Monika Conway

Founding Director + Designer
Westridge Atelier


Monika is an internationally experienced designer, focused on social innovation, meaningful design solutions for humanity.

Fresh out of design school in 1997, Monika was headhunted internationally launching her high profile career as an industrial designer at two world-leading design innovation consultancies – BMW Designworks, LA and IDEO, Palo Alto, SF. A decade in California placed her at the very forefront of the industry globally, that few women had yet to achieve.

Monika was an active facilitator of IDEO-U / Stanford design/innovation programmes. Monika received awards and patents for her work.

On return to NZ, Monika founded Chalk designstudio Ltd, on Ponsonby Rd. The demand for her expertise led to advising CEO’s directly, reframing, seamlessly connecting all aspects of a business by design, re-thinking workspace design alongside staff. Monika’s skills were sought after given her experience at the worlds most highly creative, collaborative, cross-pollinating design firms during the .com boom, Silicon Valley. She was honoured to be selected to host Helen Clark at her studio.

Monika served as an Advisory Board Member for Better By Design – the government-led initiative inspiring /enabling businesses to success by design. She developed the annual BBD conferences, linked her networks in the US and NZ to launch CEO study tours abroad. Monika invited globally recognised leaders as keynote speakers for the first NZ conference she was also invited to speak at.

Monika presents widely, participated as a judge for the NZ Best Design Awards and the Good Design Australian Awards.

Monika facilitated research studies including ‘a child’s mind: what we can all learn from childhood creativity and how to keep those innate skills alive’. Monika was invited to contribute to the future of education, as one of twenty global professional women futurists who apply foresight as leaders in global companies, think tanks and foundations.

An entrepreneur at heart, Monika’s personal experience led her to tackle NZ’s greatest shame- domestic abuse. While advocating for victims/raising awareness, Monika is building a social enterprise. Her interest in neurological plasticity is helping to re-design an advanced recovery journey from cPTSD/trauma/mental injury. Her current work tells a story of resilience, restoration and recovery.

Monika contributes to the MOJ reform of court systems and supports the Backbone Collective’s published reports on findings from victims who’s voices have been silenced, tragically failed by the very system they sought help from.