2018 Alumni

Annelize Steyn

Profile photo of Annelize Steyn  I am a listener, with a full circle approach to everyday life. I am a grandmother – I adore our beautiful grandchildren, and love teaching them about our culture and food, and leaving a memorable legacy behind. I am creative and have a love of gardening, craft, and entertaining.
I am proud to work for Enliven (Presbyterian Support Central). They have given me many opportunities to grow during the 11 years I have been employed. My team was the first in New Zealand to adopt the Eden Alternative Principles, which is a philosophy of care. Through my leadership at the homes where I have worked, I contribute daily in equipping staff to embrace this philosophy. I also volunteer as the Chairperson for Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Wellington Branch.
Living with a neuro-muscular condition and experiencing gradual decline has been a challenge. But, it is important to mention that even in this, I have learned to be adaptable and innovative, patient and resourceful. My leadership style is leader as host. In my everyday life, at work and home and in my volunteer roles, I feel comfortable operating in this space.
I think that often leaders don't create enough opportunity to talk to those they serve. Meaningful conversations will bring challenges and difference of opinion but will allow for transparent processes and integrated communities.

Arlene Ganley

Profile photo of Arlene Ganley I am a tenacious, determined, busy working mum of four and Nana of three. I have a thirst for education and new information, always trying to upskill and improve along my way. I love to mentor others, providing advice and supporting others through life experience. I have a passion for fairness, accessibility and acceptance – accepting all despite differences must become a motto for an improved New Zealand society.

Coupled with the completion of my Bachelor's degree in English and History, the biggest challenge in my life has been bringing up my four wonderful kids. More recently I have had to come to terms with a number of surgeries to help improve my future mobility.

One of the greatest qualities I bring to my leadership journey is empathy. I know from experience that access citizens face and solve different kinds of challenges every day, having to rely on personal grit to get where they want to be. "Can't" is not in my dictionary.

From my experience I have determined that a good leader is not someone who controls, but rather someone who inspires and encourages.

After 30 years helping to manage the family business, it is now my time to concentrate on where I am going. My future leadership journey starts here. Watch this space!!

Chantelle Griffiths

Profle photo of Chantelle Griffiths I am curious, creative, a change-maker and committed to living an extraordinary life. I am constantly looking for new ways to improve my own life, and to make a tangible difference in the lives of those I meet. Helping others is a core part of who I am and how I show up in the world every day. Passionate, enthusiastic and results-driven, I am also quick to laugh and always there for those in need of support. I am an Aucklander, love my family and friends and am always looking for ways to give back to the community in any way I can. I love cooking, music, literature and deep conversation.
Serendipity has put me in the very unique position of being the only person in the country who does the job I do. I am extremely fortunate to be at the forefront of braille learning and literacy in New Zealand as a Braille Awareness Coordinator, and this enables me to work with an extremely diverse group of people from all around the country.
I believe leadership is dynamic and diverse, and that a leader isn't necessarily someone who always stands out from the crowd. I like to lead by example, with a growth mindset and a curious and open-minded attitude. I love collaboration and teamwork, because it's only through having meaningful relationships and conversations with others – whether it's sharing stories or new ideas – that we can truly make significant and long-lasting change in our society.

Daniel Gada

Profile photo of Daniel Gada I am inquisitive, kind-hearted, and I love to make others laugh. A true Libra, I am honest (to a fault), fair and have a strong sense of right and wrong.

Through the Be. Leadership Programme I learned my Myers Briggs Personality Type is ENFJ, and true to type, I am empathetic and able to connect with and understand other people regardless of their background, language or beliefs.

Born in Fiji with a chronic blood disorder, life from the outset presented me with a unique set of challenges. Growing up I was made to believe that my illness would prevent me from having access to the spaces and opportunities I wanted to be in. I have also faced challenges that come with being a member of the LGBT community and learned to overcome racial biases/prejudices - a result of growing up in a majority white/heteronormative culture. These challenges have made me outspoken, strong-willed, resilient, and self-aware.

I spend most days thinking about how to make the world a better place and setting new goals.

So far the Be. Leadership Programme has taught me that Leadership doesn’t have to be big, and is more about being willing to step up and do the right thing.

Emma Brookes

Profile photo of Emma Brookes I am a recent convert to the religion of DIY and have become fairly handy with a drill! I reluctantly admit the title of crazy cat lady with two Burmese fur babies who are likely the most spoiled cats in Cambridge. I would describe myself as forthright but still believing in rainbows and unicorns!
I've spent my career in the dairy industry and come from a farming family. I'm passionate about changing the way my organisation fronts up in relation to the gnarly issues. There is so much goodness in the nutrition of dairy that we bring to the world, in addition to the responsibility we have to the wellbeing and prosperity of all New Zealanders.
My approach to leadership centres on curiosity and authenticity. I'm curious about the way people think and behave and the consequences of this. I focus on bringing the most authentic version of myself to each conversation so that hopefully others feel that I value their input and honest relationships can evolve.
I think there are aspects about being an access citizen that we don’t always recognise. These include empathy, adaptability, innovation, grit and striving for better outcomes. From what I have read about the future of work, these are all competencies required of leaders in the future.

Injy Johnstone

Profile photo of Injy Johnstone I'm a 21-year-old, with a passion for solving problems. I am enthusiastic, ambitious, and resilient. I am a Wellingtonian, a traveler, and a coffee addict.
I work at the Ministry for the Environment as a Policy Analyst and also work as National Administrator of Generation Zero. On top of this I am a full-time student finishing my Honours Degree in International Trade Law at Victoria University. Outside of this I contribute my time and energy to various environmental and social causes. I’m on the board of the Endangered Species Foundation, UNESCO's Youth Reference Group, and run the Foster Child Support Network.
My aspirations for the future are to help design solutions to adapt and mitigate climate change as well as empower people to be able to embrace a low carbon lifestyle. More fundamentally, I want to continue to work with good people to get great stuff done.
The Be. Leadership Programme has taught me about my leadership style and the strengths and weaknesses that go along with it. This has helped me shape how I approach certain challenges, as well as how I relate to people. This self-discovery of my own leadership style is, I believe, the first step in becoming an authentic leader. If I could change one thing in the world, it would be to enable more people to visualise and manifest change in their lives, communities and the world.

Jarek Beksa

Profile photo of Jarek Beksa I am a designer, a team leader, a sound engineer, PhD student, lecturer and entrepreneur. I am optimistic, creative, enthusiastic, energetic, hard-working, passionate, both a rationalist and an idealist at the same time. I am Polish-made, but consider New Zealand my home. During the week, I work on my startup enterprise – making games for visually impaired players – and during weekends I play games. I love sports – especially running and swimming.
Some of my previous team mates called me a locomotive because I can inspire and gather others to join whatever I’m doing. I try to give team members freedom to act in their own ways, to unleash their potential – not to block it or frame it.
With my start-up, I fill a gap by developing accessible high quality and fun games, which can be played by both sighted and non-sighted people – giving the same level of fun and bringing these two groups together. I also recently created a voice platform for the Blind Foundation of New Zealand – a solution to provide over 15,000 audiobooks to over 20,000 Blind Foundation clients. Outside work I mentor young students and young entrepreneurs thinking about running a startup.
My aspirations in life are to develop the most accessible games for those with visual impairments. I wish to share my knowledge and inspire others to create more, and ever improving, accessible games and software.

Joel Gatland

Profile photo of Joel Gatland I am a curious person who loves exploring the world, meeting people and hearing their stories. I am currently a student studying towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering at AUT. Study takes up most of my time at the moment, but outside of study I referee for an Auckland Roller Derby League called the Pirate City Rollers, I love to eat and cook food, and I have a cat that I love to hang out with.
I have always been passionate about volunteering and helping to give back to the community. Previously I have done this through volunteering on the board of Rainbow Youth and facilitating small social support groups. In the future, I would like to use the skills I have learnt from engineering to improve people’s quality of life by listening to what people want and need.
So far one of the biggest insights I have gained through the Be. Leadership Programme is how important people are. Everyone has a story and those stories and life experiences shape the way they interact with others and how they work in the world. I’ve learnt a lot about the importance of listening, being mindful and taking the time to get to know people before working with them. I think if the world were more compassionate and empathetic then it would be a better place for everyone.

Kelli-Anne Te Huki

Profile photo of Kelli-Anne Te Huki I am a proud kiwi and a strong Māori Wāhine. I am an old soul that refuses to learn the languages of hate and prejudice, only speaking in those filled with empathy, compassion, and respect for others. To me, life is a continual learning process where the world is our classroom and there is always room for improvements. However, a bit of laughter and goofiness never goes astray.
I am currently on my Be. Employed Internship as Queer Support Intern at Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA), designing and conducting a study looking into LGBTQIA+ access to student support and corresponding experiences at Otago University. Alongside my work, my passions sit within the world of arts, being covered in color and holding a paintbrush, taking a snapshot, or singing along to good music.
I am actively involved in volunteer work, from volunteering through various UniCrew and OUSA roles, and I truly believe in giving back to society. Looking into and bettering inclusivity for everyone is something I am really passionate about. Coming from a background in Psychology and Criminology, this gives me more insight to influence one of the many changes I want to see in the world. As a firm believer in coexistence and equality, I aim to make the world a more accessible and brighter place for all and, with this opportunity thanks to Team Be., these are my first steps in that journey.

Kirsten Taylor

Profile photo of Kirsten Taylor I would describe myself as a kind spirit, and curious soul. I am of NZ European, French and Scottish decent and originally hail from Gisborne. Moving to Hong Kong age 30 and undertaking 2 years there in a senior role in the corporate trust division of an American Bank was probably the biggest challenge of my life. I returned to New Zealand 6 years ago and now work full time as Philanthropy Manager at Perpetual Guardian managing the Perpetual Guardian Foundation, and also am the primary caregiver for my son Leo, aged 2. I like to spend time with people and in places that nourish me.
My approach to leadership is values based, and centered on inclusion, and empowering others. I work to the ethos that there is always something to learn, no matter where you sit, or what your title is. I believe in listening to others to learn about where they come from and where they want to go. Be authentic. Be kind. Always.
Through the Be. Leadership Programme I am discovering that leadership is far more dynamic and layered than what I entered the programme thinking, which I felt was already quite evolved, but not academic. Leadership as host is emerging as a powerful framework for me.

Lilly Down

Profile photo of Lilly Down I’m a born and bred Cantabrian. I am an auntie who loves spending time with my family. Often described as a people person, I am committed to ensuring that everyone is included in their own communities. I enjoy seeing myself and others grow both personally and professionally. This includes within my football team, friendship circles, family and colleagues.
So far on the Be. Leadership Programme I have learned that leadership is more like a state of being, as opposed to an identity. The role of leadership goes beyond the traditional concept explained by scholars. This has led me to recognise what those around me and myself do, which is an element of natural and authentic leadership. I have also learned that self-discovery and awareness are crucial in leadership.
I am driven to support our society and communities through all that I may gain on the Be. Leadership programme. My aim is to become an advocate for people to access the support and services they need to enjoy life. As a social worker, understanding that everybody has a different experience and set of needs is crucial to ensuring all people thrive.  My vision is for a world where all people see the potential and good within themselves and each other.


Melissa Wells

Profile photo of Melissa Wells I am a vibrant, colour-loving, compassionate introvert. I currently work as a visitor services host at Te Papa. Originally from a small town in the South Island, I have found my happy place in Wellington.
The Be. Leadership Programme has helped me develop a greater understanding of myself and my personality preferences. My approach to leadership is through facilitation. I love seeing people grow and learn when they have the right support and encouragement. At work, I facilitate with visitors an exciting and accessible experience within our national museum. Outside of work, I am an administrator for several online support groups for people (like me) with Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and related pain conditions.
Living with invisible chronic pain conditions has made me more aware and perceptive of other’s emotions and pain levels. I have taken it upon myself to raise awareness, and to support others so that no one else feels unsupported like I did when I was first diagnosed. I have done this through administrating online support groups, facilitating meet ups, and through my Master’s thesis, titled The Art of Chronic Pain.

I have been made aware of the challenges and barriers within society because I have experienced them myself. It is from this unique perspective that I take part in facilitating changes to create a world where wherever we go, whoever we are, there is access and acceptance for everyone.

Min Khanthee

Profile photo of Min Khanthee I’m a creative, easy going and optimistic person. In my spare time, I enjoy going on adventures. I like staying active and being outdoors. Surfing has become an awesome pastime – it’s very meditative :). I also like to divvy my time with friends and family. I identify myself as tri-cultural (Thai/French/Kiwi), queer and neurodiverse. In my community, I like to make sure that everyone I encounter feels included.
I recently finished a degree in Psychology and Sociology. I plan to pursue further study in Psychology. Currently, I’m enjoying being a teacher aid and the volunteer work I do at RainbowYOUTH.
I view leadership as a collaborative process that ultimately empowers individuals to be their authentic selves. The programme has allowed me to shift the way I view myself in terms of leadership. Be. Leadership has equipped me with new frameworks and modes of thinking. I no longer see leadership as an elusive concept, but a quality that we all share.
If I could change anything in the world I would change people's mindsets, so that everyone was focused on self-growth. If people were more self-aware, I think they’d be a lot more compassionate towards themselves, one another, and the environment.

Nadmea Carvalho

Profile photo of Nadmea Carvalho I am a creative, a problem solver. I am self-motivated, and determined (some people call me stubborn). I am a lover of life. I am a ceramist, and also work as a support worker. My greatest achievement and the thing I am most proud of in life is my family – my 5 beautiful kids. Life has taught me to accept change, even when it is difficult or even tragic.
A great role model for me in leadership is Mahatma Ghandi – I admire his persistence, and his pacifism. My approach to leadership is to take action, and to be pragmatic. I believe in the first ripple that the stone makes when it falls in the water – do your best for who is nearest to you right now. I believe that there are leaders everywhere, some of them are just hidden by circumstances.
The Be. Leadership Programme has taught me that we have never finished with the work of self-awareness. Dammit...we can always improve. More hard work coming!
My greatest wish is for everyone in the world to have the opportunity and support to explore who they are, and to be supported to just be themselves.

Sue Le Mesurier

Profile photo of Sue Le MesurierKo Waitirohia pupu rere ana ki Nganuhaka te awa

Ko Takitimu te waka
Ko Kahungunu te marae
Ko Rakaipaaka / Rongomaiwahine te hapu
Ko Ngati Kahungunu te iwi
No Waipukurau, Haki Pei ahau
Kei Otautahi ahau e noho ana

I am a community support worker with Emerge Aoteoroa providing home based care for people with mental health challenges. I am also an expressive art therapist and incorporate this into my paid and voluntary work. I am in a new phase of my life seeking new challenges after recently returning to New Zealand. I am outgoing and adventurous and love meeting new people from different backgrounds, which has been an asset during my 30 years living and working abroad.

Everyone at some point in their life experiences access challenges but some more so and on a daily basis. As citizens we can highlight barriers customers and citizens face, and help our leaders understand that there is much work to be done before all New Zealanders can participate fully in public life. As leaders we can show empathy and understanding and be better informed in implementing the necessary changes to allow for full access for all. Leaders of the future need to champion diversity, have the courage to speak out and develop resilience. Diversity is a key enabler to achieving higher levels of engagement, creativity and innovation.