WJN Management Committee (The Board)
WJN is governed and overseen by a Management Committee (The Board), comprising of some very versatile women.
Natasha Thompson (President) was appointed President in January 2018 and works tirelessly to ensure WJN delivers effective programs with measurable impacts. Natasha is a passionate advocate for the empowerment of all women and strives to improve the lives of at risk women and girls every day. Her focus is on ensuring WJN can continue to grow and reach more women and female youth affected by the criminal justice system. As a General Manager at Barnardos Australia, Natasha brings significant experience in driving positive change for vulnerable, young Australians to WJN. She has also worked as a senior executive across the corporate and not-for-profit sectors with executive level experience in finance, strategy, governance and stakeholder management.
Nicki Petrou (Vice President) is a co-founding member of WJN, and has worked to ensure WJN’s growth and sustainability since the beginning. Nicki is passionate about social justice issues, especially those affecting women and children, with a particular focus on prisoner issues, early intervention, prevention, and diversionary youth programs. As the Principal solicitor of a Community Legal Centre in Darwin, and from her close work with the community, government and private sectors, Nicki brings invaluable experience to WJN.
Sumithira Thavapalan (Treasurer) was appointed Treasurer in May 2018 and brings strong financial management skills to WJN. Sumithira is a Chartered Accountant with over 15 years’ experience in finance leadership roles in not-for-profit organisations, a top 100 ASX listed company and a top 4 professional services firm. Sumithira is passionate about making a difference in the lives of vulnerable and marginalised people, with a focus on preventing young women from entering the criminal justice system.
Dr Helen Dunstan (Secretary) became a volunteer with Prison Fellowship after a life-changing experience in 2006. She completed the WJN Mentor training in 2013 and has been a committed WJN mentor since. Helen is also part of the network of supporters of an Aboriginal community organisation. She is especially interested in walking alongside Aboriginal women who have lived experience of incarceration.
Dr Linda Steele is a Senior Lecturer in law at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and has been with WJN since 2008. Linda works to ensure the voices of the women who we walk beside are heard, and are at the forefront of WJN’s campaigning and advocacy efforts. Linda’s academic and legal skills have been instrumental in WJN’s advocacy and policy work, and has provided vital insights into the cognitive and mental health issues of women affected by the criminal justice system.
Kathryn Barnes is an experienced and energetic lawyer and Senior Strategic and Policy Advisor. She is passionate about finding meaningful, systemic approaches to achieving equality and social justice, with a particular focus on improving the social and economic security of women. Kathryn has extensive experience in criminal justice, civil litigation, regulation, reform and higher education and has worked for a broad range of federal and state government departments, agencies and inquiries.Kathryn’s academic thesis examined the efficacy of government policy and legislation proposed to reduce rates of recidivism amongst serious offenders and protect vulnerable people.
She has contributed to a number of Royal Commission Reports, including the design of a $4 billion redress scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse and has contributed to criminal justice reform initiatives.
Helen Campbell is the Executive Officer of Women’s Legal Services NSW, a statewide specialist community legal centre for women. She is a lawyer with over 20 years’ experience in the community and public sectors. In addition to her legal qualifications she is a Master of Women’s Studies and holds a Diploma in Frontline Management.
Previously Helen managed Redfern Legal Centre, and has also held a wide range of voluntary appointments including Chair of Community Legal Centres NSW, Director of NCOSS and consumer representative on the Council of the Energy and Water Ombudsman.
In 2011 Helen was awarded a medal in the Order of Australia for services to the law and to the community of Redfern.
Helen joined the board on the 11 May 2018.
Nicole Rizgalla has over 20 years’ communications and stakeholder relations experience in Australia, the United Kingdom and North America, bringing extensive private and public sector communications advisory experience to WJN. Nicole has led media relations, investor relations and corporate communications functions in the consumer staples, materials and utilities sectors, as well as having managed media offices in environment portfolios of local and state governments. Nicole has a particular interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, believing that corporate Australia and government have a collective responsibility to safeguard society against the impact that ESG factors will have on the sustainable growth and prosperity of Australia’s population, landscape and its resources.
Nicole joined the WJN board on 24th August 2018
Gloria Larman is WJN’s Chief Executive Officer. Gloria has more than three decades experience working in the not-for-profit sector with particular focus on the criminal justice system and the impacts on women, children and families.
Gloria was previously the Chief Executive Officer of SHINE for Kids, which successfully expanded under her leadership and is now operating in four states across Australia. Gloria built up strong strategic partnerships and developed innovative research and programs, positioning SHINE for Kids as a respected service provider to children and families, and she brings that insight to WJN.
Gloria has authored papers detailing the issues faced by children whose parents receive prison sentences, and has made recommendations to government and government agencies regarding solutions to the complex issues involved. She has also presented at international conferences and seminars, as well as regularly appearing in the media.
Gloria holds a diploma in welfare, and degrees in community management and adult education, and brings her passion and commitment for the sector to WJN.