Research Director, Ecosynergy Group, Hamilton, New Zealand
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.