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 WhartonPortfolio Manager – Planning, Communications and Partnerships

Amberlee Wharton

I am a big believer in the vital role the community sector plays in generating wellbeing outcomes and am delighted to be involved in such an incredibly innovative and dynamic organisation that really does make a difference where it matters most. Hearts & Minds’ belief in the intrinsic value of all people and communities resonates strongly for me and I enjoy measuring the positive outcomes achieved when people are supported to realise their full potential.

My educational background includes a BA in Sociology & English, followed by a post graduate degree in Sociology, along with qualifications in Public Participation, Psychology and a wide range of Social & Health Sector training. The continuous learning I gain from the diverse communities we serve is of great value to me and I am pleased to be a part of a talented team that is passionate about making a positive difference for all people.

Maria ThorndykeOperational Manager

Maria Thorndyke

Originally from the UK, I came to NZ in 2007 with my husband and my son where we made our home on the North Shore. I trained in the UK, and I am a Registered Psychotherapist/Counselor and Casework Supervisor with over 20 years’ experience. I have worked in the health sector during this time and held many senior positions within different health organisations. Over the past 14 years I have worked alongside Hearts & Minds in a contract capacity providing a variety of services.

It is now my pleasure to have been appointed the role of Operations Manager. My role will allow me to continue to do the things I love which is supporting people through growth and development to reach their full potential.
My role encompasses the multifunction of the management of the staff and services at Hearts& Minds including the Wellbeing and Resilience programmes, whilst working alongside the CEO and management to ensure an effective planning cycle plan is in place and implemented.

I believe in the importance of positive relationships and look forward to being able to connect with others in the promotion of our services at Hearts & Minds.

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.

Amy PowlesProgramme Coordinator

Amy Powles

When I arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand from England in 2009, I knew only one person here so I tapped into my network of London friends to ask if they could loan me their Kiwi friends. I ended up being put in touch with a huge variety of people and I soon understood the importance of community.

In 2011, I changed careers from TV Producer/Director to a NZ Police Constable. Both roles meant talking with people from all walks of life and hearing their stories. One reason I chose to become a NZ Police Officer was to help people to protect the most trusting community and nation that I saw here in New Zealand.

Fast forward to 2021, and I am now a New Zealand Citizen and have my own young family. Becoming a mum led me into a whole new world and into different communities that previously I never knew existed.

I was drawn to Hearts & Minds because I love connecting people and supporting others to access useful information. Whilst working as the Programme Coordinator at Hearts & Minds, I am undertaking a part time Masters’ Degree of Counselling. My studies focus on Narrative Therapy, which builds on my longtime passion for engaging with people and hearing their story.

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.

Linda MarshProject Manager

Linda Marsh

Having worked in the community, education and business sectors for over 30 years, I have experienced the unity created when we are heard and accepted without judgement, regardless of our differences in education, culture or life experience.

Prior to my role at Hearts & Minds, I spent 15 years coordinating and delivering the acclaimed business education programmes for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa on Ngā Mahinga Campus.

Key to what excites me in the work that we do, is seeing people and communities strengthen their resilience, enhance their wellbeing and flourish through access to high quality information, resources, and support.

I am inspired by being part of a dynamic team that embraces holistic and results-based programmes to support strong, healthy workplaces, families, their whānau and communities.

Stephen BakerProject Manager Shared Vision

Stephen Baker

Greetings! My name is Stephen and I am pleased to take on the role of Shared Vision Project Manager for the North Shore and Rodney regions. I am strongly motivated by the purpose of Shared Vision, which is to promote mental wellbeing across our region, and am excited to facilitate opportunities for connecting, learning and sharing at all level across our communities. With a background in consultancy, leadership and management, I have been a supporter of Shared Vision for over 8 years. As a proud father of three boys, I have been involved in a range of community activities including Surf Lifesaving and Football Refereeing, which has given me a passion for the important role communities of all shapes and sizes play in generating wellbeing for the people of our region.

Sarah BartlettSupport Coordinator

Sarah Bartlett

In covering Vivan’s maternity leave I have stepped into a very warm, caring and committed staff team. This group is dedicated to deliver the best of themselves and what can be offered both through this agency and out there in the community. The priority is always to provide support and a step up from wherever clients are at. For myself I gained a Bachelor of Social Work early on in my career and stepped sideways into community development with a crime prevention focus. In the past decade, I embarked on my own self healing journey and this facilitated my re-discovery of my own calling to work with others now in a healing capacity. Outside my role at Hearts and Minds I do this using EFT (Tapping) and Reiki energy healing modalities. As the Health and Support Navigator here I am delighted to connect and network with the many and varied agencies out there supporting people to live better, more fulfilling lives and to enable the clients who come to us to find the services to meet their needs.

Shabnam Jalili-MoghaddamCommunity Researcher

Shabnam Jalili-Moghaddam

I am excited to join the team as a Community Researcher, and conducting a community led research study titled “Measuring the Impact of Northcote’s Urban Regeneration on Community Wellbeing”. This has been complimented by my international research background for more than 10 years in the field of health and well-being.

My educational background includes a Bachelor in Nutrition Science, Master in Community Nutrition followed by PhD in Nutrition. I am a NZ registered Nutritionist and passionate about people’s wellbeing. I am proud to be a part of Hearts & Minds diverse team that are all working towards making a positive difference for the community!

Gabby GreeneSupport Coordinator

Gabby Greene

I joined Hearts & Minds as a newcomer to New Zealand after relocating from the UK in November 2020 with my Kiwi husband and two young sons. Having left my own community and connections to start over again, I am all too aware of how important support networks and having a sense of connectedness are to a person’s mental health and wellbeing.

My working career has covered a variety of roles in both Australia and the UK as a Support Worker with young people, as a Team Leader in the development of a new Transitional Recovery Program for adults living with moderate to severe mental health challenges, as a Community Development Officer for a Social Housing Association and working as an Inclusion and Involvement Lead for adults with a learning disability.

I love working with people and learning about what drives them, as an individual as well as a community member. So, I am excited to be a part of Hearts & Minds and the work we do with the community members to support wellness and resilience.

Becky GongWellbeing Administrator/Hub Coordinator

Becky Gong

Kia Ora, my name is Becky. I came to New Zealand as an international student and have completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Administration at Massey University and a Bachelor of Science Major in Psychology at the University of Canterbury. I have since gained professional experience in administrator roles in both the education and health sectors, where I was given great opportunities to work with diverse people which allowed me to obtain the skills and knowledge to work respectfully with people from different social and cultural groups. I am so proud to be a part of the Hearts & Minds team to support people to have their best lives and strengthen wellbeing in community.

Nibras AltayyarProject Coordinator


Kia ora and Marhaba!

My name is Nibras. I am from Baghdad, Iraq and have been in New Zealand since 2015, arriving as a skill migrant. My educational background is Basic Medical Science (BMS). I enjoy meeting new people and learning about their lives and backgrounds. As well as my role with Hearts & Minds, I have also been working as the Middle Eastern coordinator in the KCFT team since 2019. I enjoy preparing and presenting community workshop about Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures. My experience working in the community has helped me to gain excellent communication skills by working with diverse populations.

I am proud to be a part of the Hearts & Minds diverse team as a Project Coordinator. I am keen to work with them towards making a positive difference for the community!

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