In 2007, Galia Barhava-Monteith and Sarah
Wilshaw-Sparkes founded Professionelle, a unique social venture
dedicated to researching, understanding and addressing the needs of
all working women in New Zealand.
Six years later, in August 2012, we transformed Professionelle
into a charitable trust called the Professionelle Foundation, to
broaden its reach beyond the founders and to align with its public
good aims. The founders have been joined on the
Board by four more hard working Trustees.
History: We started Professionelle through our
realisation that working women face unique challenges in the
workplace and often feel isolated and unable to discuss them freely
with peers and colleagues. We believe that by bringing
together working women from all industry sectors and
professions we can tap into their collective wisdom and experience
to generate smart and practical solutions that materially assist
women's career progress.
Professionelle is New Zealand's first and only enterprise of its
kind and is targeted at women in large public and private
organisations, and in professional service firms. At
Professionelle's heart is this website www.professionelle.co.nz,
offering a wealth of free resources that cover the real issues
working women face in their careers - and beyond. In our
first three years, Professionelle gathered over 2000 members,
mostly women. Our members are typically in their thirties and
forties, with two thirds in full time employment and 75% tertiary
educated. Professionelle is open to all (women and men) who wish to
become members, and membership on our website is free.
Our Offer: Professionelle specialises in
developing highly relevant, tailored offerings for women keen to
progress their careers. Offline, we offer research-based networking
seminars both in-house to corporate and professional service
clients and publicly. Seminar topics range from 'Mentoring as a key
ingredient for women's career success' to 'Living our values at
work and beyond'. in 2010, Professionelle launched a South
Island Chapter offering our networking seminars in Christchurch,
and we further expanded our regional presence to Wellington by the
end of the year. More towns will be added. Online, we are steadily
building our professional development and support products offer.
We also plan to harness ever improving web-based technologies to
bring professional women together to learn about and discuss key
issues, regardless of location.
Underlying all our work is extensive research into the most
up-to-date thinking about what works for women and their careers.
Our research combines academic thinking with practical solutions
garnered from our ongoing interactions with our membership
base. Professionelle has also conducted original research on
this topic for leading organisations in this field, such as Global
Women, as well as for local media.
Love your work - there has been so much that has been bang on
with what is going on in my life.
Galia Barhava-Monteith, Founding Trustee
Galia holds a Masters in Developmental Psychology
with First Class Honours from Auckland University. Her local work
history spans corporate and professional service sectors. She began
her career with The Boston Consulting Group, where she and Sarah
met while sharing an office together and working all hours of many
Later, Galia was appointed as HR coordinator in the merger
that created Fonterra. Her last corporate role was Ethics
& Community Relations Manager at Fonterra.
Nowadays, as well as being a Director of Professionelle, Galia
works independently as an executive coach. She is a
Ministerial Appointee to the National Advisory
Council for the Employment of Women. Between 2006 and 2011
Galia has acted as the independent coordinator of Fonterra's
Candidate Assessment Panel, working directly with the
Chairmen of Fonterra and Fonterra's Shareholders Council. She
recently featured in the Office of Ethnic Affairs' Trailblazers project. Galia is a Board member
on the Auckland Regional Migrants Services Trust
(ARMS). She has recently been appointed to the advisory board
for AUT's Dean of Business Law.
Galia is married with two young, school age children. She
is very serious about taking exercise and is an avid Yoga
practioner. She has a soft spot for the great outdoors and
tramping as she first arrived here as a backpacker, drawn by the
luscious New Zealand bush.
Sarah Wilshaw-Sparkes, Founding Trustee
Sarah arrived in New Zealand twenty years ago, with
an MBA from London Business School and a background in European
marketing with Unilever. She worked as a strategic business
consultant with The Boston Consulting Group, becoming a senior
Manager, before negotiating a shift to contracting after the birth
of her first child.
More recently, in parallel with developing Professionelle, she
has focused on her independent consulting portfolio through Strategic and Consumer
Consulting, chiefly in her preferred industries of consumer
goods and retail. She reckons that toilet paper and
diamonds can be equally fascinating markets if you enjoy knotty
problems and pattern recognition...
Through her children, Sarah garnered seven years'
experience in education governance with a Montessori Primary
Trust. She relaxes by researching family histories and rowing round
and round Lake Pupuke.
Marisa Fong, Trustee and Chair
Born in Auckland, Marisa Fong is the oldest child of Chinese
immigrants who ran successful restaurants. With a
long career in recruitment consulting, she co-founded and built
what has become The Madison Group, New Zealand's largest
privately-owned nationwide recruitment company. She is very
proud of the accolades and awards it has received, including being
named "the most exciting recruitment company" by the National
Recently, she stepped back to a governance role on Madison's
Board and is actively contributing to social causes she is
As well as chairing the Board of Professionelle Foundation, she
has leant Madison's support to the First Foundation. This
organisation provides practical support to university students from
disadvantaged backgrounds and Marisa mentors a student. She
also has been actively involved in Springboard, a group that
promotes age diversity on Boards. In her "spare time" she develops
high potential export-based businesses.
John Loughlin, Trustee
John Loughlin is a professional company director. He is Chairman
of Tru-Test Corporation Limited and Firstlight Foods NZ Limited.
John is also a director of Metlifecare Limited, Augusta Capital
Limited, Port of Napier Limited, and AgResearch Limited.
John is a former Chairman of Zespri Group Limited, Prism Group
Holdings Limited and Allied Farmers Limited. He is a
former director of Toll NZ Limited, Centralines Limited Lean Meats
Limited, NZ Meat Producers Board and New Zealand Lamb Company
(North America) Limited. John is also a former member of the
NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal and a past ministerial appointee
to the Representatives' Committee of the Animal Health Board. He is
a former Independent Chairman of Fonterra's Candidate Assessment
In his executive career John was Chief Executive Officer of
Richmond Limited and prior to that Finance Manager of that company.
Prior to holding those positions John was an institutional fund
manager with Westpac and AMP.
John and his wife Kathryn established and own Askerne Estate
Rebecca Thomas, Trustee
Rebecca arrived in New Zealand from the UK in 2004. Rebecca is
one of the few women to have headed a funds management business in
London. She has had a career in funds management for over 25 years
both managing portfolios and as CEO of a UK listed company.
In New Zealand she led one the country's largest and most
successful investment teams before starting Mint Asset Management
in November 2006.
As she did in the UK, she also acts as an independent Director
on both Crown and private sector Boards. Currently she is a
Director of KiwiRail and Chairman of the Audit, Finance and Risk
Committee of that Board, an Associate member of The Financial
Markets Authority, the financial markets regulator in New Zealand,
and she is a Trustee of the Professionelle Foundation.
Rebecca initially qualified as a barrister.
Cheryl Bowie - Trustee
Cheryl is a self-employed "career
contractor" who specialises in consulting in the fields of project
management, business change and business process improvement.
She holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting and Management) and
has extensive training in leadership having completed the
Leadership NZ Programme in 2007.
Cheryl has worked for many of NZ's blue chip companies such as
TelstraClear, Mercury Energy and NZ Post, to name a few and has
worked in a range of different sectors that includes local
government, energy, telecommunications, banking & FMCG.
She was instrumental in establishing and running the project office
at the Auckland Transition Agency - the organisation charged with
amalgamating Auckland's eight councils.
As a very early member of Professionelle, she was delighted to
join the Board at the end of 2012 and is passionate about what
Professionelle can achieve in its vision to support and develop
Lynda Fairweather, Administrator
joined Professionelle as the new site was going live, just in time
to help upgrade our backend systems to cope with growth.
Lynda is an Auckland-based working mum with two boys and she has
years of valuable experience in adminstration, website and database
management and accounts. She is also an avid golfer - and says she
has a standing order for fine Thursday mornings!
Karyn Riley, Professionelle's Lead Facilitator,
Karyn Riley helps women
rediscover their identity, have time for their priorities, find
balance and fun in their life.
Karyn works with women throughout New Zealand and
internationally, providing them with a supportive, confidential
partnership and helping them overcome challenges, identify their
goals and achieve more by focusing on less. She motivates, inspires
and empowers women to find time for themselves and what's important
in their life.
Karyn is a time management/life balance educator, author of "How to Keep the YOU in Mum", speaker,
contributing writer, media commentator and mother of two. In
addition to being an Event Facilitator for the Professionelle
women's network, Karyn is also a Toolbox Facilitator for The
Parenting Place, a Master of Ceremonies and a member of the
National Speakers Association.
Karyn was awarded a Local Heroes Medal in the New Zealander of the
Year Awards 2012, a business finalist in the NEXT Woman of the Year
Awards 2010, a finalist in the Zonta Women in Business Awards 2008
and is undertaking a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology at
Jann Watt, Professionelle's lead facilitator, Wellington
Jann is New Zealand's first
Reach-Certified Personal Branding Strategist and is passionate
about helping motivated mid-career professionals find their career
mojo. Personal branding is a key to helping people focus on the
positives in their lives, and Jann's mission is to be catalyst for
making work meaningful and fun.
After observing highly talented people feeling unfulfilled in
their roles, Jann stepped out of her corporate role in
Organisational Development and launched de novo to enable
her to follow her purpose of inspiring others to be the best they
can be. Jann loves one-on-one coaching and is also adept working
with groups in the role of facilitator or trainer.
Jann has a reputation of being a forward thinker, yet always
practical, quickly tapping into the barriers that hold people back
and giving them the tools and confidence to achieve their career
goals. She is a firm believer that networking is all about sharing.
This is seen in the number of coffee chats Jann fits into her busy
week with people in her network.
Kathryn Jackson, Professionelle's original Lead Facilitator in
Kathryn has a 1st class
honours degree in Human Resources and Sociology from Stirling and
Texas A&M Universities, with a postgraduate diploma in
workplace motivation. Her early career was in the UK in HR related
roles in Andersen's and the UK banking industry before qualifying
as a coach with the Oxford School of Coaching in 2006. She moved to
New Zealand that year.
Kathryn first experienced Professionelle while researching her
first book, 'How to Keep Your Cool If You Lose Your Job', for which
she interviewed Galia. Kathryn's business is careerbalance which specialises in
providing tools and resources to support professionals and leaders
in their personal growth. She has been instrumental in designing
and delivering Manager as Coach training for the New Zealand
Institute of Management and is a volunteer coach for the KEA Coach
Trust in Canterbury.
Having lived in a variety of countries throughout her life, she
loves to travel as often as she can and regularly supports
non‐profit organisations like Riding for the Disabled.
Kathryn is married and since their new son arrived in March 2012
she has stepped back from the Professionelle role to focus on