2013 Alumni

Alison Fitzpatrick

Alison Fitzpatrick My life is very full - if I am not at a Tai Chi class, I am usually at music practice or walking my dog.

My partner and I are SPCA foster parents, and I volunteer with Outreach Therapy Pets. My dog and I visit a hospital unit every week to reduce the isolation experienced by residents.

I work for Auckland Council libraries, at a small community library which is extremely customer focussed. I love being a librarian: working with people and helping them find information is such a joy. Every day at work, my aim is to role model kindness, tolerance and generosity.

Annie Inwood

Annie Inwood

I am a vibrant and outgoing woman who is keenly interested in what is happening in the world. Travel is a great passion for me and I am curious about everything.

In my work, I am involved with business communities working to grow the economic value of Auckland and to ensure business areas are successful and sustainable. My role is mainly an advisory one. Outside work, I draw on my own experience to mentor people living with mental health issues, or who have someone in their life experiencing such issues.

I also do yoga, swim, sing in a choir, body board, spend time at the beach and outdoors, write and create things.

Claire McGrath

Claire McGrathI believe we all need help in some way, and that grace is needed for everyone when they are in relationship to others.

I want to be there for others. I am someone who wants to see the best in people but won't be shocked or give up on them when they portray their worst. In a nutshell, I hope to offer encouragement, support and love.

I want to be a resource for those struggling or whom society has forgotten.

I would like to work in the rehabilitation field and in mental health. I would love to have my own gallery, filled with my paintings. And be the best mother I can be.

Gareth Tucker

Gareth TuckerI believe New Zealand's leaders need to embrace the differences in us all.

I work with adults with intellectual disabilities and support them to take control of their own lives and to make their own decisions. I am passionate about the disability field and believe I can educate people and dispel the ignorance that some members of society hold.

A person who has going through a traumatic injury or has dealt with illness or disability has experienced things that break them. They know the depth of humility that comes with relying on others and this, in turn, can bring out strong respect in other people.

Greg O'Donnell

Greg O'Donnell

I am just a regular Kiwi bloke. I enjoy watching and coaching sport, going to movies and live theatre, out to dinner, and socialising with friends and family.

I am self-motivated and maintain high personal standards, taking pride in my work.

The Be. Leadership Programme is showing me the different aspects and styles of leadership and how they can be applied to different situations.

I aspire to being a prominent figure in my community and country.

Helen Capel

Helen CapelI am a woman, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. I am very passionate about social justice issues and willing to stand up and be counted. My life has been challenging at times and I aim to use these experiences in a positive way.

I believe we need to get away from thinking of disability as "special" and address it as a community issue. Fully resourcing communities would go a long way towards decent and safe access everywhere, and would deal with a lot of other social issues currently impacting on the quality of life of people with disabilities.

I have a wide knowledge of welfare and related issues. I use Facebook to let people know what's happening in the political arena. In 2002, I was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit, something I had not aspired to, nor expected!


Jacob Mills

Jacob MillsMy proudest moment was graduating from the University of Waikato in 2012 after three years of study. Completing a degree in sport and leisure studies has given me confidence.

Another highlight is being able to share ideas with other leaders who are on the Be. Leadership programme. Seeing the different styles and approaches they bring has really helped me develop as an individual.

I want to make positive change to ensure all people are seen as equals. I want to captivate the naysayers and show them there are no boundaries too high to overcome for people with disabilities.

I would like to create effective change in my region and nation in my lifetime, if not make positive change internationally one day. I want to be a leader in any field that I pursue. 

Clara Choi

Clara Choi I am studying for a Masters in social work at the University of Auckland. I hope my research around the experiences of Korean parents with children with disabilities in New Zealand will add to knowledge about migrant communities and their roles in contemporary New Zealand society.

My accident changed my life and had a significant impact on my beliefs and values. I am absolutely passionate about working with people who may be going through similar situations to what my family and I have been through. One of my goals is help others move from feeling isolated and excluded, to gaining confidence and being part of society.

John Marrable

John MarrableBesides working full-time, I enjoy being fit. I believe the fitter I am, the healthier I am, and daily tasks become easier. 

I'm the President of ParaFed Otago. I train and teach karate, go to the gym, and play table tennis.

I'm proud of being a black belt in karate, representing New Zealand in para-sport, and being the first paraplegic to complete a marathon in New Zealand.

As a leader, having a disability means I have contact with a wide variety of people, which has given me the ability to talk to anyone. I have also had to look outside the square to do what others consider easy.

Leechin Heng

Leechin Heng

When I set my heart on something, I believe I can do it. I have always been very determined to succeed.

I have a degree in Human Services and Japanese, and am now doing Honours in Sociology. I work as a response coordinator for Earthquake Disability Leadership Group and I am also the secretary of Junior Chamber International, a non-profit social change organisation.

With so much going on, I chill by having coffees and food-hunting with friends, and practising yoga. When I have the time and energy to read a book that is non-academic, I call that a treat.

Peter Barker

Peter Barker

I am a profoundly Deaf man and I also have Cerebral Palsy. I am involved in two different worlds; the disability community, and the Deaf community.

As a leader, I am able to explain about disability, particularly Cerebral Palsy; with regard to the Deaf community, I am confident explaining to hearing people how there should be, and can be, equal opportunities in the future for Deaf. I am passionate about helping to create an environment of equal opportunities, understanding and access.

I have taught New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) for over 25 years. I have previously coached rugby teams. I am proud of coming second and third in bodybuilding competitions (and I can bench-press 105kgs)! That’s a lot of achievements, but I believe there’s more I can achieve.

Prudence Walker

 Prudence WalkerExperiences shape us all and the disability experience can help to develop attributes already present in us, or can force us to develop attributes because of the situations we face.

At 16, I acquired a brain injury and went from being someone who didn't really have to try at school, to someone who could not read or write and who could barely speak. Later, after surgery to remove a brain tumour, my challenge was to learn to walk, remember and regain my confidence over many years. Long term, this has left me with a mobility impairment and some memory and processing issues. 

Today, I work in disability awareness in the community, helping to facilitate conversations around disability issues. I also work with disabled individuals, helping them aim for what they want out of life and developing their ability to challenge the expectations (or lack of expectations) they have of themselves, or others have of them.

Sean Winterbottom

Sean Winterbottom One of the insights Be. Leadership has given me is the realisation that I am a leader, with my own leadership style. I have also learned I need to recognise my injury and disability, so I am aware of both my weaknesses and strengths, and act accordingly.

As a leader, I believe in using logic to resolve situations, coupled with empathy and humour. I am a constructive and inclusive leader who believes leadership is not the same as management. With leadership comes responsibility.

I'm passionate about creating accessible learning opportunities for all members of the community. I truly enjoy taking complex stories, concepts and events and creating an environment where all parties feel they are in control of their learning and knowledge, enabling each individual to feel they are heard.

While my roles as son, brother, father and teacher dictate how I use most of my time, I retain my individuality by expressing my version of these roles to the very best of my ability.

Sharon Davies

Sharon DaviesI'm a proud Westie who is community-focused and doesn't mind having a bit of a laugh at herself!

As well as my job in Local Board Services at Auckland Council, I am involved in various community, environmental and voluntary organisations. In June 2013, I was awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to the community.

I believe life is what you make it and you get out of life what you put in. If you want to make change, you need to be part of the change process. 

Vicki Terrell

Vicki Terrell

I am a Pakeha woman in my middle years, and an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Auckland.

I have a wide variety of skills from working in the community sector, and studying social science, not- for-profit management and theology at university.

Along with a sense of fun, I have a keen sense of social justice. I believe all people need to be treated with respect and given the opportunity to contribute to society. This commitment comes from the two main strands in my life: Christian faith and lifelong impairment. The interweaving of these strands provides a rich and challenging backdrop to life.

Most of my life I have been a terrier. As a Be. Leader, I am continuing to learn about the wisdom of waiting for the right time to speak and act.

Wayne Forrest

Wayne Forrest

I have a busy life, and that's the way I like it. I am a father of four, a husband and a mentor, who will always be a country boy, no matter where I live. I run a small farm and work 10 hours a week mentoring boys at the local college. I love it when I see them start to feel they belong at school.

The Be. Leadership Programme has enabled me to start new conversations in my community and begin to fight where there is a need. It has made me aware that if something needs to change, I can't just carry on and not do something about it.