Meet the Team
Ngaire Laker-Metz, Service Support - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
My breast cancer journey began in 1998 and I remember clearly how shocked and frightened I was when first diagnosed. I also remember how valuable the support I received from Breast Cancer Support Tauranga was. Family and friends were great, but being able to meet and talk with other women starting treatment and those who were years down the track, looking great, back at work and enjoying life made me realise that I could get through the year of treatment that lay ahead. Now it is time to pay if forward, and it is wonderful to be working at something I am passionate about. Every day no matter what we are doing we are working to benefit the men and women who have had their world rocked by breast cancer. I love my job!
Maria Poppe, Service Support - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
It has been over five years since my treatment for breast cancer. There is no doubt such a diagnosis changes you. Some of this can be for the good. Working at BCSS is an opportunity to give back and support others going through this and use skills from my background in social-work and counselling. I love the Bay of Plenty and feel blessed to live here. Outside of work my time is taken with energy into Boobops dragon-boating, nutrition, fitness and a love of travel.
Helen Alice, Service Manager
Nga mihi nui, I've been Service Manager since December 2015. I am delighted to bring my not-for-profit management experience to such a worthwhile organisation that really makes a difference in our local community. Like many of us, I have been close to people who have had breast cancer and so this mahi is close to my heart. Every day I get to connect up with people who are generous and compassionate and who want to make a contribution to their community and without them our service would not be possible. I just may have the best job in the world!
Jill Forlong, Supporter Engagement Worker
After going through breast cancer myself in 2014 and being involved with several large breast cancer fundraisers since then I began work for the Trust in 2017 to assist with the organisation of fundraising events,gaining sponsorship and the management of volunteers. Having a background in planning and beingvery community minded I love using my skills in a new positive way to help those going through a difficult time in their lives whilst raising funds to enable the Trust to continue and grow the wonderful services and support they offer. I am humbled to work for the Trust and be involved with such a fabulous team.
The Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust is governed by a wonderful group who give their time, passion and expertise voluntarily.
Lara Burkhardt (Chairperson)
I am a lawyer at Holland Beckett (a Bay of Plenty based law firm) specialising in resource management and Māori interests. I joined the firm in January 2009 after several years living and working in Auckland and overseas and became a partner in 2011 (retiring in last year). I completed my high school years at Tauranga Girls College and represented the Bay in swimming. I was born in Whangarei and am of Ngati Whatua descent.
Holland Beckett have been proud supporters of the Trust for a number of years and my involvement continues that support.
Jocelyn Gascoigne (Treasurer)
Jocelyn is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has been a principal of Connect2 Chartered Accountants in Tauranga since 2002. Originally from Taranaki she has practiced in the Waikato and has a strong affinity with the rural and small-medium businesses. Jocelyn has in the past acted as secretary for the Te Awamutu Chamber of Commerce, the Pirongia Forest Park Lodge Outdoor Education and was treasurer for St Joesphs Catholic Church Te Puna. Jocelyn enjoys fishing (particularly trout), gardening and avocados (both eating and helping her husband Peter at theirorchard).
I am the principal of 'Recordit' a film production business offering corporate clients a professional high end digital recording and editing service. Recordit take care of all stages of your video production right from the idea through to media delivery of your video and have been doing so for over a decade now.
Prior to my move to Tauranga in 1999, I spent many years in the travel industry starting out as a travel consultant and the last 10 years with Thomas Cook NZ of which the last five years were in Management roles in Travel and Foreign Exchange.I live on a lifestyle block with my partner Ross and enjoy the country life.My great love is photography and spending time with family and friends recording celebrations, so in my spare time you will still find me at my computer, editing photos and creating art. Movies and documentaries are also right up there at the top of the list but I guess that's understandable given my profession!
Desiree de Spong
I have three children , one of whom is at university so when I am not keeping busy with them I enjoy gardening, walking and photography.
Jess is an In-House Lawyer at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana. She previously worked as a Senior Solicitor at a local Tauranga firm in the Employment, Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team. Prior to that, Jess worked for six years as a Solicitor in Melbourne where she represented WorkSafe Victoria, insurers and employers in litigation.
Jess relocated from Australia in mid 2016. She is enjoying the sea change particularly living on her rural property with her husband and numerous pets.
I have called NZ home since 1990. On moving here from the UK I settled in Dunedin. I have a background in the civil service and senior administration. I retired in 2014 and moved to Tauranga.I have been involved with BCSS since the end of 2015 in a number of voluntary roles including as a support buddy and I joined the board in mid 2017.I particularly admire the way many services are provided by BCSS Trust to local people with breast cancer and their families. Clients are dealt with respectfully by the staff and many volunteers with whom they may have contact.
A personal journey through breast cancer - more than 20 years ago now - allows me to understand and be empathetic to those going through their journey and help them on their way. I am very pleased to be able to say that many improvements have been made to both treatment and attitudes in our society over that period of time.
I have a background in Design and Project Management specialising in Retirement Villages and Hospitals and for the past 10 years I have been Manager of Althorp Village.
In 2015 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and was overwhelmed by the tremendous care and support I received from BCSS, family, friends and so many others whom I have met in all sectors of my life. As a result I became a support buddy and Board Member in 2018 and feel my business expertise, combined with my networking abilities allows me to pay forward all that I have received and ensure the continued health and wellbeing of all those involved with Breast Cancer Services.