• Diversity Works New Zealand | 0800 DIVERSITY (348 377) | 09 525 3023
Maretha Smit, Diversity Works New Zealand Chief Executive

Maretha Smit

 Chief Executive

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Maretha has held a number of senior leadership roles in her native South Africa and New Zealand, including that of Chief Executive of a large member organisation where she effected significant transformational change across an entire sector.

She has a strong background and appreciation of the challenges in diversity and inclusion, with experience in senior leadership roles in the disability sector, as well as delivering programmes to improve social cohesion through performing arts, education and training. She is passionate about her life purpose to create a more sustainable and equitable society through national conversations and creative initiatives.

Maretha has a degree in Psychology from the University of Stellenbosch, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors (South Africa). She is a Trustee and Chair of the Finance Committee of Belong Aotearoa, a specialist settlement agency that focuses on addressing the barriers to successful integration of newcomers in New Zealand.

Mary Haddock-Staniland

Mary Haddock-Staniland

Head of Membership Services

+64 9 580 4446

+64 275 550 770

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Mary has spent a number of years supporting movements for social change and cultivating the importance of inclusion and respect in the workplace.

Before joining Diversity Works New Zealand, Mary held a senior HR role at global advertising agency Ogilvy. She 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 has strong relationships in extensive networks across different industries, both in the private and public sector in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific.

Mary is an experienced MC/Keynote Speaker. Being able to captivate an audience is one of Mary’s strengths. She has a large social media presence, which is used to promote issues of social justice in a positive and affirming way. Mary also currently holds three Board roles and is an Ambassador for Lifeline Aotearoa. 

Guillermo Merelo

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

Claire Stuart

Claire Stuart

Diversity Manager

+64 9 580 4441

+64 21 107 9071

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Claire is passionate about equal opportunities for all people and during the past 15 years has worked as a leader and influencer in roles which have had diversity and inclusion at their heart. She has been a driver for change in implementing inclusion initiatives at organisational level at AA Insurance, a large company with a strong focus on culture and engagement.

Claire has also had the privilege of managing a committee that supports charities, communities, employees and minority groups to help them achieve their goals and feel valued and included.

Claire comes from a family rich in diversity including LGBTI members and members of different cultures. Her family and two young children are key drivers in her mission for a more inclusive New Zealand.

Sonya Mills

Sonya Mills

Events and Membership Services Co-Ordinator

+64 9 580 4444

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With more than 10 years’ experience in event coordination and proven ability to project manage events, conferences, meetings, and incentive programmes, this support “superstar” is passionate about using her skills to support Diversity Works New Zealand’s members.

A natural organiser, Sonya thrives on new challenges in a dynamic work environment, converting team ideas and visions into appropriate action plans and delivering innovative outcomes. She is looking forward to working with a variety of stakeholders and members to assist them in achieving their strategic goals. 

Fiona Beal

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

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.

Sarah Bayliss

Sarah Bayliss

Marketing Executive

+64 9 580 4440

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Sarah joins the team with a marketing background and passion for empowering others. Trained in film production, she comes to Diversity Works New Zealand from Sky New Zealand where she held various roles managing movie channels and working in operations and marketing, with a focus on brand management and engagement. Sarah’s strengths are in combining creativity with organisation and communication and she is excited to develop impactful marketing strategies that grow inclusivity and understanding within New Zealand workplaces.

An avid sports fan, Sarah enjoys exploring and being active, competing in and managing several sports teams, including a dragon boating squad that competes at national level.

Valerie Bold

Valerie Bold

Executive Assistant

+64 9 580 4445

+64 21 364 442

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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 six years ago from the United Kingdom, and also runs a house and pet-sitting business with her Kiwi husband. Valerie loves to travel and is passionate about health and fitness.

Richard Mortensen

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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