Breadcrumbs

2014 Alumni

Blake Leitch

Blake Leitch

I'm an opinionated introvert; I spend my time reading, writing or convincing people I'm doing something productive. I enjoy a good debate and have discovered that I'm comfortable that I don't know everything. I used to think that I should know absolutely everything before I could offer an opinion on anything, and though I still believe in the pursuit of knowledge, I'm learning that it's okay for me to contribute if I know a little bit about something and that it is also okay to be wrong – it's another opportunity to learn.

To me, a real leader is someone who can find that fine line between listening and asserting: learning someone's point of view before asserting your own educated idea. In saying that, it isn't something that happens with one comment, it is something that grows through conversation.

Everybody needs to know that they have something they can offer; when they learn that and a fire is lit underneath them, they can achieve great things. I refuse to accept that there is anyone who can't contribute.

Cate Grace

Cate Grace

I have travelled my own challenging road; managing multiple invisible health conditions and surviving devastating earthquakes. Through this, I discovered my life philosophy - Fall down Seven get up Eight (from an old Japanese Proverb).

I have embraced a life with curves and crutches and thrive on discovering opportunities where others may find darkness. This led me to an unlikely industry where my hope is to champion social change through my businesses.

I believe we should all be able to love life, enjoy exercise, appreciate adversity and play positively. My passion is to see an inclusive society where everybody, regardless of what challenges in life we may be facing, have access to dream, plan and achieve what we want in life.

Debra Bathgate

Debra Bathgate

I am a woman, feminist, photographer, environmental activist and advocate. My biggest love, and what keeps me going, is the children in my life and my whanau. I like to laugh and am learning to be free.

I am passionate about gender equality, equal opportunities and the many social justice issues we face today. I'm also interested in Tiriti Waitangi issues and the impact of racism, alienation of land through colonial confiscation, ecosystems and the impact humanity has on fragile life forces essential for the holistic health of the planet.

Life has become so complex we often lose touch of what really matters. I believe if we can identify and bridge the gaps that alienate, isolate, discriminate and disadvantage, perhaps we can begin to make the world a kinder, more caring, gentler and easier place to exist in, where we can contribute and participate if we choose.

For me the Be. Leadership programme is an opportunity to work collectively amongst visionaries with similarities, who see opportunities for progressive and positive change and explore the process of effective ways of making change happen.

Erikka Helliwell

Erikka Helliwell

I'm a happy person who likes to keep busy. I'm a full time student, tutor, Research Assistant and the Vice President of CanDo. Those who haven't met me before might think I'm quiet, but don't be misled; those who know me know I am definitely not quiet.

I revel in disproving people's assumptions about my abilities. I choose to ignore those assumptions and instead embrace my challenges as strengths and do what I want to do with my life – you could say being told 'I cant' is a really great motivator for me to get to a point where I can say, "I can".

I would describe myself as a leader who likes to make sure overall things are ticking along while enabling everyone to succeed and try things they are passionate about. In the long term, I'd like to contribute towards improving the mental health statistics of New Zealand, especially for those attending university.

Gabrielle Hogg

Gabrielle Hogg

I'm passionate about making a positive impact for people with invisible impairments; particularly by bringing greater awareness to tertiary education providers and creating improved systems for those with access needs that aren't visually obvious.

I've been involved with Consumer Councils for the past four years around the Hawkes Bay and Napier area. I'm also contributing at a national level with the Consumer Consortium for the Ministry of Health – Disability Support Services. I hope to become more involved with Autism New Zealand at a national level too.

I'm currently studying Naturopathy and herbal medicine; something that I became interested in because I want to help access citizens with their health. Be. Leadership will give me a new perspective on accessibility and help me to widen my own access community.

Jan Eggleton

Jan Eggleton

I am a ukulele player and teacher, a granny to two wonderful kids, a partner for 32 years, a facilitator of everything and anything, our neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, reader and driver extraordinaire, and I am at an interesting time in my life – a sort of crossroads with about 5 intersections!

My leadership style is facilitative, collaborative, firm, informal and open. I want to connect deeply with people, listen carefully to them, and work collaboratively to create change.

If access citizens can break down barriers for themselves and others through engagement, participation and belonging, then they will be leading to an accessible world. Last century used top down power, this century it's grass roots up and both my personal and professional lives encapsulate this. I want to make mine and others' lives fundamentally better.

Josh Anderson

Josh Anderson

I have been working with disability services at Victoria University for about three years in the area of access barriers. I work with students who have experienced physical barriers around campus and in finding ways these might be managed or removed. I am now the Office Co-ordinator for Disability Services and interact on a daily basis with students with a variety of impairments.

I have a keen interest in technology and during my time at university, have seen its growing potential to help those that live with access needs. I hope to do further study or work in this area in the future.

I spent about 15 years in scouting, holding many different leadership positions among my peers who were almost always fully able. This posed an opportunity for me as I was able to demonstrate to people that being in a wheelchair did not mean I was disadvantaged in the ways that public perception would have people believe. Being an access citizen means my view of the world is refreshingly different than those without impairments.

Joyce Scott

Joyce Scott

I'm a curious person by nature and find a lot of joy in life's simple pleasures. I'm passionate about knowing and learning new things and I love to incorporate creativity and sustainability in my approach to life.

I think personal growth, open-mindedness, and empathy are important values to nurture in life, along with happiness and choice. I believe in approaching life with a perspective that sees open doors and opportunities instead of difficulties, and appreciating and enjoying the simple things in life and the world around us.

Having left university last year, I am currently enjoying building and developing life post-study; exploring new career pathways, and taking time out to discover and explore new interests.

In my everyday life, I try to contribute to a paradigm shift in current modes of thought and awareness surrounding people, health, disability, and access. I believe open conversations into issues of awareness and perspective regarding the access community, and experience of disability, are key to education and social change. As a growing leader, I am excited to be a part of the 2014 Be. Leadership Programme and look forward to the skills and development I'll gain over the course of the year.

Julie Cravino

Julie Cravino

I yearn to be useful and to acquire new skills. Keeping it real is an important part of remembering the community deserve to be able to access information in order to make crucial decisions. I hope to gain insight, a sense of community with like minded people and the ability to lead without being at the front. I look forward to being part of a group where I can be myself and grow without feeling judged, as well as an opportunity to tap into the words of Be Leadership speakers.

Lisa Crawford

Lisa Crawford

I aspire to be part of an accessible New Zealand and to empower others along their journeys towards growth and healing. I feel privileged to be part of the Be. Leadership journey and reflecting together on enlightened and illuminated leadership styles.

I am originally from Newcastle, England and am a Mother of two children. I have been lucky enough to travel to several countries during my life including Ireland, Singapore and Gibraltar before settling and making New Zealand my home. My focus and experience in life, although eclectic, centralizes around health, leadership and healing, with a basis in science and biology, physical therapy, natural health and a current work focus on mental health and employment.

In New Zealand I moved into the social sector and community support area of work, which allowed me to develop opportunities for older people. I now work as a Team Leader for Workwise who provide employment support to enable people with mental health issues back into work or to support them to remain at work.

I am whole-heartedly motivated to offer the best I can to assist others along their path.

Lucy Croft

Lucy Croft

I'm originally an Aucklander, and moved to Wellington to study four years ago. I promptly fell in love with the Windy City. Currently, I'm studying an MSc in Human Geography, and have a strong interest in disability issues. I'm the leader of the representative group for students with disabilities at Victoria, and I have a passion for social change. In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with friends, yoga, netball, reading and going to movies and concerts.

I'm passionate and positive about improving accessibility and usability of areas around New Zealand. My own experiences of disability have led me to challenge others' beliefs, as well as my own. I'm always motivated to turn moments of adversity on their head. I hope to travel once I've finished university, and explore access communities around the world. I believe that we are in a fascinating period of social change, and we should embrace it.

Richard Reid

Richard Reid

I was born 11 weeks premature with life threatening stomach problems. I was quickly christened Richard Bruce Reid, because I wasn’t expected to live the next 72 hours. The start of my life shows that life can be a battle and that if others need help, you do what you can to help. I was lucky to survive a major operation at 2 days old, and I have the scars to show for it.

Probably what defines me most is my hearing loss, and the efforts made by myself, family and peers to live a life as full as possible. I have for many years undertaken personal development through Jaycees and Toastmasters, as well as community service, particularly with the hearing impaired. My voluntary work in community and charity organisations has always provided a high level of satisfaction.

I see myself as a leader by representing the many thousands of hearing impaired, and leading by example, both on a local and national level. Currently, I am on the executives of Hearing Auckland and Hearing Association New Zealand, as well as on a couple of trusts. 

I have joined the Be. Leadership Programme with the purpose of developing my skills and attitude, so that I am a better leader at work, and also that I can help the organisations that I lead currently and in the future, no matter what they may be.

Robin Tinga

Robin Tinga

20 years ago I had a spinal injury leaving me using a wheelchair. Prior to my injury I really had no awareness of the access challenges many in society have to face daily. So, I 'get' the general ignorance that exists around access, but now I want to be involved in developing greater awareness.

I'm a very active person having retrained after my injury, worked in the mechanical engineering sector and raised my two children. In 2009, I became the first adaptive rower to qualify for the NZ rowing team and compete in World Cup and World Championships in a single scull. I've owned and managed rental properties and I'm a 'DIY nut' doing all my own mechanical and home maintenance.

I'm ready for a new challenge and now is the prime time to be involved in accessible housing and the urban landscape generally, as Christchurch rebuilds following the earthquakes that shattered our city. The Be. Leadership programme is part of my journey to 'Be. involved'.

Sam Eddie

Sam Eddie

I am just a normal person living my life just like any busy mother. I manage my daughter's Hockey team and try to keep fit. I live life to the fullest; I just do so a little differently than some. In 2005 I had a horse riding accident, damaging my back and becoming paralyzed.

This turned my life upside down. I had to learn to live again and find a new direction in life. It took some time to realize that I was still a valuable member of society and I still had a voice.

I can now relate to people with access needs in a personal way and love helping people achieve things that they never believed they could do. I represented NZ in handcycling and wearing the silver fern was something that I never believed I could ever do.

I lead by example and never expect anyone to do something that I won't do myself. If you want something to change, do something about it.

Sarah McCawe

Sarah McCawe

Some titles I wear are Strengths-based Educator, Improviser, Cyclist, Disability and Inclusion Adviser and Changemaker.

Changemaker lights my fire the most. I thrive on challenge and seek out opportunities to learn. I enjoy work that inspires people to push through barriers and discover their potential. I value authenticity and collaboration. My biggest failure and success was getting lost in the Himalayas and surviving to tell the tale. My biggest learning has been to make friends with uncertainty so the unknown can be created. I would like to study further deficit theorising from labeling.

I am interested in being part of a wider positive change in the disability, education and employment world, especially noticing where mental health fits within disability. Education is my true passion and I see this as the key tool for any sustainable, transformative changes. Participating in the Be. Leadership Programme this year has strengthened this resolve for social change. My true motivator is being part of creating and living in a world with self-identified and empowered people.

Vanessa Creamer

Vanessa Creamer and her side-kick Rogan Josh

I am making the most of a gap year between graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Theology at the end of 2013, and starting my Post Graduate papers in 2015, to learn about, and grow, as a leader in the New Zealand Disability community in 2014. 

I currently work part time at the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner in the Disability Initiatives Team.  I also am the Chairman of the Auckland Branch of Christian Fellowship for Disabled, and am an advanced Toastmaster (public speaking) at the Three Kings Toastmasters Cub.  I have been involved with Be. Accessible for a little while as I am a Be. Coach in the Be. Welcome programme.

My biggest challenge as a leader is learning (and using) that little two letter word that starts with an N and ends with an O.  I am looking forward to listening to some amazing leaders this year, and am excited about learning different skills from each of them. 

You will often see me with my side-kick, my hearing dog named Rogan Josh.  Rogan alerts me to sounds such as the door bell and the telephone.  He loves flying (in aeroplanes!) and finding out what is on the other side of any doors that we come across in our daily travels.