Our team, the people who foster those changes, have skills and qualifications in education, health, social work, counselling - and in life. They bring commitment, common sense, energy, practicality and a belief in people's potential.


"The extra tutoring by my mentor helped with my difficult subjects. With one-on-one time I was more comfortable asking questions I wouldn't have asked in a big group."


Dame Lesley Max

DMNZ, MBE, MA(Hons) – CEO and Founder

Founder of Great Potentials, Dame Lesley developed the Family Service Centre model, and introduced HIPPY (Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters) and MATES (Mentoring and Tutoring Education Scheme).

In addition to her work for Great Potentials Foundation, Dame Lesley is Chair of the Parenting Council, Patron of the Family Help Trust, a member of the Brainwave Trust, as well as a member of the Family Services National Advisory Council. Her government appointments have included terms as a Director of the Northern Regional Health Authority and as a member of the Family Violence Advisory Committee.

She has acted in an advisory capacity for a number of tertiary institutions and was on the advisory board of the Knowledge Wave Trust. Dame Lesley is the author of Children: Endangered Species? (Penguin 1990) and was formerly a secondary school teacher and then a journalist, specialising in social policy issues. In 1993 Dame Lesley was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship. Her study and subsequent advocacy resulted in the establishment of Family Start, an intensive prevention programme for families at risk, now established at 20 locations throughout New Zealand.


Jane Hall

Dip.Tchg, Dip.SpecEd. – National Director HIPPY New Zealand

After 14 years teaching, mostly in special education, Jane joined HIPPY in 1994. After establishing two school-based HIPPY programmes, Jane took on the role of National Coordinator of HIPPY in 1999. From there she moved to National Director. She is responsible for the ongoing development of the HIPPY materials and supporting training, the expansion of HIPPY, quality maintenance and the monitoring of HIPPY throughout New Zealand. She represents HIPPY New Zealand at the annual HIPPY International meetings, and is a trainer for HIPPY International.


Lin Sauer

Cert ECD (Distinction)- HIPPY NZ Manager: Accountability and Fidelity

Lin joined HIPPY in 2000 as coordinator of the Manurewa programme based at Finlayson Park School plus satellite programme at Clendon Park School. In 2004 she moved into a national role. As HIPPY NZ Manager: Accountability and Fidelity, Lin is responsible for monitoring and completing reporting requirements for HIPPY NZ, organising and facilitating twice-yearly national hui for HIPPY site coordinators and ensuring that HIPPY programme standards are maintained throughout the country.


Louise Belcher

Dip Family Therapy and Counselling, Post Graduate Diploma in Social Services and Supervision, Certificate in Industrial Relations, Accredited Mediator - Manager, Papakura Family Service Centre

Louise brings an unusual combination of skills and experience to the position of Manager, Family Service Centre. After many years in Human Resources management, she gained a counselling qualification and worked with families with special needs. She has considerable experience in parenting education, including the delivery of courses for the Cool Schools and Healthy Families programmes. She provides mediation programmes for parents and has created an innovative approach to assisting families to flourish – Family Matters.


Margaret Fitzgibbon

Certificate in Adult Education and Training (Level 5), Certificate & Diploma in Teaching People with Intellectual Disabilities  - HIPPY NZ Manager: Training

Margaret was the Coordinator of HIPPY Glen Innes including its satellite site at Panmure Bridge Primary School for six years from 2000-2006 and she has extensive community involvement experience. As HIPPY NZ Manager: Training, Margaret is responsible for the support and training of site coordinators.


Karen Loughnan

A.C.A.T, BA(Education & Sociology), B.F.F.L, ESOL(Trinity) – HIPPY NZ Manager: Adult Education

Karen has an extensive background in Education,  ranging from preschool training, homeschooling and working with youth and families to counselling, teaching at the University of Auckland Language School (ELA) and most recently as the HIPPY site coordinator at Ranui.

As HIPPY NZ Manager of Adult Education, Karen is responsible for working to develop NZQA opportunities for HIPPY coordinators and tutors, providing support as they work toward qualifications.


Dr. Jacqui Matthews

Ph.D, M.Ed., Trained Teachers Cert, Read Rec Cert
HIPPY NZ Manager: Curriculum

Jacqui is of Ngāti Kahungunu: Rakaipaaka and Te Rarawa: Ngāti Te Maara descent. She joined HIPPY in 2014 bringing thirty years’ experience as a primary educator in roles of teaching, management, advisory, curriculum design and implementation, and in-service to teachers in mainstream, bilingual and Maori medium settings including primary, intermediate, secondary schools, teacher training, advisory service to schools, curriculum unit – design & implementation, and contract writing for various government ministries. She is a Board of Trustees member for Hato Petera College, Northcote, Auckland and a whanau member of Hoani Waititi Marae in West Auckland.


Shana Malio

(BA, LLB, MA (Hons), MLitt) -  MATES Programme Manager

Shana has worked in a project development role within Pacific workforce development in the mental health sector since 2008.  Shana has previously been a mentor coordinator for MATES from 2005-2008. She is a registered solicitor and barrister with a background in youth mentoring (eight years working within mentoring initiatives at University of Auckland), education, law and health.

Shana completed her degrees in Arts, Law and two Masters Degrees in Anthropology and Pacific Literature at the University of Auckland in 2007. As MATES programme manager, Shana is responsible for the strategic and operational policy development, and implementation of the MATES programme in 2012.


Wendy Schofield

Chartered Accountant – Trust Secretary and Treasurer

Wendy is a Chartered Accountant in public practice and has been involved with Great Potentials since 1994. Prior to having children Wendy was a senior Manager in Business Services at Deloitte, Touche, Tohmatsu.

Sarah Cotter

Relationships Manager

Sarah joined the Great Potentials team in December 2012 to support the foundation in its fundraising, sponsorship and communications activities.


Marion Heppner

BALLB – Business Development Manager

Marion is a legal and commercial consultant who has taken a leave of absence from the Great Potentials Board of Trustees so that she can do some work as the Foundation’s Business Development Manager. In this capacity, Marion’s focus is on establishing, strengthening and growing sustainable sources of income.

Marion is a lawyer with a BALLB from the University of Auckland. She spent her first five years in practice as a litigator in New Zealand and Hong Kong, and then became a commercial lawyer in
the television industry, working in London and Switzerland and then back in New Zealand. She now works as a consultant in the for-profit and non-profit sectors.



Judy Jarvie

Office Administrator

Judy Jarvie joined Great Potentials in January 2010 as Office Administrator. Prior to joining Great Potentials, Judy had a varied career including being a Secondary School teacher, Pharmacist, full-time mother and PA. She is delighted to be assisting in the work of Great Potentials and the Foundation’s programmes. Judy’s prime responsibility is the smooth running of Great Potentials’ National Office and to offer any assistance to HIPPY sites, the Papakura Family Service Centre and MATES schools as required.


Louise Haines

BC – Fundraising Coordinator

Louise joined the Great Potentials team in 2014 to support the fundraising, marketing and events functions of Great Potentials. Prior to joining Great Potentials Louise spent several months volunteering with children in Uganda and worked in the music industry.


Heather van Aswegen

Data Entry Assistant

Heather joined Great Potentials in November 2014 to work part-time as the Data Entry Assistant. In this role Heather is responsible for data entry, data management and administration for HIPPY. Prior to joining Great Potentials Heather worked for a variety of companies in South Africa and as an Activities Coordinator in Auckland.






"Lesley is an archetypal social entrepreneur. Business entrepreneurs should recognise the breed. They are self-starters and they achieve more than most bureaucrats can. They also mostly cost less."