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Innovation awards!


The Fast Track Inclusion (FTI) Trust works to create transformative, measurable outcomes for vulnerable children, youth and families through emerging community leadership. The trust carries out social innovation applied research to accelerate social inclusion for marginalised people throughout New Zealand.

The Fast Track Inclusion (FTI) Trust was launched in 2012 by a group of academics and business people who work in social change. Trustees worked in a range of social and environmental project which created good value for society, however when funding ran out, these projects were typically shelved. The trustees wanted to extend the value that these projects could still produce by contributing their time and knowledge, beyond the projects' funding life. The FTI trust does mostly volunteer work as described on its website, applying for philanthropic funding only to meet certain necessary operational costs.

We identify and train emerging leaders from within vulnerable communities. By envisioning their future positively and sustainably, they tap into their collective wisdom to grow as social innovators. Sharing their learning from within their communities they then power up a “leadership pipeline”. Our teamwork with stakeholders, officials and NGOs focuses on a common aim, viz. for parents to become change agents for their children, a proven way to enhance return on social investment, with quantifiable and measurable outcomes.

These ideas are described via this blog [tinyurl.com/fast-track-inclusion]. Contact us on: fast.track.inclusion.trust@gmail.com, by post at: 66 Government Road, Raglan 3225, New Zealand.

The FTI Trust is supported by the expertise of its Trustees and Advisory Board below:

Robert Akscyn, Chairperson has served for several years as a New Zealand Technology Fellow, funded by the Foundation for Research in Science and Technology, to help high tech companies in New Zealand with their R&D strategy. He co-funded a number of startups and received a W. Larimer Mellon Fellowship and an IBM Fellowship from Carnegie Mellon University. Passionate about youth development, Robert mentors students to improve their academic performance and extend their professional networks. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Southern California.


Olivia Adamson, University of Waikato, Student Ambassador, Hamilton. Olivia is completing her degree in Environmental Science and is enthusiastic about science education and grassroots level work. She is passionate about food sustainability and hopes to get others excited about the natural world and how we interact with it. Olivia heads the Te Uku Sustainable Goals Community Project. Olivia will summarise and quantify the action impacts of the project by liasing with Scientist around the country, analysing the data and representing them it in a format readily accessible to the public, with feedback to the Te Uku School and community.

Dr. Annick Janson, Associate, Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research, Victoria University of Wellington received a Gallup Positive Psychology Award for her Leadership Formative Experiences research. Annick has been facilitating Leadership Development and research in the disability and community development sector for the past decade. She represented NZ at the Global Leadership Summit, Washington D.C. and at the European Commission EASPD service providers for the disability sector. Annick has governance experience in the private and public sector. She was Microsoft NZ Research Director, and Inaugural Research Director with the NZ Leadership Institute, University of Auckland Business School. She was awarded a Ph.D. in Management Systems by the University of Waikato, in New Zealand.

Special projects advisors

Rachel Dekel is a co-founder of DigiPoll, one of New Zealand’s leading survey and market research companies. The business also provides fieldwork services to a wide range of clients, nationally and internationally. DigiPoll team of researchers are experts in qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. Rachel heads the team with expertise from over 25 years experience in strategic planning, development and management in the private and public sector, in both Canada and New Zealand mostly in the Health and Disability sector. She was awarded a Masters degree in Health Development and Policy by the University of Waikato.

Dr. Koke Saavedra joined the ICAMHS (Infant, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) team in Hamilton and Thames in 2012. Before immigrating to New Zealand, he was Staff Psychologist at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute and at the Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland. He was also Faculty at the Wright Institute and Clinical & Training Director at the Berkeley CBT Clinic of the Wright Institute. Koke started his professional career as an Consultant, Economics & Financing of Education at the World Bank for over 4 years, before focusing on his passion to develop at-risk youth with novel interventions. Koke was awarded a PhD in Psychology from The Wright Institute.

Dr. Galia Schechter, Clinical Psychologist with Adult Mental Health at Waikato DHB, specialises in compassionate, culturally safe and effective psychotherapy and counselling services towards healing and growth in the areas of trauma (acute and chronic); depression; anxiety; specific phobias; work and life related stress; grief and bereavement; major life changes and adjustments, and relational/interpersonal challenges. Galia is passionate about addressing the issues of at-risk families with humanistic psychology, as inspired by eastern philosophies and mindfulness. Galia was awarded a PhD in Psychology from The Wright Institute and subsequently focused on individual therapy.

Stephen Cox is the Founder of Innovation Associates Ltd, a company coaching research providers and companies with their research funding and innovation projects. Stephen Cox is always active in making things happen, and developing research cultures that match both the organisation's goals and those of the researchers involved. Working with some of New Zealand's top researchers over a 25 year period, Stephen has gained a unique insight into the issues involved with technology transfer in New Zealand and how to ensure that business can receive added value from research-based commercialisation projects. He was awarded a M. Phil and a Dip Bus Admin from Massey University.

Dr. Robin Itzigsohn has an eclectic background in Science and Education. He taught biotechnology at the University of Waikato and consulted to a number of technology startups. Robin developed a range of methodologies to collect tacit knowledge from experts in wide ranging disciplines in secondary education and tertiary research institutions. He recently left academe to develop the family farm on the West coast testing the development of novel local and international markets for table grapes. Robin was awarded a PhD in Microbiology and a post-graduate degree in Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Biana Redenski (B.A) is an employment specialist with experience in supporting vulnerable people find employment. She carries out interviews for our research and evaluation. 

Our Philosophy
The Fast Track Inclusion Trust principal mission is to establish a learning organisation and learning community to assist in public and formal education regarding a sustainable future for New Zealand communities.

The collective experiences of our Trust Members includes the collection, analysis and dissemination of peer-knowledge in the form of media resources. Outcomes from our research will form the foundations of learning (such as peer-learning) programmes to establish and coordinate programmes to promote the value of a sustainable future.

One way to strengthen communities is to facilitate the study of the success factors behind social entreprises and their benefits to their members.

Hence, our research will study ways to promote and encourage sound social, cultural and economic policies in New Zealand through the application of social innovation. Our topics of study will include the protection and conservation of our social and natural environments and promote the development and widespread dissemination of knowledge and ideas in these domains.

Our work will be done in respect with our multicultural society such as Maori and Pacific cultural perspectives. For instance, we will encourage emerging leader to share knowledge, collective wisdom, ideas and experience with their communities, in particular via engagement with marginalised New Zealanders.

We have worked on social change project funded by organisations such as MSD, Community Waikato, IHC, Te Pou, the Todd Foundation, and private corporations.

Extracts from our Deed:
The Trust seeks to educate and empower people that are marginalised with skills to learn how to integrate into society. This new paradigm paves the way to a powerful experience of learning, creative thinking and dynamic reshaping of diversity in any context, including but not limited to gender, ethnicity, sexuality and disability. Built into the dialogue are themes of influence, conflict resolution and vital behaviours for individual and social change. The Trust will achieve its objectives through research and development of storytelling methodologies and educational programmes, and test online delivery models to ensure participation also from people who are geographically isolated. The research will investigate the causes and reasons for social, cultural, environmental and economic problems and suggest and promote tangible, novel paradigms and practical online solutions to these problems that are innovative, desirable and easily accessible to local communities. The Trust was established in 2013 to: (i) be beneficial to the community by relieving charitable need for social inclusion in our communities, and (ii)  advance education for the public benefit.

More about the FTI Trust here.