The Wise Group

The first thing you notice about the Wise Group is that we’re a little bit different!

We chase one thing relentlessly – our dream to create fresh possibilities and services for the wellbeing of people, organisations and communities. We’re a family of charitable organisations and our work includes health and wellbeing services, housing support, employment and navigation services, education and training, workforce development and research, software development, and finally business support services.

We’re also a Peak Performing Organisation; a practice underpinned by research that helps us continuously be the best we can as we pursue our shared dream. Together, we ‘think and act as one’ to create the greatest outcomes for the people, organisations and communities we serve.

Read on to learn more about the Wise Trust Board and the Wise Group leadership team.

Me mahi ngātahi tātou – Let us work together

Our board

Governed by a group of people with expertise in both mainstream environments, and extensively within the community, the Wise Charitable Trust is guided by its trustees. These people are leaders and entrepreneurs whose work is specific to the navigation of health and social services in New Zealand.

Bruce Sheridan
Jacqui Graham
Julie Nelson
Mike Pratt

Bruce Sheridan

Board chair

Bruce Sheridan has been involved with the group since it began more than 25 years ago. He is on the boards of various charitable trusts, NGO, and commercial enterprises. For many years he was a partner in accounting firm KPMG, acting as a business advisor.

He is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.

As well as chairing the Wise Trust Board he is on the board of the group’s housing arm, LinkPeople Ltd.

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It’s the sheer passion and drive of Wise Group people and their commitment to making a tangible difference that creates amazing possibilities. I’m proud to be part of this journey.

Jacqui Graham

Jacqui Graham is the founder and joint chief executive of the Wise Group.

Jacqui has a nursing background, holds a Master of Business Administration and has been involved in the development of multiple organisations throughout New Zealand.

Jacqui describes herself as a social entrepreneur who is part of a growing number of entrepreneurs internationally who choose to direct their skills to social good.

Jacqui is currently chair of the national mental health provider, Pathways Health Limited.

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We do what we do well. But for us it’s not about fame or recognition. It’s about the immense reward of truly touching someone’s life. We started out more than 25 years ago with that dream and it still guides us every day.

Julie Nelson

Julie Nelson represents the Trust’s interests as joint chief executive of Wise Group.

Julie is passionate about innovation in mental health services, and her extensive background in the sector illustrates her ongoing desire to really make a difference for people experiencing mental illness.

Julie’s many portfolios provide her with an in depth appreciation of the sector.

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We’re focused on imagining fresh possibilities for people and delivering them in a way that inspires yet more possibilities.

Mike Pratt

Dr Mike Pratt is a business advisor and professional director.  He holds a doctorate in Finance and is a chartered accountant.

He is a Senior Lead Reviewer for the State Services Commission’s Performance Improvement Framework.

His company Sustainable Enterprise Ltd provides peak performance development services to companies, NGOs and government agencies.  From 1990 to 2007 Mike was Dean of the University of Waikato Management School. Mike has published extensively in academic journals and the business press, and is known for his “Peak Performance” books and workshops.

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From my work with multinational corporations, high growth companies, NGOs and government agencies I can affirm that the Wise Group ranks as a truly Peak Performing Organisation.

Sue Bidrose
Richie Poulton
Hayden Wano
Hayden Wano

Sue Bidrose

Sue is CEO of AgResearch, one of the Government’s seven Crown Research Institutes. Her past positions include seven years as CEO at Dunedin City Council, and time across central government, private sector and not-for-profit agencies.

Sue holds a PhD in Psychology and has studied at Oxford University, the University of California and Victoria University, Wellington. She has been extensively published in her specialist area of childhood emotion and memory.

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Without exception, the people I have met throughout the Wise Group are talented, dedicated and passionate about what they do. It is our people and their commitment to the group’s common vision that make the group work so well, and I feel privileged to be a part of it.

Richie Poulton

Professor Richie Poulton is Director of the University of Otago’s Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit which conducts the world-renowned Dunedin longitudinal study, one of the most detailed studies of human health and development ever undertaken.

In 2010, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and was the joint recipient of the RSNZ Dame Joan Metge Medal for excellence and building relationships in the social science research community. In 2014, he was appointed to the part-time role of Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Social Development.

The Wise Group stands for everything I care about – protecting the vulnerable, ensuring their dignity and creating opportunities for success in life.

Hayden Wano

Hayden has recently been appointed as Chair of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. This appointment follows his most recent role as Chairman of the TSB Community Trust where, under his leadership, the trust focused and made huge investments in youth, families and Māori communities. Hayden is also a former director of TSB Bank.

Hayden, who is an Alumni of Columbia (USA) and Massey Universities, has also previously chaired both the National Health Board and Taranaki District Health Board and was recently elected to the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce as a director. Notably, he is also the chair of his marae at Parihaka.

Craig Fisher

Craig Fisher is a Consultant specialising in governance and financial matters and is a professional director. Formerly an audit partner working across government, commercial, and non-profit sectors providing external audit, assurance, risk management and governance advice to a diverse range of organisations.

He is a Fellow Chartered Accountant, chartered member of the Institute of Directors, and holds governance roles in various organisations including charitable trusts, a professional association, a Maori Trust, and an Independent Crown Entity.

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Organisations with laser like clarity are the ones in my experience who make a real sustainable difference. The Wise Group has that clarity and positive impact.

We believe in working with partners

that share our purpose.

Our leadership

Wise Charitable Trust has several subsidiary companies with a charitable purpose which are led by a talented group of chief executives. Our leaders are passionate leaders and experts in their respective fields.

Julie Nelson
Jacqui Graham
Warren Elwin
Keri Opai

Julie Nelson

Joint chief executive

Julie Nelson represents the Trust’s interests as joint chief executive of Wise Group.

Julie is passionate about innovation in mental health services, and her extensive background in the sector illustrates her ongoing desire to really make a difference for people experiencing mental illness.

Julie’s many portfolios provide her with an in depth appreciation of the sector.

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Jacqui Graham

Joint chief executive

Jacqui Graham is the founder and joint chief executive of the Wise Group.

Jacqui has a nursing background, holds a Master of Business Administration and has been involved in the development of multiple organisations throughout New Zealand.

Jacqui describes herself as a social entrepreneur who is part of a growing number of entrepreneurs internationally who choose to direct their skills to social good.

Jacqui is currently chair of the national mental health provider, Pathways Health Limited.

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Warren Elwin

Chief executive, Workwise

Warren is chief executive of Workwise. He has spent over 20 years designing and leading employment services and is regularly called upon to share his knowledge and expertise.

Warren has a social work background and describes himself as an agent for positive change. He enjoys taking a creative approach to making a difference within the sector.

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Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave

Chief executive, Le Va

Denise has over 20 years’ experience in leadership experience in senior management roles. As a clinical psychologist, Denise has worked in New Zealand prisons, Māori mental health and Australian mental health services. Denise’s experience includes DHB funder and planner roles, building a Pacific maternal mental health service in Palmerston North from the ground up.

She currently chairs Pasifikology, our national network of Pasifika psychologists and serves on New Zealand’s Suicide Mortality Review Committee.

Of Tongan descent from the village of Kolofo’ou, Denise has a passion to grow and support people. Having been a senior leader at Le Va for the past eight years and led the design of two national suicide prevention programmes, Denise has a comprehensive understanding of combining clinical-based best practice with cultural wisdom and deep community connections.

Sally Pitts-Brown
Rae Lamb
Christine Hall
Nick Kemp

Sally Pitts-Brown

Chief executive, Pathways

Sally has more than 18 years’ experience in leadership and management roles across the mental health and social services sectors.

After training and working as an occupational therapist in New Zealand, Sally spent five years working as an occupational therapist in the UK. Returning to New Zealand in 1996, Sally went on to work in a number of leadership roles in Capital and Coast DHB and the Wise Group, including chief executive of Blueprint for Learning.

After a period of contracting and taking some family time, Sally re-joined the Wise Group as chief executive of Pathways, the largest entity within the group.

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Rae Lamb

Chief executive, Te Pou and Blueprint for Learning

Rae comes to Te Pou with a wealth of experience in senior leadership, change management and working with diverse stakeholder groups nationally and internationally. She understands the importance of evidence-based health care and decision making, and her professional, ethical approach is underpinned by compassion and a drive to make a significant contribution to systems change in health and social services.

Rae was a Harkness Fellow in Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health and Institute for Healthcare Improvements in the United States. She is currently a trustee on the governing board of the internationally distinguished Cochrane.org. She is also deputy chair of the Health Quality and Safety Commission Board.

A former New Zealand Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner for five years, Rae has recently moved home to New Zealand from Australia, where she was Aged Care and Aged Care Complaints Commissioner since 2010, appointed by the Australian government.

Fiona Hamilton

Chief executive, LinkPeople

Fiona has almost 20 years’ experience in research, programme management and leadership across a range of sectors including the Waitangi Tribunal claim process, mental health workforce development and Housing First.

Fiona spent two years as programme lead at Housing First Auckland before becoming LinkPeople’s acting chief executive in October 2019. Fiona led and fronted the first Auckland-wide Point-in-Time count, Ira Mata, Ira Tangata, and led the development of the governing group for the Auckland collective working with mana whenua, local government and Ministries and departments such as Housing, Social Development, Health and Justice.

 

Nick Kemp

Chief executive, Wild Bamboo

Nick joined the Wise Group in 2014 and was appointed chief exceutive for Wild Bamboo in 2019. He has a delivery and quality focus and works with talented teams of experts who provide a range of support services to the Group.

Nick loves connecting people and their ideas with meaningful solutions and believes that together we can explore new ways of creating fresh possibilities for our people, and the people we work with.

Nick has more than 20 years’ experience in a variety of roles within the IT industry and brings a unique mix of commercial and technology skills into the social sector.

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