Dr Linda Sissons was Chief Executive of the Wellington Institute of Technology from 2000 to 2015, and spent the past four years leading education and training bodies in the Primary Sector – Taratahi Agricultural College (2015-2016) and the Primary Industry Training Organization (2016-2019). Most recently a member of the NZIST Establishment Board, Linda co-led the Board’s workstream on Mobilising the New World which developed advice for the incoming Council and Chief Executive of NZIST.
Chief Financial Officer
Brian’s role is to ensure that UCOL’s ‘back office’ keeps everything running smoothly, so teaching staff can focus on their students.
Brian comes to UCOL with a diverse range of experiences. Some of his favourite opportunities have included being a part of the Governance Working Group for the Rotorua Lakes restoration project, helping establish Meridian Energy, supporting more than 400 clients during his time at KPMG, and receivership work where he’s led business on the brink back to success. Brian has improved systems and built strategy for the Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Department of Corrections, ESR, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, and Palmerston North City Council.
Brian holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from Massey University (Accountancy), and has completed additional training with London School of Business and ISL.
Executive Director Community Engagement
A proud member of UCOL’s team for over 15 years, Christine is a friendly, familiar face to many. Christine’s role focuses on providing strategic communications advice and planning, covering everything from proactive stakeholder engagement to research, brand management, staff communications, media relations, publications and incident/crisis communications. Current projects include initiatives that strengthen UCOL’s engagement with staff and students and improving feedback loops
Christine holds a Bachelor in Applied Management, and is a certified member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2). This is a not for profit organisation, incorporating individuals, governments, institutions and other entities from around the world that affect the public interest. Christine is trained in IAP2 Engagement, and is also an accredited and longstanding member of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand.
Executive Director Quality and Academic Assurance
Gianetta’s professional goal is to enable students to become autonomous, lifelong learners. With her background in tertiary teaching, she’s leading UCOL’s efforts to continuously improve students’ experiences at an organisation-wide level.
Gianetta has held leadership roles focussed on this since 2000, across three polytechnics. She has a keen interest in applying curriculum alignment to the design of tertiary and vocational education, and in hybrid learning strategies that optimise educational technology.
In addition to her strategic responsibilities, Gianetta leads several teams. These include Te Atakura (UCOL’s relationship-based teaching coaches), Learning Technologies, Curriculum and Academic Services, and the Centre for Assessment of Prior Learning.
Gianetta holds a Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Massey University) and initially worked in production horticulture, including developing her own small orchard. She also has a Master of Educational Administration and Leadership (Massey).
Executive Director, Education & Applied Research
Dr Shearman’s role involves leading the strategy around academic delivery and applied research across all campuses. He provides leadership to help developing strong and vital Faculties and Schools. The focus is on enhancing student outcomes and experiences, and profiling UCOL’s reputation with industry, employers and regional communities. This is critical to growing our internationalisation of educational delivery.
Prior to working at UCOL, Dr Shearman worked at ARA Polytechnic in Christchurch, Essex University in the UK, the University of Auckland, WINTEC Polytechnic, University of Otago, and the University of Wollongong in Australia. His qualifications include Bachelor of Physical Education (Otago), Masters in Science (Cardiac Rehabilitation, Wollongong), and a PhD in Exercise Physiology (Otago).
Pouārahi, Executive Director Te Mana Tauira
Teina Mataira has more twenty five years’ experience in the polytechnic sector, having held roles in foundation education, teaching, lecturing, student support and education management at AUT, MIT and EIT (Tairawhiti). He has been a part of UCOL’s team for more than 15 years.
Key projects that Teina has been involved in include developing the Raukura Maori student support programme, Te Akakura (UCOL’s relationship based learning approach) and He Kakano Rua (a cultural competency framework for staff development). Teina has also visited and presented at a number of educational institutes in Australia, the United States and Taiwan.
Teina is a member of the World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC), Ako Aotearoa’s Maori Caucas (Te Runanga Maori) and helped establish the national forum of Maori Executive Directors (Te Tira Manukura).
Executive Director People & Capability
Dan Lester’s role involves leading the People & Safety agenda across all of UCOL’s campuses. He provides leadership across the employment relations, talent acquisition, remuneration and organisational development fields, with a key focus is on building internal organisational capability, competency and culture.
With almost 20 years’ experience in Human Resources Dan has held various senior leadership roles for large multinational and global companies across New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and South East Asia. Dan has a Bachelor of Business from Massey University, majoring in Human Resource Management and International Business Studies.
Bronwyn has a Bachelor of Applied Management majoring in Innovation and Entrepreneurship awarded by Otago Polytechnic. Bronwyn is a successful businesswoman, event organiser and owner of an events venue, Heritage House.
Bronwyn’s extensive career in the security industry led to legislative change to introduce Home Detention Monitoring to New Zealand and Mandatory Industry Training for Security Guard Licensing. During this time Bronwyn was a member of Strategic Planning for Security Training’s development of Security Industry Unit Standards for NZQA and represented the security industry on the Selection and Performance Panel for Skills Organisation Board. She was also an International Outreach Board Member for CSAA (Central Station Alarm Association), which is based in the United States, developing worldwide monitoring station standards.
For more than 20 years Bronwyn chaired various industry and professional organisations through change management, including the Chamber of Commerce, NZ Security Association, and St John where she received a royal honour for services to the organisation.
Ruth has extensive leadership and management experience within the tertiary education sector including Faculty Dean of Education, Health, Nursing and Social Services at Waiariki /Toihomai Institute of Technology from 2009 to 2018. Ruth spent the past eighteen months leading an Academic Quality project in Melbourne as Director Quality and Academic Integrity Melbourne Polytechnic (2018-2019). Ruth has served on many national and international advisory boards, as well as external educational review panels. She also has extensive experience as a monitor, external moderator and qualification developer.
Along with Bachelor, Post Graduate Diploma, and Masters’ qualifications in education, Ruth is an Associate Fellow of The New Zealand Institute of Management (AFNZIM), a graduate of the Institute of Directors Professional Directors’ Programme and a New Zealand Registered Teacher.
Deputy Director Operations
Steve oversees much of the non-academic functions and activities of UCOL’s Wairarapa campus. This includes facilities management, project management, Student Success, health and safety, community engagement, and marketing. Steve also oversees the campus’ U-Skills programmes for secondary school students.
Before shifting to UCOL, Steve had extensive management experience in the electricity industry. He was Contact Energy’s New Business/Credit Manager before being shoulder-tapped for Powershop NZ’s Head of Retail Operations role. In his decade with the company, Steve helped grow Powershop NZ from the ground to a global brand. He also set up their service centre in Masterton, which has added over 100 jobs to the Wairarapa.