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Our Board

Zoe Henham (Chairperson)

Zoe Henham joined the WLSWA Board in July 2018.  Zoe is incredibly passionate about diversity, inclusion, equality, justice and empowerment, especially as it relates to women and girls.

Her knowledge in the not for profit sector is significant and is founded on her experiences with corporate social responsibility, employee volunteering and engagement programmes, numerous grass roots initiatives across Asia, her strong sense of community and a desire to ‘pay it forward’.

Zoe has a global best practice approach, formed from her experiences gained while living abroad in London and Hong Kong, from her significant contribution made in corporate life (as a global head of human resources at an investment bank) and through her direct involvement in numerous not for profit programmes. Zoe applies a pragmatic, innovative and solutions orientated approach to all that she does, with particular strengths around strategy, governance, risk management.

Zoe began her career in Australia in 1995 as a chartered accountant before moving into Human Resources when she relocated to London in 1998. In 2004, Zoe relocated to Hong Kong where she worked in the capacity of Global Head of Human Resources in the investment banking and financial services sector. While in Hong Kong she was actively involved with The Women’s Foundation (TWF), a not-for-profit organisation focused on improving the lives of women and girls in Hong Kong. As a member of TWF’s Board of Governors, Zoe also held the following positions: Chair of the Human Resources Advisory Council, Member of the T.E.E.N Programme Steering Committee and Mentor for the Mentoring Programme for Women Leaders. She relocated to Perth in late 2017 before being appointed Board Chair to the WLSWA.

Donna Charlesworth (Deputy Chairperson)

Donna Charlesworth joined the WLSWA Board in September 2016. Donna joined the Board because she wanted to become more involved in supporting the WLSWA and the role it plays in supporting disadvantaged women in WA. Donna leads the Public Sector team at Clayton Utz, with expertise in construction and major projects, energy and resources, and litigation and dispute resolution. Donna supervises each of the Criminal Injury Compensation Applications the Clayton Utz assists WSLWA with on a pro bono basis.

Nicola Ashford (Secretary)

Nicola Ashford took on the role of Secretary at the last AGM, however she joined the board as an ordinary member in October 2017, and has also volunteered at the Evening Legal Clinic. Nicola has worked in family law for nine years, and these experiences have given her an acute awareness of the great need for the services WLSWA provides the community. Nicola currently works as a Senior Associate at Culshaw Miller Lawyers. In 2018 she was awarded the Family Law Practitioner’s Association of WA Award for Young Lawyer of the Year. She was also recognized by Doyle’s Guide as a Family Law Rising Star for Western Australia.

Sarah Van Gent (Treasurer)

Sarah Van Gent joined the WLSWA Board as Treasurer in 2019. Working as a Director in the Ernst & Young Assurance practice, Sarah has over 10 years’ experience in audit and accounting. She has worked with listed entities, large proprietary companies and not-for-profit entities across a diverse range of industries. Sarah is a current member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Darelle Pola (Ordinary Member)

Darelle Pola joined the WLSWA Board in November 2017. Darelle is a qualified Accountant with over 20 years’ commercial experience in Accounting, Administration and Project Management. More recently, Darelle has furthered her expertise in Systems Accounting and Business Excellence through her role as Business Systems Manager at Metso Australia Ltd. Darelle joined the WLSWA Board to support the great work the organisation does in empowering women, and is passionate about being able to provide essential services and the right to justice for all women.

Eduardo Farate (Ordinary Member)

Eduardo Farate joined the WLSWA Board in October 2017.  He is currently the Principal Policy and Planning Officer (Cultural Diversity) for the Department of Communities.  Previously, Eduardo has worked as a Family Court Counsellor at the Family Court of Western Australia, and as a counsellor in private practice. Eduardo is passionate about social work and social policy, and possesses a keen interest in multicultural issues, as demonstrated by his PhD research and previous Masters of Social Work research.  He also has completed a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours). Joining the board of the WLSWA has provided Eduardo the opportunity to support the critical work that this organisation undertakes with women in WA, including those of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Julie Whitlock (Ordinary Member)

Julie Whitlock joined the board in May 2019, and has brought with her a diverse background in strategy, marketing, customer experience, digital channel management and large scale transformation programs. She is currently the Associate Director of Digital Innovations at Murdoch University within the IT Services division. In 2018, Julie was honoured to be elected to the Murdoch University Senate. With a desire to encourage more women in STEM careers, she recently founded the Murdoch Women in IT networking group. Julie is a consumer advocate for the National Children’s Digital Health Collaborative and a member of the Health Consumer’s Council and the Consumer & Community Health Research Network. Additionally, she has completed a number of executive education courses in the areas of leadership and management as well as holding a Graduate Diploma from ECU.

Melissa Callanan (Ordinary Member)

I joined the Board in May 2019. I am currently the Project Director FameLab with the Foundation for the WA Museum. I am passionate about developing alternative revenue streams within the not-for-profit sector. I have contributed to building sustainability within many creative organisations and developed best practice models in business development for social impact organisations. I have held a number senior management positions with leading creative organisations including Barking Gecko Theatre Company, Perth International Arts Festival, RTRFM 92.1 (community radio), Fashion Council WA (Telstra Perth Fashion Festival) and the Australian Writers’ Guild. My connection to the arts has always been about a desire to give people a voice through storytelling. I am currently completing a Juris Doctor at UWA Law School as another form of storytelling to give women power. I am inspired to seek justice for women.

Kirsty Moore (Ordinary Member)

Kirsty Moore joined the Board in May 2019. She currently works as the Executive Director for Products and Markets at Indigenous Business Australia, a Commonwealth Government agency that furthers the economic development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia through the provision of financial products and services. Prior to this Kirsty spent three years as a Director of Commercial Activity for the WA Government. In this role, Kirsty acted as head of both the Business Development and Asset Management Directorates of the Housing Authority. She was responsible for managing the $14.5bn WA social housing asset portfolio. As a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Kirsty has a strong background in technical accounting, corporate governance and commercial finance. Before joining the public sector, Kirsty worked for Pricewaterhouse Coopers and National Australia Bank.

Abbey Shillingford (Ordinary Member)

Abbey Shillingford joined the Board in November 2019.  She is a proud Aboriginal woman from the Pilbara WA, and has strong family connections to the Kimberley region of WA and South Australia.  Abbey is a legal practitioner currently specialising in Native Title.  She brings with her strong cultural competency and leadership within the Aboriginal community and is a strong advocate for women.  Abbey’s objective is to reduce disadvantage and increase greater access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  Abbey has experience in other areas of legal practice such as wills and estates, criminal law, cultural heritage and native title, alternative dispute resolution, family law and child protection.  Abbey also prides herself with her involvement assisting NGO’s and Government with the planning and development of their Reconciliation Action Plan’s and other related policies.  Abbey strives to achieve high-quality outcomes that are proactive and solution focused.

Carina Tan-Van Baren (Ordinary Member)

The latest news & insights

Appointment of New Chief Executive Officer – Dr Jennie Gray

1 July 2021 News

Dr Jennie Gray Announcement

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Position Vacant – Chief Executive Officer

19 April 2021 News

We are looking for a driven, passionate and ambitious individual to lead and build Women’s Legal Service in WA (to become a sustainable, resilient, thriving and holistic gender specific service across Western Australia. Our mission is to provide legal services, education and advocacy to empower all women to make informed decisions and access just and equitable outcomes. CEO Position Description

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