Prof Jill White AM,
University of Sydney
Prof Jill White AM, University of Sydney

Jill White AM, RN, RM, BEd, Med, PhD, Professor in the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney. In 2011, she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia Medal (AM) in the Australia Day Honours list for services to nursing and midwifery. “Nurses have extraordinary responsibilities working with vulnerable people”, says Professor White, “when I studied nursing, the quality of education was poor and we weren’t necessarily equipped to make life-changing decisions. This experience made me an advocate for better education in nursing.” Professor White helped develop one of the first tertiary nursing programs in Australia, leading to NSW Government recognition of the benefits of formal education in nursing and resultant policy change making tertiary education the only method of obtaining nursing registration, a move that was followed across Australia. As a further shift in the education model saw Nursing become a university degree, “this was a critical juncture for the introduction of research into the curriculum” she notes. Her current focus remains in the area of international policy.

Hester Fraser

WPF is proud to announce that Hester Fraser is Ambassador of Women’s Plans Foundation. Joining the eminent Professor Jill White AM, Hester Fraser signifies to a new generation the vital importance of women’s control of their own lives. Hester launched her album GOLDHEIST in 2017, and in 2018 was selected for Sydney’s VIVID Festival. Touring outback and regional NSW, GOLDHEIST toured outback and regional NSW with painter James Needham, performing live art and music, exploring the spirit of place and the ways in which our surrounds impact and inspire. Hester Fraser has charmed audiences as a Finalist for three years running in the Tamworth Country Music Festival, and was Winner of the prestigious People’s Choice Award in 2016, and 2nd Place Winner of the Judges Choice in 2017. In tribute to her grandfather, the late Right Honourable Malcolm Fraser, Hester wrote “The Camellia Tree”, in on-going musical support reflecting Malcolm Fraser’s post-PM years of a humanitarian overseas aid focus.


Alice Arnott Oppen OAM,
Alice Arnott Oppen OAM, Patron

Former teacher of literature, past President Hunter’s Hill Trust, Fellow Australian Company Directors, served on Boards of Arnotts Ltd., ChildFund Australia, FP NSW, SH&FPA, Ethics Committee Cancer Council, editor, Anglican Parish of Hunter’s Hill, currently on External Advisory Committee Dept. Government & International Relations, University of Sydney. Alice is a feminist, environmentalist and activist. Alice founded Women’s Plans in 2002, which was formalised into WPF in 2004.

Evan Oppen, Treasurer

Evan is a Chartered Accountant with a Master of Science degree and Post Grad Dip Accounting. He has worked as a Chartered Accountant for 14 years in public practices as well as 2 years at the Macular Disease Foundation Australia. He also has treasurer roles with the Sydney Community Forum and a small ski lodge. Evan has an interest in the Not-for-Profit sector.

Emma Challen (November 2020 - November 2022)

Emma holds a Masters in Management from Macquarie’s MBA Graduate School of Management program and a Bachelor of Business (HRM, Marketing and Accounting) from ACU.  Emma has a background in management roles, working for large multinational companies in the healthcare industry for 15 years. Emma led teams to gain government access for high cost drugs for multinationals across a range of disease areas.  After this, whilst living and working in Beijing, Emma studied Mandarin, started an import business and was an active member of the ANZA Committee, a China based Expatriate group of women whose purpose is to raise funding for medical operations for disadvantaged children in China.Emma currently resides in Sydney and runs a local real estate business in Hunter’s Hill and surrounding areas.

Pauline Markwell (February 2018 - February 2023)

Pauline was Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation Sydney and previously had been Director of Communications and Marketing. Pauline’s career has embraced marketing, executive search, importing and wholesaling. She is a mentor and has served on many community and not for profit boards and committees. In 2003, Pauline was awarded a Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian society in the area of Business Leadership.

Dr. Penelope Fotheringham

Dr. Penelope Fotheringham, BMedSci, MBBS (Hons), MPH, MSc (ID) FRANZCOG, FAFPHM an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and Public Health Physician working to understand and improve health systems through improving practiitioner care.

Carolyn Blanden

Mrs Blanden is the Principal of Warakirri College, a school for disadvantaged young people who are reconnecting with education. In addition to her 30 years experience in public and private sector education, Mrs Blanden has worked in the construction and finance industries, in resource development technology and in international education at tertiary level. Mrs Blanden is a committee member of the National Council of Women.

Marianne Christmann

Marianne Christmann, G.A.I.C.D., holds Master and Bachelor degrees in Law and a Bachelor degree in Science. Marianne has led programs in Commonwealth and NSW State Government, in chief operating officer and regional operational roles working for organisations such as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and the Family Court. She has a strong focus on women’s issues and worked for the former Department for Women in NSW.  

Samuel S. Durland

Sam Durland, MSocSc, BE(Hons), is a Certified ManagementConsultant, a CharteredProfessional Engineer and a Certified Executive Coach. Sam’s international development consulting work has taken him to more than 20countries in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and South America. He has held senior executive positions with private enterprise, statutory authorities and government departments in Australia and overseas. He has served on more than 20 boards of public and private companies, government bodies and non-government organisations.

Observer 2023

Melissa Hanham

Melissa Hanham's personal statement:  “I am the Strategics Analytics & Consumer Principal with Scentre Group, experienced in working with a diverse range of people across 40+ Westfield destinations in Australia and New Zealand.  My role is diverse and involves working across all divisions including retail leasing, development, media, customer experience, marketing and also with our retail partners sharing insights about our customers and work across a vast range of strategic projects, market potential, business planning, centre developments, category and business insights.  I am a strong analytical thinker and I am able to consider and analyse issues and complex information from different sources and perspectives. I have Master of Commerce degree from the University of Canterbury and continuously curious to keep growing personally and learn more about the world we live in.  My career has mostly been in large corporates across Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom and the Observership program provides a great opportunity to learn about the operation of not for profits and the successes and challenges they experience. Personally, I am passionate about the empowerment and education for all and the benefits to society that follow. I have extensively travelled and curious about the world and different countries and ethnicities - including participating in 5 charity bike rides in Thailand to support those in need with education and choices for life.  I have seen first hand the impact and benefits of helping those break the cycle and exposed too many parts of the world where help to break the cycle is needed.  I am passionate to join the WPF for the year and observe how they work toward their vision that all Women and Girls in Pacific region have the right to choose and have access to modern contraception and family planning.

Operations and Administration

Natalie Brandon

Natalie has over 20 years’ experience in Finance, Client Services and Office Management. She spent her early part of her career working in London for Total Oil GB and Sotheby’s. When she returned to Australia she worked in the public, private and not for profit sectors. In her spare time, she ferries her two active children to sports training and events.

Evaluation & Research

Sue Funnell

Sue worked for some 40 years as a program evaluator, designer, consultant and trainer. From 1999 to 2015 worked as a consultant in several developing countries for AusAID and with several United Nations Organisations (UNAIDS, UNCHS, UN Secretariat, UNDP representing Oceania on an international advisory panel) and World Bank. She served two terms as President of the Australasian Evaluation Society, was an inaugural Fellow of the Society and received several awards for excellence.

Events and Media Committees

Mona Aghdaee, Dr Lucinda Barry, Emma Challen, Tess Connellan, Ros Espie, Jenny Hall,
Jeanette Kalek, Anni Macdougall, Pauline Markwell, Margaret Milne,
Leon Muller, Alice Oppen OAM, Rachel Oppen and Cristina Ricci.

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