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

Created by a group of people with expertise in both mainstream environments, and extensively within the community, the Wise Group is guided by its trustees. These people are facilitators 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, and chief executive of Wise Management Services.

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

Sue Bidrose

Sue is the chief executive of Dunedin City Council.  Her past positions have included working for the Ministry of Social Development as a policy analyst and researcher and the Waitakere City Council as director of Community Wellbeing.

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 initial 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.

We believe in working with partners

that share our purpose.

Our leadership

We believe the true measure of our success is the talented people who work for us – our Wise Group family. The leadership group is made up of the chief executives and CFO. Our leaders are experts in their respective fields and passionate about the work we do.

Julie Nelson
Jacqui Graham
Warren Elwin
Monique Faleafa

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.

LinkedIn

Jacqui Graham

Joint chief executive

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

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.

LinkedIn

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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Dr Monique Faleafa

Chief executive, Le Va

Dr Monique Faleafa has served her Pasifika communities for more than 18 years. This includes working for Pasifika grass roots social services, serving at the frontline as a registered clinical psychologist in district health boards, leading research projects, and gaining experience at governance levels for community not-for-profit organisations as well as for crown entity and regulatory bodies such as the New Zealand Psychologists Board and the Health Promotions Agency. This has all provided a solid foundation for gaining an understanding of the issues that Pacific people face on a day-to-day basis.

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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 o Te Whakaaro Nui

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 a member of ACC’s Ethics Research Panel.

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

Acting 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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Simon Batters
Brent Harvey
Keri Opai

Simon Batters

Group manager, people and culture

Simon is a people leader with more than 15 years’ experience in helping organisations with people practices, coaching and strategy. Simon joined the Wise Group in 2011 as group manager, human resources.

Simon is passionate about creating a workplace that encourages happiness, wellbeing, purpose and creativity. His mission is to inspire people to believe in possibility so that they can thrive.

Prior to joining the Wise Group, Simon worked in general management and led teams in diverse industries, sectors and organisations, including public transport, manufacturing, agriculture and not-for-profit.

Simon has a Bachelor of Business Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Rehabilitation.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonateverybodyworks 

 

Brent Harvey

Chief Financial Officer

Brent joined the Wise Group in 2018 following nearly a decade of financial roles with a DHB.

He has worked in a diverse range of industries including insurance, logistics and education. 

Brent is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Management).    

Keri Opai

Tātāriki Cultural Lead

Tēnā koutou katoa

Nō roto au i ngā rohe ā-waka o Tokomaru, Kurahaupō, Aotea engari ko ōku iwi ko Te Atiawa, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Te Ata, Waiohua, Ngāti Porou

Ngā mihi ki a koutou katoa

Keri joined the WISE Group in 2014 as the Paeārahi Māori Strategic Lead for Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui.

His knowledge base comes from being taught by Māori elders from an early age. He is a life-long educator, teaching Māori language and culture in kōhanga reo (under 5 language nests), primary and secondary school, polytechnic, wānanga (Māori university) and mainstream university as well as community-based organisations.

He is a licensed interpreter and hold a Master’s degree in Māori knowledge systems. His seminal work in creating Te Reo Hāpai, a Māori language glossary for the mental health, addiction and disability sectors, has been widely recognised for utilising a strengths-based, positive Māori worldview for terms that previously may have had negative connotations associated with them.