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The people behind the scenes

OUR TEAM

Meet our dedicated and passionate team. Each member brings a unique set of skill and expertise. Our drive propels us to conquer challenges, innovate and make a meaningful impact.

Hover or tap over the below images to see how we’ve grown.

Willow Duffy

CEO

Willow is a founding member of Safeguarding Children and has worked as a nurse and midwife for over 30 years. She has a postgraduate qualification as a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse Practitioner (Health Visitor) from the UK. Willow managed a caseload with child protection concerns on a daily basis and at a time of great change in the child protection system. She also trained as a child protection supervisor for nurses. Willow has worked as a Plunket Nurse, and later with youth as a Sexual Health and Family Planning Nurse and as part of a specialist team as a Forensic Nurse for sexual assaults (SAATS/MEDSAC Nurse). Willow has worked as an advisor for Children’s Action Plan and Oranga Tamariki and in 2017 was a finalist in New Zealand Women of Influence Awards.

As well as leading our team, Willow is a strong advocate for the rights of children. She Chairs and is a member of national steering and reference groups related to child safety and wellbeing.

Willow believes that communities hold the key to keeping children and young people safe, and that we all have a vital role to play. Her drive is to protect our most vulnerable citizens and bring their unique needs to the forefront of all we do.

Ruth Browning

Senior Safeguarding Consultant

Ruth is a qualified Social Worker and member of the Social Workers Registration Board with a current practicing certificate. She has been a social worker for 20 years and has a wide range of experience working with children, youth and their families in both non-government and government organisations. This experience includes as a Social Worker and Family Group Conference Co-ordinator for Oranga Tamariki for several years.

Ruth understands child protection from both within Oranga Tamariki as well as within the community. She has a drive and passion for creating healthier and safer communities where children and young people can thrive.

Ruth has a Bachelors in Sociology and Criminal Justice, a Masters in Social Research and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social and Community Work.

Kelly Mahuika

Safeguarding Consultant

Kelly is a registered midwife and holds a current practicing certificate. She has been working in the maternal and child health sector for over 10 years now. She is our Safeguarding Consultant who works specifically in the primary health care sector. She has a demonstrated history of working in the medical practice industry as a clinician, project manager, and consultant. She is adept at leading multidisciplinary teams both in the public and private sectors. By merging her experience in clinical midwifery alongside her desire to see all children and families thrive, she is able to deliver safeguarding education and training that offers the sharing of knowledge as well as feasible ways to use their new skills in clinical practice.

Kelly’s other roles include the Pregnancy to Parenting Educator for the NMDHB, Casual Core Midwife, and Project Lead for the Well Child App.

She holds a Bachelor of Science, Post Graduate Certificate and Diploma in Midwifery from Ara and Otago Polytechnic Institute of technology respectively as well as a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Hawai’i.

Kelly is very proud to be on the team at Safeguarding Children and is looking forward to contributing to the vision by working to make New Zealand a safer place to grow up.

Michelle Egan-Bitran

Safeguarding Consultant

Michelle was born and raised in Otepoti/Dunedin and now lives in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland with her three daughters.

She is a qualified Social Worker and member of the Social Work Registration Board with a current practicing certificate. Michelle has over 20 years’ experience in the social sector in a variety of roles, including with the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry, The Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the University of Auckland Faculty of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work.

Michelle believes that everyone is born with mana, that everyone is sacred and that everyone has the right to be free from violence and abuse. She believes we all have a role to play in the care, protection, nurturing and healing of all children, tamariki, rangatahi and their families, whānau and aiga in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Michelle is sharing her experience as an advocate, researcher, and Social Work practitioner to support those in the religious sector, government and wider violence and intervention sector to help prevent and address child abuse. Michelle thrives in engaging and collaborating with diverse stakeholders and communities on often complex topics, including with government officials and agencies, local government, Māori and culturally, religiously, and linguistically diverse communities. Personal integrity, respect, fairness, transparency, and care are central to who Michelle is and how she works. Michelle’s PhD explores New Zealand Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian religious institutional responses to interpersonal violence: What is helping and hindering the development of their respective responses and how their responses can be improved.

Jessica McQuoid

Regional Outreach Trainer

Jessica was born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau and now resides in the beautiful Ōtautahi with her partner.

Jessica has a degree in Health Education and Psychology, and a professional background in sexual violence prevention. She has most recently been working as a healthy relationships educator for high-school aged rangatahi throughout Canterbury whilst also leading the development of educational material for this space. Outside of education, Jessica has also been lucky enough to work as a qualified journalist, fitness instructor and pastry chef. Whilst eclectic, these experiences have allowed Jessica to bring a certain energy and empathy to her violence prevention work today. She feels privileged to have worked alongside an array of amazing people and to have contributed to community development and empowerment in a variety of forms.

Jessica is a passionate advocate for the health and wellbeing of tamariki and rangatahi and is proud to now be a part of the team at Safeguarding Children.

Kirsten Taylor

Operations Manager

Kirsten organises everything that is required for our organisation to run efficiently, including looking after our clients and eLearning development. As a talented project manager, she adeptly coordinates our team to ensure tasks flow seamlessly. Kirsten excels in organising and problem-solving and her ability to streamline processes.

She has managed call centres overseas, has been a travel agent, and runs her own business with her husband. Kirsten is passionate about child protection and is committed to ensuring that Safeguarding Children delivers the highest level of service possible.

Renée Strickland

Operations Specialist

Renée started with Safeguarding Children in June 2019 as an Administration Assistant with a primary focus on customer service and course administration. With company growth and her varied work experience, Renée’s role has evolved into Operations Specialist. This involves streamlining daily operations, communicating with internal and external stakeholders, troubleshooting and project management. Having a strong creative flair, Renée has extended her skill set to include resource development and graphic design.

Renée has a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Technology. Safety is a theme which has featured throughout Renée’s working career, having worked in the food, aviation and commercial property industries. She loves applying this safety experience in her current role, helping keep children safe by providing exceptional operational support to the team at Safeguarding Children.

Jo Sutton

Digital Projects Coordinator

Jo has a degree in Information Technology and has worked in various web-based developer roles, located in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Her Safeguarding Children role is dedicated to managing, developing, implementing and maintaining our eLearning platform. Jo works with our subject matter experts to produce our quality eLearning courses.

Jo’s technical expertise is an asset as we cement ourselves as the leading provider of safeguarding and child protection online learning. Her experience with web development and maintenance, graphic design and general IT troubleshooting is a great fit for our advancing technical training delivery.

Aside from Jo’s IT roles, she has also owned and operated (together with her husband) successful businesses over the past 15 years in motels and advertising/marketing while raising their enchanting twin girls. She loves being a part of a small team and helping to make a positive difference to children in New Zealand.

Ronda Kelling

Customer Service / Course Administrator

Ronda is a highly qualified administrator with over 20 years’ experience, providing thorough and skilful knowledge in administration, office management, event planning, accounting and executive level support. She has built her career over the years working in the tourism, creative/arts, beauty, home building and super yacht industries.

As the Course Administrator at Safeguarding Children, she is committed to doing the very best by the charity, providing a first-class and friendly customer experience and prompt resolution of any queries, complications or issues that may arise.

While navigating the adventures of parenthood with her own young daughter, Ronda is proud to be part of a passionate team dedicating themselves to the safeguarding of children in New Zealand.

Erica Filshie

Office Administrator

Erica is usually the first point of contact for client queries and provides administrative support to the team at Safeguarding Children.

Having worked with not-for-profit organisations as both an employee and volunteer, Erica brings extensive customer service and administration experience. With a degree in psychology, Erica has worked in recruitment, volunteer management, relocation support and organisational psychology.

As a māmā of two young tamariki, Erica strongly believes we need to advocate for the rights of our young people.

Arnella King

Accounts and Payroll Administrator

Arnella has a strong background in administration and finance, both in the local community and corporate sectors. She is passionate about building strong, safe, healthy and connected communities.

Arnella loves working with organisations that benefit the community and helping behind the scenes with a passionate and dedicated team. Arnella loves sport, outdoors and her family. You most likely will find her swimming off Rocks Road at high tide, walking up the Centre of New Zealand, or watching one of her three children playing sport.

Safeguarding Children

Charities Number: CC49059
NZBN: 9429043276134

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