• Diversity Works New Zealand | 0800 DIVERSITY (348 377) | 09 525 3023

Rachel Hopkins

Chief Executive

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Rachel stepped into the Chief Executive position at Diversity Works New Zealand in April 2018 following roles in a mix of private, listed, charitable and public organisations in the professional services, economic development, and training and education sectors.

She believes workforce diversity is a powerful engine for the positive economic and social outcomes wanted by all businesses and organisations, and is committed to using her skills to support the people throughout the country who are working towards building inclusive workplaces.

She brings to the role senior leadership experience garnered at organisations including Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, The Icehouse, The University of Auckland Business School and Competenz. She is also on the boards of PledgeMe and The Ministry of Youth Development Partnership Fund.


Mary Haddock-Staniland

Head of Membership Services

+64 9 580 4446

+64 275 550 770

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Developing strong and enduring relationships from the ground up with key stake holders comes naturally for Mary who has senior level client care and professional services experience.

Joining Diversity Works New Zealand from an advertising agency environment, Mary has worked as the General Manager of Employee Support Services and in a previous role at EAP Services was responsible for managing the national emergency employee assistance team for the months following the February 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

Mary is highly sought after as a keynote speaker on diversity and inclusion, in particular transgender issues, and cultivating and promoting a positive culture is one of the keys to her success. Mary has a large social media presence, which is used to promote issues of social justice in a positive and affirming way. Mary is an Advisory Board Member for the Circability Trust.

Dr. Guillermo Merelo

Diversity Manager

+64 9 580 4448

+64 21 451 639

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With a strong background in public management and public policy, Guillermo has worked as a senior public officer, columnist, lecturer and academic researcher in Latin America, Europe and New Zealand. He is a published author on integration and inclusion. His academic work revolves around the value of migrants’ processes of integration to their receiving societies. He is also a HR specialist with more than 20 years of experience in talent management, organisational development and change.

Brought up in a family of strong women and being a member of the LGBTI community, Guillermo truly cherishes diversity and he is convinced that diverse workplaces have the potential to foster understandings of the self and others, unleash organisational potential and make this a better world.

BL, MPA, PhD University of Auckland

Iani Nemani

Diversity Manager

+64 9 580 4441

+64 21 506 526

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Iani Nemani comes to Diversity Works New Zealand with a strong background in labour market development, community economic development and social work. He is an experienced relationship manager and brings more than 20 years of experience across community, local and central government, tertiary education and industry training sectors. Prior to joining Diversity Works he spent four years growing the Maori and Pasifika pipeline of future apprentices for Competenz, a leading New Zealand industry training organisation and prior to that, he worked for five years in the Immigration New Zealand migrant settlement unit.

Iani comes from a large Tongan family with Fijian roots. He is a Board member for the Pasifika Education Centre (PEC) and is a recent appointment to the ADHB Patient and Whanau Centred Care Council. He has qualifications in social work, social policy, economic development and theology and has recently completed the Leadership New Zealand Mana Moana programme.

Fiona Beal

Finance and Systems Manager

+64 9 580 4449

+021 606 972

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With a background in administrative and financial management combined with skills in sales and marketing across a wide range of business sectors, Fiona is able to support our team in the areas of events and training, IT, liaising with suppliers and assisting with accounts.

BBUS – Management, DipHRM, DipMgt – Unitec Institute of Technology

Sheryl Blythen

Communications and Marketing Manager

+64 9 580 4447

+021 674 443

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Sheryl has been working in the communications industry for more than 25 years, managing print and digital publications and helping New Zealand organisations connect with their communities and disseminate key messages.

At Diversity Works New Zealand, her role is to tell the stories of forward-thinking local companies that are maximising the benefits of a diverse workforce and creating an inclusive workplace culture. Sheryl also helps to foster public debate and grow people’s understanding of diversity issues by engaging with media and overseeing content development for the Diversity Works website, newsletters and social media platforms.

Sheryl joined Diversity Works New Zealand in 2016 after working the private sector as a journalist and editor.

Cristelle Espino

Marketing Co-ordinator

+64 9 580 4440

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Cristelle joins Diversity Works New Zealand coming from a background in marketing, event and project coordination in the insurance and education industry. She has previously worked for the Initiative for Women in Business at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto and Travelers Insurance in Calgary.

Cristelle has a business degree specializing in Marketing from the University of Toronto and speaks Tagalog, French and English. She enjoys building brand awareness, engaging target audiences and developing and executing creative marketing strategies. As an expat, female and a minority, Cristelle is passionate about the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace and society.

She has recently moved to New Zealand from Canada.

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) – University of Toronto 

Valerie Brand

Executive Assistant

+64 9 580 4445

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Valerie joins Diversity Works New Zealand with a raft of experience in office and project management, marketing administration and executive support. She has worked across a diverse range of industries from distribution, to technology, entertainment, media and recruitment, frequently in global-facing positions.
Event management and communication are other strengths, and Valerie excels at developing close internal relationships and external client relationships.
She moved to New Zealand four years ago from the United Kingdom, and also runs a house and pet-sitting business with her Kiwi fiancé. Valerie loves to travel and is passionate about health and fitness.

Richard Mortensen


+64 9 525 3023

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Richard joined our organisation in 1997, taking on a variety of administration tasks to support the Diversity Works New Zealand team.
Richard suffered a serious brain injury as a result of a climbing accident in his early 20s, and as a result some of his physical abilities are limited.
After his accident, Richard had casual administration jobs until finding a permanent part-time role with Diversity Works New Zealand.
In addition to his work here, Richard spends time at the Laura Fergusson Trust and Headway House every week as part of his rehabilitation.
As a committed member of the Brahma Kumaris spiritual movement, Richard makes an annual trip to Mt Abu in Rajasthan, India to spend time at the headquarters of the group to focus on meditation and learning and enjoy fellowship with other followers.

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