SkillsBank Stories

SkillsBank Stories

SkillsBank Impacts Continue, Leadership NZ Alumnus Mark Dunlop joined the Huntington’s Disease Association Auckland 

Through SkillsBank, Leadership NZ Alumnus Mark Dunlop joined the Huntington’s Disease Association Auckland (HDAA) in late 2009, taking on the Chair role in 2010. The seeds for Mark’s involvement were sown by Professor Richard Faull when he spoke to participants of our 2009 Leadership programme. 

Mark was interviewed for our 2011 Yearbook and remains heavily involved today. Below he updates us on his and HDAA’s journey.

It is hard to believe that 5 years have gone by since I was on the Leadership NZ (LNZ) Programme. Whilst things have moved on in many fronts, one thing that has remained constant is the role I took on through LNZ SkillsBank as Chair of the HDAA.

Firstly, I would say that through the committee and team of dedicated staff we are making a difference in “walking the journey” alongside those impacted by Huntington’s disease:

Demand for services is significantly increased: 

  • From less than 100 ten years ago, the Association now has over 700 active clients.
  • Support for each HD patient means an extensive array of stakeholder engagements  - up to 10 connections is common.

The HDAA response: 

  • Increased and reorganised resourcing.
  • Advocating review of Model of Care (see below).

Internal alignment has meant: 

  • Creation of the Association Manager role.
  • Adding an Administrator and including tasks previously undertaken by the committee within this.
  • Committee representation has increased family representatives providing a grounded perspective, together with appropriate specialists either on the committee or as adjunct.

The Association held a national conference in 2013 and now coordinates the national newsletter across other regional associations. We are in the process of alignment of our website, establishing a NZ arm of HDYo for the HD youth community and anticipate additional family liaison resource, once the revised model of care is confirmed.

What does LNZ - Skillsbank bring to this environment?   

While the work of all the team, the following are direct benefits of the link between the HD Association and LNZ:

Vision: A shared Vision of the future direction and operational model for the Association.

Clarity Management v Governance: Clear (mainly) separation of Governance from Management; role clarity for the operational team.

Commitment: While there is a time to pass the baton, developing a vision with the team and seeing it through requires time and continuity. We have started to discuss succession, but are developing this with transition roles to ensure sustainability.
Sustainability: This sustainability goes beyond the team, to financial sustainability, particularly in forecasting and managing funding grants processes. Diversifying funding streams is a priority.

Advocacy: The inclusiveness of the LNZ experience opened my perspectives of celebrating diversity and valuing an inclusive society, particularly for those marginalised New Zealanders living on the edges. In the HDAA context, this translated to the ability and confidence to escalate resolution of the issues relating to the model of care, including ultimately direct correspondence with the Minister. We were able to elevate the issue, develop the strategy and present a strong researched based submission. As a consequence, the Northern region DHBs set up a project team including HDA leadership to review the model of care. Their submission is in final stages of preparation for consideration. 
The ongoing challenge will be to align the Association to the evolving needs of the HD community. The new model of care, HDYo and ongoing demand pattern will require additional Association resourcing and thus the cycle continues.  

Mark Dunlop, Leadership NZ Alumnus
August 2014


Leadership NZ Alumnus Deb Godinet was approached by SkillsBank to consider a Board role with the Waitakere Women’s’ Centre.

Not long after graduating from the 2010 Leadership New Zealand (LNZ) Programme, Alumnus Deb Godinet was approached by SkillsBank to consider a Board role with the Waitakere Women’s’ Centre. We’ve touched base with her a few months down the track to find out how it’s going and what relevance she believes this experience has to the LNZ Programme and LNZ generally. Here’s what Deb had to say: 

“Participation in the LNZ programme in 2010 was a great experience. The opportunity to give back to the community through SkillsBank was a natural extension of the generosity I felt throughout the programme, from the speakers and the LNZ family. SkillsBank connected me with the Waitakere Women’s’ Centre and my fellow 2010 Alumni, Steve Merchant, and I have had the privilege of joining the trust's board and contributing our skills and experience over the past year. The centre is operated by committed women who make a difference every day by providing a range of services to women to enable other women to make positive changes in their lives. I am inspired by their daily service to their community.

The SkillsBank opportunity for me has been about fulfilling a commitment to go beyond a good intention to taking some action to make a difference, however small that might seem in the overall scheme of things. I am learning a lot along the way and enjoying the good company of the other trustees. Judy has provided great support along the way. I would encourage you to connect with the community through SkillsBank and ground those all important conversations, that need to happen in New Zealand, in action beyond good intentions.”

- December 2011 Newsletter Article