2015 Alumni

Beth Noble

Beth Noble I'm a student at Victoria University in Wellington, in my last year of a Bachelor in Building Science this year and am going on to do my postgraduate Masters degree next year. I'm particularly interested in accessibility in buildings.

I would describe myself as passionate about the things that interest me. I have a strong sense of right and wrong, and make a huge effort to be tolerant and understanding of others, which does not necessarily come easily to me.

I believe access citizens make great leaders because of the struggles we face. We are often more aware of the 'underbelly' of society, and more compassionate to people who are discriminated against.

I believe one of the greatest leadership challenges facing New Zealand at the moment is recovery from the Christchurch Earthquake. There is a huge opportunity to create a truly accessible city, with transport and development of accessible housing and workplaces, where people of any ability can be a part of the community, and also where sustainability principles can be integrated into the city design to decrease energy use and carbon emissions.

Catherine Soper

Cath Soper I’m a proud geek! I love video games and Doctor Who. I have quite a dark sense of humour, which seems to surprise a lot of people when they meet me.
The thing I am most proud of is gaining my MA in Religious Studies at the end of last year. My thesis examined Tibetan Tulkus’ use of social media and cyberspace.

I’m currently tutoring Religious Studies at Victoria University and my dream is to eventually get my PhD in Religious Studies. I would also like to live in Japan for a while.

In order to overcome challenges I faced in relation to my disabilities, thinking outside the box and not letting my disabilities define me has been key to me. I believe everyone has leadership potential, including myself. Leadership can take on many forms; the key is finding the form that works for you. H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama is a leader I admire. He demonstrates that leaders and leadership can be both humble and gentle.

Juliana Carvalho dos Santos

Juliana Carvalho dos SantosI’m witty, curious and ambitious. I’m passionate about life and new experiences. My core values are: family, friends and meaningful work.

The image that best describes me as a leader is a big, strong rhino. I believe I’m very courageous and my style is to be combative against what I believe is wrong. I like the quote from Ambrose Bierce: “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

The biggest challenge of my life came when I was 19 years-old and suddenly had an illness that left me paralyzed. I had a transverse myelitis caused by lupus and I almost died. Accepting that the life that I had had was gone and trying to fully embrace my “second life” was extremely hard, and still is.

I think nothing is impossible though, and my secret recipe to overcome any challenge is the wise triple: faith (nothing to do with religion!), patience and perseverance. With these 3 weapons I believe we can overcome anything.

Kylie Shirtliff

Kylie Shirtliff Adventurer. Dreamer. Do-er. 

I enjoy learning through conversation and find different perspectives enlightening. I work best in collaboration. Working with others to achieve change is the essence of my leadership style. To me, transformation happens on the way to achieving change - it is through conversations and interactions with each other that the greatest social movement happens.

In my role at Be. Accessible, I have the privilege of working with businesses and organisations around the country as they journey towards greater accessibility. "Possibility" and "change" are my favourite words because when you focus on what is possible, instead of what is not, change is actually achievable in small incremental steps. It's about each of us doing our part and not being overwhelmed by the enormity of the big picture.

I have discovered that leadership is just as much about asking the right questions and listening attentively as it is about having the vision. It's the realisation that we all have a unique part to play in relation to each other if we hope to create a better world.

Loren Corbett

Loren Corbett I am outgoing, ambitious and full of laughter.

After graduating from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Communication Studies and a Bachelor of Arts, I am now working for the Ministry of Social Development on the Enabling Good Lives Waikato Demonstration. I love to travel, particularly experiencing diverse cultures and the opportunity to do activities that are out of my comfort zone. I also love volunteering; I have found few things less rewarding than being involved with sports groups and charities for the sole purpose of wanting to make a difference.
Through the Be. Leadership programme, I have learned that I need to be more open to change - change in the world around me and change within myself. I have also learned that I need to be a fair bit quieter from time to time.

Diversity is what makes access citizens great leaders; we need it more than ever. We have seen what the majority stereotypical 'privileged' can do in leadership roles, and we’ve seen what the diverse minorities can do given the same level of influence. There is no denying the fact that diversity within leadership ensures a better outcome for all people.

Marilou Scott

Marilou ScottI am a go-getter when it comes to opportunities in business. Making the world a better place to live keeps me awake at night. Nothing gets me more wound up than social inequality and injustice. I can safely say that I am a socialist at heart.

I consider myself a citizen of the world. I grew up in the middle of a pineapple plantation and went to international school where I met children from all over the world. I called Japan my second home at one stage. My heritage is a mix of Chinese, Spanish and Malay.

I found employment difficult so I decided to start my own business. My handcrafted creations kick started what was to become a successful 13 years in business. I love being creative and turned this into something that I did everyday for a living.

The most important value I offer is respect for the individual. This puts me in a place of empathy, openness and helps to develop teamwork and growth. I aspire to never ask people to be more caring, generous and loving. It is a result of being caring, generous and loving.

Martin Nunn

Martin Nunn I am loyal, hardworking, and an introvert. I am an Auckland house husband. I am incredibly proud of my partner and 5-year-old son. Other things that I am most proud of include being qualified as a Chartered Accountant in NZ as well as the UK, moving to NZ and creating a life for myself (unplanned and unexpected) while managing to maintain childhood friendships, establishing a successful career as a financial controller in charge of the business for Australasia and getting a first at university and being a prize winner.

I believe my leadership style is tactful. I would never ask someone to do what I wouldn't do myself. I accept responsibility. I seek the facts of an issue. I have contributed to a video about living with aphasia that is used to teach undergraduate Speech and Language therapists. I have also participated in the Celebration Choir for those experiencing aphasia after a stroke, Parkinsons disease or a brain tumour.

"I think the greatest source of courage is to realize that if we don’t act nothing will change for the better. Reality doesn’t change itself. It needs us to act." (Margaret Wheatley)

Michael Campbell

Michael Campbell I am loyal. I am friendly. I am honest. I am a realist. I am logical. I am fair.

I spend my time during the day working in the alumni office at the University of Waikato. I want to be more involved in my community of Hamilton so I am getting in touch with people to make that happen.

I contribute to my community through my work which is about managing relationships; I undertook a project to make Hamilton Training College graduates a part of the University of Waikato. The students wanted to be Alumni of the University and I helped them make a dream reality.

I have learnt so much about different people and their needs. I feel I have a greater understanding of people and an understanding that we need to cater more for specific needs.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be to make entering the workforce for the inexperienced and vulnerable easier. It is too hard to gain employment now. What is expected of job seekers is unrealistic - requiring 2 years work experience to enter into an entry-level position.

Rachel Cox

Rachel Cox I am a writer, a blogger, a teacher, a health activist, a teller of stories and an illuminator of things unseen. I lend my voice to those who feel forgotten. I use my words to explain to anyone who will listen what it is like for people in our community who live with chronic illness and invisible disabilities.
My experience of living with a neurological condition for the last six years has changed my perspective and opened up my world. I think deeply about things and work to find the best way to communicate the heart of the matter. I like to be positive. I write because I must. I trust in the basic nature of humanity to desire connection, to seek more effective ways of doing things.
Leadership for me is about the big picture. I am skilled at identifying the strengths of others and motivating people toward a common goal. I love setting priorities, providing encouragement and promoting self-belief. I like effective systems that meet the needs of people.
I think it is well within the scope of our beautiful little country to vastly increase the quality of our lives and identity as a nation. Every one of us - unique, diverse, extraordinary creatures - has a place and a purpose here.

Sarah Mitchell

Sarah Mitchell I am a loyal person with a high sense of integrity. I am most happy when I am working with and for people to empower them to be the best that they can be. I have a strong sense of community and social conscience.

I am a positive role model and lead by example. I am an open communicator and am always very happy to take on others' opinions and ideas. I think I probably fall into the category of a transformational leader, which depends on high levels of communication from management to achieve goals. Leaders motivate employees and enhance productivity and efficiency through communication.

I don't let others put limitations on my ability. If I believe in what I am doing, I can achieve it. Nothing is impossible. Sometimes, when we encounter challenges, we need to adjust the way we approach or deal with situations or people. Every day in every way I problem solve and need to think outside the square. That is how I get through life.

I believe it is important to always strive to be the best you can be. I believe “there is no such thing as a problem it is simply an opportunity to create a solution”.

Simon Noonan

Simon Noonan For a long time, I have been a student and have piled up a couple of degrees. Originally it was a lifestyle that suited my very variable health but it then became an increasing passion to learn as much as I could and to find new angles to look at the world.

It took a long time to finish my BA, but the many stumbles along the way allowed me to pick up a lot of general philosophy. With a better understanding of my condition, both personally and by the medical profession, my BSc was wrapped up rather more quickly. My most recent degree, in Law, has been tackled full time and I'll soon be finished.

So my time as a 'perpetual' student is nearing an end. While this marks a new phase in my life, I don't think I will ever lose my love of learning. 

This is where Be Leadership comes in – an invaluable opportunity to learn new and innovative ways of looking at the world and exploring ways to take a role in making the world a fairer, more egalitarian, and more accessible space.

Stephen Macartney

Steven MacartneyI'm a learner, an educator, an advocate.

I work in a special school as a deputy principal and educational psychologist. I relax by driving around in my classic 1971 Holden, going to Hot Rod Club events and participating in drag racing at Meremere.

Learning has always been tricky for me. Academic courses, work expectations and getting things done can be very easy or extremely difficult. I can't always tell if something is going to be just an ordinary thing to do or a huge challenge.

I can be a leader in many different contexts and groups and I can support other leaders in the work they do as well. I have learnt that being a leader doesn't mean just managing people or managing resources. 

I believe the greatest challenges facing leadership in New Zealand are identifying aspiring leaders from all parts of society and supporting them to become successful leaders in their own way. Also, understanding the wider views/definitions/capabilities of leadership across all the cultures in NZ and overcoming the stereotypical view of leaders in the media and social media.

Steven Daw

Steve Daw I am a person who has spent over twenty years working with and on behalf of disabled people in NZ, Australia and the UK. I have been involved in disability awareness training as well as sport, recreational activities and service coordination. I am happily married and I have a grown-up son and a grown-up daughter. My wife and I have two grandsons, who I adore and a third grandchild on the way.

I work really hard with disabled people to give them the resources and confidence to pursue whatever it is they want to pursue. I believe that all disabled people deserve the right to choose how it is they wish to live their lives and I celebrate freedom of choice.

There must be dozens of things that have made me really proud, but I think the fact that my partner and I have travelled around the world so many times and been separated for so long and still be in love is maybe the greatest achievement of all.

I have value in myself and I believe that the values of equity, equality and respect I have for others is important, as my world is full of other people who all contribute to how the world goes around. I aspire to see the day when all people in the world are accommodated, enriched and valued.

Teena McEwen

Teena McEwen I am a creative and enthusiastic person who believes anything is possible with the right ingredients. I am a single mother with 3 school-aged children. I am a volunteer in a number of organizations in the disability sector and also have interests in music production and performance and graphic design. 

I would describe myself as a democratic leader who enjoys strategic planning and solving complex problems through creative thinking with a view toward equality. I help initiate change, awareness and problem solving through creative thinking and research to enhance the lives of minority groups as a board member and committee member of four Not-for-profit organizations in the disability sector. 

One thing I found challenging was growing up in an environment full of people who believed that because I had a vision impairment I would not be able to achieve at the same level as others, and that I should be protected from life’s challenges and disappointments. 

What helped me overcome my challenges was accepting that I have limitations but so does everyone else. I also came to the realization that my challenges make me stronger, more resilient and give me the ability, insight and wisdom to be able to help others.

Tonya Baker

Tonya Baker It is my aspiration that the contributions I make in any area of life will make a difference for the better in the lives of others.

I have been working in the banking industry for over 28 years.  The variety of roles in this time have given me the experience and skills for my current role of change manager.  I understand sustainable change doesn't happen if people are not engaged and equipped with the resources they need to make the change.

My community involvement includes volunteering at Dress for Success, a not for profit organisation helping to empower women to gain economic independence. I am also a member of  the Employee Advocacy Group for Accessibility, which creates awareness and education to help our organisation be more accessible for staff and customers of all abilities, through communications, events and advocacy. 

I am learning more and more that the magic bean of it all is the quality, the willingness, and the space, for an open, respectful conversation. This has been reinforced through my leadership journey with Be.

Ulrike Rosenfeld

Ulrike Rosenfeld I have an enquiring mind. I often seek new learning opportunities and am passionate about sustainable living and social justice issues. I have a reflective personality and am observant, honest, analytical and compassionate, and can be very persistent if something is important to me. I believe in opportunities rather than insurmountable obstacles. I have a great capacity for empathy.

Born in East Germany I was lucky enough to live in Wales and Prague for short periods while I was studying theatre and film, and cultural anthropology. Travelling and living in other countries helped accelerate and deepen my learning experience and personal growth. After finishing my degree, I planned to travel around NZ for one year. Well, years later: New Zealand is home.

I have mainly worked in the creative industries and I now work in the cultural events/ arts sector. I love the fact that my job fosters and further develops cultural cooperation between NZ and international artists, scientists, scholars, organisations. I particularly like curating film festivals.

I aspire to be part of an accessible NZ where the focus is on abilities, inclusion and empowerment of all citizens. I would love to live in a world where all can realise their full potential at every stage in life.