Our people

We employ a passionate & dedicated team across Aotearoa.

Board Members
Andrea Lee
National President
Andrea Lee
National President

Originally from the Waikato, Andrea, her husband and two children settled in Nelson in 2004 after living and working abroad for many years.
With a BA in Sociology, Andrea has over 30 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector including both the Youth, Education and Disability sectors in paid, voluntary and governance roles both in NZ and internationally. Before having children, she worked in Bosnia after the Bosnian war as a teacher educator and was the Director of Studies at an international school in the UK.
Parent to Parent became part of Andrea’s life in 2007 when her son was diagnosed with the rare genetic condition. She has attended and presented at numerous disability sector conferences both internationally and in New Zealand. Andrea is a current Parent to Parent Support Parent.
Andrea works as the Executive Director for Fragile X New Zealand.

Frian Wadia
Vice President
Frian Wadia
Vice President

Kia ora, ko Frian Wadia toku ingoa. My husband and I have 3 lovely boys 16yrs, 14yrs and 12yrs old, all with varying disabilities and learning needs. Through our experiences within the education and health systems over the years, I have become a passionate advocate for creating systemic change to ensure inclusion and enabling a meaningful dignified life for all individuals with disabilities. I am particularly interested in the creation of a truly inclusive education system where every student is valued, supported, has a strong sense of belonging, and is able to learn and thrive.

In my professional capacity, I am a certified ECE teacher, currently working part time and recently qualified as an Early Intervention teacher.

Over the last few years, I have been part of various support groups, committees, school and governance boards.

For the last few years, I have been on the leadership team of admins for VIPS Equity in Education, an online inclusive education advocacy forum for families, and have been a support parent with Parent to Parent. Currently I am in my second term on our local primary school board; and in 2019 I was appointed to the national Lotteries Individuals with Disabilities distribution committee, and the Teaching Council governance board.

My constant endeavours are aimed at empowering families and disabled people; improving systems, policies and legislation to ensure disabled children’s rights are upheld; and equity is ensured for all children irrespective of their abilities, socioeconomic status, neurodiversity and any other challenges. I love gardening, listening to music, and watching movies whenever I get the chance. I look forward to contributing my skills, expertise and lived experience to the best of my ability, for the benefit of our children and whanau.

Julie-Ann Johnson
Board Member
Julie-Ann Johnson
Board Member

My husband, three children and I reside on the rural Canterbury Plains. After gaining my Bachelor of Commerce and Management in 1991, I was an accountant for several Christchurch companies including Tegel Foods, Tait Electronics and Kiwi Packaging. Once the children all started school I have since been a self-employed contractor providing accounting, review, project management and administrative services.

The arrival of Patrick, now aged 12, started a challenging and often rewarding journey for our family as his intellectual disability impacts on family life, education and community. He is a young man full of surprises, a great sense of humour and a mighty love for Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.

I have been the treasurer for the Selwyn Launch Group since mid 2016. Their aim is to promote the inclusion of young adults with disabilities through work experience, employment and social activities. I have had three years’ governance experience as a trustee on a primary school board, which began in June 2013.

I have been an active member and committee chairperson of Greater Canterbury Parent to Parent since June 2010. Volunteering as a support parent is extremely rewarding.

Sarah Verran
Board member
Sarah Verran
Board member

As a Cambridge mother of a 15-year-old daughter who requires 24/7 care after a traumatic brain injury 4 years ago, Sarah has learned quickly how to advocate for her to have an inclusive life.

Accessing a multitude of services for her daughter on a daily basis has enabled Sarah to see where positive change can be made. She is passionate about offering practical insights as to how to access resources from a more effective wraparound model of care service.

“It’s challenging to access supports when you don’t know where to find them and there is fragmentation between services in the sector. I knew I could use my governance skills to help shape better outcomes for our communities.”

A strong advocate for communication, activation and belief, Sarah describes herself as a glass half full thinker who knows how to navigate a very complex health system and build strong relationships in order to achieving best outcomes for whānau. In 2018 Sarah became the recipient of the Institute of Directors Emerging Director award in the disability sector forging her path into governance and igniting her passion to bring a grassroots experience and perspective to the board table. Sarah also sits on the national boards of Life Unlimited and CCS Disability Action outside of her professional role in marketing for a leading media company.

Erin Black
Board member
Erin Black
Board member

Ko Turoto raua ko Whakatere ōku maunga

Ko Te Puna Ōhaeawai raua ko Waimā ōku awa
Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua tōku waka
Ko Ngāpuhi tōku iwi
Ko Ngāti Rangi raua ko Te Mahurehure ōku hapu
Ko Ngāwha raua ko Raukura ōku marae
Ko Matiu Baker tōku pāpā
Ko Gwen Weaver tōku māmā
Ko Nick Black tāku hoa tāne
Ko Ayla Black tāku anahera
Ko Erin Black tōku ingoa.

My name is Erin Black, I am Managing Director at Connect Consultancy, which specialises in organisational and systems transformation. I am also a board member at the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum and Institute of Directors NZ.

Raising my late-daughter, Ayla provided me with insight to the many benefits of strengths-based and person-directed approaches. I recently transitioned out of the role of Programme Lead - DS System Transformation. I believe Parent to Parent has a unique point of difference and strength in it's operating model, which has been connecting with families/ whānau throughout the country, to help them navigate complexity for decades.

A double degree graduate, I hold Bachelors of Commerce (Management) and Arts (Psychology) from the Universities of Canterbury and Otago respectively. My background in Market Research, Data Science and Cx is the foundation for the inquiring mind, empathy and sound analytical skills that I will bring to the board table.

Ko te ahurei o te tangata arahia ō tātou māhi/ Let the uniqueness of the people guide our work.

Chief Executive
Karen Miles
Karen Miles
Chief Executive
rob hamill feature
rob hamill feature
Parent to Parent is delighted to have Rob Hamill as our patron

Rob is an outstanding role model for all New Zealanders as someone who has pushed boundaries to the limit and succeeded in overcoming challenges along the way. He has experienced adversity in many forms and triumphed nonetheless.

Rob Hamill
Parent to Parent Patron

Rob is an outstanding role model for all New Zealanders as someone who has pushed boundaries to the limit and succeeded in overcoming challenges along the way. He has experienced adversity in many forms and triumphed nonetheless.

Rob won a World Rowing Championship silver medal, a Commonwealth, and set a world record on the indoor rowing machine. While competing at the Atlanta Olympics Rob heard about in the inaugural Atlantic Rowing Race to take place the following year which he and Phil Stubbs went on to win after spending 41 days, 2 hours, 55 minutes traversing 4,000 km of the Atlantic Ocean from Tenerife to Barbados in a 7m row boat. Rob is a motivational speaker and the author of The Naked Rower.

Rob is married to Rachel, who has been a Parent to Parent support parent for a number of years. They have three active young boys, one of whom has a rare eye condition.

Rob gives of his time voluntarily to Parent to Parent on many occasions to help raise awareness of the organisation. He is a keen advocate of the organisation and actively promotes the services it provides to families who are raising children with disabilities.

Parent to Parent is privileged to have a patron who is well-regarded both nationally and internationally, and who also has a personal awareness of parenting a child with a disability or health impairment.

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