CEO & Founder, chnnl Limited
Master of Health Practice
Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science in Advanced Nursing Practice
Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing)
She has always wanted to help people, says AUT health sciences alumna Dr Elizabeth Berryman who is the CEO and founder of chnnl Limited; a digital platform that gives organisations insights on employees’ mental health and wellbeing.
“Since I was eight years old, I had a great passion for wanting to help people and therefore wanted to work in a profession that helped others. I started my nursing career as an emergency department nurse at the age of 21. I loved it! I had an incredible career as a nurse, in the Outback of Australia as sole-charge in a mining town, Māori health in a whānau ora provider, then specialising in sexual health and continuing my education to become a nurse practitioner. I then was a practice manager of a GP clinic.
“Eventually I went to medical school, however that wasn’t a positive experience. I realised that bullying within medical student placements was more prevalent than anyone imagined. The experience inspired me to create chnnl app in 2015 as it became clear that positive intervention to fight against this bullying was urgently required. After five years of research, we now have an unbiased digital solution that enables transformational organisational change.”
Today chnnl is a rapidly growing business, and Elizabeth and her team work with a number of organisations in several different industries to create a safe space for employees to safely share information, and for employers to listen and learn.
“I enjoy the fact that I can take my love for helping people and work on cutting-edge technology that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to change the way we do work. The most rewarding and enjoyable part of my job is being able to work with organisations and individuals that are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing, and help them implement changes that are for the better. Being a part of that journey and influencing that change is magical.”
For Elizabeth, her journey into the health sciences started with enrolling in AUT’s Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing); a qualification she completed in 2008, soon followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science in Advanced Nursing Practice and a Master of Health Practice.
“What drew me to study health sciences at AUT were the glowing recommendations I had received from my friends, and the great mix of academic excellence and practical application of knowledge that AUT offered. In my final year of high school, I received a Significant Student Scholarship for Academic Excellence from AUT and I was extremely excited to get an opportunity to attend AUT. I come from Mangawhai and therefore the AUT North Campus was perfect for me.
“While studying at AUT, I had the most fantastic time. I loved what I was learning and the environment I was learning in, which led me to achieve highly and receive a College of Nurses Aotearoa Trail-Blazer Scholarship, a Kate Edgar Scholarship for books and a Waitemata Rural Health Project Scholarship. I had the most incredible time studying, and it gave me a real thirst for knowledge and a desire to better my knowledge to be able to help more people.”
While Elizabeth had numerous highlights throughout her time at AUT – from gaining practical skills in the state-of-the-art simulation facilities to developing research skills she still draws on today – her most memorable experience was taking part in the Rural Health Project, a collaboration between AUT, Waitemata District Health Board and Coast to Coast Medical Centre.
“That was a full immersion project where AUT brought together students from different health disciplines for six weeks. During this project, we lived together and learned about rural and Māori health, with an interdisciplinary focus. This was such a highlight for me as I learned so much about the benefits of a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to medicine and could practically apply what we were learning.”
Advice for other students
Elizabeth’s advice for other students is simple: get involved in university life.
“My advice would be to participate in absolutely everything AUT has to offer – and there’s a lot! Just say yes to things that interest you, as you never know what experience it may offer that will influence your life path. I’d also recommend getting involved in research as the skills you learn by undertaking research are invaluable for any job you may hold in the future.”
Nurture your ideas, she adds.
“Here in New Zealand, we have some of the most extraordinary minds and ideas in the world. Take the time to nurture your ideas in a place that allows you to explore them fully, and show the world what New Zealand has got.”