Board and Management
Joining as a trustee in 2010, Phil's background is in engineering and business. He is currently the technology and innovation manager at Mercury Energy - New Zealand's fastest growing electricity retailer. There, Phil is responsible for the Mercury's information systems and consumer product innovation. Phil enjoys the contrast that his involvement in Touch Compass brings, and to contributing his business, finance and managerial skills in his role as chair.
Kathy Olsen is a director of web development company Squiz New Zealand, and of Sydney-based open source software developers Squiz Labs.
Married with four children, Kathy is also actively involved with a number of community organisations including the Sustainable Business Network, the Wellington Disability Resource Group, and the Changemakers Forum for refugees. Kathy has a keen interest in using technology for social justice issues and in particular digital inclusion as she sees access to information has a key role developing an equitable society.
Her interest in digital inclusion grew from working with New Zealand’s Foundation of the Blind and parent / teacher education groups to help make education materials available online for children using adaptive technologies. In her youth Kathy represented New Zealand in artistic roller skating and so she has an understanding of the joy of movement but also the grit and determination it takes to be a performer.
Kiran Valabh was appointed a trustee then treasurer in 2011. He has a background in law, finance, property management and investment. Over the years, he has also dedicated considerable time towards charitable activities in the community. During his university studies he suddenly lost most of his eye sight. Currently, Kiran is undertaking a NZX diploma course and is also treasurer of Retina NZ Inc.
Kiran embraces the opportunity to apply his business skills and experience of disability to a successful integrated dance environment.
Karen Fraser Payne is a founding trustee, former chair and for the past two years the general manager of Touch Compass. She is also a trustee of Hohepa Auckland. Karen has over 20 years experience in the communications and tourism industries and is an accredited communications practitioner. Karen was private secretary tourism to the Prime Minister RT Hon John Key and Associate Minister of Tourism Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, and previous Minister of Tourism Hon Damien O’Connor. Preceding this she was for eight years corporate affairs manager for Auckland International Airport and in that period was also a New Zealand Tourism Awards Assessor and Manukau City Tourism Awards Judge. Karen has a daughter who has a disability.
Catherine founded Touch Compass in 1997 and is known for her pioneering work in both Integrated Dance and Contact Improvisation in New Zealand. Catherine is a dancer, teacher, choreographer and artistic director for the company. Choreographic works/seasons for the Company include Touch Compass (1997), Outer Limits (1998), Resin8 (1999), Lusi's Eden (2001), Lighthouse (2002), Grace (2004), Cellular Guide (2006), Harmonious Oddity (2008) and aerial bungee work Spring (2012).
Catherine danced with LIMBS Dance Company (1986-88) then while in Europe performed with dance/theatre company Vivienne Newport, Germany (1988-89) performing in Germany and Italy. She taught at UNITEC, School of Performing & Screen Arts, 1991 - 2010, has been a guest tutor at the New Zealand School of Dance and the University of Otago School of Physical Education. In 1996 Catherine trained in mixed ability dance with Alito Alessi at the first DanceAbility International Teacher Training in Eugene Oregon.
In 2011 Catherine was awarded a Creative New Zealand Choreographic Fellowship to research aerial bungee dance combinging this with contact improvisation. In 2012 was interviewed for the Culteral Icons - Conversations with iconic people, see interview here http://culturalicons.co.nz/episode/catherine-chappell