I was appointed General Manager of the TalkLink Trust in 2007. The creation of a “head office” was seen as the
next step in expanding the TalkLink service. The appointment of both a General Manager and a Finance Manager ensures that the TalkLink Trust will continue to provide well coordinated services for all our clients.
The General Manager is responsible for implementing the TalkLink Vision, Mission and Values, ensuring there are
- High standards in clinical practice,
- Well supported TalkLink staff,
- Well managed key relationships,
- Effective business processes and financial management.
As General Manager, I must ensure that TalkLink operates in accordance with the TalkLink Trust Board strategies, direction and policies.
I have worked at TalkLink since the early 1990s, as a speech-language therapist and have considerable experience in Augmentative Communication and Assistive Technology. Before working at TalkLink I had specialised in working with people with physical and intellectual disabilities. Becoming involved in the development of TalkLink as an assistive communication technology “centre of excellence”, was a progression from my earlier specialisation.
I started working for TalkLink in September 2004 in the role of Office Manager. With the expansion of TalkLink services in 2007 and the establishment of a TalkLink Trust “national office” I was appointed to the position of Finance Manager.
Prior to my work at TalkLink I had worked for 18 years in finance and administration in a Steiner School, which also involved much community based work and fundraising to build and support the operations of the school.
I am married and have six children. I grew up in Croatia, spent two years in Germany and then moved to New Zealand when I was twelve years old. After finishing high school in Auckland, I trained to be a primary school teacher and taught for two years before having my own children.
I believe that being able to communicate effectively and continuing to learn throughout one’s life is vital in today’s world. Removing barriers to learning caused by disability and enabling individuals to come closer to achieving their potential and leading a fulfilling life has been a major focus of my working life. Coming to terms with a physical disability caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis and then successfully using voice recognition software in my own work, has given me some insight into what can be achieved with appropriate assistive technology.
I am inspired by the difference that TalkLink makes to the lives of so many people with disabilities, who use assistive technology to communicate and interact with their environment as effectively as is possible.
My main role at TalkLink is to ensure that effective business processes and financial management systems are in place, which also supports the delivery of best possible services to our clients. I work closely with the General Manager and the Centre Managers to ensure there are sound financial practices.
I also prepare all financial statements and reports and ensure these are distributed to the General Manager, Centre Managers and the TalkLink Trust.
My other responsibilities include managing/maintaining the financial computer systems TalkLink wide, and assisting with raising funds for assistive technology resources. Please contact me if you have any financial queries.
I joined the Talklink team in Auckland in 2012. I trained at the Christchurch College of Education and worked in Christchurch for two years in special education before moving to the UK. It was in a special school in London where I first developed an interest in communication for my students with complex needs. When I returned to Christchurch, I started working with ORS funded students in mainstream settings. My different teaching roles have given me experience with a wide range of children and young people with communication difficulties. These teaching roles have also seen me working with students at the very beginning of their AAC journeys (both low and high tech). I am interested in setting up environments and programmes which create opportunities for communicating at all levels and creating literacy programmes to suit the needs of my students.
I’ve always had a great passion for computers. From an early age I learnt to program, repair and modify computers for both entertainment and work related tasks. In fact, I can often still be found tinkering around with old classic arcade machines. With such interests, I went on to formalise and enhance my skills and completed a diploma in systems technology.
Despite these avid interests in all things computer related and techy, my working life for the last 10 years has also centred around the health sector and community; from care giving, mental health support roles and even art therapy. Work tasks have always revolved around communication in some form or another, so coming to work at TalkLink was a great way to combine my skills and interest areas.
My primary role at TalkLink is to support staff and clients on anything with computer hardware or software; from computer repairs and diagnostics to dedicated communication devices and training of specialised software. I am also the administrator for all backend TalkLink servers. Keeping everything running smoothly is no small task as technology changes and improves and TalkLink continues to grow.