Louise Aitken

Louise is a strong advocate for social responsibility and impact. She leads a talented and passionate team of social enterprise and impact investment experts, providing support, capability and thought leadership both across New Zealand and internationally.

Louise joined Ākina in 2016, following a successful corporate career, which included the management of New Zealand’s largest corporate social responsibility programme. She sits on the Board of the Impact Enterprise Fund (New Zealand’s first impact investment fund) and has been recently appointed to the National Advisory Board for Impact Investing Network Aotearoa New Zealand.


Sarah Aitken
Regional Coordinator, Auckland

With a background working for housing charities, education and a large environmental organisation, Sarah has always been motivated by the cause and brings a range of experience to her role at Ākina. She is enthusiastic about the social enterprise sector and the opportunity for impact focused businesses to bring positive change.

Although Sarah provides administration and logistical support across Ākina, she primarily works within the Auckland team. If you are in this region please contact Sarah as she loves to hear ideas and will connect you with resources to grow your vision.


Laura Ansell
Impact Consultant

Laura is passionate about people and systems level change through collaborative solutions. She completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and a Master of Engineering Management at the University of Canterbury while on scholarship with the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

She went onto serve as a logistics officer for six years working in various roles from aeronautical procurement to supporting anti-piracy and counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East Region. Laura’s social enterprise journey began with ADC Microfinance which is a co-operative New Zealand charity supporting communities in Myanmar through micro-lending.


Clementine Baker
Director, Impact

Clementine has ten years’ experience helping public, private and not-for-profit organisations increase their social impact and reduce disadvantage. She was a social impact consultant at Social Ventures Australia, a board director of the Good Sams Foundation and before that, a charities lawyer and an environment lawyer.

Clementine works with organisations to design strategies to increase their impact. She helps them measure what matters so they can prove that what they are doing is working, and use the information to make great decisions.

Clementine loves helping to develop innovative solutions to big challenges through social enterprise, Māori or community-led approaches and corporate partnerships.


Seán Barnes
Director, Social Procurement

Seán is passionate about realising the potential of business to deliver positive social and environmental impact. His recent experience includes advisory roles that support businesses (corporate and SME), social enterprise and government agencies in the areas of procurement, strategy, and sustainability.

Seán is recognised as a creative thinker and communicator who connects people, thinking and ideas to lead change. He brings a combination of technical knowledge, systems thinking, enthusiasm and trust-based relationships to his work.

Seán has significant experience in leadership and executive roles in NZ and Australia, holds a Ph.D. in Chemical and Process Engineering, and is a Chartered Member of Engineering New Zealand.


Penny Down
Regional Coordinator, Wellington

Penny comes from a background of law, education and most recently start ups, bringing a diverse range of skills to the Ākina whānau. She is passionate about people and sees collaboration and connection as the key to creating lasting positive change. Her key capabilities are hustling hard and getting whatever needs to be done, done!  

Her side hustle is teaching yoga. She teaches at various spots around Wellington, using yoga as tool create change and connection for others at both an individual and community level. If she’s not at Ākina or on her yoga mat you’ll find her surfing the waves at Lyall Bay.

Penny has an LLB, a Graduate Diploma in Primary School Teaching, and is a Registered Yoga Teacher.


Kareena Harris
Kaiārahi, Connector

Kareena has a vast array of skills from her time running a social enterprise, The Misprint Co, over four years. She brings skills in design, design thinking, business development and logistics, alongside her inside knowledge of the rollercoaster of running a social enterprise to Ākina. Kareena also has experience coaching early stage social enterprises to develop their impact and business models and has a Bachelor of Design with Honours from Massey University.

Kareena is particularly invested in the ability for social enterprises to track their impact and the challenges that presents. She is passionate about process development and enterprises working towards positive environmental outcomes.


Tessa Hogg
Programme Manager, The Social Enterprise Sector Development Programme

Tessa is the programme manager for the Impact Initiative. An adventurous, positive and practical manager of people and projects, Tessa works across a team who are passionate about creating and supporting positive social and environmental impact.

Tessa has experience in operations, project and relationship management in both the private and non-profit sector, as a corporate lawyer and most recently managing sustainable development projects in Africa.

Tessa throws her whole self into everything she does. Outside Ākina, this includes running trail ultramarathons and getting stuck in planting trees and plotting how to lead the way, sustainably, on Mingiroa Farm. An organic, multi-generational family farm tucked away in the Rangitikei, Mingiroa Farm is small and full of character, kind of like Tessa.


Corey Jarrett
Head of Finance

Corey keeps the finances and general operations ticking along for our own organisation, and enjoys working with Ākina’s partners to develop their own business infrastructure.

Prior to Ākina, Corey has been a founder and owner in two businesses, along with high-level international account work in a globally successful Wellington startup.

Having worked in a variety of industries and roles Corey found creative businesses focused on social and environmental gain the way forward, which naturally lead him to Ākina.

Corey’s key capabilities include financial management, business systems and broader business planning capabilities. This range of experience encompasses both multinational and small business and brings a broad skill-set to Ākina to keep things running smoothly both within and without.


Zara Losch
Kaiārahi, Connector

Zara is a facilitator who brings energy, emotional intelligence and a strategic edge to the Places & Networks team. Since starting out her career in youth and community work, Zara has always placed people at the forefront. On that path she's been a programme manager, run a startup social enterprise cafe, and founded Bounce - a community of entrepreneurs in Taranaki.

More recently her skills in facilitation, impact measurement and fostering connections have found a home within Ākina ‘Hubs’ work. Growing networks, building capability, and fostering peer learning in Taranaki and beyond is a joy for Zara.


Hélène Malandain
Director, Places and Networks

Hélène is onto her fourth mission at Ākina, after 5 years with the organisation. The 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum, which she designed and delivered with the support of a team and partners from across the country, gave the Aotearoa social enterprise sector a massive boost of confidence.

One year later, as a result of a more coordinated approach to growing social enterprise, Hélène has taken the challenge to develop a place-based approach to building capability and growing local ecosystems. The Places & Networks team that Hélène leads is spread across the country and is focused on building partnerships with local organisations, supporting them to be the voice of social enterprise in their region.

Hélène is also Deputy Chair of the Social Enterprise World Forum


Nicola Morgan
Associate, International Development

Nicola has over twenty years of experience working in international development in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Pacific.  She has held leadership roles with international non-government organisations that generate revenue and build sustainable markets for products and services.  As well as designing, leading and evaluating the effectiveness of social marketing and social enterprise activities Nicola has developed capacity building programs in management and leadership, social marketing and behaviour change.  

Nicola has founded her own successful businesses, and worked as a management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. She has a Masters Degree in Psychology (Organizational Development) from Massey University, New Zealand.


Nicola Nation
General Manager, Operations

Nicola keeps herself busy running the good ship Ākina.

She came to Ākina after being self-employed for 15 years in the area of corporate procurement, with her recent focus on managing large, complex procurement processes for public and private sector clients.  Nicola is known for being pragmatic and solution focussed, and for “getting stuff done”. At Ākina Nicola manages our finance, human resources, marketing, systems, legal and administration functions.

Nicola is a barrister, and a barister. She is returning from injury with dreams of continued off-road running.


Chris O’Neill
Senior Impact Consultant

While at Ākina, Chris has been responsible for designing and delivering several national capability development programmes. Chris's key skills include impact strategy, programme design, organisational strategy, governance and financial modelling.

Chris has sat on several Boards including the Institute of Management NZ and Arts Wellington, where he was Chairperson for several years. Chris is also a member of the AsiaNZ Leadership Network. He has spoken internationally on governance, fundraising and digital strategy. In addition to having real-world business experience, Chris also has a strong theoretical foundation. In 2015, Chris completed his MBA from Victoria University.  


Julie Prestel
Kaiārahi, Connector & Social Procurement Advisor

Julie wears many hats at Ākina, managing the supplier side of fwd: the social procurement platform and as a project manager supporting with investment and international work.

She is passionate about social procurement as a tool to unlock positive social, cultural and environmental impact through supply chains. She previously led the establishment of the Impact Investing Network online community and supported the work of New Zealand’s National Advisory Board for impact investing.

Julie is based in the South Island and enjoys working in an environment where resilience and sustainability are not just trendy words, but a goal and vision to aim towards.


Anne Purcell
Kaiārahi, Connector

Anne’s driver at Ākina is seeing whānau and communities flourish through creating locally led enterprises, that are strongly connected and well supported.

She set up a Social Enterprise in 2016 focused on creating pathways to meaningful employment with families putting into action learning from at Waikato Management School.

Growing strong partnerships in communities to create positive impact is core to Anne’s approach. Anne has worked in public health, education and community led development roles focused on reducing drivers of inequity.

Auckland is home for Anne, where she enjoys paddle boarding and craft beer.


Guy Redding
Director, International Development

Guy is focused on the promotion of social enterprise and SME development in the Asia-Pacific region. Guy has over 25 years experience working in international development and finance, having worked for Citibank UK, New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and social enterprise, KickStart International, in Africa.

Most recently, he managed a regional agribusiness export development programme (PHAMA) based in Fiji. He has worked in a range of Asian and Pacific countries over the last 15 years, designing and managing programs in private sector development, agribusiness, fisheries, tourism, transport and energy. Guy has a MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.  


Jackson Rowland
Director, Ākina Invest

Jackson is a firm believer in the potential impact investing has to transform some of the most significant challenges facing New Zealand, and has been working towards this for a number of years. From an initial career in corporate law advising on capital raising transactions, Jackson has since worked either within impact oriented organisations or helped them gain investment.

Through this work he has advised large numbers of organisations on their impact investment goals, and worked with them on their journey to achieve these. Jackson’s career highlight is one of his current projects, as part of the management team of New Zealand’s first impact investment fund, the Impact Enterprise Fund.  


Ed Watson
Marketing and Communications Manager

Ed is a creative communications and marketing all-rounder. He’s experienced in digital strategy and content creation, project management and visual communications. Ed is an enthusiastic Wellingtonian and a graduate of Victoria University.

With a background in arts production and marketing, Ed has a strong sense of what it takes to achieve big dreams with little means. He’s a big believer in the important role of arts and culture in our human economy.

In previous lives Ed has worked for a web agency, a theatre, and at the Beehive. He joined the Ākina whānau in late 2018 after a stretch at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.


Stephanie Wild
Regional Coordinator, South Island

Working for Ākina has provided Stephanie with an opportunity to align her occupation with her wish to ‘make a difference’ and she is proud to work for an organisation that is focused on supporting businesses to deliver positive social or environmental impact.

Stephanie has previous experience in driving process change and is involved in the development and implementation of systems and processes within Ākina.

Stephanie also provides administration support across all Akina programmes and enjoys contact with ventures as they begin their social enterprise journey. Based in the South Island she will usually be your first point of contact when exploring Ākina’s services.


Rowan Yeoman
Senior Impact Consultant

Rowan is a startup entrepreneur, investor and advisor having worked with numerous startup ventures in New Zealand and in the USA, both privately and through incubator and accelerator programmes. He also consults to large corporates to help them develop successful innovation processes.

Specialising in business model design and innovation, Rowan is excited about the potential to help social entrepreneurs create a new generation of successful and impactful ventures. In partnership with Ākina, Rowan has developed the Social Lean Canvas, a tool used globally to help social enterprises build sustainable and scalable business models.