WJN is governed and overseen by a Management Committee (The Board), comprising of some very versatile women.
Dr Helen Dunstan (Vice President) – I was the Secretary of WJN’s Board from November 2016 until the 2020 AGM. I was a WJN mentor when I joined the Board and used to visit Silverwater Women’s and Parklea as a volunteer with Prison Fellowship and Vinnies. More recently, I have joined the voluntary Custody Support Team at the local cop-shop, so I get to be there for young people when they’re waiting in the cells. I’m motivated to give time to WJN because it supports women and girls to move on and never go back to those dark days.
I have administrative skills that I use as a volunteer with an Aboriginal organisation in Outer Western Sydney and am an active member of the Greens. I have a Master’s in Counselling and a PhD in History, am a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and have published two books and several lengthy research articles.
Helen Campbell (President) 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.
Frances Drake (Board Member) – During my incarceration I was fortunate enough to encounter WJN. I found a flyer in the library and sent it in and of course the rest you know. What impressed me so much was that these women mentor on their own time and from their own hearts, their integrity impressed me. Now I am out and finished my parole I want to use some of the knowledge I’ve gained to help others going through and exiting the system and by joining WJN I can share my experiences with a group of women whose integrity I aspire to.
So far, I have gained so much from the Advisory Panel and I hope being on the board I will be able to show the picture of what I went through. We learn the best by experiencing. By passing on that knowledge to others I can make them aware of what these women are going through. I hope with WJN we can do great things
Fiona Laverty (Secretary) – Fiona is a financial counsellor, working with clients to resolve their financial difficulties. Fiona integrates her diverse professional qualifications into each matter, combining her legal and chartered accountancy skills as well as her psychology and counselling training. Fiona was employed by KPMG as a tax advisor for 12 years, in both London and Sydney, before choosing to stay home to look after her three wonderful children in Canberra. Fiona applies her professional approach to her governance roles, with previous positions on Shine for Kids, Interchange, and local committees. Fiona recognises the power of mentoring, having mentored a young homeless woman for two years with the support of the Ted Noffs Foundation.
Kim Naden (Board Member) – I am a proud Aboriginal woman from the land of the Weilwan country in Central West NSW.
I am confident that my professional career has given me the learnings and passion as to how to work better and understand Aboriginal people, as we are not all one people but many.
Throughout my career I have been afforded many opportunities to give back to my people and communities. My being part of WJN will give my people a sense of pride, passion and hope, as I am the first Aboriginal woman to be elected onto your Board in recent years.
I have many qualifications, from community sector management to counselling. I am currently completing my Diploma of Mental Health. This is an illness that has a devastating impact on Aboriginal women in custody due to their past traumas. I believe the program I co-designed with Deidre Ikin around Trauma and Healing has had a positive impact on the women who participate/d in it, and in the post-release component that continues to support them when they leave custody.
My cultural and life motto is “Alone we are strong, together we are stronger.”
My name is Joanne Noakes. I am 49 years old and live on the Central Coast. I enjoy gardening, reading and jewellery making. My goal is to use some of my life experiences, such as domestic violence, drug addiction and incarceration, to support women experiencing similar difficulties.
I have two daughters and two grandsons who are the joy of my life, along with a large supportive family. I am now almost 5 years clear of drug use. I have spent this time, rebuilding family relationships with my girls and dealing with personal issues at the heart of my addiction.
I have a Certificate IV in Community Service. I have worked as a mentor to women during their drug rehabilitation and as a Court Support worker at Wyong Court. This work has been extremely rewarding and assisted me to develop new purpose and exciting directions for my future.
Lynda Rich (Board Member)
I am a strong, proud 42-year-old Aboriginal Mother of 6 and Grandmother of 2. I served over 10 years in prison, where I was an Aboriginal delegate. When released in 2009, I became the first successful Aboriginal Mentee of the then WIPAN Mentoring Program. I have not reoffended, and con continue to be a contributing member of her community. Since then, I have provided testimony to two parliamentary enquiries regarding the over-representation of Aboriginal women in prison. I launched “The Report; The Pilot WIPAN Mentoring Program, 2009-2011”. I met with successive AGs and provided media interviews (2012 and 2015) and lobbied for funding for WIPAN.
I am looking forward to providing insightful directions and insights from experience to continue to address the criminalisation of women in NSW. I have strong ties to my Aboriginal communities in the inner west and CBD and are passionate and motivated to support WJN by example.
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.
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.