Our People

Counsellors

Our counsellors are all members of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

JANET ROBERTSON - CLINICAL LEADER

Janet has been a counsellor in community agencies since 2008. She particularly enjoys working with older people, and the life experience they bring to the challenges they face.
She is a long-time Wellington resident, having brought up a family here.
She has travelled widely and is interested in tramping, gardening, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Marilyn Simkin

MARILYN SIMKIN

Marilyn is a mother of two and grandmother/adopted grandmother of 6. She enjoys playing outdoor bowls, music and reading.
Her experience includes specialist drug and alcohol and domestic violence counselling. She is passionate about educating and counselling people from a holistic perspective - emotionally, socially and spiritually.



ROSEMARY NOURSE

Rosemary is a member of NZAC, a Wellingtonian and Kiwi by choice, and mother of two young adults.
She particularly enjoys leading WellElder groups and appreciates the strengths and resourcefulness older adults have in addressing late life issues. Before becoming a counsellor she worked as a manager, mainly in the public service.


BRENT CHERRY

Brent comes to WellElder as a relationship counsellor, specialising in non violent communication and building respectful and emotionally safe relationships. He is an experienced group work facilitator and trainer in the field of, non violence, anger management, conflict resolution and assertiveness. Brent has trained as a Narrative Therapist and more recently as a Mindfulness Based Meditation Teacher. Brent comes to his counselling practice not only with an extensive skill set but has also personally experienced grief of losing his wife Karen to breast cancer and this life experience brings compassion and understanding to his work. Brent has remarried, now living in Waikanae Beach. He is a keen cyclist, tennis player, dog walker, bush walker, vegetable gardener and community participant




SILJA BAER

Silja has over 18 years of experience in counselling and social work. Silja is a full member of NZAC and she loves working with people of all ages, cultures or backgrounds. She has experience in Domestic Violence and relationships counselling, family therapy; child protection work; problem gambling counselling; and counselling for health and disability issues, incl. vision impairment. Silja is German and has lived in New Zealand since 2004.

WellElder Office

TINA REID - MANAGER

Tina has been involved in community organisations and services all her working life. She comes to this role from the role of Executive Director from Social Development Partners, where she developed a depth of skills and experience in community sector advocacy and working collaboratively.

She has two adult daughters, loves the outdoors, and takes every opportunity to walk the Wellington hills.

CONSTANZE SCHWIND - CLIENT MANAGER

Constanze comes from a background in publishing and working in different coordinator roles. After looking after her children she is now enjoying being part of the WellElder team. She lives in Newtown and has two children at Berhampore School. In her free time she enjoys the great outdoors.

BESSIE OLSEN - PROJECT SUPPORT VOLUNTEER

Bessie volunteers one afternoon a week at WellElder while working on a PhD in Philosophy of Logic at Victoria University. She works as project support on fundraising and communications as well as assisting with other office tasks as required. Bessie has a background in IT and Business Analysis, she is a bookish person with a preference for inside who has just discovered the joys of travel and rock climbing.



Board of Trustees

Board members volunteer their time to WellElder

VERNA SCHOFIELD

VERNA SCHOFIELD (Chairperson)

Verna has extensive experience in leadership roles in not-for-profit and community organisations, complemented by her past work as a registered social worker and academic. Her special interests over the years have been in the areas of ageing and dementia support. Now as an older woman, she loves the company of her family and friends and making the most of the many opportunities and challenges that ageing brings. Since becoming chair in 2014, Verna has committed her time to helping sustain and grow the strong base of affordable counselling services that WellElder offers to older people in the Wellington region.


ANN DALZIEL

Ann is Co-ordinator of Age Concern Wellington, providing support services to over 65s and liaising with other community groups.
She joined the WellElder board in 2010.
Her previous role (in the UK) was in recruitment, especially in the financial/banking sector.


BARBARA LAMBOURN

Barbara has joined the Wellelder Board, having recently given up her full-on working life to assist in the care of her two grandsons. She has lived in Wellington since 1990 and has been active in community life as well as in government and ngo roles in nationally focussed agencies. She has strong beliefs in working for a more socially just and equal society and puts time and effort into supporting family and community wellbeing through a variety of endeavours. She is pleased to be part of an organisation that recognises and acts to alleviate the concerns of older people and supports the services available to them.


BILL THOMAS

Bill worked as a trade union negotiator for eighteen years, followed by fifteen years in employment relations for various large organisations. He is retired and, like many in his position, does voluntary work for community groups. The provision of quality health support and service for older people is a vital need in our society and is a special interest for him. He joined the Board in 2015 and is committed to its aims and objectives.


GRAHAM MILLAR

Graham is a counsellor and trainer with experience in education and in church ministry.
His interest in the counselling needs of older persons led him to join with others to start WellElder.
He has been the chairperson since the establishment committee first met until 2014.


JANE HENSON

A counsellor for over 30 years, Jane is a Life Member of NZAC. She juggles her private practice with looking after her delightful grandson.
With a background in secondary and tertiary education, her passion is "helping people become the person they wish to be".
She joined the board in 2012.


JENNIFER BERTIE

Jennifer has worked in the financial services sector for over 30 years, the last 20 in management roles both in New Zealand and overseas. Recently returned to Wellington after 6 years in Scotland and Australia, she wants to leverage her business experience for a community service organisation and is delighted to be involved with WellElder. She joined the board in August 2013.


ZOLTAN APATHY

A retired public servant, who worked mostly in policy and management roles in central government, tertiary education and in libraries. Chief interests are in organisational effectiveness and strategy, and how to build workplaces that are both humane and effective. He is supporting a 96 year old mother, and joined the board in 2015.




DIANAO'NEILL

Diana has a work background in recreation and sport for health benefits and retired in 2017 after eight years at the Ministry of Health. For several years Diana was involved with the NZ Association of Gerontology in a voluntary capacity. She joined the WellElder board in June 2018.


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