Breadcrumbs

2011 Alumni

Ursula Becroft-Thynne

Ursula Becroft-Thynne

I'm Ursula Becroft-Thynne, a 31-year-old who is profoundly Deaf. I am one of the participants of the inaugural Be. Leadership course. I currently work part time as a teacher of the Deaf at Kelston Deaf Education Centre, and for Deaf Aotearoa as a New Zealand Sign Language Tutor.

I worked as a laboratory researcher in molecular medicine at the University of Auckland before my daughter was born. I then trained as a science teacher and this led me to Deaf education. I am passionate about New Zealand Sign Language and the sciences in Deaf education.

Shaun McKinney

Shaun McKinney

I’m Shaun McKinney, I am 24 and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Business in Marketing Communication and Management. I have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and am gay so I have been involved with various organisations and people within the disabled and GLBT communities. I am interested in the role that marketing and communication have in shaping the attitudes and behaviours of society towards people with disabilities as well as other minorities.

I am also keen to explore the economic opportunities and barriers for disabled people as well as New Zealand as a whole. I feel privileged and honoured to join the other participants in the inaugural Be. Leadership programme.

Keke Brown

Keke Brown

Hi I'm Keke Brown, a 22 year old of Samoan and European descent. I was a founding member of Touch Compass Dance Trust and travelled around New Zealand with the company when I was younger. This opened my eyes to many new experiences.

I graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Pacific Studies with my specific interest in Pacific literature. I would like to continue post-graduate study in this area. I am also very interested in the ‘niu’ voices of the Pacific that are emerging, from the diasporic NZ-born Pacific Island community. Presently I am working in the Ministry of Social Development.

Suzanne Cowan

Suzanne Cowan

I'm Suzanne Cowan and for the last ten years I've worked as a dancer, dance teacher and choreographer. In the last five years I've developed an academic interest in the role of art as a vehicle for raising consciousness around disability and the way we view it. I've been involved with Touch Compass Dance Company, a mixed-ability dance company based in Auckland, since 1999 and have also worked internationally as a performer for Candoco Dance Company based in London.

In 2008 I received the Supreme Award and the Arts Award for the inaugural NZ Attitude Awards for outstanding achievements for people with disabilities. In 2009 I completed a Masters in Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Auckland and in 2010 I was the Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance at the University of Otago.

Matt Frost

Matt Frost

I’m Matt Frost, a 30-year-old Research and Policy Analyst with Autism New Zealand in Wellington. I am a member of the Disabled Person’s Assembly National Executive Committee, I chaired the New Zealand Autism Spectrum Disorder Guideline Implementation Advisory Group for two years, and I am presently a member of the National Reference Group implementing a new model of disability support services for New Zealand.

I am committed to not just transforming how we see disability and impairment, but also by doing so improving society and the wider world more generally. In my spare time I enjoy following all sports (especially cricket) and am Secretary of the Karori Cricket Club. I am a member of the Be. Leadership programme and I am proud to say that I am autistic and disabled.

Sarah Houbolt

Sarah Houbolt

I’m Sarah Houbolt – a bold and vivacious circus performer. My dedication to creativity, physicality and social change comes from being a Paralympics swimmer (Sydney 2000), my Bachelor of Social Work / Bachelor of Arts (Politics and Sociology) degree, and my previous work experience at Queenslanders with Disability Network, Child Poverty Action Group, and in the Auckland Council community arts team.

I’ve trained in aerials, acrobatics, and hula-hoops at Vulcana Women’s Circus. In the last couple of years, I’ve performed with the Dust Palace, in Cirque Du Soleil's upcoming 3D movie, and in the upcoming Romeo & Juliet: A Love Song film. I believe that fortune favours the bold, and hope to continue creating work that is magical, challenges perceptions and offers alternative perspectives.

Erin Gough

Erin Gough

I'm Erin Gough, a 19-year-old university student studying Law and a BA in Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. As well as being a participant in the Be. Leadership programme, I am a member of the 2010-2013 Oxfam International Youth Partnerships (OIYP) programme, which aims to bring 300 young people, aged 18-25, from all over the world together to create positive, equitable, and sustainable change.

I would really like to see as much of the world as possible and believe that travelling is an excellent way to experience new things in new places while meeting new people along the way. I am proud to be a member of the inaugural Be. Leadership programme and can't wait to see where it leads me.

Liam Sanders

Liam Sanders

I'm Liam Sanders - a 24-year-old business owner. I am the director & lead developer for Grind Media Limited. I have represented New Zealand at two Paralympics and numerous other World Championships & World Cups - for the sport of Boccia.In my six years of competing I have won a Paralympics Silver Medal (2004) and a World Championship title (2006). My time is now spent building the reputation of my business and of course being part of the Be. Leadership Programme.

Katherine Rees

Katherine Rees

I’m Katherine Rees. I am 19 years old and studying towards a BA in Education and Political Studies at the University of Auckland. I have wide ranging experience as a child rights advocate having previously worked as part of the Young People’s Reference Group to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and currently serving as a committee member to Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa. I have also published work on inclusive education. In my spare time I enjoy baking and creative writing.

Rena Savage

Rena Savage

Mataatua te waka

Te Rae o Kohi te maunga

Ohinemataroa te awa

Ngati Awa me Te Whanau a Apanui hoki oku iwi ki te taha o toku Papa

Ki te taha o toku Mama, ko Ngai Tuhoe whanui

Mauriora, I’m Rena-Hinehou Savage. I was born, raised and currently reside in the Bay of Plenty. My main passions in life are my whanau/family, learning - this includes striving, even in the face of adversity and Te Ao Maori/The Maori World.

Loren-Glenn

Loren Glenn

My name is Loren Glenn. I am 40 years old and have an Intellectual Disability. I work one day a week at Colmar Brunton, and have been married to Robert Glenn for almost ten years. We have a cat called tiger, and he is all sorts of colours!

I really enjoy TV work and DVD filming. I also enjoy art classes, including our art exhibitions where I can show off my work. I swim, and play soccer for Special Olympics. I am proud to be on the Be. Leadership programme - I like to keep learning new things and knowledge.

Victoria Manning

Victoria Manning

I'm Victoria Manning and have struggled with stubbornness for most of my life. From childhood stories of doggedly expressing my thoughts to a bus driver, to completing a university degree in times of profound inaccessibility.

Having been involved in various Deaf and disability advocacy/lobby groups for almost two decades, I’m humbled to be considered a member of both communities. My day job is Advisor on disability issues at the Human Rights Commission. In and outside of work I'm dedicated to reducing world suffering of inaccessibility to the potential of disabled people.

Anna Nelson

Anna Nelson

I am Anna Nelson and I’m proud to have 31 years experience of unique physical function. As a result of birth injuries I have cerebral palsy. I am Student/Scholarship Advisor at AUT University, and Co-ordinator of the Diversityworks Peer Support Network for Diversityworks Trust. Both roles incorporate supporting individuals with disabilities to succeed in their studies and in the lives.

I’ve worked in similar roles for the past five years, previously at WINTEC in Hamilton, and as Community Worker at Auckland Disability Law. It would be great to think that, in the future, society will change and the ignorance surrounding the way people with impairments are treated will disappear and there will be a lot more respect for everyone in society. And I hope to be part of this change.

Peter Taylor

Peter Taylor

I am a speaker, author and mentor. My skills are an amalgam of Hospitality from 1972 and International Equestrian for 24 years, competing and coaching in international circuits as well co-leading the Canadian Olympic Three Day Event Team from 1991 to 1994. This included training and managing the Gold Medal Winner at the 1991 Pan American Games, Stables and Assistant Team Manager at Barcelona Olympics and Assistant Coach and Team Manager at the World Equestrian Championships in 1994.

While in Barcelona, I contracted a terminal illness, from a sand fly bite. Continued chemotherapy over the past 14 years has produced side effects causing severe vision impairment and profound deafness. I am fortunate to have bi-lateral Cochlear Implants and I remain the only living person with both HIV and Leishmania as no one usually lives past 3 – 20 months.

I am currently writing the sequel to my autobiography ‘Don’t Postpone Joy’, have finished my first novel which placed on the best foreign entries list in the Canadian Aid Literary Awards and work as a professional speaker on leadership and as an inspirational keynote – managing uncertainties with purpose, passion and joy.

Harriet Kay

Harriet Kay

Before I became sick and disabled, I was at University. The goal? To try and make the world a better place; for humans, animals, and the environment. When I finally left hospital I left as a disabled woman with "vision impairment/blindness" and "requires a frame and wheelchair" on my notes.

I hope it will leave people thinking that should something transpire, and they, or a loved one became disabled, that it isn't the end of the world; and that great things can and should still be expected from them. As well as doing Be. Leadership, I'm also writing a play based on my experiences in hospital and on becoming disabled.

Ezekiel Robson

Ezekiel Robson

I'm Ezekiel Robson, a 31-year-old New Zealand European. I live in Manukau and have a vision impairment. I am the Auckland Programme Manager for the Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower Trust. In this role I organise and teach workshops to reduce bullying, violence and abuse, aiming to empower people of all ages and abilities to stay safe, act wisely and believe in themselves.

I have a background in youth work, adult teaching, and disability advocacy (e.g. through local council and DHB advisory boards). I apply my leadership abilities through involvement in the Disabled Person's Assembly, Association of Blind Citizens of NZ, CCS Disability Action and People First. I've proudly represented New Zealand on the Ship for World Youth, an international leadership development and cultural exchange programme hosted by the government of Japan.

I am thrilled to participate in Be Leadership, to further develop my personal and professional awareness and skills.

David Hughes

David Hughes

Hello, my name is David Hughes. I am currently the Northern Regional Chairperson for People First, and am also on the board of a small community group called Citizen Advocacy. I think the most pressing issue is changing society’s attitudes towards people with disabilities is to make sure that all voices (regardless of level of ability or disability) are heard and treated with respect.

It’s great to be part of the first Be. Leadership programme – I enjoy the knowledge and passion the speakers bring as well as the fun I have with the rest of the group.

In my spare time I like to walk and enjoy watching cricket and tennis.

Alisha McLennan

Alisha McLennan

I’m Alisha McLennan, a 23-year-old dancer for Touch Compass Dance Trust. I have performed with both the youth and professional company since 1999. When I’m not dancing I’m being mentored in all aspects of the company from administration and governance to being a support dance tutor for school and community classes. I have also been seconded to the Touch Compass Board.

I am a participant of the Be. Leadership programme as well as the DANZ Emerging Artists Programme and I hope to broaden the accessibility of dance for people with disabilities. I am also passionate about adaptive snow sports and was awarded the Viv Martin Trophy for best female skier in 2008 and 2009.