Our Team

The Big Buddy team is a small but tight-knit group from a range of backgrounds and professions who are drawn together by the vision of finding a Big Buddy for every boy that needs one.

Corporate head shot of a man - Jason Judkins CEO of Big Buddy NZ

Jason Judkins

- Chief Executive Officer

Jason is married to Sarah, has two children and lives on a Waiheke Island lifestyle property with a motley collection of animals and a small vineyard. He enjoys a DIY project and loves getting over to Great Barrier Island, where they have been restoring some old seaside cottages.

Jason’s career has spanned banking, corporate finance, debt restructuring, wine, honey and hop businesses. He is passionate about New Zealand and feels privileged to be in a role that connects Big and Little Buddies, their caregivers and their wider family and communities. He is inspired by the life-long benefits these relationships have on all they touch.


Steve Sobota

- Operations Manager

Steve is married to Joanne and father to Benjamin. They live on a bush clad section at the edge of the Waitakere Ranges. Steve is into music, particularly singing and percussion, is a runner, trying to compete in the odd half marathon. He is passionate about wine and all things made local.

Dave Burcher

Dave Burcher

-  Mentoring Manager for Wellington

Dave Burcher was born and raised in Wellington and lives in Upper Hutt with his wife Judith. They have 2 daughters & he is a proud grandfather to his 4 grandchildren. He came to Big Buddy from a 25-year teaching career. He is an avid fisherman & you will often find him fishing some the rugged beaches of the Wairarapa coast.

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Mark Sanders

- Mentoring Manager for North & West Auckland

Mark was born and raised in Lower Hutt, Wellington. He is married to Claire and has two daughters Holly and Emma, who are the 5th generation on Claire’s side to live in Laingholm in the Waitakere Ranges.

Mark loves fishing, hiking, plants, cooking, DIY, movies, music, and spending time with family. He is also passionate about participating in men’s self-development.

He is a proud ex-tradesman and NZ Customs Officer but has now made a change so he can help make positive change in the lives of others.

Mark firmly believes everybody deserves a fair chance in life, and this starts with our young ones. 'I want to be part of making that chance a reality'.

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Brad Fleming

-  Mentoring Manager for Tauranga & Hamilton

Brad is married to Meghan and is the father of Maia and Leo. They have recently moved their lives back to the Tauranga area where Brad grew up. He loves to exercise, surf, play golf, watch sport and spend time with his whanau.

Brad retired from professional rugby in 2010 and moved back to New Zealand where he began working in primary and secondary school sports departments in the Tauranga area and more recently in Queenstown. This is where he developed a desire to work in a more impactful role that helped his community, and provide a positive influence for youth which has led him to Big Buddy.


Shane Brown

- Mentoring Manager for South & Central Auckland

Shane is married to Tayla and lives on the border of Papakura and Takanini, not far from where he spent his childhood growing up in Wattle Downs.

Shane is a Big Buddy to Isaac and has spent time working with other youth and adults in the mentoring, justice and mental health sectors. Shane has seen the powerful impact Big Buddy has and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join the team. He firmly believes in putting people first and giving everyone the chance to succeed.

Shane enjoys training in Mixed Martial Arts, working out, cooking, exploring our beautiful country and spending time with family and friends. He is looking forward to starting his own family in the coming years, which will be great company for his energetic ginger cat, Roku.


Becs Weber

- Programme & Events Coordinator

Becs was born and raised in Auckland and she is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of Aotearoa’s young people.

She has a background in programme development and event management and has volunteered with a range of youth-based organisations, including her current role with Radio Lollipop at Starship Hospital.

Becs enjoys travelling and getting outdoors, especially experiencing the many incredible hikes NZ has to offer. In her spare time, she can be found at the gym, enjoying a meal out with friends or spending time with her niece and nephew.

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Mia Meckel

- Volunteer & Events Coordinator

Originally from Germany, Mia has lived in Aotearoa for many years and considers this beautiful country her home. Mia studied psychology for four years and has worked in both the tertiary and not-for-profit sectors, primarily in the health and well-being space. While Mia’s interests are broad, she is particularly passionate about fostering community health and supporting our tamariki and rangatahi to thrive. 


Outside of work, you will find Mia outdoors in nature, taking short trips to explore new places, and spending time with her friends and family. 

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Christie Stuart

- Partnership Manager 

Christie was born and raised in Auckland. She is married to Greg and lives on the North Shore with their two young children, Ellie & Cody, and their beautiful pound pup Riley. If not in Auckland, you will normally find them in magical Mangawhai enjoying the water.

Christie is no stranger to the Big Buddy family supporting fundraising events over the past few years. Her career has spanned stadiums, sports, tourism, museums, sponsorship, events, and corporate community fundraising. As a Mum, she is thrilled to become a cog in the Big Buddy wheel, supporting families to build long-lasting connections.

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Josie Sutherland

- Marketing Manager

Josie was born and bred near Cardiff in Wales but now calls Auckland home. Josie lives with her daughter Sidney and their rescue cat Pip.

Josie joins the Big Buddy family after a long career working in marketing communications. She loves knowing that her work at Big Buddy generates ripples of positive change in the lives of so many.


Russell Joyce

- Fundraiser

Russell lives in Cambridge with his wife Janine. He has two grown-up children, one living in Scotland and the other working in Wellington. He is a keen cyclist, regular yogi and he enjoys learning Mandarin. He runs online language classes, teaching English in exchange for lessons in Chinese. He also teaches English face-to-face, helping recent migrants and refugees improve their language skills. At Big Buddy he helps find the grants and donations we need to keep our mission going.

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Kim Bramwell

- Finance Manager

Kim proudly joined the Big Buddy team approximately 10 years ago. Married to Carl, they have 2 adult children - a son & daughter, living locally and overseas.

Living in West Auckland, Kim enjoys her local community and the beauty of the Manukau Harbour & West Coast beaches. In her spare time she loves getting together with family & friends, boating, and spending time on creative projects.

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Jean Green

- Administrator

Jean enjoys doing Big Buddy’s admin, walking the local West Coast beaches with her partner and their dog, trying to tame their wild garden and having fun with their extended family and grandchildren.


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Travis Field

- Chairman of the Trust

Travis has been a trustee since early 2011. Married for more than 25 years, he has two young adult children. Travis has interests in hospitality and leadership consultancy and is involved in men's community work. In his spare time he loves travelling, socialising, keeping fit and a wee dram of Single Malt.

Mark Talbot

Mark Talbot

- Trustee & Treasurer

Mark lives on Auckland’s North Shore with his wife Claire and their three children Tom, Molly & Charlie. He has been a Big Buddy mentor since 2007 and joined the board of trustees in 2011. Mark works with various growth-focussed companies seeking to expand globally and in his spare time loves the game of golf, although his handicap always seems to be heading in the wrong direction!

Emma Butcher

Emma Butcher

- Trustee

Emma is married to Warren and is Mum to son Tate. She has lived in the Grey Lynn/Westmere area for most of her adult life. Emma is a lawyer and loves her work. She has been specialising in employment law for the past 25 years and is a founder and partner of BE Employment Law in the CBD. Emma is trusted advisor to many public, private and not for profit organisations and puts this experience and expertise to work in her role as trustee with Big Buddy.

When not working or cheering on Tate from the sidelines at football, Emma loves to travel overseas or chill out in the family bach at Port Waikato.

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