None of this is possible without passionate and professional employees and volunteers. Our small but energetic team has a wealth of life experience, non-profit and corporate experience that we draw upon every day to create inspiring, fulfilling experiences both for our Jammers (our young people), their families/whanau and the entire community.
I am married to Rob (Young) with two adult children of my own and two adult step children. Between us we have 5 grandsons and 2 granddaughters. We live in Westmere with Carrie our Golden Retriever.
I started my working life as a primary school teacher and taught for 6 years until the appeal of corporate life called and I became a sales rep for Gordon and Gotch, a long established magazine distribution company. Corporate life agreed with me and after a few years in sales I was asked to join the Account Management team with Gordon and Gotch progressing to a few other roles over the 12 years I was there, eventually becoming their Marketing Manager.
During my time at Gordon and Gotch I completed a Post Graduate diploma in Business Studies (Majoring in Marketing).
My next role was as General Manager of Jasons Travel Media and I was there 9 years. Three years ago I took the plunge and started my own business working from home as a freight broker – I learned a lot very quickly but I also discovered something very important was missing in my working life and that was “a team”. My major drivers are people and creating great teams, growing values and culture but most importantly making a difference.
I met Julie quite some time back and was in awe of the work she was doing. I then attended a monthly StarJam get together and was “jammed.” Being appointed as CEO of StarJam is a great honour and I am excited about the role and working with and for the people who are StarJam.
Originally from Whanganui, I now live on Auckland’s North Shore with Franco and our student son, Ugo and elderly Burmese cat, Pascale. We are a sports mad family, with basketball our number one love, and we enjoy trying to keep fit and volunteering at our local basketball association.
After a stint as an officer in the New Zealand Army, I trained as an English teacher and taught in language schools for a number of years both overseas and in New Zealand, before re-qualifying as a primary school teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed the rewards and challenges of teaching, but after nearly 18 years, I felt it was time for a change. For the two years before joining StarJam I worked in the publishing field, preparing medical research papers for publication. I am very motivated and excited to be working as the grants writer at StarJam, an organization that is warmly perceived in education circles. I had previously seen Jammers in action at both Jump Jam 4 StarJam and performing onstage, so it is a privilege now to be helping this wonderful organization to continue its important work and to develop and grow its operation.
Michelle has many years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector in accounts and office management positions. She has worked for Child Cancer Foundation, Well Women and their Families Trust, Supporting Families in Mental Illness and more. She has also worked as a volunteer and committee member at both local and national levels for Birthright and as a street coordinator for Neighbourhood Support.
She lives in West Auckland with her husband, Peter (Milne), staffies Bonny & Clyde, cats Rascal and Snuggles, 3 turtles and 1 fish. They have four grown up sons and one grandson.
Michelle is a collector of collections which include dragons, turtles elephants, beads and crown ducal plates to name a few. Her passion for op-shopping (which she shares with her husband and mother on a regular basis) doesn’t help!
Regional Programmes Coordinator – Auckland
Ashleigh has returned back to Auckland from her overseas travels and is so thrilled to join the Starjam team.
She has obtained a Bachelor of Performing Arts and a Diploma in Contemporary Music so naturally she’s a lover of theatre, singing, song-writing and dancing! Ashleigh has enjoyed her past employment with Presbyterian Support where she has gained experience in the disability sector.
Coming on board as the Auckland Regional Programmes Coordinator in 2017 is an exciting new challenge for Ashleigh that combines her past experience and training. StarJam’s values are close to Ashleigh’s heart, so being able to work for an organisation that is passionate about the same things is a huge bonus! Outside of work you can find her spending time with her new nephew and annoying her neighbours with show tunes.
Regional Programmes Coordinator – Waikato and Bay of Plenty
Britt has been involved with StarJam for over four years, as a volunteer or tutor, in various workshops. She came on board due to falling in love StarJam at their opening show in Christchurch in 2012, and wanting to be a part of a fantastic cause for disability.
She has travelled overseas and nannied in England for a few months before deciding to come back to NZ and study Primary Teaching at Canterbury University. After graduation she moved up to Hamilton to study disability and inclusion studies at Waikato University, while relief primary teaching.
She lives with her husband and cat in Hamilton, and in her free time enjoys relaxing at home, coaching and playing netball, and spending time with her family.
Regional Programmes Coordinator – Wellington
Adam Koveskali is an international actor, singer, model, dancer, MC, and educator with professional experience on stage and screen in Hong Kong, China, Macau, Australia, and New Zealand. He holds an Advanced Diploma in Stage and Screen Arts and a Bachelor of Applied Arts specializing in Performing Arts from Whitireia.
When Adam isn’t on a stage or in front of a camera he has worked for many organisations in the arts sector such as the Sydney Opera House and The Learning Connexion International School of Art and Creativity.
Adam is very passionate about performing and believes that theatre, TV, and film have the power to change the world and this drives him to continue to challenge himself and others.
Regional Programmes Coordinator – Christchurch
Jo came on board in 2012- the year that StarJam launched in Christchurch as the Groovy Guitar Tutor. It was then that she discovered her passion for working with people with disabilities and hasn’t been able to get enough of StarJam since. Jo completed her honours degree in Social Work through the University of Canterbury and spent time as a social worker at Christchurch Public Hospital before taking on the role of Christchurch RPC!
She spends most of her free time singing in various choirs from church ones to regional and national ones- most recently the 2014-2016 New Zealand Youth Choir.
Jo considers being able to combine a love for music and working for an organisation with goals that align with her own values a huge privilege.
Executive Assistant to CEO (part-time)
Prior to StarJam, Kiri worked as a corporate/commercial lawyer in Central Auckland. She has a double degree in Law and Art History from the University of Auckland, where she was also a lecturer, tutor, and mentor. Kiri loves playing netball, reading good books, visiting art galleries, travelling around the world, family Christmas holidays at the beach and going out for long fancy dinners. During a trip around South America, Kiri learnt to speak Spanish, hiked to Machu Picchu and visited the Salt Flats of Bolivia. She also swam with turtles and sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Kiri is proud mum to Griffin and Quintin.