Meet The CatWalk SCI Research Trust Board of Directors:
David has worked for First NZ Capital since November 2011, and before that Macquarie Private Wealth and BNZ Private Bank. He works as a qualified Authorised Financial Advisor (AFA) and has a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Marketing, plus a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification.
David and wife Natasha emigrated to New Zealand from Cape Town in 2004 with their young family. Their two daughters, Alexandra (13) and Holly (11), have become extremely passionate about horses, culminating in the family buying two horses earlier this year which are currently stabled on their property in Dairy Flat. The weekend routine now revolves around all things horse-riding and David’s sad realisation that he will never have time to own and run a boat around Auckland’s beautiful waterways.
Due to Holly being wheelchair bound since the age of 7, David and Natasha have engaged with several organisations globally that have spinal cord injury rehab and cure as their main objectives. Through this global network of dedicated people, they were introduced to Catriona Williams in 2013, and a close friendship has ensued. David and Natasha’s greatest desire is to see Holly walk again, which will only happen if this injury is cured completely for all people.
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.
With over 25 years of experience in the fields of Management, Public Relations, Marketing, Sponsorship and Philanthropy, and having owned her own retail business, Kim has a very broad outlook on life and varied life experience. With a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese, Korean and Education, she has travelled and worked overseas, and has a great mix of both commercial and for purpose roles.
Kim is the New Zealand Director for the Private Wealth Network. Prior to this she served as Executive Director for the Auckland Medical Research Foundation, and remains very committed to the cause after nearly seven exciting years. During this time she also served on the Board of Philanthropy NZ as Deputy Chair, so brings considerable expertise in this area.
She has a strong network of commercial, community, and government contacts and we feel she will serve our donors and mission well, particularly with our goal to make leaps and bounds in spinal cord injury.