Breadcrumbs

2017 Alumni

Alice Campbell

Alice CampbellI am a passionate, fun-loving, fiery idealist with a strong commitment to social change, social justice and accessibility for all. I have a quick sense of humour but a deep sense of compassion.


I work part time as a Kaituitui (Community Engagement Officer) for the Disabled Persons Assembly in the Waikato and part time as a casual admin worker for the disability support services at University of Waikato. I am the third of four kids, an aunty, Hamiltonian, intersectional feminist, blogger, disability activist and cis-fem.

I would describe my leadership approach as collaborative and people-oriented. I want to make my environment more accessible to all, promoting the idea of disability pride – meaning it is just another way of being and part of the human experience.

The greatest leadership challenges facing New Zealand are dealing with scarce and diminishing funding in the social sector, increasing mental health issues with limited funding and support, as well as increasing inequality and poverty.


Amy Church

Amy Church I am a family-orientated, caring, honest and strong Cantabrian. I enjoy scrapbooking and am an avid reader.

Through my social work, I provide disability awareness and education to community groups. I support people to be able to make the life changes they want to. In my leadership, I try to focus on relationships and developing these, both personal and professional.

I like to take a strengths-based approach by finding out what people are good at and helping them develop and use their skills for everyone’s benefit. I use my voice to speak up, especially as some people can't do this for themselves.

This programme so far has redefined my view of leadership and brought me to see other ways that I can be active in society. I have realised that I am still quite new in my leadership journey and I am starting to see how I can use my qualities as strengths.

If I could change anything in the world, I would increase personal connections between people. Too many people don't know how to have a simple conversation and I believe personal connections are so important.

Aroha Lowe

Aroha LoweAotea te waka, Taranaki te maunga. Ko Maniapoto, Ngati Ruanui, Te Atiawa oku iwi.

Art is for everyone! I believe that Museums, galleries, libraries and other public spaces are best when co-authored by and filled with diverse groups of people.

Inhabiting and being visible in public spaces is political and fun. We can audit, renovate, reshape and build these whare and buildings to hold us well.

I have created NOA Open Art Studio at Te Manawa Museum and Art Gallery in Palmerston North. Everyone is welcome at our table. Participant led, we pop up on Tuesdays and Thursdays in different spaces in the museum and in the wider community. A moveable feast.

Some groups of people have long been siloed in back rooms, sheltered workshops, or otherwise not welcomed to share public space. We can change this. Let's push back the walls, pull up chairs and start new conversations about more inclusive spaces that suit us all better.

Arturo Pelayo

Arturo Pelayo I work with people and organizations to be creative and deliver value to them through innovation, ideation and design workshops. This enables them to rethink and reimagine their core services, product updates and improve their processes.

I am a person full of curiosity who has the courage every day to keep their naive inner child alive. This has been the best source of creativity and new ideas.

I think less about myself and more about how to be of enablement to others. I don't need to be blind to see life in the way my blind friends do, nor should I need to have a deep personal story. I do what I do because it is needed.

Access citizens have a mindset of inclusion and as leaders, they are deliberate and thrive in the pursuit of better services, products and processes for anyone. They don't look for gaps to fill, but they are mindful of the gaps and focus their energy on leapfrogging. They see the leaves of the trees AND the forest and sway their energy to realise the potential of this ecosystem.

Ben Geddes

Ben Geddes I’m an inquisitive person, always interested in a good conversation, exploring concepts and what could be.

Yacht racing and blind sailing are my passions. I am involved in the Blind Sailing NZ Council and its events regularly and have also participated in the Blind Sailing Championships twice. I find it a space for the visually impaired to "take the wheel", so to speak, in a technical and challenging environment.

I am also proud to have co-managed a small family business from a garage startup to a strong presence in Bay of Plenty, learning many lessons along the way.

Our biggest leadership challenge is that the people with the loudest voices drown out those who should be heard and then many who deserve support go unaided.

Creating opportunity for others by sharing knowledge, connecting people or just conversing to work through ideas is how I see my leadership. My value lies in my willingness to give, to be there and be available.

Cushla Dargan

Cushla Dargan I am a person who is dedicated to emancipatory social action. I am an holistic thinker who is engaged with study at a university level, however, my love of learning extends far beyond the walls of the academy. I believe that there is infinite wisdom to be learned as a result of all our interactions, from other people, and also from other species within our communities.

I discovered the fragility of life early on, navigating mental health and addiction problems within my family, and I also had the experience of being a 'young carer' for one of my parents. I have, from these challenges, gained some profound insights that I carry with me through life and I refer to these as compass points in life. As hard as they were, these experiences designed the curriculum for my life.

I care about a multitude of social and environmental issues, and am continually fascinated by possibilities for thinking about and living in the world differently, for regenerating communities, and for re-imagining how to live well. My aspiration is to continue learning about the workings of social change. My vision of leadership is that we need to go beyond just creating and empowering leaders, and envision, or awaken, multiple levels of mentors and teachers who can take up the work of relational practice and service to others.

Emma Cooper-Williams

Emma Cooper-Williams I would describe myself as a transformational leader. I try to demonstrate how my experiences have shaped me in a positive way and encourage others to do the same. I am one of the chairs on the Cerebral Palsy Society Youth Alliance Board, the undergraduate representative on the University of Auckland disability strategy advisory committee, a class representative and an ambassador for Schools' Peace Week. I have also been a music mentor.

I am an outgoing eighteen-year-old who is passionate about building relationships with others and creating positive social change.

I think we need to reframe how we view extraordinary challenges and disabilities. People either feel very sad for us and adopt a 'poor you' attitude, or they put us on a pedestal and see us as 'inspirational'.

To have truly beneficial leadership in New Zealand, we need leaders that will implement change to have a positive effect on everyone. Too often leadership is focused on making a difference to the issues of the majority. I think if we had more leadership in minority communities, we would be running a much more effective nation that benefits everybody.

Kylee Black

Kylee Black I am a lover of life who deeply values everyday blessings, moments and memories. We get so caught up in life we forget the gift that life truly is. I like to remind people of this.

I believe in leading from behind, in being involved in the ground work, in supporting people and others to be successful, to empower people to have a voice, to speak up and feel supported. I believe in opening spaces for others to step up and have opportunities in leadership also.

I work as a Self-Direction Advisor for MyCare. I love that it allows community to sustain itself, so people with disability can employ people in their communities to support them.

Access citizens have an appreciation of life and an understanding that many don't, purely because of what we have had to face in our own lives. We can see the barriers in the world that affect various population groups. If you make things accessible to minority groups, you end up making it accessible for ALL people and populations.

Latifa Daud

Latifa Doud I'm a listener, a thinker and a learner.

As a blogger, I like to introduce people to different ways of thinking and seeing the world. The more we can learn to walk in other people's shoes, the more we can work together to make New Zealand the inclusive and inviting country I know it can be.

My leadership style is to take a supportive role and to make sure everyone is thriving in a healthy environment. I strongly believe if one person suffers, the whole group suffers.

I think it's important to have diversity of thought encouraged and taken seriously. I am constantly inspired and encouraged by the women in my communities who always stay true to themselves and stand up for the truth. If I was running the world, there would be no more fear of difference.

New Zealand's multiculturalism, diversity, small population and relative isolation gives us a beautiful opportunity to be leaders in creating an accessible world. Our challenge is to listen to people from every community, understand and appreciate everyone’s strengths and work together in a meaningful way to create that world we all feel safe in.

Natalie Brunzel

Natalie Brunzel I'm a kind, caring and creative person. I enjoy supporting people to achieve their goals.

I work as a Freelance Communication Consultant, mainly in the non-profit sector. I provide information to people with disabilities through managing social media platforms for non-profit organisations. In my spare time, I sometimes mentor young people. This work provides me with fulfilment and purpose.

I believe in making sure that everyone's voice is heard. I approach everyday with the idea that things will improve and that I have the ability to make the best out of every situation.

I like to draw wisdom from many people as I think everyone can teach you something if you make sure to look for the learning in every conversation.

In this programme, I think I have learnt that finding a big dream/goal and then hanging onto that vision is the key to success.

New Zealand's leadership challenge is indifference and disconnection. I think apathy lets those in power get away with a lot when, really, we need to continually be asking questions and make sure that we are present at the table. That is the only way to effect change.

Peter Rawlings

Peter Rawlings I always enjoy learning and acquiring new knowledge and skills. This has been an important and exciting part of my life. What I offer to society does not have to be big, but I believe that every small, single act of kindness counts.

I am British, living in and loving New Zealand. I am kind, caring and, once I have decided on a course of action, I will persevere with strong determination to see its completion.

I enjoy being able to support people maintain their independence and making their daily lives easier through creating a more accessible society.

I believe that the role of a leader is that of a servant – to guide, support, equip and encourage those you are leading to fulfill their roles and to develop their full potential.

One of the qualities of great leaders is empathy. Access citizens face different kinds of challenges every day. Their first-hand experience helps them to understand people’s needs more authentically, enabling them to create a society more accessible for everyone.

Steph Alford

Steph Alford I would describe myself as spontaneous, bubbly, cautious, caring, jack-of-all-trades, creative, committed, funny and down to earth. I am Deaf. I come from a Deaf family. New Zealand Sign Language is my first language.

I am involved with Deaf Aotearoa, Merge NZ and Auckland Deaf Youth Group. Be. Accessible assisted me with finding an internship and now I have an exciting, permanent role at Fairfax Media!

People just assume that being a leader means to be a knowledgeable guide that others follow and look up to. New Zealanders have the potential to be leaders but shy away from the label 'leader'. I want to be able to show our society that you do not need to be an assertive, dominant individual to lead the world. With more use of the bottom-up leadership approach, I believe the world could experience more successful changes through collaboration and shared awareness.

A lot of access citizens have gone their whole lives experiencing issues and coming up with solutions to deal with them. Because they're so used to problem solving, empathy, and staying strong through the tough times in life, they have ultra-potential as leaders!

Tom Callanan

Tom Callanan I would describe myself as a friendly, funny, hard working, determined sports lover, a Cantabrian and an adult services manager at CCS Disability Action.

I constantly reflect on my own life, privilege and those less fortunate. I love to learn and love a challenge. Challenge is opportunity! I enjoy breaking a challenge down so small successes can be celebrated.

I am eager to meet people, learn from them and become more self-aware. I would love to see a world free of discrimination, where people could respect each other and celebrate diversity. This is how we learn from each other. New Zealand’s challenge is to Include all people in an authentic way, and having diversity in leadership.

I’m currently continuing on my professional path, which includes continuing to learn and be challenged. All my managers in my professional life have been great role models and have taught me about being authentic and how to utilise different styles in different situations.

Tricia Hall

Tricia Hall I was born and grew up in Auckland. I am married to Daphne and in 2016 became mum to Francesca.

Prior to being a Mum, I was working at Toi Ora Live Art Trust teaching art and creative writing with people who have had experiences with mental health issues and other challenges. I am a member of the Grey Lynn Anglican Church and take a role in leading within that community and am a representative on the Diocesan Council.

Stubbornness has served me well. The tenacious spirit that has not let me give up has meant that I have achieved things others thought I would never do.

In New Zealand, leadership is stuck in old ways of doing business that is increasingly unhelpful and inappropriate in a world that is rapidly changing, ignoring problems such as climate change and the growing gap between rich and poor.

We need to focus more on people than things and creating a world, which is fairer and more accessible, for all people, no matter who they are or what their challenges might be.