Karen2Karen Barker, our previous Screening Manager (now Treasurer), and one of the original trust board members for Empowered Learning Trust was selected as a Finalist in the Diversity category for the Women of Influence Awards 2019.

As manager and initiator of Empowered Learning Trust, Karen sources funding of up to $100,000 a year to support the identification of children with leanring and processing difficulties, to provide glasses for Irlen Syndrome and support programmes for Auditory Processing Disorder.

Since 2012, more than 2,100 students have undergone basic screening, and around 800 referrals have been made for further optometric and Irlen testing. More than 450 sets of corrective lenses and Irlen tints have been fitted and over 780 students have been screened for Auditory Processing Disorder in schools. Around 190 students have been referred o to an audiologist for further assessment, and 290 students have participated in APD support programmes to improve their hearing ability.

Presented by Stuff and Westpac, the Women of Influence New Zealand programme recognises and celebrates women from all walks of life who make a difference in the lives of everyday New Zealanders. We are committed to showcasing the amazing work women are doing across the country, highlighting the important contribution they are making in creating a bold and diverse future for New Zealand. The Awards night and Speaker Series recognises and celebrates exceptional women who have committed time and energy to create real change in their industry and communities, and are using their influence to achieve great things. See more here.

The awards programme, which is jointly presented by Westpac NZ and Stuff, attracted 371 entries. Entrants were judged on the impact of their actions and the influence they’ve exerted.

Westpac NZ Chief Executive David McLean said the huge number and impressive calibre of nominations this year left the judges with “a daunting task” to pick the finalists.

“For the past seven years these awards have celebrated the amazing achievements of Kiwi women, and 2019 is no exception. Our finalists showcase the breadth of the inspiring work they’re doing, from the boardroom to the back paddock and everywhere in between.”

Full list of the 2019 Women of Influence finalists:

Bridget Williams – Director/Publisher, Bridget Williams Books
Dawn Sanders – CEO Shakespeare, Globe Centre NZ
Gisella Carr – CEO, World of Wearable Art (WOW)
Jan Hellriegel – Founder/Managing Director, Songbroker
Jennifer (Te Atamira)Ward-Lealand  Actor / Director/ Teacher Self Employed
Kiri Nathan – CEO, Kiri Nathan
Libby Hakaraia – Director, Maoriland Charitable Trust
Rita Paczian – Music and Artistic Director, Bach Musica NZ
Sarah Meikle – CEO, Wellington Culinary Events Trust

Abbie Reynolds – Executive Director, Sustainable Business Council
Candace Kinser – Board Director and Company Advisor, Various organisations
Catherine Savage – Chair, NZ Super Fund
Gabrielle Huria – General Manager, Ngai Tahu
Justine Smyth – Chair/Director, Spark and Auckland International Airport
Margriet Theron – President, Rotorua Multicultural Council
Rawinia Higgins – Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori), Victoria University of Wellington

Linda Ashworth – Managing Director, Pet Central
Anna Bordignon – Director, Munch Cupboard
Nikki Clarke – Founder/Owner, Cadenshae
Leanne Crozier – Director/Owner, Decipher Group
Shareena Sandbrook – CEO, Frogparking
Bron Thomson – Founder/CEO, Springload
Florence & Chloe van Dyke – Co-owners, Chia Sisters
Carmen Vicelich – Founder/CEO, of Data Insight and Valocity
Brianne West – Founder/CEO, Ethique

Denise Arnold – Founder, Cambodia Charitable Trust
Terry Bellamak – National President, ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa
Pauline Buchanan – District Operations Manager, Southland/Otago St John New Zealand
Victoria Carroll – Managing Director, Papakainga Solutions Ltd
Swanie Nelson – CEO, The Community Builders Trust and Lets Get Legal NZ
Carol Peters – Community Development Coordinator, 155 Community House
Inge Woolf – Founding Director, Holocaust Centre of New Zealand
Chloe Wright – Co-founder/CEO, Wright Family Foundation

Alice Andersen – Executive Director, Qtopia
Karen Barker – Project Manager, Empowered Learning Trust
Valerie Chan – R&D Lead, Snapper
Gill Gatfield – Founder/Sculpture, Gill Gatfield Sudio
Tapu Misa -Trustee/Co-Editor, Mana Trust – E-Tangata magazine
Edwina Pio – Professor of Diversity, Auckland University of Technology
Michelle Sharp – Chief Executive Officer, Kilmarnock Enterprises
Anjum Rahman – Founder, Trustee Shama, Hamilton Ethnic Women’s Centre Trust, Islamic Women’s Council

Elizabeth (Biz) Bell – Senior Ecologist, Wildlife Management International
Anne-Marie Brady – Professor, University of Canterbury
Lara Collins – CEO, Waka Ama NZ
Roberta Francis Co-Founder & Director/Senior Researcher, The Lucy Foundation/Donald Beasley Institute
Jane Henley – Global Operations Manager, Green Building/World Bank Group
Charlotte Lockhart – CEO, 4 Day Week Global
Gillian Mellsop – Country Representative UNICEF (retired)
Eliza Raymond – Co-Founder, GOOD Travel


Denise Astill  Executive Officer, Foetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome New Zealand
Chris Duggan – National CEO, House of Science NZ
Jane Harding – Distinguished Professor of Neonatology Liggins Institute, University of Auckland
Rebecca Magdalinos – Squadron Leader – Operation Tangata Kanorau, Royal Air New Zealand Air Force
Melanie Mark-Shadbolt – Co-Founder/CEO, Te Tira Whakamtaki
Elaine Murphy – Principal Science Advisor, Department of Conservation
Annemarei Ranta – Neurologist, University of Otago – Wellington and Capital Coast District Health Board
Fiona Shanhun – Acting Chief Scientific Advisor, Antarctica New Zealand

Claire Bibby – Continuous Improvement Adviser, NZ Police
Pam Ford – General Manager Economic Development, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development
Janet Holmes – Emeritus Professor, Victoria University of Wellington
Ruth Money – Private Victim Advocate
Khylee Quince – Associate Professor/Associate Head of Law School
Diana Sarfati – Professor University of Otago
Debbie Sorensen CEO, Pasifika Medical Association Group
Reina Vaai Lawyer/Journalist/Author Public Defence Service

Ash-Leigh Campbell – Chair of New Zealand Young Farmers Board/Technical Farm Manager
Aimee Charteris – Managing Director, Aimee Charteris Genetics
Jacqui Cottrell – Founder, Kiwi Quinoa
Toni Croon – Owner, Hotel Chatham
Fiona Gower – National President, Rural Women New Zealand
Kylie Leonard -Regional Leader, Dairy Women’s Network
Gina Mohi – Trustee, Rangiwewehi Charitable Trust
Lindy Nelson – Founder, Agri-Women’s Development Trust
Chloe Walker – Director, Glynleith Farms

Annika Andresen – Virtual Reality Environmental Educator BLAKE
Katie Babbott – Co-Founder, Āhei
Eteroa Lafaele – Software Developer, Voluntari.ly
Elle Perriam – Founder, Will To Live Charitable Trust
Laura Robinson – Founder/Director, Purpose Projects
Jazz Thornton – Co-Founder, Voices Of Hope
Alannah Wesche – Director of GEE Nepal Charitable Trust, GEE Nepal
Kudzai Zvenyika – Founder, Spine Health Africa