Be. Team

Be. Institute Trustees

John Allen – Chair

John AllenJohn Allen was appointed the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Racing Board in March 2015, having previously held the role of Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade since July 2009.

Prior to joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, John was Chief Executive of New Zealand Post, where he led a range of initiatives to drive growth in advance of declining mail volumes. He held a number of senior positions at New Zealand Post before his appointment as its Chief Executive in 2003.

A former Partner of Rudd Watts & Stone, specialising in commercial and public policy issues, John has also been a visiting Lecturer in Law at Victoria University of Wellington. He is an experienced company director and was co-chair of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum until April 2011. In his previous role he was adviser to the Boards of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Education New Zealand and Asia New Zealand Foundation; and trustee of the New Zealand China Council. John is Chair of the New Zealand Police Assurance and Risk Committee and Be. Accessible Charitable Trust. He is also a member of the Territorial Forces Employer Support Council; and a trustee of the New Zealand International Arts Festival and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Foundation.  

Ant Howard - Trustee

Ant HowardA former CEO of Wang New Zealand (now known as gen-i), which under Ant's leadership reinvented itself from a product company to become one of the country’s most innovative and successful systems integration and services companies. It listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange as part of this process.

Ant's broad experience with public and privately owned companies gives him depth and breadth of expertise in strategy development; go to market planning and execution; corporate governance; corporate restructuring; mergers and acquisitions; capital raising; business strategies and planning. He has particular expertise and passion for building highly effective leadership teams and facilitating a strong and constructive working dynamic between investors and owners.   

Mary-Jane Rivers – Trustee

Mary-Jane Rivers

For Mary-Jane, the importance of communities was reinforced though her family's involvement in their own neighbourhood and her senior management roles in local and central government, especially leading social impact assessment work in the late 1980s. Mary-Jane has been CEO of the NZ Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux and has run her own business.

Mary-Jane has been involved with international development work in several Pacific countries, Asia and in Eastern Europe for the World Bank, UNDP and NZ MFAT. She has seen the lasting and far-reaching impact of many community development initiatives based on community leadership working hand-in-hand with government, business, NGOs and funders.

Ross Brereton – Trustee

Ross Brereton

Ross is a committed advocate for the human rights and protections of disabled people and he has over 30 years’ experience in the management and governance of disability organisations.

Ross has an MA in Sociology and diplomas in Teaching and Human Resource Management.

His previous roles include: CEO of Disabled Persons Assembly NZ, Human Rights Commissioner, Assistant Chief Executive of CCS and National Services Manager of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind. Ross has a congenital visual impairment.

Andy Martin - Trustee

Andy Martin Chief Executive Officer, New Zealand Football. From 2009 until December 2013, Andy was the Group CEO of London Irish Holdings Limited, which operated the professional rugby business of London Irish Rugby Football Club in the English Aviva Premiership. During that period he was also a member of the Executive Board of Premiership Rugby Limited, the umbrella organisation which controls English Premiership Club Rugby.

Prior to that, he was an Executive Board member of the Corporate Banking Division of Barclays PLC, starting this role in 2006. During his tenure on the Executive Board, he led the global sales business across financial institutions and international corporates and grew it from 20 to 100 lead bankers with offices in UK, France, Spain, Germany, Dubai, South Africa, Singapore and USA.

Andy is a former Corporate Banker, with over 25 years experience in Barclays across various global territories and disciplines. He completed a Masters in Business Administration from Henley Business School in his native England in 2003 and attended the Executive Development Program, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania in 2004.

Andy is married to Catherine and has two children and, having been brought up playing football in Lancashire, England remains a fervent Liverpool FC supporter.


Executive Team

Minnie Baragwanath – Chief Executive

Minnie Baragwanath

Minnie Baragwanath is the CEO and founder of Be. Accessible – a social change agency shifting Aotearoa from disability to possibility. Minnie believes New Zealand can become a thought-leader, a visionary, and a global powerhouse in access innovation. She envisions a thriving nation whose leaders, thinkers, and makers are embracing the opportunities accessibility presents.

Minnie has a BA in English Literature, a Bachelor of Communications Studies, and a graduate diploma in Economic Development. Minnie was a recipient of the Sir Peter Blake Leadership award in 2013, became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2014, and was placed as a top 10 finalist for the 2017 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award. She is a finalist for the 2017 Women of Influence Awards, and a Leadership New Zealand alum.


Megan Barclay - General Manager

Megan Barclay

Megan is General Manager at the Be. Institute. She was previously the Director of the Be. Welcome Programme.

Prior to this Megan was the Executive Director at Leadership New Zealand, along with having 20 years working in corporate leadership in the private sector. She brings a wealth of knowledge about creating effective and meaningful strategies for the future success of the Be. Institute. Megan's vibrant and go-getter attitude makes her perfect for driving the Be. Accessible mission!

Be. Welcome

Neville Pulman - Be. Welcome Programme Director

Neville Pullman

Neville is the Director of the Be. Welcome Programme at the Be. Institute.

Prior to this Neville was Managing Director of a National Field marketing business that specialized in improving the customer journey and experience across a wide group of channel partners.  With over 20 years of senior leadership experience and relationship development Neville is currently on the Board of Leadership New Zealand.


Lauren Wetini - Be. Welcome Project Manager

Lauren WetiniLauren has been involved with Be. since it first started in 2011.  Her role as first employee was Personal Assistant to Minnie as well as turning an empty space into a hive of activity with desks, chairs and phones.  

Since then, Lauren has had two children and continued working for Be. by becoming a Be. Coach, and now works part time co-ordinating accessibility development programmes with businesses and organisations.

Be. Leadership

Lesley Slade – Be. Leadership Programme Director

Lesley Slade

Lesley Slade has a long history in leadership development working with individuals, organisations and communities. Lesley began her adult life by training to be a teacher and has worked as a community worker - initiating and setting up community programmes. In her other experiences, Lesley has also held senior human resource and organisational development roles.

She was the inaugural Chief Executive of Leadership New Zealand between 2005 and 2008. Lesley remains working in the leadership development space as a co-Director of Be. Leadership and as a consultant on leadership, people and organisational development.

Philip Patston – Be. Leadership Programme Director

Philip Patston

Philip is best recognised for his ten-year career as a comedian and entertainer but these days, it's his passion for social change that is getting him noticed.

An alumnus of the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship and Leadership New Zealand, Philip passionately believes that, individually and collectively, we have a powerful opportunity to significantly change our social fabric - simply by creatively re-imagining diversity.

Besides his role as co-director of the Be. Leadership programme, Philip's professional highlights include: being appointed the Patron of Rainbow Youth, speaking at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford; and setting up not-for-profit organizations including the Diversityworks Trust, Ripple Trust, Manawanui inCharge and Auckland Disability Law.

Be. Employed

Sarah Mitchell - Be. Employed Programme Director

 Sarah MitchellSarah Mitchell is the Programme Director for Be. Employed. She is responsible for managing this exciting pilot initiative, which focusses on sourcing and tertiary students with access needs into meaningful work. Sarah is also responsible for the Be. Employed consultative model, which like the Be. Welcome programme (through an employment lens) enables and empowers businesses and organisations to create experiences and services that are accessible to every New Zealander.

Sarah has tertiary qualifications in Employment Relations and Human Resource Management and has recently returned to New Zealand after more than a decade living and working in Hong Kong.

As a member of the Blind Foundation and having worked as a minority in a foreign employment market, Sarah fully appreciates the struggle and barriers put in front of people from diverse backgrounds. Sarah approaches life with a "can do" attitude and she has a passion for encouraging and promoting the same philosophy amongst our diverse workforce. She is committed to translating this open-minded attitude to potential employers and employees alike.

Jacob Mills - Be. Employed Intern Coordinator

Jake MillsAfter being part of the 2013 Be. Leadership programme, Jake gained the confidence to pursue his passion for the sector and become our Be. Employed Intern Coordinator. His role involves enabling a critical work stream of Be. Employed by facilitating the placement of tertiary student graduates living with a disability through an internship programme. The internship programme was previously managed by MSD under the MSD mainstream supported employment function.

Prior to being employed at Be.Accessible Jake worked at the Regional Sports Trust in New Plymouth (Sport Taranaki) as the ParaFed Taranaki Sport Development Officer, helping to create sports and recreational opportunities for people with physical impairments.

Be. Campaign

Desiree Clark – Marketing Manager

Desiree ClarkDesiree is Be. Accessible's chief story-teller!  The story telling centre's around the wonderful work that Be. Accessible’s three core programmes are doing; the amazing journeys that our clients and partners are on in their quest to become accessible businesses and the innovative people and products out there that take us one step closer to achieving our goal of making New Zealand 100% accessible! Desiree places a high value on community and stakeholder engagement – both of which are key in driving social change.
Desiree has an Honours degree in Social Science and was previously a Senior Marketing Manager with AMP Capital’s Shopping Centre property portfolio.


Hannah Slade - Communications Manager & Be. Leadership Programme Manager

Hannah SladeHannah is passionate about leadership, social change and sustainability, and has been truly inspired by the positive and motivating environment at Be.

In her capacity as Communications Manager, Hannah talks to people doing amazing things in the accessibility space, and then shares their stories via social media and the e-newsletter.

As Programme Manager for the Be. Leadership Programme, Hannah works with incredible leaders from within the access community, ensuring they get the most out of their time on the leadership programme, which she finds rewarding and energizing.


Be. Office

Janelle Keksz - Finance Manager

Janelle KekszJanelle has been with Be. Accessible from the beginning, and was responsible for setting up the finance and administrative systems.  As a Chartered Accountant, with degrees in commerce and law, the Not For Profit financial space has been one she has relished, and she continues to enjoy the challenges that her work involves.

Janelle loves working with a team who love what they do, and are committed to creating a 100% accessible society. It has taught her to think and act differently, and as a mother of two young girls, has made her more aware of what an accessible country should look like.


Latifa Daud – Marketing and Administration Assistant

Latifa DaudLatifa is Be.'s Administrative Assistant, providing the support required from all the programme directors and managers to deliver the best possible results. She also works closely with the marketing team in telling stories about incredible milestones and initiatives taking in the access and innovation space.
Latifa has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Education and a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism. She is passionate about diversity in leadership and has an interest in the power of language and story-telling, which she expresses in her personal blog. Latifa is also a 2017 Be. Leadership participant. 


Debbie Irwin - Website Administrator

Debbie brings a high degree of professionalism and analytical ability to the Be. Welcome team. Her time contracting to the Independent Living Service Auckland, as well as her background in client relationship management make her a valuable team member.

Fab 50

Imogen Parry - Fab 50 Secretariat

Imogen Parry Imogen is Be’s Fab 50 Secretariat. Imogen explores the role high-profile leaders can play in generating social change. Her work supports, equips, and stretches the Fab 50 – a network of influencers who are working alongside Be build an accessible Aotearoa. Imogen is deeply interested in collective wellbeing, new paradigms of leadership, impact strategy, and design-led approaches to social change.
Imogen has a Bachelor of Design, and a background in the creative industries. In 2012 she co-founded The Infographers. This information design micro-studio transformed complex ideas, processes, and data into simple, beautiful information graphics and data visualisations. She is a graduate of the 2016 Leadership New Zealand programme.