An update from Be. Lab CEO Sue Russell

Amidst the uncertainties of the Covid-19 crisis, we are here to support and work alongside you in reimagining a more accessible future for New Zealand.

Headshot of Be. Lab CEO, Sue Russell next to the Be. Lab logo on a navy blue background

Kia ora Be. Whanau,

I know this is a challenging time for everyone at the moment as we manage many uncertainties and changes in our lives. It has certainly been a very eventful and interesting year so far. Since taking on the role of CEO at Be. Lab a few months ago, I have been immersed in getting to know the organisation, the wonderful Be. team and the amazing work they do.

Then just as I was about to emerge and reach out to you, our Be. Whanau, friends and committed partners, COVID-19 hit us. I must admit, I did not think my first communication to you all would be in these conditions!

We, at Be. Lab, have been quickly adapting to this new way of working, focusing on how we can keep our services operational and evaluating our role going forward.

I have been watching with interest the lively discussions around economic recovery from this pandemic and am intrigued to see that there are two main schools of thought. On one hand, there is a desire to rush back to life as it was pre COVID-19 to get the economy back up and running as quickly as possible. And on the other, there are interesting conversations around using this as an opportunity to consider what kind of future we want to return to.

Many sectors have taken a major hit, particularly tourism, and going back to what was may not be an option. While for some it is easy to want to go back to the way things were, others are asking “was ‘before’ working - particularly for our people and communities - or could we be doing better?” Access, poverty, and isolation are all areas that could do with some innovative and courageous thinking. Now is the time to seriously take stock - reimagining what our society could be is an opportunity we cannot miss.

Beyond economic recovery, how can we think creatively about reviewing and redeveloping our future?

At Be. Lab, we have taken this as an opportunity to ensure true accessibility is built into what our world looks like during and post COVID-19 - encouraging and advocating for accessibility in shovel-ready projects and new innovation. The Be. team has 10 years of experience and a proven track record of courageous leadership, innovation and delivery of transformational social change programmes for a 100% accessible society. We are committed to leading and working alongside all of you and our nation’s leaders to create a future that offers quality of life for all.  

Our programmes are continuing to operate throughout the lockdown period thanks to the adaptability of our Be. team, partners, and community. Be. Leadership has already shifted to operating completely digitally, and our Be. Employed and Be. Welcome teams are ready and open to discussing your individual or organisational needs during this time. We would particularly love to hear from: 

  • Access citizens looking for meaningful employment and who meet our criteria (check our website), and/or employers seeking talented, motivated individuals who will ad value to your organisations and businesses – contact our Be. Employed Programme Director, Tonya Baker
  • Organisations and businesses that are providing services, infrastructure, buildings, or products – we can work with you to ensure they are future-proofed and accessible for all – contact our Be. Welcome Programme Director, Neville Pullman
  • Anyone who wishes to work with us to reimagine and redevelop a truly accessibleAotearoa – I’d love to hear from you.

We look forward to continuing to work with you and sharing inspiring stories of accessibility and possibility over the coming weeks and months.


Ngā mihi,

Sue Russell
CEO, Be. Lab


+64 9 309 8966
Centre of Possibility

Room WB239
WB Building
(The Seddon Building)
63 Wellesley St East
Auckland City

PO Box 78 021
Grey Lynn 1245
New Zealand