Virtual Role Models Focusing on Community Integration

Peer Learning to develop leadership and build community capacity to integrate marginalized groups
Free tutorial
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 (69 ratings)
6,959 students
1hr 26min of on-demand video
English [Auto]

Analyze videos and prepare to implement learning in real life situations
Test the impact from this implementation
Support others to develop self-confidence and engage with change
Become a transformational leader


  • Be prepared to challenge yourself and question assumptions


How can we build stronger, more resilient communities? By developing leaders to transform and energise the people around them! This includes building capacity to integrate different perspectives and embrace diversity - as well as enrolling those who have traditionally felt excluded!

Our projects have already reached over 30,000 learners. We are supported by the NZ UN Convention for Human Rights, UNESCO, The Todd and Tindall Foundations in our work with over 50 organisations.

We aim to empower marginalized people and their families develop goals which will strengthen their identity as well as develop self-confidence. We can all aim for careers that we are passionate about and gain recognition whilst making the social impact we target.

Watch audio-visual stories told by empowered community leaders as well as people who have been disenfranchised such as disabled people and their families or refugees and migrants who successfully overcame challenges and engaged on their leadership pathway. They collaborated with us to develop these learning units used by community leaders, educators, parents, support workers and students. In order to empower our communities, we need to encourage collaboration between education, community and social care,

Who this course is for:

  • Current community leaders who want to explore new community integration trends
  • Future community leaders who can follow their passion
  • Previously marginalized people such as disabled or migrant populations
  • Educators looking for novel and exciting ways to teach via storytelling
  • Professionals in the fields of social care, psychology, community development and policy


Research Director, Ecosynergy Group, Hamilton, New Zealand
Annick Janson
  • 4.6 Instructor Rating
  • 69 Reviews
  • 6,977 Students
  • 1 Course

I am an Applied Researcher in the Social Sciences, specialised in the lived experience of leadership. I work in a range of domains such as Education, Innovation and the Health & Disability sectors.

Recently I have carried out research about leadership development in the Community and Health & Disability sectors to bring about a different understanding of social inclusion. Based on this, I facilitate Consumer Engagement programmes for a number of Community Service Providers. Leadership development for disabled people and their family/whanau brings about a different understanding of social inclusion. Beyond participation in their communities, people with disabilities have expertise that can not only inform service and sector development – but also contribute unique skills and knowledge in their own right. This project uses a robust known Oral Storytelling methodology developed from a research project I lead starting in 2003 for the Royal Society of New Zealand on leadership storytelling was used by over 15,000 students in our Tertiary sector.

I developed a Storytelling of Lived Experience methodology which captures on video the experiences and small steps that together create significant change. Recognition of these micro-changes allows participants to lead a “re-authoring” process in a unique way of demonstrating impact.

I trained as a Clinical Psychologist but a decade ago crossed over to the dark side when embarking on a PhD in Virtual Leadership at the Waikato Management School.

In my spare time I represent NZ Health and Disability research at the European Union Association of Service Providers to the community sector conferences.

On the home front, our research was included in the 2011 NZ Human Right Commission report as it presented virtual role models sharing their learning pointing to audiences varied in age, ethnicity, condition and socio-economic background. Some of our interviews are displayed on our YouTube channel for wide access and are approaching 12,000 views. We also disseminate our research also via our Facebook page. See for instance a trailer of Role Model interviews part of an online resource for educators who work with youth at risk. We are funded by the Todd Foundation, the Tindall Foundation and UNESCO for our educational projects with vulnerable families and by the innovation and commercialisation sector.

Social Media Director at Ecosynergy Group Ltd.
Viktorija Gorčakovaitė
  • 4.6 Instructor Rating
  • 69 Reviews
  • 6,959 Students
  • 1 Course

Even though Social Media has been perceived to be a controversial and relatively new way of marketing, I have consistently been interested and involved in expression of creative marketing ideas online. 

Previous work in advertisement industry has added value to my perception and creation of brand management online, which I try to shape to a positive and inspiring image of the company throughout.

I am a goal-oriented journalist, observer and online media enthusiast. Having had experience working in a journalism area (both academic and leisure writing) has let me to a better expression of my own ideas both in the fields of published press as well as on-line.

Currently, I am very satisfied to be working with Virtual Role Model project to help establish a strong community of young people, who would inspire, empower and help each other when facing obstacles.

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