The Team and Board – Te Kapa me Te Poari
The Inspiring Communities team is a virtual organisation consisting of people from all over the country who have skills, expertise and experience in CLD approaches.
Strategy and Communications Lead
Rachel has established a strong track record working with organisations on strategic and operational communications, as well as project-based work. She has worked in not for profit organisations and business and government agencies as diverse as philanthropy and Search and Rescue. Rachel has supported, driven and consulted on a wide range of activities. She has worked on a number of cross-sector projects and forums aimed at creating collaborative responses to the issues at hand. Rachel is most interested in delivering communication leadership that provides clarity and leads to practical outcomes that are fit for purpose and achievable.
In a previous life, she was a journalist and radio producer working with, amongst others, Kim Hill and Linda Clark, on the National Radio’s Nine to Noon programme.
Rachel is married to Chris; they have two teenage boys and live a great life in Wellington.
Mobile 027 415 1896
While hailing from small town New Zealand, Megan spent 15 years working in local government in Auckland. Her former Waitakere City Council roles focused on facilitating and brokering sector, place-based and citywide partnerships to improve community outcomes. She also worked with the Department of Internal Affairs to produce practical partnering tools and resources for those working at the collaboration coalface.
When it comes to community-led development Megan describes herself as a doer, thinker, writer, planner, teacher and learner – with being part of the Inspiring Communities team enabling her to combine all six skills and passions! She’s a firm believer in the power of local people and places to do amazing things and loves working alongside communities to help make locally-led action happen.
Nelson based Megan is a founding member of the Inspiring Communities core team, and (amongst many things!) leads coordination of IC Team activities.
Mobile: 027 678 8622
Kindra Douglas was the Founding Director of Victory Community Centre, located on the Victory Primary School campus in Nelson. The Centre has won a number of awards for its innovative work and partnership. Kindra was the founding Chair of Nelson Tasman Housing Trust which has gone on to develop 43 new homes for low income families and also offers a range of other housing supports.
Kindra has experience in education, crafts, counselling, retail books and publishing, and holds a wide range of community contexts.
Cissy Rock is committed to working with people to uncover what already exists and work in ways that value those impacted. She is not afraid to give her opinion and roll up her sleeves to help make things happen.
Cissy works with the dynamics of systems addressing symptoms of patronisation, inclusion /exclusion and how to build cohesion. With over 15 years experience working with communities and Local Government, she has found that integrity is at the heart of her work and at the heart of her trouble making.
Cissy set up Community Think Ltd in 2015, to stand in her belief that together we do make a difference, she is continuing to collaborate across Aotearoa undertaking campaigns, project development, change management, coaching, supervision workshops and facilitation.
Margy-Jean Malcolm’s life has been informed by a community development lens since she began local neighbourhood work in the 1970s in Wellington. Her current teaching, research, voluntary and consultancy work builds on her experience in leadership, management and governance in a wide variety of not for profit sector organisations and central government policy work.
Her involvement with Inspiring Communities has included collaborative inquiry research, contributing to our “Learning by Doing” publication and subsequently developing the “leadership as learning” framework.
Margy-Jean facilitates learning for people working in or with communities and community organisations. She is a mentor to individuals, organisations and students seeking practice-based learning qualifications through Otago Polytechnic’s Capable NZ. She is a grandmother, mother, aunty, daughter, neighbour, volunteer, pracademic, lifelong learner and active citizen, seeking a more just, caring and sustainable world.
Based in the bountiful Bay of Plenty for over three decades, Barbara focuses on practical collaboration around complex local issues and supporting community-led development practice.
She has lived and worked in many places across Aotearoa, and has worked in local and central government settings, as well as the community and business sectors. Along with many others, she helped establish Inspiring Communities in 2009. “If we want sustainable change to the huge challenges we face, we need focused and determined cross-sector effort which actively engages the wisdom of local communities.”
Barbara’s roles include project and event leadership and management, contributing to national publications, and CLD advisory and consultancy work to help generate income for the organisation.
Mobile: 027 425 2277
Originally from Taranaki, Denise is a visionary community activator with extensive practical and strategic experience in locally-led change, community building, placemaking, research and evaluation. She works with communities and groups as well as iwi, hapū, organisations, government and business and is focused on inspiring, activating and understanding locally-led change. Denise runs Catalyse Network and delivers the annual Placemaking Week in Tāmaki Makaurau; she is also a member of the Aotearoa regional team of PlacemakingX. She was the founding Chairperson of Gribblehirst Community Hub, a former Board member of the Jeder Institute, coordinated The Exchange Collaborative and is the current Chair of Morningside Urban Market Garden. Denise was a recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2012 and travelled through the US and Canada exploring the influence of CLD approaches on wider systems change.
She believes in investing in people as much as projects and enjoys sharing community-led approaches and experience from across Aotearoa as well as helping to bring some of the wealth of information from all over the world to those working and living in community-led ways here. Denise joined the Inspiring Communities team as a part-time contractor in 2010.
Mobile: 021 245 6898
David is a fourth generation Pākehā, a partner in a civil union, a father of four children, a Director of a Social Change/Service Organisation (Wesley Community Action) and CLD Influencer and Practice Lead for Inspiring Communities.
He has worked as a national NGO youth director, a policy manager in Central Government, a consultant on youth development, a trainer in policy analysis and now a director.
Key themes across his activities are bicultural/Treaty of Waitangi perspectives, systems/holistic action/thinking, positive child and youth development and grounding what we do in an authentic spirituality.
David is currently working in Inspiring Communities as CLD Influencer and Practice Lead.
Supporting the growth of strong and resilient communities is at the heart of Anna’s mahi. Anna has diverse experience of grassroots community development – having worked on peace building efforts with indigenous women leaders in Bougainville (PNG) to activating the community-led vision for the Valley Project in North Dunedin.
Youth development is a particular passion – often Anna is called in to build processes with young people from the ground up – and to enhance the ways groups and organisations work with young people.
Anna is a reflective practitioner and a systems thinker committed to social justice. Anna thrives when working cross-culturally and enjoys supporting communities to navigate their journey with Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Currently Anna is director of Mātāwai Consultancy and supports a number of Otago based organisations to think strategically and grow their impact. Mātāwai offers facilitation, mentoring, strategic advice, research, Te Tiriti o Waitangi education, event and project management.
Originally from Ōtautahi/Christchurch, Anna has called Ōtepoti/Dunedin her family home for more than 10 years.
Kim grew up on the wild West Coast of Te Wai Pounamu, where the edge of the deep Tasman Sea crashes into soaring, snow capped peaks. It’s a place of discovery – pounamu, coal and gold – treasure hidden in the depths and sometimes in plain sight. Kim now lives in the East of Otautahi (Christchurch) with her partner and wider whanau. She loves working with individuals, organisations and communities – partnering with them to make better sense of the complexities they face as they work for change in their particular part of Aotearoa. Kim has worked in and around the community sector in a variety of roles for over 30 years and has been involved with Inspiring Communities through the Community of Practice online groups. She has become increasingly interested in the way technology allows us to connect- so we can korero, learn with and from each other no matter where we live.
Louise is originally from Nottinghamshire in England, but has lived in Aotearoa for nearly 20 years, mainly in Tāmaki Makaurau, where she now lives with her husband and two small children. With a background in Finance, Economics and Community Development, she has over 10 years’ experience in the New Zealand not-for-profit sector, where she seeks to:
· promote social justice by working holistically to support equity and empowerment in communities;
· work with a community-led strengths-based approach that values diversity, encourages participation and inclusivity, and appreciates the unique gifts that every person has to offer;
· work with organisations and people and in ways that are aligned with my values;
· continuously learn and grow in order to better serve communities and to share that learning to support the development of others.
Thus, Inspiring Communities was a perfect fit! When she isn’t working or running around after the kids, she enjoys catching up with friends and having (very competitive) Games’ Nights.
With 15 years’ experience in communications, Claire is an avid listener and a deep thinker who gets excited about purpose driven work. She works strategically across businesses, and her passion lies in crafting brand strategies, meaningful communications and working up the channels that carry them both.
Her ambition for social impact and community-based outcomes is clear with the work she’s done across Save The Children NZ, The Shift Foundation and Land Search and Rescue. Working across Inspiring Communities is a perfect fit!
Outside of work, Claire, her husband and two fur babies live in a seaside home on the Kāpiti Coast – enjoying a quintessential kiwi lifestyle.
You can reach Claire on firstname.lastname@example.org
With a background in the arts and cultural sector, Annie joins the Inspiring Communities team with a passion for community engagement and activation. Working across different projects and cultural events, Annie loves to connect people through story telling and create meaningful conversations that spark inspiration and ideas.
Annie lives in sunny Nelson with her husband, two active little boys and the family pup, loves a good catch up over coffee, and volunteers her time as board member for Arts Council Nelson.
You can reach Annie on email@example.com
Firstly I’m a mother and grandmother who found my core sense of connection and belonging through natural medicine, to Mother Earth.
Growing up as a punk in 80’s England, I learnt the importance of social activism, as well as what it was like to be part of a minority group that was stigmatised for challenging the rules of the status quo.
For the last 28 years I have worked and been an active participant in the community and social sectors of Tauranga Moana and Hauraki. Grass roots roles such as community advocacy around mining, social and community development, and Strengthening Families facilitation, contribute to my understanding of community diversity and the importance of connection.
I have been proud to represent community in local and international forums around social and environmental topics such as early intervention, youth violence, social impact research, and alternative housing options. My work has taken me to Australia, Mexico, USA and England, but Aotearoa is where my heart, and my descendants are.
I am currently involved in CLD projects in Katikati, subsequent to completing a community-led, participative research project – “Katikati Hearts and Minds”, which won Community Research Aotearoa’s Billie’s Award for Strengths Based community research in 2019.
I co-chair in bi-cultural governance for SociaLink in Tauranga Moana, and also provide Professional Supervision for social workers through my company, Natural Assets Ltd, as well as delivering facilitation training for Strengthening Families.
Personal time spent within Cook Island anau and Māori community validates my belief that intrinsic relationships are key to strengthening communities. I acknowledge that my personal disconnection from my own roots has drawn me to Mātauranga Māori, and to exploring the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi in taking the journey of connection and partnership to each other as people, and to the land.
I am blessed to be aligned with Inspiring Communities and look forward to being of service in whatever capacity is useful.
Mark is married to Tess Casey and lives in Wellington. Mark is the Principal of Berhampore School, a primary school serving a diverse community. The school’s journey has seen it develop its focus from just being an education institution to a community partner and asset. Berhampore School is widely recognised as an advocate for the inclusion of all children in education and is known for its community-led focus.
Mark is involved in a wide range of local and national community initiatives. As well as being a board member of Inspiring Communities, he is a member of the Education for All Forum which advocates for cross sector partnership between disability and education organisations to ensure better access to education for all children. Recently Mark was one of the NZEI education union’s representatives on the Ministry of Education’s Joint Initiative Working Party on how communities of schools can collaborate.
Chris graduated as an Aeronautical Engineer in the UK and spent the early part of his career working in the aerospace and defence industries in procurement, production planning, and operations management roles.
He and his wife, Meg, fell in love with New Zealand during an all too short holiday in 2000. A year later they emigrated with their two daughters, Fiona and Rebecca. Since arriving he has worked in the healthcare, insurance, and transport industries in various commercial and strategic roles. He was also privileged to be chair of his professional body in NZ (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) for three years, and is currently in a strategic development role at Auckland Transport.
Chris grew up as a “Forces kid” where it was easy to become accustomed to not putting down roots anywhere; to remain only loosely connected to the community. Recent exposure to a community-led initiative in Northland inspired him to ground his passion for New Zealand in the work of Inspiring Communities.
Steve has had a career in the police for 22 years based in Christchurch. From 2012 to 2016 he was Sergeant in charge of the Riccarton Neighbourhood Policing Team. The Prevention First approach to policing was used to successfully reduce crime and to build community ownership and cohesion in the area. This approach changed how Steve saw policing and helped to fuel a passion for the prevention first approach.
He has received accolades for the work he did in this area – receiving a Police commendation and most recently a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship.
Steve is currently on extended leave from the police and is working on a Post Graduate course at Canterbury university. He’s studying Leading Collaborative Partnerships. Steve is passionate about community-led development and has seen first hand how such initiatives can lead to stronger communities.
Alison has deep family roots into the Southland community, where she is based. Alison’s involvements include consultancy for community projects and capacity building across the fields of social services, housing, health initiatives, education, conservation and disability issues. She has also had extensive involvement in violence prevention education as co-founder of the Women’s Self Defence Network Wāhine Toa, followed by many years in a national organisational and strategic leadership role with the Network.
Alison is a member on the Southland Conservation Board, a trustee of two local arts trusts, and on the executive of a community education group. She has several years of involvement with community philanthropy, including four years chairing the Community Trust of Southland. Alison is interested in the dynamics of locally-driven community-based initiatives, and their interface with global issues of sustainability, human rights and social justice.
Donna is a values-driven leader providing strategic and thought leadership to social and economic issues. She is an economist with over twenty years of experience as a researcher, policy analyst and manager working across quantitative data and qualitative evidence. Donna has extensive knowledge of the machinery of government, as well as a solid understanding the community sector, and the factors that contribute good outcomes for New Zealanders. Much of her professional work has centred on working for better outcomes for disadvantaged groups.
Donna came to New Zealand from Canada 15 years ago, and she has worked in Ministries of Education, Justice and Science and Innovation. She is currently the Director, Strategy, Rights & Advice for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. She brings her background in strategic policy, community social and economic development and advocating for those without a voice to be heard to all she does.
Donna lives with her husband and teenager in Johnsonville. She joined the Inspiring Communities Board in 2016 and has been Chair since 2017.