Our People

As an incorporated society, we rely on our society members to ensure that we have a strong and dedicated voluntary board to take care of the governance of MCLaSS.

Membership of the MCLaSS Society is open to anyone who can demonstrate an affiliation with an ethnic community or a settlement service. We keep society members in touch with MCLaSS activities and ask that they attend the AGM to participate in choosing our board members.

Our Board 

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Back: Lissy Wong, Katie Christie, Marty Pilott, Chris Gilchrist, Pengbo Jiang, Darien Mahony
Front: Siva Dorairaj, Martine Udahemuka, David Sinkins

  • Chris Gilchrist (Chair) has many years’ experience as a recruitment agent, senior company executive and business owner.
  • Darien Mahony (Deputy Chair), a former court and general lawyer and company secretary, is currently working at Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley
  • Grant Caradus (Treasurer) is a Chartered Accountant with years of experience in the financial sector.
  • Sapna Samant is a General Practitioner at Porirua Union Health Service who works with refugees and migrants. She also runs Holy Cow Media Ltd, which provides targeted media about and for diaspora minorities.
  • Martine Udahemuka is a founding member of the Manawatu Combined Refugee Voices, has published research on the migrant and asylum seeker experience, and has worked in student support at Massey University and in project work for various government departments.
  • Marty Pilott is an ESOL teacher, administrator and manager, currently working at Whitireia ESOL Department at the same time as he is completing a PhD on the pronunciation of people who speak English as a second language.
  • Pengbo Jiang is a Wellington based registered immigration agent.
  • Robyn Pask is Chief Executive of Interpreting New Zealand and also has a background of teaching English as a Second language.
  • Jane Selby has worked for a number of years as a manager in the public service, with extensive experience in designing, implementing and administering Crown and Lottery funded grant schemes.

See below for more information on being a member of the MCLaSS Board.

Our staff

Chief Executive
Molly Kennedy

Finance Officer
Robert de Cartier-McCarthy

Programme Manager
Neda Salahshour

ESOL Assessors / Course Advisors
Neda Salahshour (Hutt)
Ximena Abarca-Espina (Wellington)
Dorothy Nightingale (Porirua)

Volunteer Coordinator
Jinnie Potter

Athicha Janrit
Lucia Zhang

Our teachers

Abram Shamon
Andy Falshaw
Aurélie Poinard
Ayman Tawalbeh
Bernice Deller
Christine Dykstra
Dorothy Velupula Nightingale
Fiona Hoang
Jill Visser-Cox
Jinnie Potter
Joanna Divett
Kate Peters
Maggie Rainey-Smith
Nancy Pacheco
Sarah Pettus
Sharifah Jaafar
Sue Visser
Ximena Abarca-Espira

Our employment coaches

Robert de Cartier-McCarthy
Maaike Christie-Beekman


The learning experience of the people in our classes is enriched through the contribution of volunteers who join a class once or twice a week to provide one-to-one support for some and opportunities for all to hear and speak to fluent English speakers.

As well as individual volunteers, we welcome corporate groups. Currently the employees of iSentia are rostered into small groups to join a class for half an hour once a week to provide intensive conversation practice.

We also welcome the volunteer support of our job-seeking clients, for example in helping other job-seekers become more proficient at finding vacancies on-line.

For more information on these and other opportunities to help others learn new skills through volunteering with MCLaSS, email our volunteer coordinator, Jinnie Potter at Jinnie.potter@mclass.org.nz

Board Membership

Board membership is a voluntary position. Members are elected for a term of 2 years and can be re-elected twice. The Board meets in the early evening 6 to 8 times a year. Some of its members also serve on one or more of the Board sub-committees.

MCLaSS needs Board members of vision who are willing to help MCLaSS continue to be a strong, effective organisation. The Board needs people with business and professional skills and people who can reflect the best interests and range of the ethnic communities whose members use our services.

 The Board’s duties

As set out in our Constitution (see our website for the full Constitution), the Board’s role is to:

  • Set the strategic direction of MCLaSS
  • Ensure the strategic direction for all financial, service and management operations of MCLaSS are implemented and adhered to
  • Ensure good governance by maintaining a document of Board policies. The Board shall review these Policies at no greater interval than three (3) years
  • Ensure the implementation of decisions arising from general and special meetings of MCLaSS provided that they comply with the constitution
  • Employ the manager of MCLaSS
  • Approve delegations of authority to the manager
  • Monitor the work and effectiveness of the manager
  • Approve budgets and business plans and monitor the progress of the implementation of these
  • Establish Board sub-committees as required
  • Deal with any breach of the Constitution of MCLaSS
  • Do such things as it may deem necessary for the furtherance of the charitable Objects of MCLaSS.

Please contact office@mclass.org.nz for more information.