Meet our Leadership team

Sandra Budd, Chief Executive

Sandra has celebrated 10 years with the Blind Foundation this year, having returned to New Zealand, following a successful career in Australia and at home, as a senior leader within the health sector. Sandra continues to drive our strategic direction, meet the goals of our business plan and focus on transformation, with her Leadership team, to ensure that key partnerships continue to grow and financial sustainability is in place now and in the future.

Greg Hurn, Chief Financial Officer

Greg has a wealth of experience in finance, customer services, production, service delivery and administration. He’s worked in the manufacturing, banking and telecommunications industries. Before joining us Greg spent 15 years with Yellow Pages holding various executive positions in finance and operations. Greg’s aim is to ensure we are financially sound and sustainable over the long term horizon. He looks after our finances, contracts, strategy and planning, performance, governance and business development initiatives.

Neil Jarvis, General Manager Strategic Relations

Neil Jarvis is a prolific user of many kinds of adaptive technology. He is a strong believer in the power of technology to improve the lives of blind people everywhere.

He chairs the World Blind Union’s Asia-Pacific Region’s ICT and Adaptive Technology committee, and is the Asia-Pacific Regional co-ordinator for the WBU’s Marrakesh Treaty Ratification campaign. Neil is President of the Round Table on Information access for people with disabilities, a Trans-Tasman organisation which promotes best practice in the field. He is a member of the Web Standards Working Group here in New Zealand. He also represents the Blind Foundation of New Zealand on the Board of the international DAISY Consortium.

Neil has been totally blind all his life, and thus experiences on a far-too regular basis the frustration of not being able to access websites, apps or other software which his sighted colleagues and friends take for granted. One of his missions in life is to work with technology vendors, governments and other interested parties to close the accessibility gap and to make their systems useable by people like him.

Stuart Almao, General Manager People and Culture

Stuart is a very experienced people manager who brings strong commercial experience to the role, having held senior executive level positions both inside and outside the HR function in law and general management. He has worked for high performing, cause and value driven organisations in the past which strongly attracted him to the Blind Foundation.

Cherie McClintock, General Manager Fundraising

Cherie brings extensive not-for-profit marketing and fundraising experience to the Blind Foundation with over 15 years’ experience in the charity sector, both in New Zealand and the UK. She is passionate about making a difference for people in her community and giving people the opportunity to support the causes they care about. Cherie is a chartered marketer and a member of the UK Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Catherine Rae, National Manager, Independent Living

Catherine has been involved in the Health and Disability sector for the last 14 years. Her background is in continuous quality improvement and service management. Prior to joining the Blind Foundation, Catherine was Quality & Risk Manager for the Southern DHB.  Catherine has a ‘consumer’ focus and believes strongly in the co-design of services, allowing clients who have the lived experience to lead in terms of defining service need. Catherine joined the Blind Foundation 7 years ago as Quality Improvement Manager.  Two years ago she became National Manager of Adaptive Technology and Employment services and at the beginning of 2017 moved into the role of National Manager Independent Living. This role has oversight of multiple specialist disciplines providing rehabilitation and habilitation services that enable independent living for clients. Services include; Adaptive Daily Living, Orientation and Mobility, Needs Assessment, Counselling, Children’s services, Deaf Blind, Pacific Island, Guide Dogs, Quality/Clinical Governance and Environmental Awareness.

Denise Kitto, National Manager Customer Service and Advice

Denise is responsible nationally for the contact centre, equipment solutions team, and front line staff, as well as managing all of the Blind Foundation’s properties and spaces. After 25 years in Sydney, Denise decided it was time for a change and returned home to New Zealand. She wanted to work for an organisation where she could make a difference so she came to the Blind Foundation, bringing with her significant experience in customer service, administration, operational risk management and property management.

Blair Gilbert, National Manager for Communities and Life Enrichment

Blair is the National Manager for Communities and Life Enrichment. This includes the volunteer sector. His background includes qualifications in education and psychology with specialist knowledge of adventure therapy. He’s worked in the social sector for 20 years, including as a lecturer in social sciences at Waiariki Institute of Technology, as well as counselling work. He worked for the Foundation for Youth Development and then the Ministry for Youth Development. He values being involved with life enrichment, including recreation, and has seen first hand how being active and engaged with others- whether in a coffee group or climbing a mountain- is the essence of leading a full life, no matter what your abilities. He is also very honoured to be able to lead an amazing team of staff working in communities and alongside volunteers who are able to support others.

Norman Evans, National Manager, Employment and Accessibility

Norman has worked as a Research Technician, Street Sweeper, Truck Driver, Linesman, Engineering Designer, Market Researcher, Strategic Planner, Marketer, CEO, and Investor. He has started small businesses, including a gym and a painting contracting business. He has an MBA from Otago University, and a Doctorate in business from Charles Darwin University.

Norman is an entrepreneur/investor who has founded several high-growth technology businesses and assisted around forty high-growth entrepreneurs to start their businesses.  He has also worked extensively in operations roles for corporates who have wanted to improve their culture and performance.