GWNZ Leaders

GWNZ National Executive and Council


The National Executive are responsible for the leadership and management of GWNZ. The Council consists of the National Executive, one representative from each Branch (usually the President) and the Independent Members Network (usually the Convenor)


President Sally Dunbar

Immediate Past President Dr Jo Innes

Vice President Lorelle George

Secretary Vanessa Ward

Treasurer Prof Rachel Baskerville

International Lead Dr Shirley Gillett

Advocacy Lead Briar Wyatt

Trust Secretary Dr Sally Hasell

Trust Treasurer Dr Carolyn Wirth


Independent Members Network (IMN) Dr Kwong Nui Sim

Graduate Women North Shore (GWNS) Christine Ball

Graduate Women Manawatu (GWM) Dr Jo Innes

Graduate Women Wellington (GWW) Janet Stribling

Graduate Women Otago (GWO) Barbara Benson

Sally Dunbar

GWNZ National Executive President. Member of Graduate Women Wellington.

Background: Governance, leadership, business acumen. Worked with some of New Zealands’ largest finance, utility organisations and membership bodies.

Passion for working and supporting all women who have the courage and drive to invest in themselves through education


Rachel Baskerville

GWNZ National Executive, Treasurer. GWNZ Charitable Trust, Trustee. Member of 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

GWNZ National Executive, member. GWNZ Charitable Trust, Trust Treasurer. Member of Graduate Women Manawatu.

Carolyn is recently retired from her role as 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

GWNZ National Executive, Vice President. GWNZ Charitable Trust, Trustee.

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

GWNZ National Executive, International Lead (CIR). GWNZ Charitable Trust, Trustee. Member of 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.

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.


Vanessa Ward

GWNZ National Executive, Secretary. Secretary of 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

GWNZ Council, Convenor Member. GWNZ Charitable Trust, Trustee and Scholarships Officer. Convenor of GWNZ Independent Members Network.

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.

Contact or

Sally Hasell

GWNZ, National Executive. GWNZ Charitable Trust, Trust Secretary. Member of 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.


Briar Wyatt

GWNZ National Executive. Advocacy Lead. Member of the GWNZ Independent Members Network.

Briar is a proud daughter of Manurewa, and a Graduate Women Independent Member. Her academic background is in feminist urban geography and film studies. By day, Briar is an environmental policy specialist and has worked in the public sector for close to a decade. She also sits on the Government Women’s Network steering committee, and has been active in climate justice and feminist voluntary kaupapa since early in her uni days. 


Janet Stribling

GWNZ Council member. GWNZ Charitable Trust, Trustee. President of Graduate Women Wellington.

Background: I have governance experience in both sporting and education fields. I am a teacher at Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu/the Correspondence School. I am passionate about women and girls achieving in a society that is equal for all.

President of Graduate Women Wellington. Member of GWW Charitable Trust & Director of Academic Dress Hire Ltd.