Creative Welly Episode #32 | Michelle Kitney & Rob Cousins

Courageous conversations with bold humans (from the most creative little capital in the world).

Michelle Kitney, Chief Executive at Volunteering New Zealand

Michelle Kitney lead’s Volunteering New Zealand. Originally from Taranaki, she lives in Te whanganui a tara with her three boys and husband.

Volunteering New Zealand is the national umbrella organisation for volunteers and volunteering. It’s purpose is to empower volunteers to enrich Aotearoa New Zealand.

Michelle has a background in communications, marketing, social enterprise and not for profit experience. She has also worked in the public sector in New Zealand and the UK. She says she volunteered her way into her current job. Gaining relevant experience through a variety of volunteering roles.

She cooks and plays Floorball in her spare time.

Rob Cousins, Innovation Manager

Being honest, I’m a jack of all trades and master of none, who often seems to land on my feet, and somehow finds a way to make a difference with the people I meet. After a mediocre degree in Psychology, I worked in insurance and risk management in the UK, whilst pursuing hobbies that were both uninsurable and risky in many other parts of the world. Instead of a career, I’ve followed opportunities as they’ve arisen, and as I’ve pursued various different interests.

All of this has taught me that they key to most challenges is people, their experience, being curious and caring. Right now I am bringing this to how health and safety is understood, and how we might regulate that, from WorkSafeNZ. Shifting away from paperwork, compliance and rules. Moving towards caring about people, creating improvement, and giving people power over the things that affect them.

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Creative Welly Episode #3 | Raqi Syed & Gabe Davidson

Courageous conversations with bold humans (from the most creative little capital in the world).

Raqi Syed, Digital Artist

Raqi Syed is a writer and artist who has worked on a bunch of films. In 2017, The Los Angeles Times pegged Raqi for its list of 100 Industry professionals who can help fix Hollywood’s Diversity Problem.

Her writing focuses on film and gender, film technology, and the history and business of visual effects. Her VR experience, MINIMUM MASS, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and her essays have appeared in TechCrunch, Vice, Salon, Quartz, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. Raqi is a 2018 Sundance New Frontier Story Lab Fellow, and 2020 Ucross Fellow.

She holds an MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and an MA in Creating Writing from Victoria University of Wellington, and is a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington.

Gabe Davidson, Cocoa Bean Hunter

Gabe is the co-founder of The Wellington Chocolate Factory and founder of The Original Cocoa Traders, Melbourne. 

A keen interest in ethical business he is an advocate for fairly traded cocoa and has gone to great lengths to source and promote interesting cocoa varieties, from the Peruvian Andes to PNG and the South Pacific. 

Gabe lives on the Kapiti Coast with partner Hayley and three little ones. 

When he’s not playing entrepreneur or dad, he loves playing live music with his band ‘Swagman’ and enjoys his role as a food rescue driver with Kaibosh.

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Creative Welly Episode #1 | Jessica Manins / Sarb Johal

Courageous conversations with bold humans (from the most creative little capital in the world).

Jessica Manins, Co-Founder & CEO, Beyond

I’m a creative technology producer making VR experiences that make you smile. For the past 2 years I’ve moved my full attention into social VR gaming at my company Beyond. Our first VR LBE game Oddball is out now at Two Bit Circus in LA and our HQ here in beautiful Wellington, NZ. We measure success by the number of times people laugh out loud during a game. So far it’s been a big success.

Dr Sarb Johal, Clinical Psychologist and Youtube Creator

Sarb is of Indian descent, born and raised in London, and has made his home New Zealand for the last 15 years. With 30 years experience as a Psychologist, he is often asked to contribute to a very wide range of work, from media commentator to personal and organisational coach, mentor and advisor. He also creates videos on Youtube and other platforms on psychology and mobile video and technology.

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