Gabrielle (Gabe) O'Brien
Chief Executive (Kaiwhakahaere Mataamua)
Gabe joined Rural Women New Zealand with a strong background in leading and or managing functions in a range of membership organisations. Her earlier career was in change management and human resources management in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Gabe has also qualified and undertaken work as a mediator, assessor and coach. Gabe loves working collaboratively and building relationships and connections with like minded people and organisations. She enjoys assisting the Board to strategise and build a strong future for our organisation and meeting members and working on new opportunities for both current and future members. Gabe hails from Southland where she grew up on a farmlet in a small rural community about 10km outside Invercargill and says her education about Rural Women NZ started early with both her Mum and several Auntys being members. She now calls Wellington home and is a keen walker, Pilates participant, consumer of coffee from one of the many choices of cafes, reading and rather inexpertly knitting. She is also an enthusiastic follower of her children’s pursuits though now they are adults and living away from home, is rather pleased that this no longer involves early winter morning football games.
Felicity Bunny
National Membership Manager and Office Manager (Kaiwhakahaere Tari)
Felicity began her working life in 1996 ‘learning the trade’ in community radio in Masterton; a career she pursued for about 12 years. In 2007 and craving a break from the 9 to 5, Felicity ‘went back to school’, graduating from Victoria University 4 years later with a B.A. in Humanities (Hons). Since returning to the world of full time employment, she has worked for various membership organisations in Wellington. When the opportunity arose to work for Rural Women New Zealand, it spoke directly to her rural roots. Felicity loves supporting New Zealand’s rural communities even though she doesn’t don her gumboots as much as she would like to these days. Any spare time Felicity has is spent singing in a chamber choir, and enjoying dance of various styles for fun and fitness. Reading, going to the theatre, playing piano and getting out for walks fills up most weekends. Felicity is the National Membership Manager as well as National Office Manager. Her role is primarily to assist Members with any and all sorts of queries and requests. She oversees the annual subscription renewal process and assists the RWNZ Board administratively.
Angela McLeod
Manager, Policy and Leadership Development (Kaiwhakahaere Tuhinga, Tuhononga hoki)
Angela joined us from Parliament where she was a Policy, Research and Communications Advisor, primarily in Primary Industries, Outdoor Recreation and Corrections. Previously she worked from home as the Executive & Communications Manager for BPW International after spending four years as an Executive Assistant in Parliament. She is a current Upper Hutt City Councillor, is the former Chair of both the Wellington Region Waste Forum and UHCC Community Grants Committee, holds a current RMA ‘Making Good Decisions’ certificate and is a District Licencing Committee Member. Her NGO experience includes being President of both the UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand and BPW New Zealand and on the board of YWCA Aotearoa New Zealand. Angela grew up on a farm, has a Bachelor of Agriculture and a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies and is passionate about healthy and sustainable living. Along with husband Mac, she owns a motorcycle business and lives on a lifestyle block. Angela is a strong advocate for the empowerment of women, community development and sensible agriculture, and has campaigned for equal pay, quality flexible work legislation, country of origin labeling of food, alcohol law reform, and reducing the rates of violence against women.
Lisa Thompson
Projects & Events Manager (Kaiwhakahaere Kaupapa, Huinga Hoki)
Outside of work, Lisa has a broad range of interests. She regularly entangles herself in Pilates Reformer machines and plays croquet. She loves to create in her kitchen and reads a wide range of books with detective stories being her current favourite. She especially enjoys spending time with friends, going out to live theatre and music, and travelling (when circumstances permit). Lisa has a dog called Marley who she walks in the bush near her home in inner city Wellington. She is a member of her local community council and a committee member at her croquet club. In her previous incarnations Lisa worked for not-for-profit organisations, as a lawyer for six years and in the printing industry for ten years. Lisa organises and co-ordinates RWNZ’s national event programme and enjoys assisting Members with events in their areas. She also oversees the development of RWNZ projects. She is the current Editor of the Express magazine and you will see regular online communications from her too. Lisa is the National Office representative on the Centennial Committee.
Mia Cohen
Communications and Social Media Support
Mia is from Whanganui, moving to Wellington to complete her Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Media Studies at Massey University. Mia joined us during her internship in her last year of study, helping carry out the Quality of Life Survey. In her spare time Mia enjoys spending time with friends, enjoying Lisa’s kitchen creations and watching trashy reality TV shows. Mia runs the RWNZ social media accounts, assists Lisa with various online communications, administers our website and can help with any design requests for posters, reports etc. Mia is also the producer of the RWNZ podcast, Black Heels and Tractor Wheels.