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Spark Foundation adds two new trustees to board

Spark Foundation, the charitable trust funded by Spark New Zealand, is delighted to announce two new trustees – Leela Gantman, Spark Corporate Relations Director, and Martin La'a, Spark Agile Coach.


Leela Gantman and Martin La'a will join existing trustees – media personality, author and te reo Māori advocate, Stacey Morrison;  local Auckland Councillor for Otara and Papatoetoe, Lotu Fuli; Commissioner of the NZ National Commission of UNESCO and the Library & Information Advisory Commission, Vanisa Dhiru; Spark Transition Lead, Zelda Yates;  Spark Legal Partner, Kelly Baxter; Spark Agile Coach and Foundation People’s Champion, Brett Bailey; and Corporate Relations Consultant and Spark Foundation Chair, Andrew Pirie. 


Spark Foundation Chair, Andrew Pirie, says he is excited to welcome Leela and Martin as trustees of Spark Foundation at a time when the importance of digital equity has been highlighted due to Covid-19.


“The Foundation supports a number of initiatives to help bridge the digital divide, including Skinny Jump – a not-for-profit subsidised broadband service, and Recycle A Device (RAD) – a programme that takes donated second-hand laptops then teaches high school students to refurbish them, to get them into the hands of those in need. We look forward to Leela and Martin bringing their diverse perspectives, strong skill-sets in their respective fields and community experience to support the Foundation as it seeks to create a more equitable digital landscape in Aotearoa.”


Spark Foundation’s vision is that no New Zealander is left behind in a digital world and it is accelerating Aotearoa’s journey towards digital equity by addressing three key barriers – digital access, skills, and wellbeing . The Foundation partners with a wide range of community organisations to deliver programmes that deliver real change.


Leela Gantman

Leela joined Spark as Corporate Relations Director in January 2020, bringing with her close to 20 years’ experience in corporate and agency roles in New Zealand and Australia.


Prior to joining Spark Leela was Head of Communications at Fletcher Building, and before this External Relations Director at beverages group Lion in Australia. In this role she led Lion’s sustainability strategy and community investment program and served on the Board of not-for-profit partner Uplifting Australia.


As Spark’s Corporate Relations Director Leela is responsible for reputation management, internal communications, government, industry and community engagement as well as the charitable activities of the Spark Foundation. She also oversees the Company’s sustainability strategy.


Leela holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Technology Sydney.


Martin La’a

Martin La’a joined Spark as an intern in 2005 working part time in Spark’s retail stores whilst at university. After making a decision to pivot away from a law career, he pursued work full time at Spark, eventually working his way up to a Regional Manager.


Currently an Agile Coach, Martin partners with business units across Spark to help them realise excellence in ways of working and delivering outcomes.


Martin is a proud son of South Auckland and was raised by a solo mother who he credits as ‘Superwoman.’ His purpose is founded on the Samoan value of tautua – service to others. He is passionate about equity and meaningful opportunities for our Māori and Pasifika rangatahi, supporting initiatives like Hatch, First Foundation, and working with his old high school Mangere College.

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