People

Portrait of Cheryll Martin, QSO

General Manager: Cheryll Martin, QSO

Cheryll Martin, QSO, is the General Manager of Volunteering Auckland – an NGO dedicated to leadership, support and promotion of volunteering. She is an early graduate of the Grad. Dip Not for Profit Management at Unitec,

Cheryll considers herself to be a passionate supporter of volunteering with the ability to motivate and inspire people to believe in the power of helping others. She is a trainer, presenter and consultant regarding volunteerism in particular in the review and development of volunteer involving programmes. She has facilitated professional development workshops across Aotearoa as well as in Papua New Guinea.

Cheryll was a member of the Auckland Social Policy Forum, Ministerial Reference Group for the International Year of Volunteers, and was a community representative on the Ministry of Social Policy Volunteers & Volunteering Policy Project. Cheryll was awarded a Queen's Service Order in the June 2022 Silver Jubilee honours list.

Cheryll is a life time volunteer, currently teaching handcrafts at her local Community House, and volunteering at Waikaraka Park Speedway.


Portrait of Mary Dawson, MNZM

PA to General Manager: Mary Dawson, MNZM

Since April 2013

Mary has held a number of governance, advisory and management roles at both international and national levels, professionally and as a volunteer.

Professionally, Mary has a doctorate in clinical child psychology from Nottingham University UK, and worked in senior clinical and research roles in the UK and NZ, including as Regional Clinical Manager of the Auckland Specialist Services, NZ Child Youth and Family Services. She was heavily involved in setting up the first multi-agency child protection investigation centre in Australasia, and was also a founding trustee of the Wellington HELP Centre.

In 2005 Mary became Chief Executive for Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS), an NGO responsible for information, advisory, coordination, and advocacy services for Auckland’s migrants and refugees.


Portrait of Delia Middleton

Stakeholder Engagement: Delia Middleton

Delia is responsible for leading the Employee Volunteer Programme, matching business teams with volunteering opportunities, and Membership Services team who support our non-profit members.
After 20 years in corporate marketing and business development, Delia re-trained as an outdoor recreation instructor and worked primarily with corporate groups in the outdoors to develop people and teams. She then spent time further developing her people and customer service skills as a flight attendant for Air NZ, followed by managing AUT University’s Student Centre, then Age Concern’s Volunteer Visitor Programme.
Joining the Volunteering Auckland team was a natural fit for Delia – a self-confessed ‘volunteering junkie’. She’s pretty much done it all. Building houses in Borneo for Habitat for Humanity –tick. Volunteer Visitor for Age Concern - tick. And did we mention volunteering as a storyteller/writer for Volunteering Auckland, charity shop retail assistant, native plant nursery assistant at Kaipatiki Project, community house host, usher at ASB Classic tennis tournament, restorative planting on Rotoroa and Motuihe islands, and rubbish cleanups in regional parks and various Hauraki Gulf islands.
Delia caught the volunteering bug from her mother, and from her grandmother – who was awarded a QSM for her contribution to volunteering and community service. Delia’s also a keen ‘volun-tourist’ – who makes a point of doing good in places that she visits – such as donating blood at a children’s hospital in Vietnam.
She’s passionate about volunteering – and sees it as a wonderful way to give back to the community and charities, develop new skills, meet new people, have new experiences, and build teams.


Portrait of Rachael Bro

Community Outreach & Training: Rachael Bro

Rachael joined Volunteering in May 2023 in the new role of Outreach & Training Coordinator – coming from a training role in the NFP sector. Rachael, born in South Auckland, has lived and worked in various places in New Zealand, Japan, France, Scandinavia, UK, Australia and been a tour guide through western Europe.
She has a background in recreation, tourism, community development and HR roles including organisational development and performance management. She has worked in various not-for-profits, councils, small private companies, the tertiary sector, and international corporate organisations. Rachael enjoys new experiences and meeting people, learning and development, travel, the outdoors and martial arts.


Portrait of Komal Bhatia

Administration I Accounts: Komal Bhatia

Komal joined our staff team in April 2021. Prior to that she volunteered at Volunteering Auckland and Heart Foundation for two years and also has international volunteering experience. She has always been an ardent supporter of social and environmental causes.

Professionally, Komal is a highly experienced business administrator with over 20 years working as an Executive Secretary and Office Administrator in Dubai. Her attention to detail and excellent time management skills means that every task is completed efficiently and to the highest possible standard.

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and spending time with family and friends. She is an avid traveller and likes to see new places.


Portrait of Ruth Jackson

Media & Marketing: Ruth Jackson

Ruth is responsible for Volunteering Auckland’s marketing, website and social media – and leads a small but enthusiastic team of volunteer storywriters, photographers, and videographers.
She spent many years in the fast-paced world of print journalism – from junior reporter on a regional paper, through to editor of a small daily paper, editor of a group of weekly community papers, and deputy editor of one of New Zealand’s best-known women’s magazines.
From there, Ruth headed into the equally hectic world of television production – working in various behind-the-scenes roles on a slew of different TV shows, and supporting promotions for shows and channel branding.
A sea-change moment then led Ruth into the community sector where she could contribute in more meaningful ways. This has included charities, as an elected member of a local board, and at a secondary school.
Outside work, Ruth’s involved in various ‘volunteer side hustles’ that she loves – including several community civil defence groups, and GreyPower North Shore. When there’s time for relaxing, you’re likely to find her ensconced in a good book, filling up her phone and camera with photos, checking out local scenic walks, trying to keep a step ahead of the rampant weeds in her garden, or having a go at various crafts (not very successfully, but it’s the taking part that counts!).


Portrait of Rich Easton

Co-chair: Rich Easton

Since July 2015

Rich works as the CEO of the Neurological Foundation of NZ, having moved into this NGO role after 30+ years leading IT, technology & digital teams in the Telco & Insurance sectors. During his Corporate roles he was an active participant in promoting volunteer programmes, and an Ambassador for the Spark Foundation.

Outside of work Rich is a Trustee on the Board of the First Foundation, plus volunteers his time with Springboard Trust, and through the Chamber of Commerce with the Business Mentor’s programme. Rich loves seeing people in the community coming together as volunteers and helping their communities develop. He lives in Papakura and has an enduring passion for motorcycles & rides most days.


Portrait of Abigail Milnes

Co-chair: Abigail Milnes

Since April 2017

Abi is the Director of Whāraurau the national centre for Infant, Child and Youth mental health and addictions workforce development at Uniservices, Waipapa Taumata Rau | The University of Auckland. Abi has worked in various roles across local and central government, managing workforce development programmes in youth mental health, rural health workforce recruitment and retention, and public health policy.

Abi is passionate about improving the well-being of the workforce and the young people and whānau they serve. This includes the volunteer workforce, both seen and unseen, who through acts of service, nurture and sustain the connections we need for our communities to thrive. Abi lives in Mission Bay and enjoys yoga, swimming, cooking and getting out and about with her family.


Portrait of Alaina McGregor

Trustee: Alaina McGregor

Alaina McGregor has two decades of communications experience working for a number of commercial and not-for-profit organisations in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. These roles have required Alaina to draw on a broad spectrum of skills across all facets of business and operations with a specific focus on public relations, marketing, stakeholder engagement and issues management.

Alaina is an advocate for helping more New Zealanders to connect and contribute positively to society through volunteering. A passion for uniting people with a common purpose to do more good in the community was the driving force behind her launching 10x10 Aotearoa - a social impact organisation that enables skilled volunteers to raise much-needed funds and support for grassroots charities through a movement of sustainable giving. Alaina is also the Marketing Communications Lead at Southern Cross, one of New Zealand’s most well-known, not-for-profit brands. Alaina has previously served as a national Board member for the Wine Communicators of Australia.


Portrait of Sue Plowman

Trustee: Sue Plowman

Sue’s background is working in the community sector and union movement. Sue is currently Group Quality Manager at Lifewise - a community development organisation which provides housing and social service, health and disability, mental health and addiction, and family services. Previously she was Business Systems and Information Manager at Youthline, a youth development NGO. Sue was General Manager at Auckland Disability Law (ADL) for seven years. ADL is a community law centre which provides disability related legal service and activities for disabled people and within the community.

Sue has a strong commitment to social justice and is a human rights advocate. She believes voluntary work can be a key driver for people to gain skills and experience, plus to participate in and contribute to their community.

Sue has held governance roles over the years in the disability and community sectors. She also worked in the union movement in management, campaign and education roles. Sue holds a Masters of Social Science degree from the University of Waikato.


Portrait of Carl Sunderland

Trustee: Carl Sunderland

I started my career journey in education, then the NZ Police. The issues I saw in the classroom, and the community brought me to the charity sector in 2005 by co-founding KidsCan to try and solve some of these issues. Over the last 18 years I have created and led several charities. I also run a consultancy, mainly sharing what I have learned with small organisations to help them make a greater impact.
After all the upheavals and uncertainties of the last few years, with the current cost of living crisis, and significant weather events, the need for volunteers and community involvement has never been greater in my opinion. Charities and businesses need the structure and support that Volunteering Auckland provides so that they can have that biggest impact. I am looking forward to contributing my leadership and community development experience with such a valued and trusted organisation.


Portrait of Eric Yeo

Trustee: Eric Yeo

Eric's background is in HR and management consulting. He currently works as a Management Consultant at EY New Zealand.

Outside of his 9-5, he volunteers his spare time for the two causes close to his heart - education and youth. He was the Funding Manager for Empower Youth Trust and volunteered for Radio Lollipop at the Auckland Starship Hospital.

He believes that education is core to changing the world for the better. In his spare time, he enjoys running, reading, yoga, and having meaningful conversations with people."


Volunteer Stories

Passionate about young people

It felt good to know that I was helping make a difference for young people. One word at a time, one dollar at a time.