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Anne Couper

Anne Couper RN is an Asthma Nurse Educator for the Wellington office of Asthma New Zealand, a not-for-profit organisation. Asthma New Zealand’s aim is to educate individuals about how best to manage their asthma, and to educate groups in the community who are either interested or who need to know because people in their care have asthma.

Anne is a late-comer to nursing, and prior to this position worked as a practice nurse in three very different practices in Wellington. She does not have asthma herself but she and her colleague (who does) are a part of a drive to reduce the alarming asthma statistics in New Zealand.


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Mary Fisher

Mary has always loved being in and around water.  As a nine-year-old she swam her first races at Stokes Valley pool after training with the Upper Hutt Swim Club and taking lessons at Trentham School Pool.

Mary was born with low vision and lost the rest during her teens which made many day-to-day activities tricky, however, swimming stayed a constant.  She continued with the competitive side of the sport until the end of 2018 including medalling at two Paralympic Games.  She believes everyone should have the opportunity to learn to swim.

In the past Mary has taught swimming in Upper Hutt to two and three-year-olds who have an adult in the water with them and assisting with squad swimming at Capital Swim Team in Wellington City.  Mary holds a BA from Massey University and her hobbies include harakeke weaving and community music.


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Sue Mayo

Sue is the General Manger of Australian Crawl Fitness and Leisure Centres. She is a Trainer and Assessor forAUSTSWIM and a Royal Life Saving Australia. She has spoken at numerous national and international conferences since 1998 on a wide range of topics from swimming techniques, special needs to business issues. Her background of teaching is extensive; commencing in 1979 in England, coaching and teaching in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. She built her own purpose built 25m indoor heated pool in Hamilton NZ in 2001. She served on NZSCTA Board for 10 years, receiving the Master Teacher Award in 2008 and was on the Board of Water Safety NZ for two years. Sue is currently completing her Degree in Developmental Psychology with the view to share her knowledge specifically with Swim Teachers and Swim School Operators Internationally.


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Sarah Leberman

Sarah is the Co-Founder of Women in Sport Aotearoa and current Board Co-Chair. She is a Professor in Leadership in the School of Management at Massey University. Sarah has been involved in sport all her life, as a participant, coach, administrator, educator, researcher and board member. After growing up in Germany, and then moving back to England to finish high school and go to university studying geography, Sarah came to New Zealand as a student to complete the MA (Applied) in Recreation Administration at Victoria University in Wellington. During this time she decided to make New Zealand her home emigrating in 1991, when Sarah started work at Massey University as a recreation officer and then Recreation Centre Manager, and helped establish the academic sport management programme in 1992. Since then she has had various roles including, Head of School of Management, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Massey Business School, and Dean Academic for Massey University. Sarah was a finalist in the 2016 Westpac ’Women of Influence’ awards in the  diversity category for her work in facilitating opportunities for girls and women to exercise leadership at all levels. In 2018 Sarah won the NEXT Woman of the Year Sport category for her contribution to sport in Aotearoa.

Sarah’s research interests are women and leadership in sport and academia, and the transfer of learning. She was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2008 at the Tucker Centre for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, University of Minnesota. Her focus at the Tucker Centre was on mothers as coaches, and she returned to New Zealand wanting to establish a focal point for girls and women in sport. In 2016 her co-edited book ‘Women in Sport Leadership: Research & Practice’ was published.

Sarah co-developed the University sector wide New Zealand Women in Leadership programme in 2006, was Chair of the Steering Group Chair and is now an Advisor.  She was a member of the NZ Olympic Committee Women in Sport Group and has been the Manager of the Women’s Junior Black Sticks (2006-2013) and Stand-in Manager for the Black Sticks (2010-2013). Her board experience has been with Volleyball New Zealand, Western Netball, Hockey Manawatu and New Zealand University Sport. Sarah was also a Athlete Career Education Advisor for the New Zealand Academy of sport – Central between 2000-2006.

Sarah is currently working with the Women’s Black Sticks team on a leadership development programme through to Tokyo. Her first sporting passion is hockey, which she played to representative level in South Germany, followed by basketball. She was captain of the Cambridge University Women’s Basketball team in her final year. Whilst studying in New Zealand she learned to rock climb, tramp, mountaineer and was very involved in Women Outdoors New Zealand. Over the years, Sarah has tried many activities, most recently learning to surf (not very well J) as an adult, and taking up Taekwondo with her daughter Phoebe nine years ago. As a third dan black belt, she is actively involved with Taekwondo Manawatu as a club coach at all levels.


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Erika Gleeson

Erika is the Founder and Clinical Director of Autism Swim (www.autismswim.com.au); a multi-disciplinary and award-nominated international social enterprise, mitigating the risks associated with wandering and drowning for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); and in turn, lowering the alarming and underreported statistics.

Autism Swim is currently operating across seven countries, and was voted the 2018 winner of Smart100 Awards.

Erika is a nominee for Young Australian of the Year (2016 & 2017), Pride of Australia Award (2016 & 2017), and NSW Young Achievers Award (2016 & 2017). Erika is a noted speaker at international conferences, and is regarded as Australia's leading expert on wandering and drowning prevention for those who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and cognitive deficit.

Erika's background is a Senior Behaviour Specialist and Clinical Consultant. Erika specialises in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Intellectual Disability; the pursuit being on the acquisition of new skill sets and increasing the overall quality of life of the individuals whom she supports.

Erika’s extensive background includes Anti-Social Behaviour (London, UK), Clinical Training and Consultancy (Sydney and Canberra, Australia) and University Lecturing on Behavioural Sciences, Counselling and Communications (Perth, Australia). Erika is also an accredited trainer in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, nationally and internationally. She has two related journal articles currently in press.

Erika is internationally accredited through The Institute for Applied Behaviour Analysis (LA, USA) in the Assessment and Support of Persons with Severe Challenging Behaviour.


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Samantha Gadd

Samantha is Founder and Managing Director of Humankind, a business with the vision to create the best employee experiences in the world. Humankind (formerly HR Shop) was a 2015 Deloitte Fast 50 winner, and named fastest growing services business in the Wellington region in the same year.

Samantha is obsessed with Employee Experience and the difference it can have on business performance. Samantha has advised hundreds of organisations over the last 15 years on leadership, culture, performance and all things people. She is passionate about the future of work and the importance of modern leadership to attract and retain top talent. Samantha is currently focused on growing Humankind and recently launched Kin (sister company to Humankind) and building an exemplar employee experience in both organisations. In 2018 Samantha also launched the first Employee Experience Awards programme in New Zealand. Also Mum to three young boys, Samantha is experienced at blending life and work.


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Saskia Kirby

Saskia owns and operates 5 swim school locations in Perth, Western Australia.

Along with her husband Bill, an Olympic Gold Medalist, they have been running programs since 2002, including Babies, Toddlers, School age Learn to Swim as well as Squads and Adults.

Along with their 3 kids, they are heavily involved in both Surf Lifesaving, Water Polo and run a successful smaller Club program that has developed State, Age and National Champions as well as Commonwealth Games and Olympic Representatives.

Saskia and Bill run swim schools from council facilities, school facilities, privately leased facilities and their own purpose built, indoor 25m/dual pool facility. Their programmes teach over 5000 lessons per week and employ over 200 staff.

With a post-graduate degree in Marketing, Saskia has a special interest in communication, as well as staff training programs and quality program development, and has presented at numerous State and National association conferences. This is her first trip to the NZSCTA conference and she’s really excited to talk swimming with everyone across the ditch!


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Mark Cecil

Mark started in the learn to swim industry in 1997 with Paul Sadler Swimland as a swimming teacher during university. After completing an education degree, Mark was a teacher for 3 years before returning to the industry to manage a swim school in 2004. Mark became Swimland’s Operations Manager in 2011 and CEO in 2018. Mark continues to strive for the perfect balance between a job he loves in an industry he is very passionate about with his family of 3 amazing girls and his wonderful wife Seona.


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Timon Wilkinson

Timon has spent 2 decades in swimming as both a teacher and coach at TSW Swim School and Capital Swim Club. He has coached numerous national titleholders from junior to senior level. In 2017 he opened a movement gym in Wellington with the goal of helping both young and old become more athletic and confident in their bodies. He is currently a student of Fighting Monkey Practice studying health, longevity and athletic development.