Mary has experience and skills in leadership; senior management; social policy analysis; gender analysis; training and training needs analysis; community development, community consultation, community needs assessment; strategic planning; facilitation; and programme planning, management and evaluation.

She has been a chief executive of a government department and manager of an NGO. In 1985 she was appointed to establish and lead the New Zealand Ministry of Women’s Affairs and from 2010 -2017 she was the area manager for the five Wellington Citizens Advice Bureaux.

Mary has also worked as a consultant in private practice undertaking assignments in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands including Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands and Vanuatu. Work in New Zealand has included training, social research, evaluation and strategic planning. In the Pacific she has managed NZAID bilateral aid development projects.

The combination of Mary’s experience of working at the most senior levels of government and in the community sector means that she moves easily in and between both worlds. The focus of her work has always been the interface between community  groups and the policy makers: assisting people to identify their needs and assisting those with the power to change things, to see how these could be met.

Mary has held a number of professional positions on boards and organisations. These include:

  • National Council on the Employment of Women
  • National Association of Continuing and Community Education
  • Association of Teachers in Technical Institutes
  • Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Women’s Refuge Foundation
  • National President of the YWCA of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Chair of the Colleges of Education Accreditation Committee
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of Wellington Girls’ College
  • Patron of the YWCA Future Leaders programme
  • Board Member of the Fred Hollows Foundation and Chair of the Foundation’s Programmes Committee