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It's Strategic planning Day 2021! Meet our amazing Board members

From left - John Baker (chair), Kate Vennell, Graham King, Pat Spellman, Henry Kozak, Fale Lesa (not present - Gerhard Sundborn)

From left - John Baker (chair), Kate Vennell, Graham King, Pat Spellman, Henry Kozak, Fale Lesa (not present - Gerhard Sundborn)

At last, a strategy meeting, kanohi ki te kanohi, after months and months of online 'pivots' and restarts to the planning process thanks to Covid-19 restrictions.

Any organisation has to plan ahead and be ready to change and adapt. In our area of diabetes in the community this has never been more important than it is now. We need to respond to the changes in the environment, increased pressures on the people we work with at community level, manage recovery from the widespread impacts of the global pandemic, and work on ensuring our organisation stays relevant and most importantly effective.

Thanks to the Counties Manukau Health Otara Hub for providing the room for the planning session.   

As for the amazing people who volunteer their time, skills and passion to provide the governance and guidance for Diabetes Foundation Aotearoa, let us introduce you to:

  • Dr John Baker (Board Chair) - Endocrinologist/Diabetes physician, John is an untiring advocate for people with diabetes.  He is dedicated to improving standards of diabetes care and finding new ways to address the serious health inequities experienced by Māori and Pacifica peoples in our community. Dr Baker has been a Board member for Diabetes Foundation Aotearoa since the 1990's and has been Chair since 2017.

  • Kate Vennell - is by background a Chartered Management Accountant and is a current member of the Institute of Directors.  An experienced Charity Trustee, She worked for 20 years in the UK in executive roles. Kate was raised in Tāmaki Makaurau and has past and present whānau affected by diabetes. This has given her insights into the challenges of the condition, but also that it is possible live well with diabetes.

  • Graham King (Ngāti Tai) - Has worked for the NZ Police as a sworn officer (15 years) and as a non-sworn employee (15 years) as well as in a management role in Scotland (2 years), private investigator (12 years) and in Commercial Finance (6 years).  Graham is married with two adult children and has five mokopuna.  Graham was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1990 and has experience of diabetes clinical trials.

  • Henry Kozak - Born and raised in the UK, Henry moved to New Zealand at the beginning of 2020 with his wife and two sons. He has spent the last 15 years working in the advertising industry in both Europe and New Zealand during which time he led the business and brand strategy for some of the world's biggest organisations.  Since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2019 Henry has been on a steep learning curve looking into every facet of the disease. His mission as a Trustee is to help the Foundation help even more people, in even more ways.

  • Fale Andrew Lesa - is a JP and experienced Trustee who shares a home with diabetic parents and grandparents. Fale is committed to improving outcomes for Pacific people in South Auckland. He's currently on the Child & Youth Mortality Review Committee at the Ministry of Health and a director at Kidney Health New Zealand. Fale was recently elected to the Manurewa Local Board and Wiri Licensing Trust. 

  • Pat Spellman (Ngāti Maru) - Born in Rotorua and raised in Tokoroa.  Pat has life experience that allows him to bring insight and a real passion to his desire to "prevent Māori and Pacific Whanau across Aotearoa having to live a life affected diabetes".  He has a wealth of marketing, communications, social media and web management skills. He also has considerable Governance and advisory experience having served as a Board Member for the Tauranga Māori Business Association, Counties Manukau Touch Association (currently Vice President) and has supported various other NFP and community groups, especially with comms, marketing and strategy creation.

  • Dr Gerhard Sundborn (not in above photo) - Board member since 2017, Gerhard an epidemiologist, and senior lecturer in Pacific Health at The University of Auckland. He is the master-mind behind the FIZZ (fighting sugar in soft drinks) movement. He is extensively published and his interests include health advocacy and public health research with particular interest in health of Pacific peoples