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People and Partners

Wāhine Connect is a registered New Zealand charity with donee status. There are some key people and organisations who are driving this project, including our governance board.


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Dr. Juliet Rumball-Smith - Chair of Wāhine Connect Trust board

Juliet is a public health physician and epidemiologist. Her medical and research career has been largely focussed on equity, reflecting her belief that all people should receive the same opportunities for health and well-being, irrespective of wealth, ethnicity, or gender. 

Juliet is passionate about supporting women in the personal and professional lives, and about building bridges and connections that cross professional boundaries to create more supportive communities. 

Juliet founded Wāhine Connect in mid-2017, and is thrilled to see it has helped so many women already. Juliet currently lives with her family in Wellington, and spends her free time refereeing the children and walking her poorly-behaved dog.


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Dr. Liz Berryman - Wāhine Connect Trustee

Liz is a governance guru, with roles on both industry and community-based boards. She has a wealth of experience in the health sector, starting her career as a Registered Nurse in community Maori Health, before starting Medical School. 

Liz is focused on solutions that help the health workforce combat issues such as burnout, depression, anxiety and suicide, and is an active researcher in this space. After founding a peer mentoring program for medical students and seeing its success, she is now wildly passionate about mentoring and getting people access to the right mentor for them. Liz lives in Auckland, and is a junior doctor at Waitemata DHB.


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Sarah Dalton - Secretary of Wāhine Connect Trust board

Sarah knows what burnout, bullying, and employment disputes really look like, and the impact they have on those going through them. She is an industrial officer at the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists – working as an advocate for senior doctors. She helped establish the ASMS women’s network, and the NZ women in medicine Facebook group. 

Sarah is an educator-extraordinaire, with degrees in literature and NZ History, and worked as a history researcher before qualifying as a secondary teacher. After nearly fifteen years’ teaching, she left the role of Assistant Principal at Aotea College, in Porirua, to work at PPTA – the secondary teachers’ union – where she held policy and industrial roles. 

Sarah lives in Wellington, where she works on her current hobbies - exploring the world of graphic texts, and learning to skateboard. 


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Nicola Canter-Burgoyne - Wāhine Connect Trustee

Nikki is the ultimate mover-and-shaker. After spending 8 years in banking and finance, she trained as a paramedic and worked for St Johns Ambulance Service in Auckland for more than a decade. Currently Nikki is the Clinical Lead for the Neighbourhood Healthcare Homes program in Northland, serving two Primary Health Organisations. On top of all this, she is doing her Masters in Health Psychology, and has just won a Māori Masters Career Development award from the HRC. Nikki affiliates to Ngāti Kahu in the Far North, where many of her whānau are still based, and is an active mentor for Māori tertiary students. 

Despite this workload, Nikki still manages to keep fit, support her rangitahi, and go fishing with her husband.


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Dr. Alison Barrett - Wāhine Connect Trustee

Alison is a specialist Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and is training to be a lawyer. She moved to NZ from Canada in 1997, and knows what it’s like to learn how to live and work in a new country. Alison has held numerous clinical leadership positions, and serves on the board of the Home Birth Aotearoa, is a professional advisor for La Leche League and is a member of OraTaia (the NZ Climate and Health Council).

She won’t like me saying this, but Alison is also a gifted writer - check out her blog on https://dralisonbarrett.wordpress.com

When Alison is not working, she likes to swim, read books  and make enormous vats of spag-bol and trays of cupcakes for gatherings of friends.


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Nicola Hollyer - Treasurer of Wāhine Connect Trust Board

Nic has had a hugely varied career. She initially trained in Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine, and practiced as a physio in NZ and the UK for a decade. However, she then took a left turn into business, including owning and operating a shoe store in Christchurch, and now the New World Northside in Oamaru. Nic is all about respect and trust in the workplace, and with responsibility for 97 staff, she truely understands the importance of working as a team.

Outside of work, Nic enjoys making the most of her time with their young family - almost 3 year old Finlay and 7-month old Angus.


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Kirsty Pillay-Hansen - Project manager and mentoring guru

Kirsty has extensive experience across not-for-profit and corporate sectors and a Master of Arts with Distinction in Psychology. Her diverse work and voluntary roles have included senior, management, board and governance positions. Kirsty has delivered training, capacity development, mentoring, health promotion and youth development programmes for diverse groups including volunteers, professionals, and corporate sponsors across a range of settings.

Kirsty works from a values base of empowerment, honesty and respect. She is thrilled to be part of our team.


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Medical Assurance Society

Wāhine Connect wouldn’t be here without the support of Medical Assurance Society. This insurance and financial services provider was created by New Zealand health professionals, and is strong on service, ethical investment, and supporting health and wellbeing. We hope to have a long and productive partnership with Martin, Mike, Nicola, and their teams.


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New Zealand wāhine

Many women across the country have contributed by piloting questionnaires, creating charters and frameworks, providing support and encouragement, and importantly offering to be mentors with this network.


To be successful and sustainable, the network needs the support of women and organisations across the health sector, and throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.