Introducing Sheryl

LELAN, Manager, Projects & Advocacy

Who Sheryl (she/her) is:


Kia ora, I am a proud New Zealander who loves being outside in the sun. My happy place is the beach, so Adelaide’s beautiful coastline, and great climate was a natural choice for my family and I to move to when we left NZ after the Christchurch earthquakes.

I have been in Consultant and Management roles for ten years working in Aboriginal, education, health, housing and homelessness and community service sectors. These roles have shaped my passion as a staunch advocate for human rights and social justice. I am an eternal optimist and strongly believe in the goodness and value people have to offer.


How Sheryl felt starting with LELAN:


I felt incredibly excited to be working at an organisation renowned for having brave conversations, challenging systems and creating opportunities to centre lived experience at the heart of policy, service design and delivery – where it should be. I also felt pretty nervous ?


What Sheryl appreciates about LELAN and how we do things:


I appreciate how LELAN is working towards system changes which will have real benefits for those who use them. By providing opportunities to influence, lead and advocate for people with lived experience, LELAN is challenging systemic barriers, accepted norms and expanding people’s way of thinking. I love Ghandi’s quote “be the change you wish to see in the world” and I think LELAN authentically encapsulates this.


Sheryl’s thoughts on lived experience leadership and advocacy:


When it comes to lived experience leadership and advocacy (and being a proud New Zealander), the Māori concept of Ako perfectly sums up my beliefs. Ako recognises and celebrates the value of reciprocal relationships – each person holds space to both teach and learn. We all have knowledge and expertise to offer one another, as well as things to learn from others.

I am privileged to be in a position where I can act as a conduit between government, services and people with lived experience of distress, social issues and injustice, to ensure that those who are accessing support are genuinely involved in how these supports are designed and delivered. I know the overwhelming benefits of doing with and not to, so that real and sustainable transformation can be achieved.

I also love a challenge so….


A story about Sheryl’s passion for her work and being in this space:


Throughout my life I have been fortunate to sit in many different spaces all through an alleged lens of vulnerability. However, none of the people I have ever met were vulnerable or powerless. It is systemic barriers that lock people into this narrative. All people have power however not all people are given the space or opportunity to wield it.

My passion stems from being able to create opportunities by, for and with people to have power and influence who otherwise would not. To be part of a change where systems are starting to incorporate and value the voices and expertise of lived experience is energising. To be in a role where I witness people creating their own definition of who they are as people with lived experience, leaders and advocates and not be defined by society’s ideas is incredible.


Connecting with Sheryl:

Sheryl can be contacted Monday to Friday via