About Us

Creating a space to empower women in the Workplace Health & Safety Profession

The Women in Safety Excellence NZ network was established by Margaret van Schaik and Helen Parkes in 2010 and now has nearly 300 members around New Zealand, from all different backgrounds.

The network promotes the equity and advancement of women in the safety profession, striving to continuously influence industry to address current and future safety challenges affecting women in the workforce locally, nationally and globally.

Read our Mission Statement

Internationally, Women in Safety Excellence (WISE) common interest groups are well established with the goal of advancing their members and the safety profession through education, mentorship, networking, collaboration, research and innovation.

The WISE Committee oversees the ongoing management of the WISE NZ Network on behalf of the NZISM Senior Leadership Team. Their role is to support the delivery of the WISE National Events programme, develop communications, work with branches to develop local chapters, develop sponsorship opportunities, develop social media and marketing content, provide research and thought leadership and develop CPD opportunities including webinars and other online engagement opportunities.

That is a little bit about us.

We would love to know a little more about you and where you are on your career journey.

Let us know by completing this very quick 6-question survey.


To become a member of the WISE network all you need to do is register on our database and then start engaging with us on our LinkedIn page.

Having your contact details enables us to communicate effectively and keep you updated on relevant events, initiatives and outcomes, and to understand a little more about you and how we can best support you.

Please make sure you are officially signed up using the link below.

WISE Network members can also sign up to receive a copy of NZISM's fortnightly e-Newsletter.

NOTE: Please do NOT sign up for the NZISM newsletter if you are already an NZISM member as you will receive it twice.

Our Initiatives

Meet the Team

Our WISE Committee members are all volunteers who happily offer their time, energy and experience in support of colleagues throughout the WHS profession.

Margaret van Schaik (Chair)

Margaret is a co founder of the Women in Safety NZ Group, started in 2010, and strongly believes in the encouragement, support and empowerment of women working in the health and safety profession. Margaret has 20 years experience in health and safety group management, advisory, and regulatory roles in New Zealand and has a passion for coaching and mentoring others. Margaret is a Chartered Member of IOSH, Certified Member of NZISM and a HASANZ Registered Health and Safety Professional. Margaret is Principal Consultant/Managing Director of van Schaik Health and Safety Solutions, a boutique H&S consultancy based in Wellington.

Selena Armstrong

Selena Armstrong is the CEO of The New Zealand Institute of Safety Management (NZISM). Selena’s role on the committee will be supporting WISE NZ with the full strength of the NZISM national office. NZISM is committed to the ongoing success of the WISE network and are providing project management expertise and administrative support to ensure that the committee continues to grow, develop and offer women working in safety the opportunity to network and learn from each other. Selena has a strong interest in the development and advocacy of women, and is committed to promoting and establishing networks across the safety industry that raise the competency and capability of health and safety professionals and practitioners.

Karla Mendiburu

Karla immigrated from Mexico to New Zealand 9 years ago, with a background in international business. Karla is a Health and Safety Coordinator for a lower tier Major Hazard Facility in the Bay of Plenty and is currently in the process completing a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Management. Karla is passionate about engaging with operational teams and changing workplace culture and enjoys traveling. Karla believes empowered women empower everyone.

Kate Sutcliffe

Kate Sutcliffe has been working in the health and safety field for over 17 years. She started out as a Health and Safety Inspector, before moving into the areas of auditing, consulting / coaching and training. She is now a self-employed Health and Safety Specialist and Auditor, helping a number of companies make health and safety part of their everyday business. She is also part of the Avid Plus Ltd group of health and safety professionals. Kate is pleased to be part of a national group with the focus of promoting and supporting the profession.

Jane Grace

Jane is originally from the UK with a background in recruitment and business development, and currently working as General Manager Development and Resources for a large agricultural business.

Jane emigrated here with her young family in 2006 to live permanently in Methven. Jane has a passion for H&S, is a graduate member of NZISM and a HASANZ Registered Health and Safety Practitioner. Jane is excited to be working in the health and safety profession in New Zealand and believes great changes are happening, with more to come. Jane is looking forward to being part of this movement and the journey ahead with some incredible associates. Jane lives near Mt Hutt, skis like Bridget Jones, and loves to run the St Clare half marathon (but is terribly clumsy and falls down a lot).

Emily Steele

Emily is currently working as a Health and Safety Coordinator for a commercial construction company based in Auckland. Emily has been working in the H&S industry for five years and has completed the GradDipOSH through Massey University. Emily enjoys the challenge of prompting H&S and working towards continuous improvement in her current organisation. Emily is looking forward to working with our dedicated group of ladies to promote WISE and to support women working in the health and safety profession.

Tracey McGall

Tracey is a proven energetic leader with over 15 years’ experience in operational and corporate health, safety, quality and risk management across diverse industries. Tracey uses her experience, subject matter expertise and passion to add value and enjoys engaging and leading teams to deliver programs of continuous improvement to underpin and enhance organisational culture, governance and sustainability.

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is an experienced senior leader at New Zealand’s health and safety regulator, WorkSafe New Zealand. Based in Wellington, Jo has worked in health-and-safety regulation for over 18 years across a number of operational roles, including her current position as the Head of the General Inspectorate.

Jo, or GI Jo as she is often referred to, oversees a workforce of 190 staff who are responsible for targeted harm prevention regulatory activity in order to provide confidence that New Zealand workplaces are managing their risks appropriately. Jo is a strong advocate for collaborative engagement and proactive education, balanced with proportionate enforcement. As a Professional member of NZISM Jo is excited to work with like-minded colleagues within WISE, empowering women in the Health and Safety profession.