Rachael Frances McDonald

Leader , Professional Services

Rachael returned to Aotearoa in 2021 after 18 years overseas, having begun her career as a lawyer with Chapman Tripp, Auckland. She is a former managing partner of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) office of international law and professional services firm, Mourant Ozannes (she was responsible for opening that office in 2011). She was Head of the BVI Corporate and Finance Practices, operating with a large team of colleagues across six international offices.

She sat on the firm’s Risk Committee and the global management board. Rachael was one of the two founding global Diversity & Inclusion partners responsible for starting the firm’s journey towards best inclusionary practices in the firm. She has worked on multi-billion dollar deals for clients, moved entire business operations across several countries (and then back) after two Cat 5 Hurricanes, managed Case Zero in the Virgin Islands who was a member of the office team, and mentored a number of young lawyers and business services staff through their careers. She designed and built an automated online portal (with multi disciplinary teams) for a client processing advice for over 15,000 entities, spurring legal product digital innovation in her firm. Rachael loves working with technology to increase efficiency and service and would like to continue with that focus.

Rachael was elected in 2017 by the financial services industry as a founding board member to BVI Finance Limited, a public / private partnership between the BVI Government and the private sector in the finance industry. The board was responsible for the marketing, lobbying and defence of the financial services industry and the board worked closely with both government and the industry to ensure messaging and response to crisis events, such as the Panama Papers, was handled effectively and appropriately. The board also appointed its first CEO and formulated the strategy for the new partnership. She was Chair of several subcommittees.

She was recognised as a leader in the international finance centre community for a number of years on the IFC Powerwomen lists of 2017-2021.

Rachael is passionate about equal opportunity for all, especially starting early by ensuring children are given the tools with which to understand and then navigate the complexity of today’s world. She is a keen advocate for women supporting women at all stages in their careers and also finding male champions to normalise the support and advancement of women throughout orgaisations.

Rachael is also a Chartered Member of the NZ Institute of Directors.