Meet our Big Brothers Big Sisters of Manawatῡ Board. The role of the Board is to provide effective governance and where required, hands-on support. We are very fortunate to have such an experienced and skilled board that work very hard to continue the Big Brothers Big Sisters vision.
Michelle Thompson – Chairperson
Michelle first came to the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2017 as Secretary. In October 2018 she took the reins as Chairperson to use her business acumen and knowledge of the not-for-profit sector for the continued success and growth of the organisation. Michelle originates from the UK with a diverse career comprising of cabin crew, travel agent, personal assistant and general management, and has lived in New Zealand for eighteen years. Originally landing in Blenheim and working as the Operations Administrator for Port Marlborough in Picton, she moved to Palmerston North in 2009 and was the Manager of the Palmerston North Community Services Council for over seven years. She is currently the Business Manager at Te Aroha Noa Community Services. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys using her dancing, singing and acting background to ‘tread the boards’ in local theatre, and spending quality family time with her nine-year-old son, partner and three stepchildren.
Pauline Ferguson – Deputy Chairperson
Pauline has been with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Manawatῡ since 2011. She began her journey with the organisation as the coordinator. After 3 .5 years in the role, Pauline resigned to pursue other opportunities and was brought onto the board. Pauline has a Bachelor of Social Work and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Service Supervision. She has worked in Allied Health and Social Service for over 20 years. Pauline has a commitment and passion to the Big Brothers Big Sisters programme because she says it works. After many years of working with young people who are disconnected and isolated from families and communities, Pauline has seen this programme connect young people with committed volunteers who enhance their lives by simply spending time with them regularly.
Margaret Bates – Treasurer
Before retiring Margaret owned a tax consultancy business which was in operation for 28 years. During that time, Margaret was also the National President of the Taxation Institute of New Zealand and later made a Fellow of the Institute. Margaret is also involved in other non-profit organisations in the community. She is married and has two daughters and six grandchildren.
Ros Hallam – Board Member
A parent and grandparent of 13 grandchildren and a member of several local charitable trusts and community committees, Ros is a busy lady, She was a primary school teacher for 40 years, 20 of those in senior management and Principal positions in low-decile schools in Wellington, Rotorua and Palmerston North. Ros is also co-founder of the Plant to Plate Aotearoa primary schools cooking & gardening programme that operates across the Manawatῡ, and she is an active participant in women’s, seniors and political issues.
Dan Batley – Board Member
Dan is married with two children and has lived in the Manawatῡ for around 13 years. He holds a Bachelor of Resource & Environmental Planning from Massey University. Today, Dan is self-employed as a personal insurance adviser. Sport is a huge passion of his and he is heavily involved in this locally – particularly in cricket and rugby. Dan put his name forward to join the Board as growing up with a single parent, he personally understands the importance of enduring adult relationships. For Dan, these were often filled by teachers, coaches and parents of friends, but he knows that not all kids have this luxury and that’s where BBBS comes in. Dan’s focus is to help BBBS of Manawatῡ continue its great work and ensure more kids are matched with a big brother or big sister in future.
Tom Gilchrist – Board Member
A born and bred Manawatῡ local, Tom completed his schooling in Feilding before moving to Wellington to complete a Bachelor of Laws and Commerce. He returned to the Manawatῡ in 2017 and is currently working as a Solicitor in Palmerston North. Having grown up in and around the Manawatῡ, Tom has a strong sense of community and likes to involve himself and give back wherever he can. Tom put his name forward to join the Board as it’s an organisation that he strongly believes in and is keen to be a part of as it continues to go from strength to strength. In his spare time, he can be found in the garage, tinkering with vintage cars or out on the road driving them (before heading back to the garage to fix them!).
Kelly Weaver – Board Member
Kelly has been a Big Sister for BBBS of Manawatu for almost three years, mentoring a young girl at a local primary school. Born and raised in Hastings, Kelly moved to the Manawatῡ when she was 18 to attend Massey University. Apart from two years living and working in London, she has lived here ever since and loves the region. Recently married, Kelly enjoys renovating her home, travelling and spending time with her fur-babies (and her husband!). Kelly has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business with First Class Honours in Marketing. She currently works as a Development Manager within the education sector. Kelly joined the Board to offer her unique insight as a current mentor, her skills in communications and fundraising, and because she has seen first-hand the difference this programme makes.