The Board is the legal authority for Community Connections Supported Living Charitable Trust (Community Connections). Board members represent the interests of the organisation and are entrusted to ensure the organisation is soundly managed to achieve its purpose.

The role of the Board is governance. Governance focuses on the goals and objectives of Community Connections, and the Board supports the Executive Director to achieve those goals and objectives through the development and review of strategic direction and a robust policy framework. The Executive Director is employed by the Board to manage the operation of Community Connections so that the agreed goals and objectives are met. The Board is not involved directly in operational matters.

The Board of Trustees members:

Jocelyn Brace – Chairperson

Jocelyn has significant qualifications and experience in education, leadership and organisational development in both the public and private sectors (including non-governmental organisations (NGOs)).  She currently an independent contractor undertaking organisational development, strategy and review work and contributes to another NGO Board (Praxis NZ).

Lee Rutene – Board Member

Lee is of Ngati Porou descent. He was born with cerebral palsy which affects the lower half of his body and his eyes, but he doesn’t let that stand in his way. Lee first got involved with the Community Connections Board three or four years ago because he is passionate about disability issues and wanted to make a difference to the lives of others in the Wellington community. Lee feels that having a disability is all he knows. He was the first person to be educated in a mainstream school in the Wellington area in the 1980s and he was also the first client of CCS Supported Living Services when it started. Lee also works for CCS Disability Action as a Disabled Staff Coordinator for the Central Region which covers the Taranaki, Kapiti and Wellington areas.

Lee also has a number of volunteer positions:

  • A member of the Ministry of Health Te Whaia Marama advisory group
  • People First chairing meetings related to Mental Health
  • Member of The Accessibility Reference Group for the Wellington City Council improving access around the city and dealing with disability issues that come up
  • Member of Capital Support Reference Group advising the CEO on what can be done better

This doesn’t leave Lee a lot of time to relax but when he does he likes to watch sport. Lee used to play rugby and swim for the New Zealand Paralympics team.

Ross Pritchard FCA – Board Member

Ross is a Fellow of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) and is currently Chief Financial Officer of JH Whittaker & Sons Ltd (Whittaker’s), an iconic New Zealand family owned company which has been voted NZ’s most trusted brand for the last 9 consecutive years. Ross has been with Whittaker’s for 14 years, overseeing the financial management of the company through a period of significant growth. Prior to this Ross was with KPMG in the Audit division for 7 years and before this was with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for 17 years. Ross has been heavily involved with the Institute of Chartered Accountants, having served on many committees, Chaired the Wellington Branch Committee, and represented Wellington on the national Council (equivalent to its Board) for several years. Ross brings to the Community Connections Board skills and experience in financial management, budgeting and reporting, financial risk management and strategic thinking.

Esther Woodbury – Board Member

Esther Woodbury (PhD) has been a member of the Community Connections board since 2019 and is delighted to be working collaboratively with her board colleagues.
Esther is a Wellington-based (disabled) disability researcher and advisor, currently working on the abuse of disabled people ‘in care’ at the Royal Commission of Inquiry. She had previously worked for government, tertiary research and the community sector, in research, monitoring, community engagement and advocacy.

Valerie Smith - Board Member

Valerie has a disability and is strongly committed to disability rights and to seeing disabled people are able to live well and with dignity in the community. She has worked in the disability sector for most of her adult life, including running a disability information centre, being a policy advisor for DPA (NZ) Inc., and later spending 17 years with the Disability Directorate of the Ministry of Health (mostly as a senior policy advisor). From 2013-2018 she enjoyed being a part time support worker for Community Connections. Valerie is the Chair of Capital Support’s Consumer Advisory Group and a member of the Sub Regional Disability Advisory Group for the three local DHBs. 

Shirlene Anand - Board Member