One of our founders is Peter Kaldor who has had a role in developing New River, its intensives and the resources that underpin what we do. As an author and researcher he is continuing to develop new materials for New River.
A team of facilitators, teachers and workshop leaders lie at the heart of New River. Sue Kaldor (NSW) and Ian Robinson (WA) are principle facilitators running intensives and workshops, and equipping others to do so as we expand what we are offering. Each brings a love of people, of listening to each other and growing quality spaces for learning and sharing. Each brings a background in personal development, counselling, mentoring and coaching.
New River is increasingly involved in initiatives to grow capacities and wellbeing among students and staff in Schools. Ben Weir, a qualified teacher, has been responsible for developing a wide range of initiatives and workshops suitable for use with different age groups in school contexts.
Establishing New River has also involved setting up good systems, websites and processes. Naomi Nash has been at the heart of developing these resources and at the same time assisting in the running of both leadership intensives and workshops for young adults.
Duane Parslow is responsible for systems and administration within New River and provides a solid backbone of systems and processes to keep us going.
New River is also being supported by a range of academics, teachers, psychologists, leadership development consultants and practioners.
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Bios about each New River Team MemberPeter Kaldor
Founder of New River, Peter is a writer, researcher, partnership-builder, innovator and experience-based educator. He was founding director of NCLS Research, and is an honorary research fellow of the School of Psychology and Social Science at Edith Cowan University. He has been involved in research into personal and community wellbeing, values, spirituality, religion, social capital, community development as well as patterns of effective leadership and the importance of working with our strengths. He has written a range of publications including “Building Stronger Communities”. He has spent a lifetime synthesising learning from different disciplines and ways of thinking.
In part through his involvement with NCLS Research, Peter has carried out extensive research into effective and sustainable leadership. With John McLean, he is the author of Lead with Your Strengths, the resource text which provides the theoretical foundations on which New River is based. It in turn draws on the insights of positive psychology, on asset-based planning and community engagement, on a range of leadership theorists and on thinking about personal development.
Peter is also the Director of the Leadership Institute of the Uniting Church (NSW/ACT) that, with New River, has been pioneering these intensives and workshops. Since 2007 several hundred people have been taken through these eight day experiential intensives, and many more through workshops and retreats.
Peter is concerned to help people of all ages and backgrounds to discover the leadership strengths they have and to make a positive and sustainable difference wherever they are, while assisting organisations to become more effective in strengths-based capacity building. An avid walker in wilderness Tasmania and traveller in remote desert areas, Peter is concerned about the environment and social justice, and has always loved being in small, committed teams.
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Sue has had a lifetime of experience in community work and personal development. A trained social worker and counsellor she has been involved in inner city and public housing estates as well as in outer urban areas. Aside from her involvement with New River, Sue is a trainer and consultant with the Leadership Institute of the Uniting Church in NSW and works as a counsellor and coach in the Blue Mountains.
In leading workshops Sue creates a relaxed and accepting atmosphere that is both enjoyable and encourages reflection and learning: “Sue is a delight to be involved with. She shares wisdom in a relaxed and open way. Her depth is obvious as is her passion for people.”
Sue has a particular concern to help people build firm foundations for life and leadership: “When things get difficult it is vital that we have put in place resilient relationships, clarity of purpose, a good sense of self and sound spiritual foundations”. She is involved with others in guided personal reflection, personal development workshops and retreats.
Sue has a strong commitment to building community and community organisations. She sees them as a great place to unlock the potential of individuals and a place for learning. She loves spending time with friends, family and her children, and in extended walking in wilderness areas.
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Ben is a qualified teacher working with New River to develop and implement strengths-based leadership capacity building initiatives in schools, working with both students and teachers in this role. Currently studying for a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy, he is passionate about supporting young people’s ability to intervene in their own lives to bring about the differences that they believe are important.
Ben also teaches yoga, and loves working with people to develop mindful, embodied ways to deal with the stress and anxiety that can arise when people seek change in their lives.
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For the last five Naomi years has worked with the Uniting Church as a project leader for developing fresh ways of engaging 18-30 year olds in faith exploration. During this time she also participated in the broader ministry of the Church through youth camps, conferences and committee membership. In 2008 she completed a Bachelor of Information Technology through Charles Sturt University and is currently completing a Post-Grad degree
in Secondary Education.
Naomi is passionate about working with young people and has a growing interest in community development. When not thoroughly engaged in these pursuits, Naomi enjoys riding off-road motorbikes, sharing good food, wine & conversation with friends and family.
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Ian has worked in the community sector for over thirty years primarily as a Christian minister, in both public housing and leafy suburbs. He has also been a consultant for authentic community engagement for half of that time, in planning, training, mentoring, and encouragement.
Ian is currently also a university chaplain, and has significant involvement with indigenous groups and in healing with the Stolen Generations. Christian spirituality is at the core of his motivation and shapes his priorities, a source re-discovered most recently in the power of the desert to mirror and transform.
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In 2012 Peter took up the role of Schools Coordinator for New River. He is also a part-time Tutor and Lecturer at the Wesley Institute, Sydney, and an Adjunct Professor of English and Religious Studies at Trinity Western University in Canada. For many years Peter held a variety of senior administrative and teaching positions ( including Head of Middle School, Director of Human Resources, Director of International Relations, Director of Studies and Head of English ) in several state and private secondary schools in New South Wales. He holds a Doctorate in Literature and Theology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has organised international conferences in this area in the Sydney region.
In the last five years Peter has had a number of poems and book reviews published in Christianity and Literature and more recently in Expository Times and The Glass. He has also acted as a manuscript referee on several occasions. Most of his research interest has concentrated on the Victorian period, but more recently he has developed a strong interest in contemporary Christian verse and Australian literature. He had an article entitled ‘Contemporary Christian Poets’ published in The Christian Teachers Journal and has had several entries included in the Encyclopaedia of Christian Literature and The Encyclopaedia of the Bible and Its Reception, both published in the United States. In 2011 Peter delivered a public lecture on ‘William and Elizabeth Gaskell and the King James Bible’ at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, and recently taught a summer intensive course on Australian Literature for Houghton College, New York. His first published collection of verse is forthcoming in 2012. His most recent journal article, entitled ‘Christmas in Australia’, was published in CASE, the quarterly magazine of the Centre for Apologetic Scholarship and Education at New College, University of New South Wales.
Peter is actively involved in a local Baptist church in Sydney, where he is a Deacon, leads services and participates in various aspects of ministry. He is married, with three adult children and four grandchildren. Peter loves reading, listening to jazz, travel, and spending time with family and friends. He is a Member of the Australian College of Educators, a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (UK), and a Justice of the Peace (NSW).
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Gemma has spent the last 12 years “hanging out” in street communities in both Kings Cross and Inner City Melbourne. Her passion and interest in the stories people can tell about resilience and life on the margins led her to found an education program in which members of the Kings Cross street community work in the role of educators. The many school students involved are always so appreciative of the courage and vulnerability of the Speakers. The program weaves together personal stories with issues of social justice. Gemma has found that bringing a team of people together from all kinds of difficult backgrounds and assisting the team to grow their capacities in public speaking, storytelling and turning up on time has taught her so much about groups and leadership and developing strengths.
Gemma is very excited about her role with New River and spending time getting to know the young people she is and will be working with finding out what are their stories and what are their strengths and how can they use these to make a difference in the world?
Gemma has completed an Arts Degree and is currently doing a Masters of Letter in Hebrew Studies. Hebrew is both an Ancient language and spoken in the Modern world. The study of Hebrew teaches her about the history and development of alphabets and language itself.
Gemma is currently living in the Blue Mountains where she enjoys bush walking and spending time with friends.
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