Meet our Team...

Anna Keno 

Speech Language Therapist 

Anna is the creative driving force behind GIANT LEAPS Speech Company - established in response to the demand for quality and specialist Speech Therapy and Speech + Drama Classes for all ages and abilities. A qualified Speech Therapist (BSLT) and Speech + Drama Teacher (ATCL, ASB),  Anna has over 20 years experience working with young people to develop confidence, creativity and most importantly communication skills for life. Anna is a mother to four young children and understands the importance and emotion involved in wanting to see your children succeed.


EMAIL LOUSIE    

Louise Erskine 

Speech Language Therapist 

Louise graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Speech & Language Therapy with first class honours. Before joining the GIANT LEAPS team, Louise worked as a Speech Therapist in both the public education and health sector. She has worked extensively with pre-school and school aged children presenting with a variety of speech and language disorders and delays. Louise is a wife and mother to three young children, so understands first hand the developmental and social importance of every young person achieving their speech and language potential. 

Shannon Eckersley 

Speech Language Therapist 

Shannon graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology with first class honours. Before joining the Giant Leaps team, Shannon was the lead and sole charge therapist at Sarah Cohen School in Dunedin. Shannon has a range of experience in different areas of communication including AAC, social skills programmes, language delays and treating speech sound difficulties. Shannon is originally from the Waikato but have been living in the South Island since training as a Speech and Language Therapist and loves it here! I Her spare time Shannon loves to keep fit, and enjoys reading, baking, doing crafts and hanging out with my friends and family.

Sarah Wilson 

Speech Language Therapist

Sarah completed her bachelors degree in Speech and Language therapy in 2017 with first class honours. Before joining the GIANT LEAPS team, Sarah previously worked in the public system with the Ministry of Education and the Child Development Team. Sarah is passionate about working collaboratively with colleagues, whānau, schools, and the community to create shared aspirations and meaningful communication outcomes for children Sarah's practice is always client focused and meaningful, which promotes generalization of new skills into everyday settings. "I achieve successful collaboration in my practice by building strong working relationships where communication is open and honest"  

Bella Stewart

Speech Language Therapist 

Bella graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology with first class honours. Before joining the Giant Leaps team, Bella worked as a speech therapist at a private clinic on the Gold Coast working extensively with preschool and school children. Bella is passionate about working with children to promote their communication and believes it is important to build a strong rapport with each child to help create a fun and supportive therapy environment. In her spare time, Bella enjoys getting outdoors, keeping fit, and spending time with friends and family

Francesca Black 

Intern Speech Language Therapist

Francesca is Giant Leaps very first student turned teacher! Once a delightfully diligent Giant Leaps speech and drama student… now an exciting and energetic speech and drama teacher, Francesca started her journey with Giant Leaps while at primary school and carried on to complete her Speech NZ senior examinations throughout her secondary school years. Not only teaching... Francesca is also completing her Sounds-Write structured literacy training and starting her Bachelors degree in Speech and Language Therapy… she's got a lot more to give! 

Alice Sollis

Speech and Drama Teacher

Alice Sollis has achieved an impressive list of theatre and performing accomplishments. Alice is a well respected director having directed over 50 stage productions. Alice writes compilation shows, has worked in radio, creates sound effects for plays, performs as a soloist, and sings in the very busy band “The Drama Queens” at corporate and private functions. Alice works as event & production manager for festivals and concerts, has acted in two locally produced movies, judged numerous talent quests, and leads school holiday drama programmes all over Canterbury. Alice loves teaching and nurturing all aspects of theatre and the spoken word.

Hayley Goodman 

Speech and Drama Teacher

Hayley is a qualified primary school teacher with 13 years of teaching experience. Hayley discovered her passion for drama during her high school years when participating in musicals. Hayley has taught and directed school musicals in London, Christchurch and Timaru which have ranged from involving 30-250 students. Since moving to Timaru in 2019, Hayley has become the lead teacher for Performing Arts, written and directed a musical for the senior school and directed a middle school musical earlier this year. Hayley is passionate about the performing arts and therefore decided to join the South Canterbury Drama League in 2019. Hayley has enjoyed appearing in the musicals Legally Blonde, Motherhood the Musical and Broadway Melody. 

Libby Higson

Speech and Drama Teacher

Libby is a graduate of NASDA (National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Arts) where she gained a bachelor's degree in Performing Arts in 2019. Libby is also a well-rounded and dedicated performer - you may well have seen her on stage in Ashburton or Christchurch? Libby is passionate about sharing her experience and knowledge with young performers and hopes to encourage more children onto the stage! And if the stage is not your child's thing, Libby is equally passionate about equipping children with the confidence, creativity, and communication skills they will need throughout their lifetime!

Olivia Brinkmann 

Speech and Drama Teacher

Olivia has been performing and practising speech & drama since the age of 13. Olivia has a Diploma in Speech & Drama (teaching) from the Trinity College of London. She is a PACANZ Nationals nominee and performer, and also Court Theatre Company member. To top all of that off, Olivia holds a Bachelors degree in Business! Olivia's is passionate about working with young children and inspiring the love of all things speech and drama. Her positivity is infectious, she she believes in unleashing the creativity in children to achieve lifelong communication and performance skills. After all life is a stage. 

Ben Donaldson

Speech and Drama Teacher

Benjamin (Ben) is a Unitec Performing and Screen Arts graduate with a diverse career in the Stage and Screen industry including crewing credits in episodic dramas for production companies like Netflix and Nickelodeon. He has experience in a variety of areas in film and theatre such as writing, directing, lighting, set design and performance. With years of experience acting and constructing scenes, he looks forward to sharing what he has learnt from his journey so far to the storytellers and performers of tomorrow..   future. 

Sarah Prentice 

Speech and Drama Teacher

Having recently relocated from Sydney, Sarah has arrived in NZ with more than thirteen years experience in the theatre and film industry. Sarah studied at the National Institute of Performing Arts (NIDA) and has taught drama and performance to students all over Australia. Sarah has a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Film and Television) and an Advanced Diploma in Directing, Producing and Writing at JMC Academy and the International Film School (IFSS) as well as further study at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS). Sarah has been involved as a professional on several film and television productions including Home and Away, Peter Rabbit, and Wyrmwood. Sarah has been involved in short films, web series, and music videos that have been screened locally and in international festivals throughout the world.   

Rosie Leishman

With a childhood filled with acting and music, Rosie has always loved performing. Alongside her 8 years of classical singing training and playing various other instruments, Rosie studied Speech & Drama with Trinity College for 11 years and has just completed her ATCL exam with Distinction.  Rosie was a member of the National Youth Theatre Company and had lead roles in 14 productions over 14 years ranging from Annie, The Artful Dodger and Peter Pan to Cosette in Les Miserables and Antony in Julius Caesar. Rosie has a love for Shakespeare and was a Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ finalist for 4 years. She gained entry to NSSP in 2021 and has received various awards including 'Best Emerging Director', 'Best Communication with the Audience' and 'Best Vocal Projection'.

Hannah Austin

Hannah has spent a lifetime on the stage and in theatre. Hannah is a graduate of the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) in Christchurch where she studied singing, dancing and acting. In 2019 she graduated from the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Arts (NASDA) with a Bachelor of Performing Art (Music Theatre). Her credits include Jesus Christ Superstar; The Wind in the Willows (The Court Theatre), Footloose; Little Women (NASDA), The Bechdel Test (Blackboard theatre collective) and Miss Saigon (Showbiz Christchurch). Hannah has been performing as a musician across the South Island for the past year as one half of an acoustic duo and recently featured as the soloist on her first Spotify cover.


Join our Team

Our vision is that every young New Zealander can achieve their very best communication + performance skills to succeed in life. In today's noisy world, the demand for these skills is needed more than ever before. We need superstar speech + drama teachers and speech therapists to join our team throughout Otago and Canterbury. If you like what you see + think you have got something to add... then lets talk!