The Team

SmileHigh Patron

Russell Brice Patron

Expedition leader and CEO Himex

Russell Brice has been leading expeditions to the Himalayas since 1974. He is the CEO of Himalayan Experience, a climbing expedition company, and has a regular team of sherpas who are, without doubt, the most respected in Nepal. He has led clients to the summit of Everest and Cho Oyo and several other 7000 and 8000 summits.

In 1991 his ability to manage a team and overcome extreme technical difficulty at high altitude triumphed as Project Coordinator for the Star Balloon Over Everest Expedition, successfully flying two hot air balloons over the Everest.

Individually, he holds the world record for the fastest single solo ascent without oxygen of both Cho Oyo and of Ama Dablam. In 1988 he was the first climber to cross the famous Pinnacles of the NE ridge of Everest. He is now widely reputed as one of the most professional leaders of all guided expeditions to the Himalayas.

He has been living in the Chamonix Valley since 1991.

Board of Directors

Dr. Julian Haszard, Director

BDS (Otago), DCD (Melb), MOrth RCSEd, MRACDS (Orth)

Julian grew up on a farm in Taranaki, New Zealand. Concurrent with studying dentistry at the University of Otago, Julian undertook officer training in the New Zealand Army. In 1998 Julian began mountain climbing with a group of Dunedin climbers which ignited his passion for the sport. His climbing skills were further developed through courses with the New Zealand Army Adventurous Training Centre. Subsequently Julian moved to London to practice dentistry and in 2002 took the opportunity to climb in the French Alps, summiting Mt Blanc in 2002 with the mountain guide and adventure bureau Chamex.

In 2003 Julian visited Nepal for the first time and climbed Cho Oyo (the sixth highest mountain in the world) in the Himalayas, at the border between China and Nepal. The expedition was led by Russell Brice, director of the mountaineering company Himalayan Experience (Himex). Following the expedition Julian spent four weeks working as a volunteer dentist with Dr Mingma Sherpa in the Khumbu Valley in Nepal. During this period Mingma and Julian envisaged and established the early plans for SmileHigh. In 2004 Julian returned to Nepal and summited Mt Everest with Himex on 23 May 2004.

In 2005 Julian commenced a three year doctorate in orthodontics at the University of Melbourne and during this time worked with Trevor Moyle establishing a foundation for SmileHigh. Julian is now a qualified specialist orthodontist practising in the United Kingdom. Following his trips to Nepal in 2003 and 2004, Julian returned for several weeks in 2006 and 2008 and plans to return in 2009 to assist Mingma in achieving the aims of SmileHigh by treating dental decay and providing education about oral hygiene. Julian maintains a keen interest in high altitude climbing and is passionate about Smile High.

Dr. Mingma Nuru Sherpa, Director

DDTH (Canada) BDS (Fiji)

Dr Mingma Nuru Sherpa was born in Khumjung a remote village in the Solu-Khumbu area in Nepal situated near Mount Everest. Mingma attended Khumjung High School which was the first school built by Sir Edmund Hillary. Mingma graduated with distinction in 1990 and was subsequently awarded a scholarship from the Everest Marathon Foundation UK to study at the National School of Dental Therapists in Saskatchewan, Canada which Mingma considers a life changing experience.

Following completion of his Diploma in Dental Therapy studies in Canada, Mingma returned to the Everest region in 1993 and worked at the Namche Dental clinic for 5 years as a dental therapist.

Mingma was very fortunate to receive a further scholarship from the Everest Marathon UK in 2000 which enabled him to study for a further 3 years at the University of South Pacific (Fiji) to obtain a Bachelor of Dental Surgery and complete his training as a dentist. During his studies in 2002, Mingma undertook 5 weeks of undergraduate training in oral surgery at the University of Otago in New Zealand which was sponsored by Sir Edmund Hillary, a close friend of Mingma and his family.

In 2003 Mingma completed a one year internship at the People’s Dental College in Kathmandu to gain his registration with the Nepal Medical Council and Nepal Dental Association as a fully qualified dentist.

Mingma is a founding Director of SmileHigh and is responsible for all project activities within Nepal.

Trevor Moyle, Director (Chairman)

B.Comm (Otago), ACA (NZ), CMA (NZ)

Director (Chairman)
Trevor has held a lifetime view of balancing commitment to family, business and community interests. He is driven to achieve a range of positive outcomes in whatever he undertakes.

Trevor has over 40 years’ senior executive experience in a wide range of corporate finance and advisory roles, working with clients in both the private and government sectors. This work has been complemented with extensive public and private company board experience, including chairmanship of a number of companies. He currently provides specialised corporate advice vis his company Allegianz.

Trevor also has extensive community based leadership roles covering school education, youth work, sport, social groups, university alumni and charity work. He is currently focussing his community work in Nepal which includes three project activities outside his role as SmileHigh chairman.

Chrisopher Ussher, Director

BA (Hons) (Otago) LLB (VUW)

Mr Ussher joined the board in May 2014. He is a partner in a New Plymouth law firm, where he practises property and commercial law. He also acts for a number of charities.

Trevor is currently the Chairman of the Melbourne Chapter of the University of Otago Alumni and it was in this capacity that Trevor came into contact with Julian Haszard and began working with him to establish the foundation for SmileHigh.

Trevor’s expertise in corporate finance, advice, corporate governance, business planning and strategy development are of immense value to SmileHigh.

Alex Lam, Director

LLB, B.Comm (Finance), Dip. Lan. (Chinese), Monash University

Mr Lam joined the organisation in 2010 and brings with him over 6 years’ consulting experience across private and public sectors. More recently Alex has been assisting a range of companies in managing their cost base and setting up medium to long-term organisational strategies to maximise and embed value. He is currently a Senior Consultant at Infosys Portland.

Nepal Team

Dr. Mingma Nuru Sherpa

DDTH (Canada) BDS (Fiji)

Dr Mingma Nuru Sherpa, is a Nepali dentist and the director of operations in Nepal. He is responsible for all aspects of SmileHigh in Nepal, including planning and undertaking all field work. Mingma is also involved in the support and promotion of SmileHigh by speaking and presenting to potential supporters in Nepal and has a significant role in coordinating plans for people visiting Nepal to volunteer with SmileHigh.

Dr Mingma Sherpa and dental therapist Ms Pasang Futi Sherpa are employed by SmileHigh for 6 months of the year and for the remaining 6 months of the year Mingma operates a private dental clinic in Kathmandu. This clinic was supported by a grant from Russell Brice through his charity Friends of Humanity. Mingma employs Pasang at this dental clinic for the 6 months that they are not working for SmileHigh and during this time Pasang is able to develop her skills for field-work.

Ms Pasang Futi Sherpa

Pasang is from the Khumbu valley and is a fully trained dental therapist/hygienist registered with the Nepal Professional Health Council. Pasang was trained through a scholarship from SmileHigh and completed her training in June 2008. She now works 6 months of the year for SmileHigh, making trips to SmileHigh’s project areas to deliver basic dental treatment and dental education. For the remaining 6 months of the year she works at Dr Mingma Sherpa’s Kathmandu clinic.

Ms Sareena Shrestha

Sareena is from the Dolakha region in Nepal and is currently halfway through a two-year training program at the Kantipur Dental School in Kathmandu to become a dental hygienist/therapist. Sareena is studying under a full scholarship from SmileHigh and on completion of her training will be engaged on a five year contract with SmileHigh and will be paid for 6 months of field work per year. The remaining time will be spent working as a hygienist/therapist in Kathmandu.

Management Team

Melinda Di Vita

MBA (Deakin), Fin Dip, ANZIIF (Senior Assoc), CIP, QPIB

Mel joined Smilehigh in 2012 as Fund Raising Manager after spending time in Nepal as a volunteer teaching at local schools and volunteering at an orphanage with her husband. The experience meant that Mel wanted to give something back after being welcomed with open arms and inspiring smiles.

Mel currently holds the position of Channel Development Manager at Austbrokers Phillips Pty Ltd where she provides expert property risk management advice to her clients and works in a development role focusing on setting up innovation projects, such as a Corporate Social Responsibility program and Community Engagement projects.

Having recently completed her MBA specialising in Strategy and Planning, Mel is currently completing her second Masters in Insurance and Risk Management and is an active member of Australian New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance and also National Insurance Brokers Association.

Jessica Chin

BCom.Hon (Canterbury), CA (NZ)

After completing her studies at the University of Canterbury in 2007, Jessica completed her Chartered Accounting qualification while working at Deloitte in Christchurch. She moved to Melbourne in 2011, where she currently works in a financial and management accounting position. Jessica joined SmileHigh in 2013 as role of Treasurer, to add value in the accounting and finance function.

Having recently completed her MBA specialising in Strategy and Planning, Mel is currently completing her second Masters in Insurance and Risk Management and is an active member of Australian New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance and also National Insurance Brokers Association.