BOARD OF TRUSTEES

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BARBARA CHOAT

(M.Ed.) (Spec Ed) (Hons); DipTchg

Hi there, I’m Barbara, a 63-year-old wife, mother, Grandmother, Special Educationalist, Autistic Advocate and a huge believer in the positive aspects that quality peer support structures can bring to our community.

Originally from Kawhia, I have also lived in Te Awamutu and Auckland before returning to the Waikato to make Hamilton my permanent home.

I have a lived passion for Evolve Peer Support Trust beginning when it offered me the support, guidance and practical knowledge I needed to regain my strength and my life when depression took me to the darkest of places. It now gives me great pleasure to be on Evolve’s Board of Trustees to help ensure it can offer this opportunity to others when they need it too.

SUSAN FINDLAY

Bachelor of Teaching (BTchg)

From Hamilton, I have two adult children.  As a teacher I have taught children with additional learning needs; and have also taught in Australia.  More recently, I have been employed by a health and disability advisory service as an information officer. I also have past experience supporting the daily lives and personal goal achievement of adults with learning and behavioral challenges; and have worked in aged care; and early childhood settings.

I am currently a volunteer Support Parent of Parent to Parent NZ, which includes the service Altogether Autism.

Personal and professional life experiences have led me to appreciate the importance of maintaining one’s mental health, through the availability of community professionals, peer support, tools and strategies.  Evolve Peer Support Trust is an organization whose integrity and values aligned with this; therefore, I heartily took up the Board Member role in 2017 as Secretary for Evolve Peer Support Charitable Trust.

I most enjoy being outdoors, e.g. gardening, camping, swimming, fishing or hunting.

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TARYN SURGISON

GradDipTchg (Primary), BA (English)

Located in Hamilton, I have raised five children. Whilst raising children I studied to gain my Bachelor of Arts and later gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching. Alongside spending time in the teaching and tutoring fields, I also worked in my own business as a copywriter and freelance journalist assisting in growing businesses by helping them build their branding and positioning in a market. 

 

I have a passion for promoting health and wellbeing for individuals as a foundational building block for living an enjoyable and well-balanced life and look forward to contributing my skills towards such a great organization and cause. 

STEVEN MAHONEY

Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS)

Born and raised in West Auckland, I moved to the Waikato several years ago and now reside in beautiful Cambridge.

 

From film and television to communications and marketing, my career has given me the opportunity to work in a number of creative sectors for both commercial and charitable organizations. In my current role I head up the creative team at Parent to Parent NZ, a nationwide not-for-profit supporting Kiwi families with disabled children.

 

I am passionate about seeing people empowered to live full and healthy lives, and believe strongly in the power of mindfulness to positively affect health and wellbeing. It is a privilege to be involved with an organization like Evolve at the cutting edge of mental-health support, making a tangible difference to the lives of those in our community.

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