Neurological Foundation Council

The Neurological Foundation Council is the governing body of the Foundation. The Council sets strategy for the Foundation and governs its operation, approving the appointment of key staff, sign off on operations and financial strategies for the Foundation, and ensure the Foundation is being run according to its guiding principles.

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The Council is made up of business experts, neurologists and neuroscientists who volunteer their time without remuneration. During the grant rounds, the Council are responsible for approving the grants, Fellowships and Scholarships that have been recommended by the Scientific Advisory and Personal Awards Committees. Whilst the Council does not deviate from the committee’s recommendations, they can decide to increase funding for the round to encapsulate additional research projects that straddle the funding limit.

Professor Cathy Stinear

Chair

Cathy is a Professor at the University of Auckland, a clinical neuroscientist at Auckland City Hospital working with patients to promote recovery following stroke and was the Chair of the Neurological Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee from 2015-2019. She joined the Scientific Advisory Committee in 2008 because of the essential role the Foundation plays in helping researchers make new discoveries, and led the committee review process in 2018. Cathy has been a principal investigator on a range of clinical rehabilitation trials with patients at Auckland City Hospital and is the Director of the Brain Research Clinic at the Centre for Brain Research.

Vacant

Deputy Chair

Barbara Bridger

Barbara lives in Dunedin and has recently joined the council.  A Chartered Accountant by background she completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Otago University in the mid-1980’s.  In 1996 following a career in Banking and Financial Services both in New Zealand and overseas Barbara’s career took a different turn and she commenced working in Primary Health care, firstly as Practice Manager for one of the country’s largest medical centres and then as CEO of the the Country’s first stand-alone Primary Health Organisation (PHO).  Since 2014 Barbara has been the CEO at Otago Community Trust, a philanthropic Trust based in Dunedin.

Barbara has also been involved in several not-for-profit organisations as a volunteer and board member as is currently Deputy Chair of the Cosy Homes Trust an organisation which seeks to improve the quality of the housing stock in the Otago Region.

Barbara has a keen interest in her local community and in particular in issues affecting young people and vulnerable communities.  

James Hellaby

James joined the Council in 2006. He is currently a member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee.  His background is in finance, systems and business management, having completed a Bachelor of Agriculture (Economics) at Lincoln University and an MBA at Auckland University.

James has been involved for many years in the NZ meat industry through his family’s company, Wilson Hellaby Limited.

Simon John

Simon is a neurosurgeon, with a sub speciality interest in paediatric neurosurgery and complex brain tumour surgery. Currently full time in the public system Simon also has governance roles in the Christchurch hospital’s detection and response to deteriorating patients. He is actively involved with the trauma team, co-ordinating multi-disciplinary care of complex trauma patients, and helping to improve their journey through the hospital.

With an interest in education Simon is the New Zealand representative for the Neurosurgical society of Australasia’s Surgical Education and Training Board. He is also a regular teacher on the Asian-Australasian Advanced Course in Paediatric Neurosurgery.

Sonja Clapham

Sonja is a barrister at Shortland Chambers, Auckland.  She was a foundation member of Shortland Chambers, was a member of the first executive of the NZ Bar Association, has been a member of the executive of the Auckland Women Lawyers Association, and currently is a member of the Auckland District Law Society’s Family Law Committee. 

Sonja is primarily engaged in providing advice and advocacy in disputes regarding wills and deceased estates.  She presents seminars for the legal profession on issues regarding wills and the administration of deceased estates.

After experiencing an episode of Guillain-Barre syndrome in 2009, (from which she fully recovered) Sonja has a heightened awareness of, and interest in, disorders and diseases of the nervous system.  She was invited to join the Council of the Neurological Foundation in 2019. 

John Kelly

Taranaki based, John has strong ties to the New Zealand rural sector both as a farmer and successful livestock operator. With a background in leading and operating in National Stock and Station Company's Livestock Divisions he is the Business Manager/Director of his own livestock company. John's governance experience includes being the current Chair of TSB Ltd, Board Member of Taranaki Veterinary Services, TRFU and a number of farming based enterprises. He is proud to have joined the Council in November 2019 and is highly motivated by the aspirations of the Foundation. He is a member of the Audit, Risk and Finance Committee.

James Ring

James joined the Council in 2021. He has a background in finance particularly in the management of pension and charitable funds, both locally and internationally. He has been a Fund Manager for more than 35 years, most recently as joint CEO of local manager QuayStreet Asset Management where he was also responsible for their global equities portfolios. Prior to this James spent 20 years based in Sydney where he worked for a number of leading fund management businesses and family offices. James' governance experience includes investment committee member of a local charitable foundation for the past 7 years along with past directorships in large money management businesses.  He is a member of the Audit, Risk and Finance Committee.

Anna Lissaman

Anna joined the Council at the end of 2021. Her background is in human resources with a particular focus on organisation cultural and digital transformation. Anna has held past executive roles at House of Travel and TVNZ and has recently joined the executive team of Metlifecare. Her governance experience includes having been a member of Bayfield School board of trustees and a Future Director at Mercury. Anna is a member of the People and Performance Committee.

Georgina Hunter

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