Our People


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

Janet Robertson

Janet has been a counsellor in community agencies since 2008. She particularly enjoys working with older people, with the life experience they bring to the challenges they face.

She is a long-time Wellington resident, having brought up a family here. Janet has travelled widely and is interested in tramping, gardening, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Stuart Slater

Stuart has been a counsellor for over 40 years. He started out with Youthline and then became a school counsellor. He also spent time with Samaritans and Presbyterian Support Services, completing initial counselling training during this time followed by academic qualifications at Massey and Auckland universities.

Stuart’s approach to counselling is client-centred; this involves hearing where the client is now and where the client wants to get to, before exploring ways for the client to best achieve their goals.

Stuart is married with six children and step-children, and enjoys gardening, reading, movies and music.

Edmund Salem


Edmund was born in Newtown, Wellington and grew up and studied in the city. He is Latvian on his mother’s side, Austrian on his father’s, and his stepfather was Lebanese. Edmund was brought up rich in language and culture and he has worked extensively as a counsellor in a variety of education settings and with community groups. Prior to WellElder, Edmund worked at Victoria University in Wellington as part of the team counselling students. 

Edmund considers counselling is about relationships and an exploration of the many challenges we face in life. He likes to think he brings hope as well as humour to his counselling work and is interested in exploring dreams and imagination and is a passionate student of history. Outside of counselling Edmund enjoys most sports, particularly tennis and hiking and is a keen chess player who also enjoys looking at works of art. 

Sarah Wright

 Sarah has been counselling since 2017 in a variety of settings, and with a wide range of age groups. Sarah is passionate about drawing on a range of counselling approaches to meet the individual needs of her clients. In her spare time Sarah enjoys spending time taking care of and connecting to nature and tending to her garden.

Judy Dickie

Judy is a former registered nurse who has worked in the Aged Care sector for over 30 years. She undertook her counselling qualifications 20 years ago to support her work which is a holistic approach inclusive of mental well-being. Judy has also worked with community health/support agencies Cancer Society, Stroke Central and currently WellElder. She believes her 'lived experience' is an asset that assists her to understand the complexities of the issues faced by older people. She is therefore able to 'walk alongside' clients as they face these issues.

Judy has three adult children and seven grandchildren. She lives on the beautiful Kapiti Coast, swims in the sea year-round, enjoys time with family, friends and gardening.

WellElder Office

Jane Leogreen – Manager

Jane has lived and worked in Wellington since the 1990s, with many years of business experience in the corporate sector alongside community and not-for-profit roles. She is a people person first and foremost, and enjoys the range of relationships and challenges of working for not-for-profit organisations. She is pleased to contribute to the important work of supporting older people in the community.

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 school-aged children. In her free time she enjoys the great outdoors.

Board of Trustees

Board members volunteer their time to WellElder.

Diana O'Neill (Chairperson)

Diana has many years of experience in the sport, recreation, and health sector.

Diana has had a passion for the health of older people since the early 1990s when, while working for the Hillary Commission for Recreation and Sport, she helped set up the Fifties Forward initiative which included a television series and implementation of physical activity programmes for older people throughout New Zealand. She was also involved with the Green Prescription (GRx) health initiative for 20 years from inception, including its transfer from Sport and Recreation NZ to the Ministry of Health in 2009.

Diana has been a member of the NZ Association of Gerontology (NZAG) for many years, including as a board member at regional and national levels. She joined the WellElder Board in 2018 and has been Chair since early 2020.

Diana's physical activity plan now includes walking, tai chi, aqua fitness, and cycling.

Verna Schofield

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.

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.

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 WellElder Board in 2012.

Daphne Pilaar

Daphne was born and raised in Wellington to Dutch parents. She lives in Newtown with her husband Keith and has five adult children and three grandchildren.

Daphne has spent most of her working life in education – as a primary school teacher, adult educator and facilitator of projects focused on improving the wellbeing of both young and old.

She is an active member of Drama Christi – a community theatre, and Crows Feet – a women's dance collective with wonderful, wise and inspiring elders.

Judy Glackin

Judy has a broad interest in older people's health, and in-depth knowledge of how the government health sector works.

She was for many years Manager Health of Older People in the Ministry of Health. She led the team that developed the initial Health of Older People Strategy.

In her role as a programme manager, Older People's Wellness with ACC she did the development work on the nationwide programme, Live Stronger for Longer, which focuses on falls prevention for older people.

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