Our Board Members

Michael Baxter - Co-Chairperson/Board Member

Michael grew up in Te Atatu and currently lives in Kumeu with his wife and two "children" aged 17 and 19. He has lived all his life in West Auckland along with his extended family. Michael has experience in a wide range of IT that began with his first role in a medical software company. The roles, travel and experiences were always evolving and provided the building blocks for furthering his software development and IT knowledge. After 15 years Michael resigned from this role and became fully self-employed. Along with his wife they began to grow their web development business - Utopia. Over the past 10 years Michael has had experience in a wide range of business management. This has included sales, marketing, reporting and finances. Practical work has continued along with web development, programming and the use of social media. Michael feels it is now time for him to help community focused organisations. This is for this reason he became interested in becoming a member of the board, and to help Violence Free Communities meet its objectives.

Kerrin Leoni - Co-Chairperson/Board Member

Kerrin Leoni

Ngaitakoto, Ngāti Kuri, Ngāti Paoa

Kerrin has a Bachelor of Māori Development (2001), specialising in social work and a Masters of Arts in Youth Development (2006).

Kerrin spent five years working for Child Youth and Family.  “I had completed my AUT workplace experience there, and enjoyed tackling social work from a community-based approach, as well as an institutional angle.”

Kerrin also spent time travelling the world and living in the UK where she set up her own consulting company, Matariki Ltd, enabling her to contract as a social worker and facilitator in places like the Channel Islands, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

In 2015, Kerrin founded Mana Aroha, a not-for-profit organisation focused on empowering Māori and Pacific youth. Mana Aroha selects two applicants each year to travel to London for a 10-month work experience. When they come back to New Zealand, they then visit low decile schools and talk about their experiences.  The programme focuses on leadership and international opportunities, leveraging the contacts Kerrin developed over nine years in the UK, as well as the New Zealand and Māori community in London.

Since returning to New Zealand, Kerrin has contracted for the Department of Internal Affairs and Child Youth and Family (Oranga Tamariki), re-familiarising herself with the changes that have taken place in New Zealand over the last 10 years. She is also busy raising her twin babies born in January 2017.

Gary Stewart - Treasurer/Board Member

Gary Stewart In 2016 Gary retired from his role as Henderson Budgeting Service Manager. He is currently also on the board of the Waitemata Community Law Centre and the Henderson Community Men's Shed. Gary has a life long interest in community well-being and justice. Gary says, "I'm painfully aware that most domestic violence is perpetrated by members of my gender, and so I was somewhat reluctant to put my name forward for this board, however I also believe if I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem, so here I am".

Sharon Davies - Board Member

Sharon is a staunch Westie. She is passionate about people and her local community. Sharon works full time as Personal Assistant to the Waitakere Ranges Local Board based in Glen Eden. Prior to this she was Executive Assistant to the then Deputy Mayor, Penny Hulse at Waitakere City Council. In her community space Sharon is involved in a number of community organisations. These include co-ordinating and facilitating a small group of friends under the umbrella of Celebrating Swanson. She is a trustee on EcoMatters Trust, Secretary of the Ranui Community Centre, Chair of the Swanson Railway Station Trust, Secretary of the Safer West Community Trust, Secretary of the Whau Coastal Walkway Trust. She is also a member of the Tai Haruru sub-committee of the Waitakere Branch of Forest & Bird. Sharon was awarded a Queens Service Medal for services to her community in June 2013 and completed the Be Leadership Programme that same year.

Andrew Lum - Board Member

 Andrew Lum Andrew is a senior executive leader with global experience in strategic planning, business leadership, project management, business expansion especially in merger and acquisition, process improvements and profitability improvements.  He has managed teams in all areas of business increasing use of technology to improve productivity to increasing cash flow to assist business growth. Andrew has worked for are Electrolux White Goods, Chubb Security and OCS Limited.

Andrew is also a member of New Zealand Asian Leaders founded by Mai Chen, to drive representation of Asian leaders in the NZ community and in business. He is a member of Business Mentors helping small to medium size businesses with their business plans and other challenges that they may have in operating in the current business environment.

Andrew joined the VFC board as he see’s their cause being very close to his heart especially with two young children in school and wanting to create and influence the environment that they will grow up in. He personally believes that we should create a safe and enjoyable environment for young individuals to grow up in as this will influence how they will act when they become older. He would like to believe that every adult has the opportunity to be a leader in their community and we should use this to ensure that our children are safe and feel safe.

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