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Our Team - Bios

Kate Johns - Founder & Executive Officer
Phone 021 294 0017
Email - kate@hopeworks.org.nz 

I founded Hopeworks with a singular vision - and that was that I didn't want to see anybody else struggle the way I had to when my journey started in 1996. It was crystal clear to me that with the right levels of support and information, every individual would have a fighting chance at the things that matter: being understood, being informed and being able to heal in a meaningful way.

I am often asked how I came to be doing this, and I think it would be fair to say that it wasn't so much a career choice, as it was just the direction that my life took me.

My journey began in 1996 when I was a pedestrian hit by a car. Undiagnosed for 6 years, I experienced the worst that the system could dish out - no information, no tests, no understanding, no sympathy and a host of doctors who simply refused to investigate the myriad of symptoms I was experiencing. When my lifelong GP told my Dad that my daily losses of consciousness were nothing more than a 17 years old "seeking attention", I think the fire started to burn that would eventually culminate in Hopeworks being born.

During that next ten years I would also become the full time caregiver for my Dad who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 1998 and passed in 2002; my Mum, who would come to be diagnosed with Parkinson's, Dementia, multiple TIAs and Breast Cancer; and attend fourteen funerals, almost half being my closest friends and family. 

Six more funerals would come later, including that of my sister, who died from a brain haemorrhage in 2010. 

What this resulted in was a deep, deep understanding of what it is to be on every side of this equation - as a patient, carer, child, parent, community worker, professional, public speaker, service provider. I have "been there, done that" so many times that it seemed only fair to pass on what I have learnt to those who are just starting out, and to those struggling to come out the other side.

In my spare time I can usually be found in my garden lovingly/stubbornly bringing rescued pets and plants back to life. 

Pauline Rio - Treasurer & Trustee
email - pauline@hopeworks.org.nz
Pauline Rio is our Treasurer. She has been office manager of Arris SecureMedia New Zealand (formerly Motorola) for more than 10 years. She has a strong knowledge of commercial law and accounting, defined the financial processes for SecureMedia at its formation and has been been involved in many audits and analyses of company performance in addition to acting as local HR and administration support within the global Arris entity. Pauline is also Hopeworks Maori and Pacific Islands Community Liaison officer guiding staff on protocol and cultural issues around healthcare and support.

Lesley Hankin - Trustee

Lesley Hankin has a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Clinical Communication Studies. She has worked as a community paediatric Speech and Language Therapist. She has also supported children on the autistic spectrum both in the preschool years and within the school environment. She has three children and currently works as an Early Childhood Teacher.