Our executive team

Photo of Lisa Martin smiling

Lisa Martin - President

Lisa is the Director of Complex Care Group, a national organisation.  Complex Care Group provides information and support for family's and carers who are provideing an intensive level of care for a disabled child/young adult.  Lisa is the proud mother of a 24yr old man with autism and intellectual disability. She has a particular interest in the support needs of those with high and complex needs.

Photo of Brian Eriksen smiling

Brian Eriksen - Treasurer

Brian is the General Manager of the Taranaki Disabilities Information Centre Trust. He has over 25 years of experience in the disability sector and he sits on many Boards and Committees in his community. A former Federation President, Brian continues to serve as our Treasurer. A great rugby fan and former coach, he has also been described as a golf nut who can count to 80!

Photo of Noel Matthews smiling

Noel Matthews - Committee

Noel has worked in the disability sector for 14 years as CEO of NorthAble. He was initially introduced to this sector when he first left school as a Psychiatric Assistant to work in Tokanui Hospital during the 80s. Noel is really proud to be a former President, and as an Executive member of the Federation he understands the defining opportunity we all have in the development of a new and better way of working.

Photo of Karen Beard-Greer smiling

Karen Beard-Greer - Committee

Karen is the CEO of Independent Living Charitable Trust and holds a range of leadership and governance positions within the disability sector. She is a strategic thinker open to new ways and is known for her skills in transformation and challenging the status quo. A past Federation President, Karen is committed to ensuring a new future for DIAS as providers of not only information, but also diverse services to meet the needs of our consumers across New Zealand.

Photo of Sonia Thursby smiling

Sonia Thursby (Chambers) MNZM - Committee

Sonia is the CEO of the YES Disability Resource Centre and PHAB Association Sonia has worked in the sector in New Zealand for 24 years and prior to that in the UK. As a qualified youth worker Sonia has a passion to support young people with disabilities to be the designers and deliverers of services and projects that meet their needs.

Photo of Debbie Roe

Debbie Roe - Committee

Debbie has been part of the disability sector since 2005. Beginning in Invercargill with the Disability Resource Centre Southland and from 2015 as General Manager of the Disability Information Service Otago. She has spent time over these years in project management roles for the Federation, administering consumer consultation projects for the Ministry of Health. She values and enjoys people, sharing in their stories and journey and helping people source what they need to be informed and make choices that are right for them. Her philosophy is simple, best reflected in these words, he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata. It is people, it is people, it is people.

 Photo of Michelle Riwai

Michelle Riwai - Committee

Currently General Manager of Enable New Zealand, Michelle brings knowledge and experience with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration industry. Skilled in Strategic Planning, Business Process Improvement, Social Housing, Change Management, and Facilitation. Michelle is a strong community and social services professional.

Photo of Julie Paalvast

Julie Paalvast - Committee

Previously working in accountancy and passionate about people Julie was able to transfer her skills to charity when she started with The Disabled Persons Centre Trust T/A Aspire Canterbury in 2019. Julie says "The New Zealand Federation of Disability Information Centres is extremely important to me.  There is strength in having a national footprint, allowing a greater reach for the people we serve to experience information, products and services.  An ability to assist all the people that contact us regardless of age, gender, race or disability." 


Carol Wood - Executive Officer

Carol has been involved with the Federation since 2003. She was an Executive Committee Member, serving as Treasurer, Vice-President and President. She has worked in women's health and mental health, and was the General Manager of DRC Southland and DRC Queenstown for 13 years. In 2012 Carol became the Executive Officer for the Federation. Carol is committed to ensuring Federation Members have access to information and resources that they can use to provide high quality services to their communities. In 2016 Carol was made a Life Member of the Federation.