People

Board

Betty Barkha

Co-Chair

Ms Barkha is a professional researcher with over a decade of experience in research, advocacy and development across the Pacific and Asia. She has been involved with various development organisations in Asia and the Pacific region since 2009 and is currently serving as an elected member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Women in Development (AWID) and the CIVICUS Alliance. Betty also serves as an advisor to FRIDA Young Feminist Fund and the Global Resilience Fund. She holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Arts and is currently pursuing her PhD at Monash University with the Centre for Gender, Peace and Security (Monash GPS).

Portrait photograph of Kerry Gardner AMKerry Gardner AM

Co-Chair

Kerry Gardner AM has championed the rights of women and girls for 25 years through contributions in the arts, environment, and social justice. Her focus is shaped by an understanding that a more global and interconnected approach is essential to realise freedom from violence, reproductive and sexual health and rights, political and economic pathways to empowerment and the systems that deliver these for diverse women. Her extensive director experience started with the Victorian Women’s Trust and current directorships include: The Global Fund for Women (San Francisco and New York) and Chair, Australia at the Venice Biennale for the Australia Council. She is also Patron of the Natalie Miller Fellowship of Women in Film and former Deputy Chair of Heide Museum and the Malthouse Theatre. In 2018 Ms Gardner was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia and became a member of Women Moving Millions (New York). Ms Gardner holds a Graduate Diploma in Marketing from RMIT and a Master of Film and Television from the University of Melbourne.

Louise Allen

Louise is a global gender, peace and security consultant and an experienced women’s rights advocate. She has worked alongside women, Indigenous, refugee and LGBTIQ human rights defenders and civil society in Australia, in the Pacific and at the UN both in Geneva and New York. She was the Executive Director of the New York-based NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security for four years. Before that she led the advocacy efforts of Amnesty International Australia for six years, had been the second in charge of the Government Relations and Public Affairs Practice at Hill & Knowlton Australia, and started her career as a media advisor for the Queensland State Police Service. Louise holds a Masters in International Relations from the University of Sydney, which she graduated with Merit.

 Tinai Colawai

Ms Colawai is an experienced Human Resources professional and a social impact entrepreneur. She has more than 15 years’ experience as a specialist and strategic business partner in HR with ANZ Banking Group. She has worked in Australia, Asia and the Pacific in Fiji, PNG and American Samoa in a range of HR roles encompassing governance, industrial relations, change, strategic planning and leading teams. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Management & Finance) from the University of the South Pacific, Fiji and is an Associate Member of the Career Development Association of Australia.

Carolyn Ireland

Carolyn has over 20 years’ experience in a variety of senior Finance and Treasury roles. Carolyn is currently Non Executive Director and Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee at MACS Ltd, and a Non Executive Director at Defence Health Ltd and the Xavier College Foundation. Carolyn is also Head of Strategy & Investor Relations at Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. She has previously worked across a number of sectors in senior Finance and Treasury roles including accounting, banking and finance, venture capital, funds management, health insurance, and private hospitals at organisations including KPMG, Macquarie Group, Australian Unity Ltd, and Epworth Healthcare. Carolyn is a Chartered Accountant, has an MBA and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

 Ivy Josiah

Ms Josiah is a gender consultant, trainer and facilitator, writer and producer who lives in Malaysia. She has deep and extensive experience in promoting and advocating for women’s human, civil and political rights in the Asia Pacific region and in global forums. Her work has been recognised through many awards including Woman of Courage, U.S. State Department (2007) and Her World Malaysia, Woman of the Year (2008).

Linda Kelly

Linda has worked widely in community and international development since the late 1980s, including senior management positions with World Vision and Oxfam Australia. Linda has a strong interest in effective development practice and how to research and assess such practice. Her specialisations include monitoring and evaluation, community development, gender, inclusive practice, international non-government organisational development and capacity building. She has been the Director of Praxis Consultants specialising in strategic management, program design, research and evaluation for international and domestic organisations since 2001. In 2014 she became a co-director of the Institute for Social Change at La Trobe University.

Jane Nash

Jane is an independent consultant and board director with expertise in Sustainability, Regulation, Government and Stakeholder Relations, Partnerships and Financial Wellbeing. During an executive career with ANZ Banking Group, she led Australia’s first national survey into the money management capabilities of Australians and subsequently the expansion of financial education programs for low income and disadvantaged groups to 21 countries across the Asia Pacific region. Through her work in Asia Pacific she gained a strong understanding of the need to advance the rights and position of women in Australia’s neighbouring countries. In a finance industry career spanning 30 years Jane also worked in Economics, Marketing, Strategy and Investor Relations. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from Melbourne University and completed the International Executive Program at INSEAD in France.

Posed photo of a smiling womanShehani Noakes

Ms Noakes is an experienced international strategic leader with a career that has spanned Asia, Europe and Australia. She has a strong commercial and strategy background having worked across the Financial Services, Retail and Technology sectors for some of the largest multinationals globally.  She has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Mathematics and Economics from the London School of Economics and an MBA from INSEAD.

Jennifer Wittwer

Jennifer is a passionate gender expert on women’s equality and empowerment, particularly in peace and security operations. She has over 38 years of experience in leading people through organisational change, cultural and workplace reform, and implementing contemporary and niched gender responsive policy strategies and solutions. Jennifer is also a keynote speaker and author who has worked with organisations such as UN Women in New York, NATO in Brussels and Afghanistan, and international armed forces and police organisations in Australia and overseas in implementing key international commitments relating to women’s leadership in conflict prevention, management and resolution. Various awards have recognised her achievements, including the 2018 Canberra Women in Business Mentor of the Year, 2014 and 2018 AFR Women of Influence Alumni (Global), 2016-2019 Who’s Who of Australian Women, and 2010 Advancement of Women in the Workplace bronze award. Jennifer was also awarded a Conspicuous Service Medal in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Jennifer is currently completing a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Peace and Security at Monash University, and has the following qualifications: Graduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership; Graduate Diploma of Resource Management; Graduate Certificate in Administration; Graduate Certificate in Management Studies; Advanced Diploma in Logistics Management; Diploma of Government Financial Services.

Susan Wnukowska-Mtonga

Susan is a human rights lawyer with a deep commitment to gender justice. She currently works for the Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch initiative, which is focused on monitoring criminal trials of minority groups and advocating for victims of injustice. Previously, she was the Global Public Service Fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

She commenced her legal career in commercial law working in both private practice as well as in-house for an international company. Susan holds an LLM from Columbia Law School, where she graduated as a James Kent Scholar. She also holds a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University.

Staff

Bettina Baldeschi

Chief Executive Officer

Bettina has been the CEO of International Women’ Development Agency since late 2017. Joining IWDA in 2012 as IWDA’s Director of Communications and Fundraising, Bettina led the transformation of the organisation’s brand identity, media profile and communications strategy. Under her leadership, IWDA was awarded two Fundraising Institute of Australia awards, and delivered the organisation’s most successful fundraising appeal to date. Over 28,000 new supporters joined IWDA under Bettina’s leadership during this time. Bettina later served as the Director of IWDA’s Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) program, which is a partnership between the Australian National University (ANU), the International Women’s Development Agency and the Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Working closely with the ANU, Bettina and the IWDA IDM team tested a world-first, gender-sensitive and multidimensional measure of poverty. During this time, Bettina presented the IDM at global events, driving communications strategy, forming international networks, and paving the way for the IDM’s global use by 2020. Before joining IWDA, Bettina held a number of executive roles with Oxfam Great Britain, working across a team of 5000 staff in 90+ countries and she has also worked with UNHCR in Canberra. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a Masters in Women’s Studies (Gender and Development).

  • Director, Systemic Change & Partnerships: Dr Salmah Eva-Lina Lawrence
  • Director, Business Transformation: Gemma Hardie
  • Director, Knowledge Translation & Equality Insights: Joanna Pradela
  • Chief Financial Officer: Nicky Kandiah