Ava Meek has made teaching her life’s work. Originally training as a physical education teacher, she has worked in secondary schools all over the country, including an incredible 20 years spent at Paeroa College, where she held HOD roles for PE and digital technology.

More recently, Ava has taken on a fresh challenge – teaching adult learners in an online environment. She began working for BMP as a tutor but was quickly appointed to the role of Programme Manager, responsible for overseeing our business management programmes and our tutors. She works tirelessly to support our tutors and in doing so, ensures we provide the very best service and support to our students.

“It’s always satisfying to hear the excellent feedback tutors receive from students about the support they’ve received and the relevance of the programmes, and it’s great seeing students return and complete two, three or even four of our courses. I can honestly say we do an excellent job. We make a real difference and provide excellent programmes that are relevant to business today.”

Armed with a Bachelor of Education, a Diploma in Business Studies (Coaching) and a Diploma in Business Management, Ava is also deeply passionate about embracing biculturalism and empowering all Aspire2 students to succeed.

“As a pākehā I am committed to expanding my knowledge of te ao Māori (Māori world view), supporting our Māori and Pasifika students, and ensuring equitable opportunities for success in our programmes.”

Growing in up Taiwan, Sonia learnt a lot from her grandparents.

The hardworking business owners taught her how businesses operate, and what it takes to be successful, instilling her with a curiosity and passion for the dynamic world of commerce. Several decades later – and 9,000 kilometres from home – Sonia is now sharing her expertise with students at BMP.

After gaining a Bachelor of Business Administration in Taiwan and a Master of Business Administration (majoring in Finance and Accounting) in New York, Sonia spent 11 years working at a national university in Taiwan, both as an international affairs administrator and a tutor. Her natural flair for the classroom saw her instantly connect with, and inspire, her students.

“I just fell in love with tutoring. I love to interact with students from different backgrounds and I always learn something new from them.”

Since moving to New Zealand in 2017, Sonia has continued her tutoring career, initially in Auckland and now here in New Plymouth. She brings her classes alive through sharing examples and personal experiences, and encourages her students to make the most of all the opportunities that present themselves.

“You’ll never know how much you’ll get out of something until you actually do it.”

For Sonia, studying at BMP is an ideal way for aspiring businesspeople to grow their skills and expand their capabilities.

“Tutoring is not just about teaching students what I know – it’s also about providing a fresh perspective on business management and equipping learners with invaluable new tools that can be applied to their work and life.”

Victoria Kiknavelidze loves getting down to business – in fact she has dedicated her entire career to it. With a Bachelor Honours degree in International Law from Belarus, and additional training undertaken in the Trade and Economic Department Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in the Republic of Belarus, Victoria has a truly global business perspective. Add to that the Graduate Diploma in Hotel Management (Level 7) she gained here in New Zealand, all the managerial roles she has held, and her experience starting and running her own company, and it’s fair to say Victoria is perfectly placed to boost the skills of New Zealand’s aspiring entrepreneurs and business people.

As an Aspire2 Business Management Programmes tutor and programme coordinator, Victoria develops new assessments and modules for our courses, ensures our study material is practical, relevant and top quality, and supports our students to thrive in their studies, with plenty of positive feedback and communication through Canvas, email, phone and discussion boards.

“I love sharing my practical knowledge in business and leadership and can help my students gain all the skills they need to become capable leaders or start their own business.”

Distancing learning is both rewarding and challenging – and when the going gets tough you’ll want Toni Maxwell on your team.

The Level 3 programme coordinator and BMP tutor goes above and beyond to help students achieve their study (and life!) goals. She’s empathetic and encouraging, and likes nothing better than helping people realise their business aspirations and be the best they can be.

“I feel like everyone has a business idea. I love supporting our students to take that first step towards their dreams, either starting or owning their own business or gaining the skills and confidence to become better leaders.

“Knowledge is power. Knowledge gives you confidence to go forward. I would encourage our students to be courageous, take that first step (we know it’s scary and new), and embrace this opportunity. We’re here to provide support every step of the way.”

Currently studying the Diploma of Business Management herself, Toni honed her leadership capabilities on the frontline, with 15 years in volunteer sports management roles, including running competitions, organising events, teams and tournaments. These roles have equipped her with practical leadership skills and developed her knack for networking and building effective relationships.

Since joining Aspire2, Toni has played an integral role in the Te Ao Māori journey of the business (including the implementation of karakia in meetings). She has a Level 4 Certificate in Māori Protocol and Language (poupou Huia Te Reo) and is just starting her own Te Reo journey.

When it comes to teaching students about small business and leadership, Callum Judd has plenty of first-hand experience.

After gaining his own Level 3 qualification, he spent four years in warehouse operations, stock control and customer services for a small family business, before moving into technical account management and business development. With a portfolio spanning Taranaki and extending into the mighty Waikato, Callum significantly grew the company’s sales whilst maintaining a healthy GP percentage and helping the business to achieve exponential growth in the years to follow. Not one to rest on his laurels, Callum then bought a 6ha block and began running his own small enterprise as a sole trader. Now, two-and-half years later – and in addition to working towards his Diploma in Business Level 5 – he’s investigating ways to increase land productivity and pursuing further opportunities within the property market.

“My goal as a Level 3 tutor is to help students expand on their skills and get the best out of their ideas. It’s incredibly rewarding to support students’ growth as they work through their studies. The Establishment Plans that are produced by our aspiring entrepreneurs not only give them a qualification but also a true sense of pride and belief in their own ideas and abilities, setting them up with the resources to tackle the world of small business.”

Callum’s advice? “We all possess different skills, knowledge and experiences. Focus on your skills and work on your shortfalls – personal and business success is the result of consistent self-analysis.”

Cheshta Madaan reckons teaching is in her blood. She’s been doing it since 2009, first as a hospitality tutor back in her homeland India, and now as a business management tutor for Aspire2. And she couldn’t be happier about it.

“Teaching is my passion. After gaining practical knowledge through working in the industry, there is nothing more rewarding than teaching others about that industry, and preparing the next generation for this beautiful world. My passion for teaching and my positivity helps keep students engaged and motivated as they move through the material at their own learning pace.”

Cheshta has a Bachelor of Arts, a Master in Hotel Management and Tourism, and a Postgraduate Diploma Level 8 in Hotel Management. Better still, she’s got 12 years of experience in frontline hospitality – including managing a hotel – and has also owned her own business.

“Through my own personal experiences I’m able to give my students a better understanding of small business, help them transform their shortcomings into strengths, and empower them to become more versatile.”

Nothing makes Jo Coston happier than sharing her expertise, and as a Level 3 and 4 small business and leadership tutor she gets plenty of opportunities for it.

“I believe that the purpose of gaining knowledge is to share it. There’s no point in keeping it all to myself and feeling smart – if I can help others achieve their goals by sharing, that makes me really happy.”

With a diverse range of qualifications – including a BSc (Hons) in Equine Science and Management, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Outdoor Education – plus plenty of life experience (she lives on an off-grid lifestyle block!), Jo is an inspiring and engaging tutor. She’s also very flexible, adapting her teaching style to meet the unique needs of her learners.

“I’m here for my students whatever their communication style. Some like to call me for reassurance every time they’re not sure about something, while others want to go it alone until they are struggling. Either way, I’m there for them.”

Also a long-distance endurance runner and cyclist, Jo believes that ultimately, success comes down to mindset.

“The ultra-runner philosophy of not tackling the whole massive job, but breaking it mentally down into manageable parts, is a really good transferable skill. For instance, it’s really intimidating to set out to run 80kms, but I can definitely run 8kms ten times!”

First a student and now a tutor – when it comes to Aspire2, Journee Hooper has come full circle.

After completing her Level 5 Diploma of Business, Journee felt inspired to help others through the same process, snapping up a role as a BMP marker. Now she’s making her mark as a tutor, teaching small business and leadership to our Level 3 and 4 students.

With a strong background in the banking and tendering sectors, Journee brings a wealth of expertise to the online classroom. Starting her career in a bank, she worked her way up and was soon in charge of sole traders, partnerships, limited companies and trust accounts. Later, she pivoted, moving out of banking to become a business advisor, focusing her expertise on helping businesses navigate their tender applications. Outside of her day job, she’s passionate about property, and is currently embarking on her own property investment journey under the expert guidance of mentors.

If you’re looking for a champion of distance learning, it’s hard to go past Journee. She’s a massive fan.

“Online courses are a great way to ensure a work/life balance, and if you’re returning to study, they’re a really flexible option.”

Iranian born Mostafa has business in his blood. His father owned a small home appliance retail store and Mostafa grew up helping him after school. Not only did the experience lay the foundations for a business career, but it taught Mostafa the importance of bringing value to your community.

Now, decades later, and in an entirely different part of the world, Mostafa continues to bring value to those around him through his role as an NZ Diploma in Business tutor. Previously a tutor at Aspire2 International in Auckland, Mostafa jumped at the chance to relocate to Taranaki earlier this year – one of his favourite places in New Zealand. Now he supports our BMP students to follow their dreams and achieve their goals in the dynamic world of business.

He says: “To make a difference in your personal life and in your community, it is essential to be knowledgeable about what you want to pursue.”

And he definitely practices what he preaches. Not only does Mostafa have a tonne of business experience, he has also undergone significant study, including a B.S.Honours in Business Information Technology and a Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Rabbiya has always had a keen interest in business. It’s a world she says offers a universally adaptable career choice, and a diverse and exciting range of job opportunities. Originally from
Pakistan, she had accumulated a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma in Homoeopathic Medical Science before moving to New Zealand in 2009, and since then has been honing her business expertise and building her experience.

Rabbiya’s journey started with a Level 3 Certificate in Business Administration. She enjoyed it so much, she decided to learn more. A Level 5 Diploma in Business Management followed, along with business related roles including a position as an administrator for the University of Auckland. This teamed with overseas experience (including teaching) made her ideally equipped to tutor
business, and she joined the Aspire2 team in 2018 to tutoring/teach all levels (3,
4 and 5).

A keen advocate of the online classroom, Rabbiya is involved in moderation and
course development, and also works tirelessly to support students through their
study journey.

“I always consider students’ individual needs and help them in ways that suit
them best, whether that’s through Canvas, email or phone calls.”

The results speak for themselves.

“I am delivering relevant knowledge to my students and helping them to start
their businesses and advance their career skills in leadership and management.”