The Aviva Team

Our Board

Abby Suszko, Chair

Board member since: December 2015

Chair since: June 2019

Abby is originally from Dunedin, where she undertook her studies at the University of Otago, and she currently works at the University of Canterbury. There she is a Kaiārahi Māori in the Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor and works to support Māori development and bicultural competence and confidence through strategic institutional change.

Her commitment to cultural integrity and equity has encouraged her to become an active member of the Rāpaki Branch of the Māori Women’s Welfare League. She speaks te reo and possesses an understanding of te Ao Māori as well as tikangaMāori and State law, and continues to undertake research projects concerning Indigenous Peoples and the recognition and protection of their rights.

Abby holds a Doctor of Philosophy, a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Māori Studies and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Otago. She is also a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.
Abby Suszko, Chair

Peter Cody, Treasurer

Board member since: September 2015

Treasurer since February 2016

Peter is an accountant and has been a partner in PwC since July 2014. Prior to this, he was a Director of the company, and previously worked in finance roles at Williams Hotel Group and Reachmedia NZ Limited.

Peter is a member of the New Zealand Australia Institute of Chartered Accountants and the College of Chartered Accountants. He has also supported the governance functions of the Canterbury Development Corporation Amplifier Program and Cynter Investments Limited.
Peter Cody, Treasurer

Michelle Cathcart

Board member since: December 2017

Michelle hails from Northland. Having gained experience working in some large corporates such as Air New Zealand and Fuji Xerox whilst in Auckland, in 2009 Michelle and her family made the decision to relocate to Christchurch.

Michelle has worked for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu since 2011 and is currently employed as General Manager - Health, Safety and Sustainability, for Ngāi Tahu
Farming.

Michelle graduated from Massey University, Auckland Campus with an MBA.

In her spare time Michelle enjoys spending time with her partner Richard and Thomas, their seven year-old son. They love nothing more than walking the Bridle Path over to Lyttleton.
Michelle Cathcart

Monica Davis

Board member since: December 2017

Audit and Risk Committee member

Monica has a BA/LLB from the University of Auckland and brings to Aviva 30 years’ experience in employment relations and human resources gained in a variety of industries in Australia and New Zealand. She has extensive experience as an executive in retailing and infrastructure, and also 15 years superannuation trustee experience in Australia and New Zealand.

In addition to her role on Aviva’s Board, Monica is Chair of the Avonside Girls High School Board, and is a lay member on the New Zealand Psychologists’ Board.
Monica Davis

Marian Johnson

Board member since: November 2019

Marian Johnson is Chief Awesome Officer at Ministry of Awesome. She is an experienced senior executive with 20 years experience developing and executing marketing and business growth strategies for software and edutech startups in NZ as well as with entertainment multinationals Universal Studios and Discovery Networks in the US and Europe. She is passionate about the startup and innovation ecosystem in Canterbury and Canterbury's future as a city of exploration and opportunity.
Marian Johnson

Nathan Latimer

Board member since: November 2013

Nathan works for Australasian wealth management firm JBWere and has a background in Finance, Banking and Risk Management.

He holds a BCom from Canterbury University majoring in Business Administration (Marketing), an NZX Diploma (Investment Management), and is an ASX Accredited Derivatives Adviser.

Nathan and wife Rebecca are raising three young boys and have strong ties to the local community. Nathan is a member of the local branch of the Institute of Directors and has a keen interest in Governance, having completed the Institute of Directors ‘Governance Essentials’ course. Nathan is a member of the Executive Committee for Christchurch based charity Alzheimer’s Canterbury.

Nathan’s experience enables him to bring a broad range skills to the Aviva Board table including financial expertise and a sound understanding of strategic planning and implementation.
Nathan Latimer

Our Ambassadors

Katherine Corich

UK Based Ambassador

Katherine Corich, a passionate supporter of Canterbury who is making her mark in the international world of business, is now glad to lend her support to Aviva.

Katherine has been an advocate for Aviva (formerly Christchurch Women’s Refuge), both nationally and internationally, since mid-2011 and officially took up a role as Ambassador (UK) in early 2012.

Katherine is the Founder and Managing Director of the SYSDOC Group, a global provider of change management, information management, training and process improvement services. SYSDOC has offices in NZ, Australia, USA and the UK, and Katherine is currently based in London with her husband and
four children.

Katherine graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1983 with an MA in linguistics, but summer work at IBM sparked an interest in computers. After graduation, Katherine enrolled in flight training and now holds both private and commercial pilot licences. Aviation training and simulation inspired Katherine to reinterpret the way organisations hold and share information and integrate that knowledge into their processes for increased efficiency, and hence SYSDOC was created in 1987. SYSDOC now boasts clients including London Underground, Air New Zealand, Westpac, Fonterra, Chevron, A T&T and IBM.

It’s definitely not all about business for Katherine though - SYSDOC actively promotes an ‘action based philanthropy’ model, supporting Global Angels in Africa and NZ, and a range of other causes. SYSDOC is in the top 30 companies in Britain in the Working for Families Awards because of the flexibility of hours and working arrangements it encourages for its employees and Katherine is also an Advisor to SEISMIC, the University of Canterbury Online Earthquake Project.

Twenty years business experience has given Katherine a deep knowledge of many industry sectors and business issues. Along the way she has been acknowledged as an Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur winner, NEXT Business Woman of the Year, finalist in the UK National Business Awards and finalist for the London NZ Society Air New Zealand New Zealander of the Year 2011.

As a systems thinker Katherine very much supports Aviva’s new strategic direction, which includes strengths-based services for women, children, and for men who perpetrate family violence.
Katherine Corich

Matt and Sarah Brown

A New Zealand born Samoan, Matt is an internationally acclaimed barber and hair artist, communicator, husband, and father of three children known for ‘giving great cuts’ and ‘inspiring great men.’ He is a survivor of family violence and childhood sexual abuse and shares his story with the men who frequent his busy Christchurch and Palmerston North barbershops, My Fathers Barbers, as a way to foster vulnerability, healing, and connection. He has facilitated a barbering program inside Christchurch Men’s Prison, Te Puna Wai O Tuhinapo, a Christchurch youth justice facility and continues to work alongside Corrections NZ.

Matt started his business with a simple set up in a garden shed in Aranui, Christchurch; and as his talent and client list steadily grew, he gained an engaged following on social media, which he now uses to share messages of inspiration and overcoming. Matt’s barbering skills and dedication to reviving the craft of barbering have seen him teach and demonstrate all over the world. He’s cut everyone from All Blacks to the Wu Tang Clan; but his true calling, he believes, lies in his work to redefine society’s view of masculinity and to help end the cycle of domestic violence affecting whānau all over New Zealand. In 2018, Matt partnered with the Ministry of Social Development as an ambassador for their ‘It's not OK Campaign’ to increase awareness about the role of barbers in creating safe spaces that allow men to talk. He sees the barbershop as a ‘cornerstone of the community’ and barber chairs a safe place for men to change not only their looks, but their lives. Matt is a proud ambassador and supporter for the work of Aviva. In collaboration with us, Matt hosts a men’s anti-violence support group from his barbershop.

Matt co-founded She Is Not Your Rehab with his wife Sarah and launched the concept in his 2019 TEDx talk. He says the movement is simply an invitation for men to acknowledge their own childhood trauma and to take responsibility for their healing so that they can transform their pain instead of transmitting it on those around them.

A New Zealand Māori (Ngāpuhi) wāhine, Sarah is a celebrant, writer and the communications manager of My Fathers Barbers and She Is Not Your Rehab. She is passionate about their mandate of ‘creating violence free communities’ and has worked alongside Matt since his brand began. Her focus has been to build the engagement with their following and clientele and bring their community along on the journey of the social projects they are committed to as a family business.

Previously, Sarah was a newspaper and magazine columnist, the National Events Manager for TEAR Fund, a NZ aid and development organisation and co-founded A Reason To S.M.I.L.E; a non-for-profit organisation that supported single mothers with free community events and provided a mentoring support programme for teen parents.

The couple are happiest together when with their children and whānau, being creatively inspired and travelling. They look forward to launching their first book and continuing to encourage men collectively to heal.
Matt and Sarah Brown

The Team

Gwenda Kendrew, General Manager - Operations

Gwenda joined Aviva in July 2017 in a senior leadership role. She provides oversight, leadership and resource to the large team of practitioners offering support to those who are managing a family violence situation or overcoming sexual violence. These services include our Sexual Assault team, Family Support Workers, Youth Team, ReachOut service for men, Microfinance Loans Team, Peer Support team, and our Children’s and Women’s Groups. Gwenda ensures that the services provided are professional and excellent in every way, whilst being offered with empathy, support and resources as appropriate. As a member of the Senior Management team Gwenda supports Aviva to provide its core business within the family violence sector in Canterbury, and within New Zealand.

Gwenda brings to the agency a long history of managing social service agencies, predominately within the faith-based sector (particularly Salvation Army and Anglican social services. This work has run alongside the completion of her Bachelor of Social Work in Bi-Cultural Practice, which she completed in 2012. This study enabled Gwenda to put into practice the theories and models she found to be relevant, alongside those which she had for years practiced under.

In recent years Gwenda also worked within the Wills and Bequests Department of The Salvation Army. She also undertook some frontline management within a partnership of The Salvation Army and Ministry of Corrections, working within the prison system alongside reintegration teams for longterm, high risk, high profile offenders.

Networking and speaking engagements have become a passion for Gwenda, as they give her an opportunity to promote the services and supports given by the social service sector.
Gwenda Kendrew, General Manager - Operations

Nicki O'Donnell, General Manager - Corporate

Nicki joined Aviva in February 2017. Coming to Aviva from the corporate world of finance Nicki brings 15+ years’ experience in general management including finance and accounting, team management, human resources, administration/systems and processes.

Nicki is passionate about helping people and thrives on making a difference through her knowledge and leadership.

Outside of work she loves spending time with her family (partner and three children, two dogs and two cats). When time allows she also indulges her passion for horse riding, and learning about and from horses, by exploring the combination of equine therapy with reiki.
Nicki O'Donnell, General Manager - Corporate