The ASST team is a group of professionals and volunteers dedicated to the advocacy and support of all people seeking asylum in New Zealand.
With tertiary qualifications in business and management, Rebecca has worked in service, aviation, and technology industries - and her most recent appointment is to the role of Privacy and Data Governance Officer at Vodafone NZ. She moved to New Zealand from Australia in 2013, and feels fortunate to now call New Zealand home. Through involvement in the Board of ASST Rebecca hopes to achieve more just, compassionate and empathetic treatment to those faced with seeking asylum.
Born in Sri Lanka, Anchali came to New Zealand with her family in 1987. They were refugees sponsored by the Anglican Church, giving her a real understanding of the challenges and opportunities that refugees face. Anchali is a senior commercial lawyer (Principal at Hudson Gavin Martin) specialising in technology, media and telecommunications. Anchali has worked both in-house and in private practice for over 15 years. Anchali has a unique perspective on corporate governance and risk mitigation, and feels it is time to pay forward the assistance her family so gratefully received.
Sana was born in a refugee camp in Iraq to Kurdish parents fleeing persecution in Iran. She cam to New Zealand a month before her 7th birthday and resettled in Christchurch. Sana completed a Bachelor Arts and a Bachelor of Law at the University of Otageo before moving to work as a lawyer in Auckland. Sana understands the particular struggles of moving to a new country, not out of choice but necessity, and hopes to use her experience to help those going through the same experiences today.
Currently the CEO of a New Zealand pharmaceutical company, Steve is a senior executive with 30 years of global experience creating and developing high-performing teams with senior leadership roles both in-house and consultancy in the UK, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Following an early career in political and public office in Australia he relocated to the UK where he ran a successful communications consultancy operating globally with a focus on lobbying, corporate communications, crisis and issues management. He then relocated to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as General Manager for Hill + Knowlton Strategies (part of the WPP Group) advising the government on a US$2.5 Billion IPO and leading the company's teams in Riyadh and Jeddah. His career history has given him a broad experience of working with and leading cross-cultural teams from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Steve has served on the ASST board since 2018 as well as numerous not-for-profit boards in Australia, the UK and New Zealand. Steve was the founding Chairman of the Australian Business Group of Saudi Arabia and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Hostel Manager and Social Worker
Freyja began her journey at Asylum Seeker Support Trust as a volunteer in 2014. In 2016 she took on the role of social worker and hostel manager for ASST. She has a masters in social work from the University of Auckland. Freyja has a long standing passion for human rights and social justice, particularly around refugee and asylum seeker issues. Freyja enjoys the opportunity to work with diverse communities and cultures through ASST.
Having started his career as an accountant, Tim's desire to improve the skills and opportunities of others drew him to the not for profit sector over a decade ago. Most recently he was General Manager of Habitat for Humanity Bay of Plenty.Tim has a huge passion for working with asylum seekers and refugees. Whilst he is very aware of the challenges facing both the ASST and the people who rely on our support, he is inspired by the work the organisation does and is looking forward to making a difference in the lives of those who have given up everything seeking protection from persecution in their home country.