Debbie Ward - President
(for Corporate Member DPA)
Debbie has lived experience of disability and is committed to seeing disabled people being leaders of their own lives. Debbie grew up in Hastings, the fruit bowl of New Zealand. With the support of family and strong allies she has overcome barriers to have the same rights to education, employment and recreation as other New Zealanders. This has given Debbie a passion to advocate for disabled people to be valued and contributing members of society.
Debbie has had 30 years’ experience working in the Disability Sector and has a particular interest in seeing diversity and inclusion in Workplaces. She has seen the change on the emphasis for employers about the value and benefits to having a diverse workforce. Yet disabled people are still underrepresented in New Zealand workforces.
As Workbridge Council President, Debbie is committed to supporting Workbridge to dispel the myths and assumptions about employing disabled people. Along with the commitment to prepare a talent pool of workers that are ready and waiting to be employed.
(for Corporate Member Business NZ)
Barbara Burton works in the areas of employment law, contracts, human rights and diversity. A published author on employment-related matters and employer representative on the former Labour Court. She contributes to international bodies representing employers, including the International Labour Organisation and the International Organisation of Employers and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) of the OECD of whose Employment Labour and Social Affairs committee she is a member. She is a former member of the National Advisory Committee on the Employment of Women and has a long-standing interest in disability issues.
(for Corporate Member People First NZ Inc)
Michael Aldridge has been a member of People First NZ for over 20 years. Formerly Michael was Chairperson for the National Committee and is currently the President for the Nelson Group. Michael has been on the Workbridge Council for one year and lives in Nelson.
(for Corporate Member Deaf Aotearoa)
Lachlan has worked in the disability sector for more than 17 years, firstly in Australia for Wesley Mission Brisbane, and since early 2006 at Deaf Aotearoa. Initially working in Christchurch as an employment consultant, Lachlan progressed to the roles of South Island Regional Manager and then General Manager – Community Development, before being appointed as Chief Executive in 2012.
(for Corporate Member Blind Citizens NZ)
Chrissy Fern has lived experience of low vision and variable health. She has been a previous client of Workbridge, and is currently a Board Member for Blind Citizens NZ. Her paid and voluntary employment roles have included administration and educational support, in schools and community organisations. Chrissy has a passion for advocating on behalf of those who may not have the capability or confidence to do so for themselves. She has a special interest in the employment challenges facing those who live in rural areas. Her aspiration is that all people with disabilities will be enabled to experience equal opportunities in employment.
(for Corporate Member HRNZ)
Lisa Oakley Bcom, PGdipBusAdmin, MMgmt, CFHRINZ, CAHRI is a Board Member and National Vice President of HRNZ, General Manager People and Culture for Blind+Low Vision NZ, and Director of Love Your Work NZ. Lisa has 15+ years’ experience in Human Resources in large scale service environments in a range of industry sectors and is currently studying towards her GradDip in Occupational Health and Safety and Professional Coaching Qualification through Coach Masters Academy. Lisa is passionate about providing leadership and support for people and culture best practice. This includes promoting diversity and inclusion of all types and in all levels of an organisation to maximize engagement and achieve high performance results.
Pam MacNeill is Managing Director of Disability Responsiveness NZ which produces and facilitates training for disabled people and the wider community. Pam is an employment specialist and also works in the areas of disability monitoring, evaluation and research.
Kerry Ludlam runs Change Management Ltd which provides business advice and services to SME businesses and NGOs. Kerry is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand and the Institute of Directors, and is a Council Member with Music Therapy New Zealand.
Heather Browning set up her own consultancy practice after leaving her role as General Manager of Enable New Zealand after 13 years. She was Chairperson of the National Council of the Muscular Dystrophy Association from April 2015 – April 2017.
Derek Gill has over 35 years experience in Public Policy. Public Management and Financial Management. Derek is Principle Economist & Head of Public Good at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.
Mark is a qualified accountant and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. He also has a Master of Public Policy degree from Victoria University. He has a background in corporate governance, audit, finance and commerce. Mark is currently a director of NZX listed Marsden Maritime Holdings Ltd, an alternate Crown Trustee of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust and a former director of Habitat for Humanity NZ Ltd .
Sonia Thursby MNZM
Sonia Thursby is CEO of two charitable organisations in New Zealand the first being the YES Disability Resource Centre, a multi-million dollar, multi-level community hub, housing 16 different organisations, the second being PHAB Association Inc, an International organisation providing recreational and leadership support for young people with disabilities for 40 years in New Zealand.
Sonia has also worked in the disability, health and youth sectors in New Zealand for 26 years and prior to that in the UK, and is currently serving a second term as an elected member of the Ministry of Health NGO Council and a third term as an Executive Member of the NZ Federation of Information Centres.
Senior Leadership Team
Jonathan Mosen MNZM
Jonathan is an experienced leader, manager, negotiator and advocate, holding senior management positions in the not-for-profit and commercial sectors. In his work with the Blind Foundation, Jonathan managed Government Relations, oversaw extensive constitutional reform, and chaired its board during the transition to the new structure. He has also been a consumer advocate, having been President of Blind Citizens New Zealand.
Jonathan is an internationally recognised assistive technology leader, pioneer and commentator, having established the Internet radio start-up ACB Radio, and developed several leading products for HumanWare and Freedom Scientific. After a stint as an independent accessibility consultant, Jonathan most recently led the roll-out of the visual interpreter service Aira to New Zealand and Australia.
Jonathan has lived experience of disability, being totally blind and hearing impaired.
Chief Operating Officer
Phillip Hendry has 15 years experience of technology leadership in the not-for-profit sector. A former chair of the not-for-profit CIO group and holding a Masters degree in Information management Phillip’s expertise is in IT governance and leading business transformation programmes supported by technology.
National Manager People & Culture
Jude has worked across a variety of organisations in the Wellington region including not-for-profit, education, CRIs and core government. Jude has a comprehensive understanding and experience of HR and OD systems, resources and tools and how these link together to support achievement of organisational strategy.
National Manager Business Services
Manager Stakeholder Relations
Nick brings a wide range of experience from many sectors, he is a senior and well respected leader in New Zealand’s disability rights community, he is very well connected politically, having worked for NZ’s first MP with a disability. He is a former DPO leader, being elected to the DPA governing council, and he has led teams in the tech start up space. Nick holds a Masters degree in Political Science with Honours and a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration.
Nick is passionate to ensure that Workbridge enables more opportunities for the disabled people we serve to find meaningful employment and he lives with both a physical disability and an invisible disability.