunity to help NZ organisations achieve safer working environments.

Heather’s work history includes 15 years of retail, account management and sales in the pharmaceutical industry.

Heather also worked in the Aviation Industry for 4 years where health and safety standards and procedures are paramount to every aspect of operations.

Based in Wellington, her role as Client Relationship Coordinator is to ensure our clients gain ultimate value and are entirely satisfied with the services we provide.

Heather is excited at how she can help clients achieve their best across the health and safety landscape by working with the highly talented and experienced team at Pillar Consulting.

Tash joined Pillar consulting in January 2020 as a Health and Safety and Human Resources Consultant. She brings with her valuable experience from various roles across the Manufacturing, Steel Construction and Agricultural sectors.

As a Health and Safety Professional, Tash has worked within organisations from the ground up in the development, implementation and management of best practice systems. She is passionate about worker engagement and creating a positive culture around Health and Safety within an Organisation. Always committed to finding the best solution, Tash prefers to take a practical approach to health and safety, looking to implement systems that actually work within an organisation while maintaining the ultimate goal that all workers go home healthy and safe.

Tash has New Zealand Diploma in Business endorsed in Human Resources. She is experienced across multiple HR functions, including the design and implementation of HR Policies and Procedures, job design and recruitment as well as people and performance management. Specializing in communication, Tash is well practiced in working with organisations to strengthen positive team culture which she believes is an integral part of building productivity and performance.

Natasha Jurisich

Health & Safety Consultant

Tauranga – Bay Of Plenty

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