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Our people

Tina Lucas

Chief Executive Officer


Tina Lucas joined Cognition in 2016 having previously completed successful tenures as CEO of Aspire-Education, Managing Director at Nord Anglia Education PLC and the founder of STEMtech Education. Tina brings a wealth of experience in rapidly growing substantial education organisations and support services in the UK and overseas and has more than 25 years’ experience of working with clients and partners in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Tina combines principled and assertive leadership with entrepreneurialism, commercial acumen and a strong moral purpose to deliver outstanding results for clients and service holders alike and has contributed significant expertise to the delivery of major education transformation programmes globally over the last two decades.


Aaron Smith

Chief Financial Officer


Aaron Smith joined Cognition’s corporate services and executive teams in 2013. A skilled leader, Aaron specialises in influence and drive decision-making, effective reporting, insight and experience in the organisation and industry. His experience in leadership, interpersonal communication and managing group stakeholder relationships have set him at the forefront for expanding Cognition’s development into new areas, externally and within the business. Aaron has a strong financial shared services background, and is highly invested in strategy and communication of brand within corporate environments.


Chris Sullivan

Commercial Director


Chris is an experienced business executive and international consultant with more than 10 years of experience working across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. He leads the business development function for Cognition and manages key strategic relationships and opportunities. Chris has portfolio responsibility for key account relationship management within Cognition. Chris has worked at a senior level with private and public sector leaders and CEOs and has travelled to more than 100 countries across the Middle East, Asia, North America, Europe and the Pacific.


His previous roles for Cognition include Vice President – Publishing and General Manager – Services. Chris is a Trustee of the New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network (NZYMN) and a former treasurer and board member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council (NZMEBC). Chris has wide networks in education in New Zealand and internationally. He has completed executive management training focused on strategy development at Harvard Business School. His interest lies in the interface between policy and practice.


James Hodgson

Vice President – Media and Publishing


James runs our Publishing and Media team. He is an experienced senior manager with over 15 years’ multi-media publishing experience. Passionately customer focused, James is committed to understanding the client, stakeholder, and audience needs and priorities to establish effective training and learning solutions. James has managed the development of countless large-scale publishing programmes and directs an expert team that includes some of New Zealand’s best education consultants, instructional designers, e-learning developers, writers, editors, and graphic designers.


Dr. Arran Hamilton

Vice President – Innovation, Research and Evaluation


Arran Hamilton joined Cognition in March 2017 and leads Visible Learning Plus and our Research and Evaluation Team. His early career included teaching and research at Warwick University and a stint in adult and community education. Arran transitioned into educational consultancy more than 15 years ago, and has held senior positions at Cambridge Assessment, Nord Anglia Education, Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT) and the British Council. Much of this work was international and has focused on supporting Ministries of Education and corporate funders to improve learner outcomes. 

Melanie Hilton

Regional Director, EMEA


Melanie is an experienced consultant, leader and business development specialist with a wealth of expertise in establishing and growing business in the UK and internationally. Mel has extensive experience working with high profile clients across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors including many government agencies, delivering major education transformation programmes and professional services. Melanie brings a wealth of experience and knowledge around the UK and ME education systems and extensive knowledge of school development. Most recently Mel has led on the education strategy for Lusail in Qatar, developing the strategic plans for more than 35 new schools across all ages and working with some of the top international education providers in the world.


Rachel Morriss-Jarvis

Marketing Director


Rachel Morriss-Jarvis joined Cognition in 2016 and leads the global Marketing function for Cognition Education Group. Prior to this Rachel held a number of senior roles within both corporate and charitable sectors, providing marketing, sponsorship, communications and public relations expertise. Formerly a Marketing and Development Director for Auckland’s largest multi-arts event, she also spent several years in a number of marketing roles within New Zealand Post Group as well as the technology and retail industries.


Sarah Petersen

Director – People and Organisational Development


Sarah is a Chartered Accountant, and began her career in public practice. She has previous management and leadership roles in finance and business functions within the telecommunications and professional services sector and has governance roles in the not-for-profit sector. She holds a Bachelor of Management Studies from Waikato University, and maintains an active interest in New Zealand’s export community and NZICA operations.


Questions? We’d love to hear from you.