Core Member

Leila graduated from AUT in 2011, among the last to qualify with a Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting. Connect then offered her the first placement on their new internship programme, and she worked in this unique capacity for a year before returning to university to complete the new B.A.

Since graduating Leila has interpreted in a variety of settings, including but not limited to compulsory education, hospital appointments, professional meetings, social liaison jobs and tertiary education. Every day brings something new and she feels it is a rare privilege to facilitate communication between people with such a diverse range of skills, knowledge and experience.

Leila’s interest in NZSL was inspired through meeting a Deaf student via her mother Alene. As a Speech Language Therapist, Alene was keen to learn NZSL for use with Deaf/non-verbal students and encouraged Leila to join a night class with her. Such was their enjoyment that within a year Leila had enrolled on the interpreting course and her mother was re-training to be a Teacher of the Deaf. Throughout her studies, Leila was fortunate enough to work part time as communication support for the same Deaf student she first met.

Leila’s areas of passion and interest have always surrounded communication, language and psychology. Having trained as a telephone counsellor for Kidsline and Youthline, she considered studying clinical psychology at university before discovering the Deaf world and choosing to become an interpreter instead. However, given the difficulty Deaf experience accessing therapy in their primary language, she wonders long term if there may be a way to benefit the community through coupling both these interests and considers counselling a potential future direction.