People are the foundation for any good organisation. Our team is a mix of:
people with ME/CFS who understand the illness firsthand and therefore can represent the needs of sufferers; and
healthy people with the right skills, networks, and profile who can ultimately 'get things done'!
Read below to learn more about our team
I’m currently an IT consultant after recently selling the IT services company that I founded and managed for 17 years. I have over twenty years board experience in both the commercial and not-for-profit sector.
Strong governance is important for ME Auckland so I want to help continue the great work that my predecessor has done. I have a number of friends and family who suffer or have suffered from this debilitating condition and want to bring my experience and skills to help ME Auckland continue to provide support and raise awareness of it.
I am financial analyst, working independently for clients across both the public and private sector.
I have been actively involved in ME/CFS volunteer work for a number of years including convening a support group for young adults, building the ME Auckland website, fundraising, social media, administration and developing presentations.
My goal on the board is to secure funding to support the sustainablity of ME Auckland. I also aim to ensure our communications are professional, and help dispel the undeserved stigma attached to this illness
I am delighted to join the ME Auckland Board, and to be able to use my energies, experience and administration skills to help provide meaningful support services to the Auckland ME/CFS community.
My family appears to have a genetic predisposition to ME/CFS, and so I have seen first-hand how devastating the illness is on the sufferer and their family. As my teenage son now recovers from ME/CFS, I would like to help work to make this illness better understood and to encourage society to treat sufferers and their families with more compassion.
I bring 18+ years’ experience in the charities sector, both in New Zealand and abroad, most recently as Auckland Manager for Refugee Services Aotearoa (now part of Red Cross). I’m looking forward to being able to put my strengths in networking, community development, collaborative case management and a strength based approach to good use in order to achieve better outcomes for our Members, and others dealing with the challenge of ME/CFS.
Having had ME as a student, I understand first hand some of the challenges and frustrations faced by those with ME/CFS. My aim is to continue to listen to our Members, in order to establish the areas of greatest perceived need, and review that on a regular basis in order to keep our services relevant. Given the challenging landscape in the Not-for-Profit sector, I will be looking to grow our services strategically through the use of both staff and volunteers. By drawing on the wealth of experience and knowledge within Auckland’s ME/CFS community, as well as staying up to date with current research, I look forward to being successful in raising awareness amongst Service Providers, streamlining processes around client support access, and ensuring that those with ME/CFS and/or Fibromyalgia always find empathy, resources and support when they contact us.
I am excited to start as the new ME Auckland Support worker, and hope that my background in the health sector can be useful in my role supporting ME Auckland members. As a Registered Nurse working in Primary Care for the last three years, I have had the privilege of supporting people living with chronic illness to manage their conditions. I have a background in mental health and rehabilitation, and experience in group facilitation through my many past volunteer roles.
One of my passions is to see good quality information available to people newly diagnosed, family members and employers, and medical professionals such as GPs and practice nurses. I look forward to the opportunities ahead to support clients living with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia to best manage their conditions.
I myself have a diagnosis of ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, and this experience has given me insight into the needs that are yet to be met in our ME community, and in the medical profession.
To all our members and their families, as well as the medical professionals accessing our services, please feel free to contact me for information, advocacy, and support – even to be a listening ear on a bad day.
Dip.Rehab, B.Nurs, NZRN
Community Support Worker
I graduated as a medical doctor from Vladivostok State Medical University. Later I discovered I was more interested in the reasons and molecular mechanisms of the diseases so I completed a PhD in Biochemistry & Medicine while teaching Biochemistry at the Vladivostok State Medical University.
In 1996 I moved to New Zealand where my experience includes teaching, management and service development roles in tertiary education and health, NZQA, Arthritis New Zealand and Waitemata DHB.
I am passionate about research in prevention and self-management of chronic conditions, environmental issues and education.
I enjoy hiking, travel, dancing, music and reading. I am an active member and mentor at the Birkenhead Toastmasters club; I support Auckland Russian communities and my local communities in Auckland.
Dr Natalia Valentino