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National

General Manager

Ann Jan 2013I 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.

Finance ManagerAnkicaweb16,09,13

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.

Resource Teacher

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.

Resource Teacher

Helen BrunnerKia ora. Having worked alongside TalkLink therapists since I began my role as a Specialist Teacher in 2012, I am excited to now be part of the TalkLink team. Based in Invercargill, I am pleased to be able to provide a more regular presence for TalkLink in the Southland, Otago and Central Otago areas.

I am a registered teacher and completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching (Complex Educational Needs) in 2014.

After completing my Bachelor of Arts in 1994, I worked in a wide variety of roles before undertaking my teacher training in 2006. In 2012, my principal offered me the opportunity to work as an Additional Teacher for some of our students with special educational needs, including complex communication needs. The experiences I have had working with those students, and the learning and professional development opportunities that have come along with that role, have served to build my passion for working in this area. Many of the students I work with are, or have been, involved with the services provided by TalkLink and I often work closely with the TalkLink staff as I support those students. Moving from working alongside the TalkLink team to working as part of that team is an absolute privilege.

My role as Teacher/Trainer involves assisting users of assistive technology, and their teams, to enable those users to become confident, capable communicators in a variety of contexts. This includes looking at how the technology can be used to support and enhance their presence, participation and achievement in the learning community of their school as well as at home and in the wider community. My particular area of passion is in the development of literacy skills.

Resource Teacher

Kia ora.

I have a Psychology degree and a primary teaching qualification from the UK, and have been a special needs teacher, both in NZ and overseas since 1993. I have spent most of my teaching career working with children with complex communication needs and, thanks to all my amazing students over the years, have developed a love of AAC.

I have been working for TalkLink as a resource teacher since 2001, returning to the classroom several times in between to keep my teaching skills on track.  I love the combination of teaching and working for TalkLink as my TalkLink time keeps me right up to date with the latest developments in technology and resources, and my teaching time allows me to use and develop these skills in real environments.

I am currently based in the north of the country, working out of Whangarei and supporting Northland and the Far North. I also travel to other parts of the country regularly to provide training and support to my speech-language therppy colleagues.

I recently was fortunate to travel to Australia to complete a literacy intensive course focused on developing literacy skills for students with complex communication needs. This has added a whole new set of tools to my tool box which I am looking forward to sharing with teaching colleagues across the country.

Finance AssistantDanica

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Information Systems Manager

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 centered 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 back-end TalkLink servers. Keeping everything running smoothly is no small task as technology changes and improves and TalkLink continues to grow.

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