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


Our Team

Meet our team

Rachel Hopkins

Chief Executive

+64 9 580 4442

+64 21 312 880


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


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. She is also a director in a boutique PR agency.

Guillermo Merelo

Diversity Manager

+64 9 580 4448
+64 21 451 639


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

Vasa Cynthia Collins (Fia)

Diversity Manager

Fia is of Samoan heritage and was born and raised in Ranui, west Auckland. She is a trained secondary school teacher of History, Social Studies and Gagana Samoa. She has previously worked in the State sector, community engagement roles and employment advocacy. She has particular expertise in designing and delivering cultural responsiveness and inclusion programmes for the workplace as well as mentoring young women. Fia is an active member of her local church and is married with one daughter. She is an avid supporter of the Northern Mystics netball team and enjoys movies, traveling and time out with family. She holds the Samoan tulafale chiefly title of Vasa from the village of Puapua, Savaii.

BA, GradDipTchg – University of Auckland

Fiona Beal

Operations Manager

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 Manager

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.

Cert Journalism – ATI

Karishma Prasad

Diversity Administrator

Karishma plays a vital role in supporting our Diversity Advisors and members, and ensuring the smooth delivery of customised training sessions to organisations across New Zealand. She balances her work at Diversity Works New Zealand with studying for a Masters Degree in Business at Auckland University of Technology. Karishma’s research focus is on understanding gender in the ICT industry and how female leaders can impact it. Karishma has previously worked in marketing, customer service, sales support and as a research assistant.

Bachelor of Business majoring in HRM/ER and Marketing- AUT

Heidi Rosser

Diversity Advisor

Heidi brings more than 15 years of HR experience at a senior level including a number of years as a director of her own HR and Marketing consultancy business, and provides valuable support to our Chief Executive and member organisations, as our resident Diversity Advisor.  Heidi has worked in New Zealand and offshore for private, publicly-listed, and state sector organisations.  She also has board level experience in private and NFP organisations.  Heidi is currently undertaking a Masters Degree in Business at AUT, with a focus on workplace diversity and inclusion.

In conjunction with our Diversity Manager, Heidi provides practical advice and solutions for organisations looking to undertake workplace diversity initiatives but who are not sure where best to focus their efforts.

BA/BCom – University of Auckland, CSS Administration & Management – Harvard University


Alisa Cassidy

Marketing Manager

Alisa joined Diversity Works New Zealand in 2017, bringing experience in marketing in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. She has previously worked for Flight Centre and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and as a marketing consultant for several small not-for-profit organisations.
Alisa enjoys developing innovative marketing solutions, particularly in the digital and social media space. She is passionate about flexible work practices and their benefits and treasures the time they allow her to spend with her young son.

Alisa’s tribal affiliation is Ngāti Porou and she is committed to her whānau reo journey.

Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS) in marketing and international business – Massey University

Valerie Brand

Executive Assistant

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


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.

Our Alliance Partners

Internal Affairs
Skill Highway
Te Puni Kōkiri
Diversity Works New Zealand

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