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RNZFB election results announced

RNZFB election results announced and blind cyclist honoured for inspiring achievements

The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) congratulates its four new Board directors for the coming year, after the election announcement at the RNZFB’s Annual General Meeting.

Members voted to re-elect Geraldine Glanville , incumbent Board Chair. Keith Appleton takes one of the new seats and Richard Baines fills a one-year term due to the early retirement of one Director. Paul Sullivan was elected by the Associate membership.

RNZFB Chief Executive Sandra Budd congratulates the new Board Directors: “We are delighted to welcome them into Foundation – whether they’ve been re-elected or come as a first-time Director. These people truly understand the needs and aspirations of our members. We look forward to working closely with them in the coming year”.

Since 2002, the RNZFB has been directly governed by its members, who elect the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors’ key role is governance, focusing on strategic issues such as the Foundation’s purpose and direction.

The Board may have up to eleven Directors. The blind, deafblind and partially sighted membership elects eight of these, associate members elect one, and the remaining two Directors may be co-opted to the Board for their specific skills or experience. Directors serve for a term of three years.

At the AGM, RNZFB member Jayne Parsons was also awarded the 2010 Chairman’s Award for her outstanding efforts in cycling.

Jayne is humbled to be recognised for her achievements. She’s also keen to break down barriers around disability, saying: “I don’t like the word ‘disabled’. I consider myself able to do whatever I want. Blindness isn’t a barrier for me, and it shouldn’t be for others either”.

An inspiration to RNZFB members and international athletes alike, Jayne’s road to success hasn’t been an easy one.

Having been totally blind for some years, Jayne pursued her passion of cycling relentlessly, and was in her prime training alongside her partner for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. In 2007, while in the process of training for this event, they crashed and Jayne seriously injured her hip The pair went on to win bronze in Beijing , however a scan last year revealed a cyst and shattered cartilage in Jayne’s hip. She was told she might never cycle again.

Giving up isn’t Jayne’s style, so with the help of physiotherapy, swimming, Pilates, and fierce determination, she gradually regained her strength and fitness. This all paid off when she returned from Canada recently with a silver medal won in partnership with former Olympic rower Sonia Waddell – just nine months on from undergoing hip surgery.

RNZFB Board Chair Geraldine Glanville believes Jayne is very worthy of the prestigious award: “She is determined and focussed, but most of all she proves that blindness doesn’t stop one from achieving their goals – no matter how big these goals may be”.

Jayne is now training for the 2012 Paralympics with the dream of winning gold as the only totally blind tandem cyclist in the world.

“For me, pain only lasts for a little while. But glory lasts forever,” Jayne says

RNZFB Facts:
• The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) is the country’s main provider of sight loss habilitation and rehabilitation services to around 11,500 blind, deafblind and partially sighted New Zealanders.
• Every year, nearly 1,200 New Zealanders become RNZFB members after experiencing serious sight loss.
• Our vision is to empower and support blind and partially sighted people to ensure they have the same opportunities and choices as everyone else.
Board Director Biographies:
Geraldine Glanville has been a member of the Board since 1995. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Canterbury University . She worked at IBM, Auckland , in a variety of business-related roles for 25 years before taking early retirement. In the past, Geraldine had been actively involved with blindness advocacy through the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand Inc. Geraldine is a member and guide dog handler.

Keith Appleton is a Chartered Accountant for Public Practice, an organisation based in Manukau. He has a keen interest in education, having been active on the Parent Teachers Association for two schools. Keith is a member of the Rotary Club in Howick and also an advisor to the New Zealand Association of Private Education Providers and the Quality Commission Audit. His adult daughter has been sight impaired since birth.

Richard Baines, who takes up the one-year term on the Board, is partially sighted due to Albinism. He has knowledge of technology infrastructure which he hopes to apply to the new Digital Talking Book service and is on the advisory panel for the Massey University Post Graduate Diploma in Special Needs Teaching (Vision). Richard has also held chairman and treasurer roles for a range of professional and education organisations and is a founding trustee for the Albinism Trust.

Paul Sullivan, who steps into the Associate seat, currently holds the position as Senior Advisor in Value for Money Programmes at the Ministry of Social Development and has served on several not-for-profit Boards. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Canterbury , and a Masters in Strategic Studies from Victoria University . He is also embarking on a Masters in Accountancy which he will complete part-time from November.

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