Decorative image

In a significant transition for Able’s communications mahi, Sophie Jones, who has played a transformative role as Communications & Culture Manager for almost three years, is bidding adieu to her impactful tenure. Her departure creates space for a promising legacy, as the organisation welcomes Jean Teng, a familiar name in Aotearoa’s media accessibility and journalism scene, into the role.

Haere ra, Sophie!

After almost three years leading Able’s communications mahi, Sophie Jones is moving on from her role as Communications & Culture Manager. During her tenure, Sophie developed Able’s communications and marketing, leading the organisation’s rebrand; executing numerous campaigns, before going on to also lead Able’s internal engagement and culture strategy. 

For Dan Buckingham, Able’s CE: “Sophie will forever be known as Able’s first Comms and Marketing Manager. The work she has done during her tenure has been nothing short of transformative; she has set the tone for the way Able tells its story, how far and wide that story has been told, and how the Able team engages with its vision and with each other. While we wish her well with her next adventure, there’s no shying away from this being a massive loss for Able as Sophie will leave a huge gap to be filled. However, she will also leave a legacy to be built upon, and in true Sophie fashion of always being mindful of others, she has set things up well for the next person to grab the baton and run with it.”

Sophie has brown curly hair and green eyes. She laughs, as she looks past the camera.

Sophie Jones, outgoing Communications & Culture Manager

Sophie says: “Thank you for having me! Without hyperbole, these past few years have been the best and happiest of my working life. I’ve been given the freedom to connect with our audiences, stakeholders and staff team; to make space for people to tell their stories; to reimagine Able’s digital and physical homes, and to be involved with countless meaningful and exciting projects – from working on Able’s strategy, to launching Lunchtime Lectures and meeting so many of my role models(!) – to successfully launching Earcatch to make streaming with audio description available in Aotearoa. 

“A huge thank you to Able’s leadership team and the board for their trust and support, to the staff team for the relentless care and creativity they bring to their work, and for manifesting the belief that work can be a kind, fun place that you can bring your whole self to. Able’s kaupapa, team and communities will always have a special place in my heart. I know you’re going to go from strength to strength, and I can’t wait to see the magic that you continue to make. I’ll always be cheering you on.”

Nau mai, haere mai, Jean Teng!

We are delighted to welcome Jean Teng to the Able whānau! It’s a homecoming of sorts for Jean, who began her journey with media accessibility as a Caption Producer from 2016 to 2018. You may recognise her name from Aotearoa’s journalism scene, most notably her work at Metro for the past five years, where Jean has been a founding member of the iconic publication’s rebirth. Officially, she’s been the magazine’s Food Editor, writing prolifically both in print and online; though her role expanded to include marketing and commercial mahi, stakeholder relationship management, event planning and execution, and overall business strategy. Since leaving Able, she’s also written for The Spinoff, National Geographic, and North and South. 

Dan Buckingham says: “Sophie has done such a fantastic job starting up what was a new role in 2021 it was difficult to imagine anyone else in the position and how they might make it their own, however, we believe we have found not just the magical right fit for the role, but an absolute star with Jean Teng. Jean embodies a lot of similar values and strengths to Sophie, and we see Jean fitting straight in. While there is no doubt Jean will take the role in her own direction (we wouldn’t want anything less), she will do it in a way that complements the foundation that Sophie has built, allowing Able to continue to go from strength to strength.”

For Jean, “My career has always intersected with storytelling and cultivating relationships with people. In my work, I’ve been drawn to amplifying the things that I personally believe in or think are important, whether that’s a very good hole-in-the-wall restaurant, or a theatre show, or a political cause. 

Jean Teng has shoulder length dark hair and a bright smile. She wears a purple jacket, and stands against an orange background

Jean Teng, Able’s incoming Communications & Engagement Manager

“I’m a returnee to the Able team, having worked as a Caption Producer at the organisation from 2016-2018, and seeing how Able has evolved and flourished over the last few years – with its growth, beautiful rebrand, and increased visibility – has been wonderful to watch, and I’m stoked to be able to build on and continue this mahi. How media interacts with our routines and everyday lives has become such a central part of the way we move through the world now, from our television screens to our phone screens and all the screens in between, and it’s important that everyone has the ability to access the worlds that they want to. I’m really looking forward to amplifying the vital work that the team at Able carry out to help make that possible – all while working alongside the communities Able serves, and bringing people outside the fold, in.”

Jean’s first day as Communications & Engagement Manager will be Monday October 9th, and we are very excited to welcome her back into the Able whānau, to further drive home the mission that drew her to Able in the first place, 7 years ago.

Next in the journal:

The Earcatch logo, a yellow 'E' on a dark blue background.

On-demand audio description app Earcatch winds up, but will continue to be available in Aotearoa

Able launched Earcatch in Aotearoa a year ago – a New Zealand-based library of audio description (AD) made…

A graphic image of an old-school TV with a scene of Pulp Fiction on it.

Blind people watch TV too

Audio description comes as standard on shows streaming on Netflix and other international services. So, Able Chief Executive…

Dan Buckingham, Jai Waite and Rachale Davis are on a stage together. Dan has brown hair, a white button-up shirt and is using a wheelchair, turned away from the camera. Jai is wearing a blue button-up top, using a wheelchair, and is in the middle of speaking. Rachale has blonde shoulder-length hair and a yellow top, looking over at Jai.

Navigating authentic representation of disability

During the annual SPADA conference this year, our CEO Dan Buckingham facilitated a panel with Jai Waite from…

Picture of Virginia Philp (who was part of AD's inception) smiling. She has shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes.

Decade of Able: Virginia Philp, team leader, audio describers

Virginia Philp leads our small crew of audio describers. She overseas everything audio description: recruiting, training and managing…

David wears glasses and a hearing aid, and smiles.

Decade of Able: David Kent, trustee

David Kent is a trustee on the Able board. Since 2005, David has chaired the Southern Hearing Charitable…

A photo of Clive Lansink, who has short grey hair and a grey moustache. He is wearing a blue, yellow and red checkered flannel button-up T shirt.

Decade of Able: Clive Lansink, Chair, Blind Low Vision NZ

Kia ora, Clive. I’ve heard that you were instrumental in audio description advocacy, prior to its introduction to…