The 8 of March each year marks International Women’s Day. This day gives us an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the women in our lives and the difference they make. This year's theme is #BalanceforBetter: it is designed to spark discussion around forging a gender-balanced world. In the spirit of building a gender-balanced working world we wanted to share with you about the wonderful women who work at Mycare. Get to know a little about each of the women at Mycare and what makes them unique, below!
From left: Natalie, Caitlin, Debbie, Angela, Linda, Emily, Nikki and Amy (on the floor) - please there are some people missing from this picture they are: Erandenee, Laurie, Imogen and Robbie.
Role: Customer Success Representative
Angela was raised on Auckland's beautiful North Shore. Her working background is diverse with roles spanning dental assistant, customer service/marketing assistant, and sales coordinator. Angela has also studied herbal medicine and has an interest in natural remedies, once teaching native healing remedies at a community eco-project. She has been known to help out some of her accident-prone colleagues with their minor injuries. In her late teens and early twenties, Angela danced with groups in shows and corporate gigs. She is still a performer, singing in a women’s acapella group, and she enjoys the friendships, personal development and skills this builds. Angela says she is also “interested and motivated about looking after our environment, personal health and wellbeing”.
Role: Software Tester
Erandanee grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She utilises her IT background bringing software-testing and analysis skills to Mycare, and is one of the two females in the development team who ensure the Mycare app and platform works. You could say Erandanee has a sweet tooth – she’s a self-professed chocolate lover, drinking hot chocolates, iced chocolates and stating chocolate is her favourite food. She also loves to bake and decorate cakes, and the aroma of sweet things baking in the oven is one of her favourite smells. Erandanee loves to spend her spare time watching Korean drama TV shows, reading mystery novels by Agatha Christie, and reading kids' story books with her daughter.
Role: Head of User Experience
Amy was born in Whangarei and moved to West Auckland when she was 12, where she’s lived ever since. Amy brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to Mycare, having studied psychology and law at university, and her working life has seen her working in mental health, ACC and DHBs in a variety of people- and process-orientated roles. All of this has led her to Mycare where she gets to combine all the skills she’s gathered along the way. When asked what her passions are she says “my family, my friends and my lizard – they sustain me and lift me up. I also love my job, it fulfils that drive to be involved in the change I want to see in the world”. Outside of work Amy can be found baking for her friends, family and colleagues, reading science fiction books and watching fantasy TV shows.
Role: Project Manager
Debbie hails from an industrial city in the north of England called Stoke-on-Trent. She brings a can-do attitude and structure to the team, utilising her diverse tertiary-study and work background. “I have an English degree and several unfinished post-graduate studies, most recently an MA in Public Health from Auckland University. When I left university, I travelled to Thailand with a volunteer programme teaching English and exploring there for a year or two. I thought I might carry on teaching but some work experience in a couple of schools in Stoke soon put that idea to rest. My interests have always been with equity I guess – the inequity of the health and social determinants that shape lives. At university I worked for the Student Union helping in any way I could, but largely supporting people having a tough time. I began my post-university career volunteering with a branch of Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis, finding my way into paid work by organising people experiencing troubles to give direct input into policy and process at both local and regional government level.” If you ask Debbie what her passions are she will smile and begin talking about her husband and two sons: “My family is all-consuming. We’ve built a gorgeous life over here since emigrating eight years ago and I feel truly very lucky.” Debbie is a classic Brit when it comes to sport. She says, “My interests centre on sport, I can watch all of it, but particularly my beloved football club Stoke City FC.”
Role: Live Life Programme Coordinator
Robbie grew up in Southland with a strong sense of extended family, based in the countryside. Robbie has been married to her husband Nigel for 30 years and they have two sons, one daughter and two grandsons. “Our daughter Desiree was born when I had just turned 17 in 1974, when you were still expected to adopt your 'illegitimate' babies. My mother looked after Desiree while I went and trained as a Community Nurse. On the first day of class I stood up and said, 'My name is Robyn, I am a single parent and for the past six months I have been caring for my baby daughter Desiree.' I pretty soon knew who supported me and who didn't. As I have alluded, keeping your baby was still not 'the done thing'. I was an excellent nurse and received Nurse of the Year when I graduated which was a poke in the nose for the nay-sayers. I nursed for 30 years in many different roles.”
Robbie brings this wealth of passion, bravery and life experience to Mycare, working out of the Christchurch office coordinating the Live Life Programme, a programme for 18 - 35 year olds who are on a Jobseeker Benefit with a health deferment (usually for depression and anxiety). She coordinates the teaching of employability skills, supporting and coaching people to work towards education, training or employment, and also mentors and promotes volunteering opportunities. Robbie is highly passionate and works “from a premise of walking beside these young people as I have had my own experience with mental health issues”. In her spare time Robbie loves to read. She says, “I read voraciously, even the back of cereal boxes! I always have a book on the go that will support my work and have recently finished Sarah Wilson's First We Make the Beast Beautiful, probably the best book on living with anxiety I've ever read.” Her interests are varied, from political news, going to church, community connectedness, wildlife documentaries, the latest movies, theatre, opera, walking in nature – especially under trees, cooking when the mood takes her, entertaining young folk at home – usually by cooking up a lamb roast, shabby chic interiors and the crafts that go with them.
Role: Customer Experience Project Coordinator
Imogen was born and raised in West Auckland and brings a maturity beyond her years to Mycare. She has just begun her second year of tertiary study, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Politics, and Psychology. Imogen contributes youth, coaching, and mentoring knowledge to the team as she has an established background in youth helpline support, volunteering at Kidsline for the last five years. She has worked with the Mycare team since late 2016, variously on a casual, part-time, and full-time basis. Mycare aims to have at least one student working with them at any time to bring a different perspective to the team, and to help young people gain meaningful experience on which to build their careers. When you ask Imogen what she's passionate about, it's people: “The people around me; friends, family, my partner, and people in my extended community; peers, students, young professionals. I enjoy spending quality time around people, getting to know them and learning things from them. I am especially passionate about mental health, which has led me down the route of studying psychology and politics. Working at Mycare has helped me to better understand communities throughout New Zealand and helped me build a foundation for my career that I can continue to work on to do the things I am passionate about.” Outside of her busy study, work and volunteering schedule Imogen loves the outdoors, especially swimming at the beach. She also loves reading and being with animals; she already has three cats of her own!
Role: User Experience and Engagement Coordinator
Caitlin is an Auckland local, born in Taranaki but raised in the city of sails. After high school she moved around a bit, doing one year of a commerce degree at Otago University and then deciding that economics wasn’t for her. Caitlin says, “I am quite passionate about health and wellbeing and at the time I really enjoyed physical activity for mental wellbeing so thought I would do a Personal Training qualification at Otago Polytechnic whilst thinking about a future in holistic health. After completing my Level 4 certification I came back to Auckland and completed a Bachelor of Health Science with a double major in Health Promotion and Psychology. I am passionate about community wellbeing and that is what led me to Mycare.” Caitlin is an animal lover; she has a three-year-old rescue dog named Mia and the two love to go on bush-walk adventures. She also spends many weekends at her partner's parents' lifestyle block in the Coromandel. “Being around the farm animals/pets and doing the outdoor chores is my form of self-care.” Outside of work and spending time with animals Caitlin loves to dance: “I danced right up until I began full-time work and hope to dance again one day soon.” She is also a self-proclaimed bookworm who loves to read historical fiction and has helped to start a book exchange with others in the Mycare office.
Linda (or 'Aunty Linda' to some colleagues!)
Role: Customer Success Representative
Linda grew up between Auckland and Turangi, a small town on the west bank of the Tongariro River. She has a broad background having spent time working in corrections, IT, and health, and also holds qualifications in forestry! Linda brings a positive attitude to Mycare and likes pushing the boundaries of her traditional role. She describes the position of being a Customer Success Representative as “being an empathiser, a sympathetic ear, a commiserator, and even an IT assistant”. Linda has an adult daughter and two young grandchildren, and outside of work she loves to spend time with her family. She is also an avid Sci-Fi fan; if she’s not out enjoying the sun gardening you will find her reading or watching science-fiction movies. Linda describes her interests and hobbies as “varied and eclectic”.
Role : Development Team Leader
Emily moved to New Zealand eight years ago to study and has now settled here. She hails from Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar. When Emily came to New Zealand she enrolled in a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Computer Science, at the University of Otago. Since then she has spent her time as a development entrepreneur working on three start-up companies. She says she is “passionate about building/investing in a tech product/company that has high impact on our daily life, work, etc.” Emily is one of two females on the seven-member development team and is the team leader. She is currently spending her time outside of work researching how social media impacts small enterprises.
Role: Office/Finance Manager
Nikki has a Chartered Accountancy background and also managed her own small business for 13 years. This experience is a good fit for taking care of Mycare’s day-to-day finances and office administration. She is from Christchurch and loves spending time with her two dogs and daughter Clara, and in her spare time she enjoys yoga and learning French.
Role: Communication Manager
Spending the majority of her childhood in Africa, Natalie came to New Zealand as a teenager. She has a passion for supporting people to fulfil their ambitions. She has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 10 years. Her extensive knowledge of the disability sector, and lived experience of an impairment, provides her with a depth of knowledge which she applies to her daily work at Mycare. In her spare time she enjoys air-rifle shooting and has just competed in her first international event, which if all goes to plan will set her on a path to competing in the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020.
Role: Co-Founder and Executive Director
Laurie originally hails from the United States of America. She emigrated to New Zealand when she was 19 to be with her partner, a New Zealander. When Laurie was 32 her partner had a massive stroke and her experiences caring for him shaped her career. Laurie is well known within the not-for-profit sector as a passionate campaigner,co-founding the national charity Carers NZ. She also publishes Family Care magazine, and works with many not for profits wearing different hats, including as a board member of Continence NZ, Secretariat for the NZ Carers’ Alliance of 45 national NFPs, and a board member for the NZ Disability Support Network. Bringing her blend of personal and work experience she was one of four co-founders of Mycare. “Caring is very much a women’s issue – two thirds of family carers are women, and the care workforce is made up primarily of women. This is a day to celebrate their roles and their work and to recognise the priceless contribution they make to their families, society, and the economy.”