GWNZ Leaders

National Executive members

Jo Innes

National roles: President, GWNZ and Chair, GWNZ Charitable Trust. Branch roles: Member, Graduate Women Manawatu branch committee and Chair, Graduate Women Manawatu Charitable Trust Board.

Throughout my career I have been responsible for leading and managing service organisations. My first senior role was as a service manager in the health sector, followed by many years leading my own business consultancy and research company. Currently, I work as a project manager at Massey University.


Karen Richardson

National roles: Member, National Executive; Advocacy Lead (PAC), GWNZ Branch role: Member, Graduate Women Wellington

I am honoured to be nominated as vice president/president elect at the 2021 AGM.

I am a policy analyst for the Ministry of Social Development living in Lower Hutt. I have a Bachelor of Social Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. I am extremely passionate about social justice, social change and also the power of education in transforming the lives of women and girls.

Both local and national level advocacy is a large focus of this role. This can involve anything from advocacy driven by Graduate Women New Zealand members and involves engaging and influencing decision makers, stakeholders, and relevant audiences in communities, such as local politicians, local authorities, local leaders, school boards, etc. To advocacy on national issues through influencing policy makers and engaging with Members of Parliament and the relevant Ministry’s.

I would love to hear from any members that have an issue which fits within our Kaupapa and which they would like support and guidance on or me to advocate for on their behalf. I am always open to discussing issues (and ideas) whether it is a nationwide issue or a regional one, so please do get in touch.


Sally Hasell

National roles: Member, National Executive; Trust Secretary, GWNZ Charitable Trust. Branch role: Member, Graduate Women Wellington.

Sally is a retired scientist. Her main focus in recent years has been in the area of food safety and food regulations. She has received a number of awards during her time working for both regulators and the food industry, in particular the dairy industry. She has been a councillor for the Royal Society of New Zealand and president of the NZ Institute of Food Science and Technology. She has always enjoyed promoting science  through tutoring, science fairs and sponsoring awards. Sally joined Graduate Women in 1982, initially in Christchurch and now Wellington. She has held various committee roles in both branches, including president of Wellington Branch.


Rachel Baskerville

National roles: Member, National Executive; Treasurer, GWNZ. Branch role: Member, Graduate Women Wellington.

Rachel Baskerville retired very recently from Victoria University of Wellington after thirty years of teaching accounting, but her association with Graduate Women goes further back  to the 1970s when her mother, Shirley Rowe, was President of Wellington Branch.  She has a passion for all things musical from pre-school to opera, and researching oral and family histories.


Carolyn Wirth

National roles: Member, National Executive; Trust Treasurer, GWNZ Charitable Trust. Branch role: Member, Graduate Women Manawatu.

Carolyn is a Senior Lecturer in Finance at Massey University, teaching managerial finance. Carolyn is a co-author of the New Zealand textbook Fundamentals of Finance, and researches the capital market impacts of corporate disclosure.


Lorelle George

National roles: Member, National Executive; Trustee, GWNZ Charitable Trust. Branch role: President, Graduate Women North Shore.

Lorelle became a member of Graduate Women North Shore in 2005, following completion of a BA Social Science; joined the Committee in 2017, and became Branch President in 2019.  In the twelve years prior to retiring in 2016, Lorelle worked in health promotion and community engagement roles on Auckland’s North Shore, initially for a small community organisation and latterly with a PHO.  Currently she continues her linkage with health through consumer representative roles with Waitemata District Health Board on their Consumer Council and an infrastructure project, and with Harbour Hospice.


Shirley Gillett

National roles: Member, National Executive; International Lead (CIR), GWNZ; Trustee, GWNZ Charitable Trust. Branch role: President, Graduate Women Otago.

I have been involved with Graduate Women(Otago) as President and CIR, and discovered through attending conferences a passion for International connections and projects.

I am a primary trained teacher and academic for many years at the University of Otago.

I have represented New Zealand in hockey, and coached females for many years. Currently I am a Board member of the Otago Hockey Board and  NHWT:HK

Social justice issues and education are driving forces in my life and providing girls and women with opportunities for further learning and research is what I believe will advance women and to which I would hope to contribute.


Annabel Wilson

National roles: Member, National Executive; Newsletter Editor, GWNZ. Branch role: Member, Graduate Women North Shore.

Annabel is a teacher and writer who lives in Lyttelton. She is Assistant Head of Faculty, English, at Villa Maria College. She is the staff representative on her College board, and also serves on the Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust board. Annabel’s creative writing has been published in journals in New Zealand and overseas. Her first book, Aspiring Daybook, was longlisted for the Poetry Award in the 2019 Ockham Book Awards. Annabel is currently completing research towards a PhD in Creative Writing from Massey University.


Vanessa Ward

National roles: Member, National Executive; Secretary, GWNZ. Branch role: Secretary, Graduate Women Wellington.

Vanessa Ward returned to Wellington after ten years of teaching East Asian (mainly Japanese) history at the University of Otago in 2017. Since then, she completed a Graduate Diploma in Publishing (Applied); spent one year as a visiting scholar at Kobe College in Nishinomiya, Japan; produced a first draft of a biography of a Japanese woman intellectual, Cho Takeda Kiyoko (1917-2018); translated her memoirs; and applied, unsuccessfully, for positions in the public service and education administration She is passionate about language usage and social justice, and is currently enjoying being a member of a Wellington choir, and finding some types of ballroom dancing challenge her aging neural pathways. Her immediate family is in Australia. She’s hanging out to the next game of scrabble with her mother and older sister. Playing alone doesn’t quite cut it!


Kwong Nui Sim

National roles: Convenor of Graduate Women Independent Member Network, Scholarships Officer and Trustee, GWNZ Charitable Trust. Branch roles: Member, Graduate Women Independent Member and Trustee, Graduate Women Wellington Charitable Trust Board.

Embedded in my academic development career, I have been responsible for leading the change of teaching and learning practices at higher education institutions. As a teacher, I believe education is the key to a successful, fulfilled life. I am used to motivating students as well as peers in order to ascertain their inner strengths and abilities for them to discover what truly inspires them. I am a dynamic, resourceful teaching professional with a genuine interest in social growth. Currently, I work as a senior lecturer at Auckland University of Technology.

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