Carol RyanChief Executive

Carol Ryan

As Chief Executive of Hearts & Minds my work has been complimented by my business background and more than 20 years experience in the community sector. I have a passion for working with people who are committed to making a tangible difference, see the potential and value in all people and a world full of possibilities for creating new pathways for healthcare delivery, social inclusion and sustainable living. By being involved with many boards and working parties, currently chairperson of Shared Vision North Harbour, interim chairperson for Health Link North (Ex Community Health Voice North Shore), and Waitemata PHO Board Director, I am provided with opportunities to view the world from a variety of lens that inform and interconnect with the work of Hearts & Minds.

Amberlee WhartonOperational Manager

Amberlee Wharton

Hearts & Minds' focus on inclusive wellbeing for individuals, families, and communities motivates and inspires me. One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is measuring the positive outcomes achieved when people and communities are informed, resourced and connected to achieve their full potential.

I am passionate about the vital role the community sector plays in strengthening social outcomes and gain great joy from the synergies generated when the talents, perspectives and hopes of diverse populations come together to achieve shared goals. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology, followed by an Honours Degree (1st Class) in Sociology. I am a passionate lifelong learner and delight in the insights and learnings gained from the rich diversity of individuals our organisation connects and engages with on a daily basis. The Hearts & Minds belief in the intrinsic value of all people and communities resonates strongly for me, and I am pleased to be a part of a diverse and dynamic team that is passionate about making a positive difference for all people at a community level.

Xiaoying ZhangAccountant

Xiaoying Zhang

Ni Hao! Hi, I am Xiaoying. I was born in Qingdao, China. I arrived in Auckland in 2004 with my family. I have extensive voluntary experiences where I was a volunteer librarian in China and a volunteer treasurer in NZ.

Learning is a crucial part of my life. I graduated from Shandong University in 1989, majoring in Archive Management. I got my Accountancy Degree from Massey University twenty-three years later. Now I am a CPA qualified accountant.

I enjoy my work. I am passionate about contributing my time and knowledge to the community.

Sylvie TierneyNorth Shore Strengthening Families Coordinator

Sylvie Tierneyl

I qualified as a registered nurse and worked for a number of years at the ADHB as well as abroad in various disciplines. I also gained Project Management and Change Management certification.

The role of Strengthening Families coordinator consolidates all my varied skill sets and life experiences, allowing me to stay focused on supporting and empowering families.

Karen BarnettWellbeing Navigator

Karen Barnett

Hi my name is Karen and I am delighted to be part of a team that places the wellbeing of people at the front and centre of community life. I have a passion for the community sector, gaining a Certificate in Community Work from AUT and more recently shifting my focus to the therapeutic field. I have recently completed a Diploma in Counselling with distinction and a Bachelor of Counselling. Prior to joining Hearts & Minds, my natural interest in supporting people to achieve their full potential drew me to a range of professional roles in the health and community sectors, both here in New Zealand and overseas, where I gained insight into the many factors that can impact on individual and collective wellbeing. My professional and life experience has equipped me well for my current role as Wellbeing Navigator, which reflects my personal commitment to a whole-of-person approach to wellbeing, ensuring that each person is heard, valued and supported on their wellbeing journey.

Ellen MichieWellbeing Administrator

Ellen Michie

Hi my name is Ellen, I grew up in Tauranga but have lived on the North Shore for over five years now and love being part of this community. I come from a background in gambling addictions research and have a Bachelor of Health Science in Psychology. Currently I am studying a Master of Science endorsed in Health Psychology which will benefit me greatly in my role as Wellbeing Administrator. I am excited to be part of the Hearts & Minds team as I have a passion for community wellbeing, particularly seeing the empowerment of individuals to promote social change.

Vivian ChowHealth & Support Navigator

Vivian Chow

I was born in Hong Kong and migrated to New Zealand in 1994 with my family. I spent most of my childhood and educational years in Auckland, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My interest in wellbeing emerged during my year 12 Health Classes where I was first introduced to different aspects of health and the importance of resilience. I went on to pursue this interest and now hold a degree in Social Work from the University of Auckland. I have since worked in various community sectors and feel very privileged to have a bi-cultural background. I have the ability to speak in Cantonese, Mandarin and English, which enables me to reach out to benefit more people in community. My role and motivation at Hearts & Minds is to improve individual and family wellbeing by ensuring they have the best pathway to advice, information and support.

Kotaro WatanabeIT Coordinator


Hi, I'm Kotaro, I was born and grew up in Japan. After spending 10 years in Singapore, I came to New Zealand with my family in 2014. I (and my family) have been loving this country since day one. My role at Hearts & Minds is web administration and IT coordination. I completed a graduate/post graduate diploma in Information Technology before joining Hearts & Minds. I really love living in Auckland where I have found that there is a real sense of community. As a newcomer to New Zealand, I received kindness and support from the community, which motivates me to pay it forward. My role at Hearts & Minds provides me with the opportunity to support the wider vision of the organisation: to promote, develop and strengthen wellbeing in our communities.

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