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 more than 200 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.

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.

A new WISE Committee has been appointed to oversee the ongoing management of the WISE NZ Network on behalf of the NZISM senior leadership team.

The role of the committee 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.


We have set up a new database to capture registrations to the WISE network. This enables us to communicate effectively with all WISE members, keep you updated on relevant content, events and information, and understand a little more about you and how we can best support you.

Whether you are already a WISE member or would like to join the WISE network now, please make sure you officially sign up to the network by entering your details on 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.

Coming Up

Face-to-Face breakfast meetings, coffees and networking events have obviously drawn to a halt at the current time whilst we all Unite Against COVID-19. However, this does not mean the WISE Network are unconnected right now. Please join our supportive group of women as we 'Connect with Coffee' via Zoom and share our thoughts, experiences, questions and WOW (Words of Wisdom) on LinkedIn.

Connect every Tuesday

Get yourself a cuppa and join us on Zoom every Tuesday at 12:30pm for an informal get together to share, connect and support.

Keep your eyes open on our LinkedIn page and we'll post the meeting ID and password each week.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Thur 29 Oct 5pm - 7:30pm

This is the date of our next live WISE Event in Wellington. (Pushed back from 2 Sept due to COVID restrictions.)

The theme is Pandemic Risk Management and we have some great speakers lined up. A special thanks to Maritime New Zealand, NZ Police and CHASNZ for supporting this event.

Registrations for the event are now open but we have limited spaces, be in quick!

Register for this FREE event

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.

Alison Gill

Alison is a Chartered Member of IOSH, Certified Member of the NZISM, Registered Safety Practitioner and Director at edenfx HSE Recruitment NZ/AUS. She has worked in the Risk, Assurance, Governance and Safety Management discipline for 30 years and enjoys working with others developing talent and building success. Alison has a particular interest in Safety Psychology , developing high performing teams, mentoring youth and is an active Board Member of the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education.

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.