Meet The CatWalk SCI Research Trust Board of Directors:
David has worked for Jarden Ltd since November 2011, and before that Macquarie Private Wealth and BNZ Private Bank. He is an Authorised Financial Advisor (AFA), has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and completed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1999.
In 2012, his three children were involved in a car accident which has left his middle child, Holly (now 16), paralysed from the waist down due to the car’s seatbelt almost severing her in half. She was 6 at the time, and her 4-year old brother was killed intantly. Living with and caring for a paralysed child has opened David’s mind to the awfulness of the injury, and he has dedicated much of his time since in gaining a deeper understanding of spinal cord injury and the global search for a cure.
David was introduced to Catriona Williams in 2013, and a close friendship ensued. David joined the CatWalk Board in 2014, and was appointed Chairman in 2018. As of November 2019, David has completed the New York marathon five times on behalf of TeamCatWalk, and he managed to round up 67 other runners to join him there over these past 5 years. The collective effort has raised over $825,000 to further the cause of spinal injury cure. David’s greatest desire is to see Holly walk again.
Deb has been involved in the not-for-profit sector for many years in a variety of roles, and most recently as a project manager for the CatWalk Trust.
She was introduced to CatWalk by deputy chairman Dave Pretorius several years ago, and has become a passionate advocate of the work being done and progress being made by the talented and dedicated team at the Centre of Brain Research at Auckland University.
“It thrills me that our New Zealand scientists are leaders in the ground breaking research that will ultimately provide global solutions towards the complications arising from spinal cord injuries. And I believe the contribution and support provided by the CatWalk Trust will ultimately result in dramatic improvements in the lives of those suffering from such injuries.”
Tom’s history has been built on action balanced with a service ethic. Formerly an army officer, he has been working with charities as a strategic income advisor since 2007. In this time, he has been responsible for organisational transformations and multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.
Tom’s speciality is harnessing the power of the charitable dollar when it is applied for results. As such, he has a wealth of experience of leading practical change at Board level across the non-profit sector.
Tom was asked to join the board at an exciting time in the Trust’s life and was inspired by the determination and drive of all those involved in CatWalk. He feels privileged to be part of the ‘A team’ built by the founders to make permanent spinal cord injury a thing of the past.
Tom has a BSc and is one of only 21 New Zealanders to be an internationally Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE)”
Louise Nicholson is passionate about CatWalk and finding a cure for spinal cord injury.
A graduate of the University of Auckland, Louise did her postdoctoral work at Oxford University and has since been a member of the staff at the University of Auckland. Louise has served on numerous University/Faculty, community and national/international professional committees, and has established an international reputation for her research on neurodegenerative diseases of the human brain and spinal cord. In 2011, together with colleagues, and with the support of CatWalk, she established the first national Spinal Cord Injury Research Facility in the Centre for Brain Research.
She is passionate about her role as a researcher, sharing her drive and desire to make a difference to people’s lives and get those in wheelchairs back on their feet. Louise recently retired from the University of Auckland, and now as a member of the CatWalk Board she will be using her long-standing research knowledge and experience in the very best way to help make well-informed decisions in supporting research to find a cure for spinal cord injury.
Paul Wilcox has been CEO of Auckland Racing Club (ARC) since 2017. As part of his role in heading up New Zealand’s only world-class thoroughbred racing venue, he is responsible for the Club’s strategic direction and business performance across all business units, including racedays, a 364-day-operational event centre and a large property portfolio.
Prior to his arrival at ARC, Paul was a Director of both New Zealand Bloodstock and Pencarrow Thoroughbreds, having held those positions since 2013 following previous roles at Lion.
Well-known for his contagiously positive energy, Paul is a firm believer in that while you may not be able to change the way the wind blows, you can change the way you set your sails.
Born in Matamata, New Zealand, Paul is married to wife Jo, with whom he shares two daughters. Having a friendship with Catriona Williams has given Paul a real insight into the work of the CatWalk Trust, and he sees his involvement as aligning well to his mantra of giving back to those in need. Helping to raise funds for research into spinal injuries in the hope of finding a cure is the driving force behind Paul’s desire to join the Trust. His ultimate wish is to see “wheelies walking again”.
In 1977 at the age of 15, Grant Sharman suffered a broken neck as the result of a rugby injury. He wanted to be a pilot in the airforce flying Hercules but his injury ended that dream. In 1980 Grant was introduced to painting using a brush in his mouth and after being accepted as a student artist in 1981, by 1988 Grant was made a ‘full member’ of the Association of Mouth & Foot Painting Artists.
Despite breaking his neck playing rugby, Grant took up wheelchair rugby and captained the national team, the Wheel Blacks, at two Paralympic Games – Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, and the 1998 World Championships in Toronto. Grant coached the Wheel Blacks to a Gold medal at the Athens Paralympics in 2004. He was High Perfomance Director for Paralympics NZ from 2006-2011 and was a presenter and Associate Producer with Attitude TV for a number of years.
Grant is the Chairperson of Parafed Auckland and a proud Trustee of the CatWalk Trust.