Who we are

We’re comms people volunteering our time to help community organisations communicate better.

From communications directors to recent graduates, we’re experts in writing, editing, social media, web usability, strategy, internal communications, media, stakeholder relations, marketing communications, change communications, branding and more.

Some of us work full-time, others part-time. Some of us contract, some of us are studying. Others are taking a career break or at home with kids. One thing we have in common is that we all want to give some of our time – even just a little – to help boost the efforts of the amazing organisations working in our communities.

You can see a list some of our volunteers in People helping others and more on the work they’ve done in Case studies.

Getting to the heart of the matter…

Our vision:
Connected communities for a stronger New Zealand.
Our mission:
Volunteering our skills and time to help the community sector communicate more effectively.
Our values:
Give a boost | Step up | Keep it simple | Have fun

Founders and trustees

Gail Marshall and Sue McCabe set up the Community Comms Collective in Wellington in 2013, hoping to harness the generosity of communications people and achieve more than they could through their individual efforts. They are the founding trustees of the Community Comms Collective Charitable Trust. In 2017, Louise Lum, who founded the collective’s website usability service, joined Gail and Sue on the Trust Board.

Our team

Our services are managed by volunteers in Wellington and Auckland who bring valuable knowledge, experience and connections to their work ‘helping people help others’.

Gail Marshall
Matchmaker-in-Chief

Gail is a communications freelancer with around 20 years' experience across the NFP, public and private sectors. Gail dreamed up the collective as a way to give back to the community more effectively using her comms skills - and take others along for the ride. She figured that collectively we could achieve a lot more than as individuals – meaning any time people had to give was valuable. Running the collective is an important part of her jigsaw puzzle approach to work and life!

Sue McCabe
Matchmaker-in-Chief

Sue has a background in communications but generally likes to keep her work as diverse, challenging and flexible as possible. Sue has been a volunteer, like forever. She’s convinced that inside every New Zealander is a volunteer itching to get out and give – and that the collective offers a great way to free this inner being. Sue’s a staunch advocate of the power of and greater potential for the community and voluntary sector to work in partnership with government and corporates to make New Zealander an even cooler place to live in.

Louise Lum
Web Usability Matchmaker-in-Chief

Louise loves helping organisations make their websites relevant and easy to use. Her career path went from a ballet stage towards business, communications and IT studies, followed by work in the public sector. In March 2017 she received a special commendation in the Technology Volunteer of the Year category at the TechSoup NZ New Zealand Charities Technology Awards and after working as a UX consultant is now enjoying being back in a public sector role.

Lynne Le Gros
Lynne Le Gros
Auckland Matchmaker-in-Chief

Lynne is an experienced marketer and communicator with a passion for contributing to community through volunteering. Her career has spanned all key sectors: FMCG, consumer durables, services and the charitable sector working in both large and small organisations. Lynne has been a friend of the collective since its early days and is thrilled to be getting involved directly with the Auckland team.

Sonja de Friez
Auckland Matchmaker-in-Chief

Sonja is passionate about communities being well informed, actively engaged and empowered. For more than twelve years she’s worked with large and complex organisations, predominantly in the public sector, helping them to engage and inform their communities by developing and implementing stakeholder engagement strategies that are innovative and future-proofed. She has proven experience at changing public perspectives around challenging subjects, and always finds positive solutions to ensure communities are informed, with the right information via the right platform.

Fiona Bailey
Fiona Balmforth
Matchmaker (Wellington)

Fiona is a marketing and communications professional with over 20 years experience in the private and public sector, both in New Zealand and abroad. Fiona has been a volunteer for the collective on a number of projects. She says that volunteering with the collective gives her a real sense of achievement and is an opportunity to use her skills to fill a gap for organisations doing some really great work.

Margaret McLachlan
Margaret McLachlan
Matchmaker (Wellington)

Margaret has been working in marketing and communications for about 20 years, including in local and central government and not-for-profit organisations. She’s currently working in a communications role at Zealandia, combining her love of nature with comms skills. She’s pleased to help connect community organisations with willing and able volunteers.

Zoe Priestley
Zoe Priestley
Matchmaker (Wellington)

The community spirit drew Zoe into the comms collective. A couple of clever and talented neighbours (Gail and Sue) shared stories of a growing network of professionals who volunteer their time and skills to help strengthen the community. Zoe is excited about connecting community organisations with wonderful volunteers to create positive change. Zoe is a comms professional with nearly 20 years experience in the health, education, industry training, economic development, justice, community support, financial services and energy sectors.

Asher Wilson-Goldman
Asher Wilson-Goldman
Matchmaker (Wellington) & Big Twit

Asher is a matchmaker AND looks after the collective’s Twitter account, coordinating our volunteers to curate and create relevant comms and community content at @community_comms. In his day job, Asher's a communications manager for a government agency. He has previously worked in a variety of political and non-government communications roles, and as a freelance journalist and writer. Asher joined the collective because he’s passionate about mentoring and loves to find innovative solutions for organisations to communicate effectively with small (or zero) budgets.

Paul O’Leary
Matchmaker (Auckland)

Paul secured his first career break thanks to a volunteer media and sponsorship role with Surf Lifesaving in Wellington, so welcomed the change to join the collective as a matchmaker in late 2019. After long stints in PR in London and Sydney with agencies, Paul now heads up Auckland technology and B2B agency Pursuit. Paul hopes to apply some of his experience gained working with Kiwi and global brands to the challenges and opportunities facing the organisations who approach the collective for support.

Katy Scoullar
Matchmaker (Auckland)

Katy has no doubt at all that good or bad (or no) communication makes all the difference, every time. She has seen the power of telling stories and making strong connections through internal, external and stakeholder comms with diverse teams and organisations for over 15 years. And she is very pleased to be part of the collective, helping connect communicators with communities.

Paula Shelton
Matchmaker (Auckland)

Paula brings many years’ experience as a connector, plain language writer and editor, and business development specialist to her role as matchmaker in Auckland. Her current work focuses on communicating sustainability and climate-challenge stories in clear, positive, and engaging ways — raising the flag for the environment, communities, and the circular economy. She’s looking forward to connecting with and supporting community organisations as one more way to bring her mission to life.

Kristy Thompson
Kristy Thompson
Matchmaker (Auckland)

Kristy brings more than 15 years of experience in internal communications to the collective. Having worked in both New Zealand and the UK, she currently leads a team of comms gurus working across the Asia-Pacific region and loves the challenge understanding different cultures, languages, and thinking brings. She’s chuffed to be giving back to the community and believes the work the comms collective is doing is magical.

Caroline Speight Moore
Operations Musterer

Caroline was delighted to hear about the collective when it was first set up and has been a quiet supporter (encouraging NGOs to get in touch and comms people to get involved) until 2017 when she became Operations Musterer. It's a background role keeping things ticking along behind the scenes. Caroline now works at the Ministry of Justice after a fairly long stint at the Ministry of Health followed by a couple of years with Skylight Trust. She has a reasonably busy life with one husband, three kids, one dog (a huntaway/collie cross) and tai chi on Monday evenings.

“ Asking for help of the collective was one of the best decisions we have made and we tell everyone we meet to use this fantastic support! ”

Natasha McDougall,Parkinsons New Zealand