Adam Barker has been the chair of the UpsideDowns Education Trust since 2015 and part of the board since 2012. He lives in Auckland with his wife Fiona and is father to three children including Kieran who has been the beneficiary of speech therapy supported by the Trust. Adam runs his own management consultancy business with offices in Auckland and Hamilton. He is occasionally found running, swimming or orienteering and is particularly partial to good hamburgers.
Sarah joined UpsideDowns in 2017 after completing a PhD at the University of Glasgow thanks to the William Georgetti Scholarship. She was born in Dunedin but now lives in Auckland with her husband and son. She has worked for the Otago Museum and Policy Scotland, and volunteered for UN Youth NZ, Maryhill Integration Network, and Auberge des Migrants. She is also a poet and has been published in literary journals such as Quotidian, Takahe, Deep South, Typewriter, the poetry collections Quiach (2014) and Manifesto Aotearoa (2017), and has published two of her own books: Follow the Butterflies (2012) and Aiblins (2016).
Jason joined the Board in 2012, has a background in property development and management, and is currently with a major Iwi in Auckland. He is father to George who has received support from a very young age. George is now attending a mainstream school with his older brother, Fred. In his spare time, Jason loves going to Waihi beach with his partner Sally and his two boys where they have a caravan.
Ruth is married to Craig and has two children: James and William. William has Down Syndrome and is benefiting from the amazing work of the trust. Ruth has a background in Early Education and also worked as a children's librarian and a children's book shop . At the library she held story times and was very involved with setting up the wriggle and rhyme In the library that focussed on babies getting those first language and literacy experiences of songs and rhymes which incorporated movements to stimulate the body and vestibule system. Language, whether it be signing or verbal, is very important for the future of the children the trust supports .
Paul has been a member of the board since 2015 and lives in Grey Lynn with wife Rachel and their three boys - Ted, George and Harry. Ensuring Harry has the same opportunities in life as his older brothers is important to Paul's family and speech therapy, supported by the Trust, is a crucial part in helping achieve this. Paul is a chartered accountant and is board treasurer.
Carey is mum to a Lachie, 5 years old, who has been receiving funding from UpsideDowns since he was a baby. Carey lives in Wellington and works as a researcher for ImagineBetter, a non-profit that supports people with disability and their families to lead a good life of their choosing. She holds a PhD from the University of Waikato and contributes to the teaching and research programme on issues of disability, belonging, inclusion and community.
Karen has been involved with the Trust since 2009, initially as a part-time Operations Manager while she split her time between NZ and the USA and then returned to study a Masters in Social Work. She moved to a role as board member in 2014. Karen works in Auckland and likes to escape from Auckland for short breaks whenever she can - Waihi Beach being a favourite place to visit.
Casey joined the board in 2015 after finding out what a significant impact speech language therapy has for children with Down Syndrome through friends involved with the Trust. Casey works in the crazy world of advertising - currently with social media agency Socialites - and lives in Auckland with her husband, two daughters, and a cross–eyed arthritic cat. When she isn’t wrangling clients or her children, Casey writes for Little Treasures Magazine and online sites (you can read an article she wrote about one of our UpsideDowns families for Little Treasures here ), and every now and then threatens to run a marathon but has yet to follow through on that one.
Tom has experience in the hospitality and entertainment industries. He is currently studying at Auckland University. He reads a lot and enjoys running more than anybody should.
Jo joined the board in 2016 where she also took on the role of Grants Manager. She has a 10 year background in Occupational Therapy (BHSc) where she worked in Mental Health, Acute and Rehabilitation settings, ACC assessment and working in the Community completing housing modification, equipment provision and enabling independence. After having two boys Connor and Josh, Jo wanted to give more back to the community as her passion is with people especially children. She loves to play tennis, travel and spend time with her family.
SOUTH ISLAND REPRESENTATIVE
Andree is the newest member of the Board. She is married to John and they have three children. Lachlan is 13 and has Down syndrome, Rosa is 11 and Ben is eight. Lachlan has been receiving funding from UpsideDowns for many years, and it has been an invaluable contribution towards his speech therapy. Lachlan has significant hearing loss, so speech is a big challenge for him. Andree is a Research Fellow at the University of Otago, Christchurch. In her spare time, she and her family enjoy the waves in New Brighton and walking their children around the Canterbury foothills which, despite the odd complaint, the kids secretly love too.