RDNZ has a small team of dedicated staff who work part-time from our Wellington office. 

Our staff

Lisa Foster
, Chief Executive

Lisa2Lisa holds a BSc (Hons) degree in biomedical science, with experience as a research scientist in the field of genetics. Lisa also holds a Diploma in Anatomy, Physiology and Massage along with a Certificate in Psychology and a Diploma in Herbal Studies. She has worked in the New Zealand health industry for over 10 years. The range of her experience covers assessing and facilitating care packages for older people, employment and education support in the mental health area and leading a team offering crisis respite for youth. Lisa was also part of the Be Leadership graduates in 2014. She is wholeheartedly committed to offering effective support to others in their time of need. 


Kim McGuinness, Relationship Manager

Kim2Kim has a strong background in the not-for-profit sector and a passion for helping people living with chronic conditions. This includes as a volunteer and past board member of Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand. She has successfully built strong sustainable relationships with clinical and non-clinical stakeholders to help deliver a wide range of projects and events that make a difference to patient’s lives. 

Amy Watson
, Fundraising and Communications Manager

Amy thumbnailAmy is passionate about the power of storytelling to connect organisations with their communities. She is an experienced communicator and project manager with a background in charities and arts organisations. Amy has degrees in law and history from Victoria University in Wellington. More recently she gained Accreditation in Public Relations, a programme recognising broad knowledge and professional, ethical judgement.


Susan Langston, Business Manager

SusanSusan joins RDNZ with a strong background in finance and office management and a passion for the non-profit sector. She has volunteered with various organisations including the Samaritans, Mary Potter Hospice, Houghton Valley Playcentre, as well as on the parent associations of several schools over the last 20 years. In what spare time she has, she can usually be found walking her Jack Russell terrier, Freddy, around the south coast of Wellington.


Board of Trustees 

The RDNZ board is made up of volunteers who meet four times a year (twice in person; twice through virtual meetings) to govern the organisation's activities. 

Joanna Lusk, Chair

Joanna LuskJoanna is employed full time as senior finance manager at Waitemata DHB, based at North Shore Hospital in Auckland, and has been in the role for just over three years. Joanna is a trustee of Panacea Arts Charitable Trust (trading as Spark Centre for Creative Development) since February 2013, and is also a trustee on the Board of NZORD since late 2014. Joanna is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (CAANZ) and a member of the Institute of Directors (IOD). Prior to joining the DHB Joanna held senior finance roles in commercial organisations spanning the health and primary manufacturing sectors.

Bronwyn Gray QSM, JP

Bronwyn GrayBronwyn Gray was made a Justice of the Peace for New Zealand in 2000 and in 2004 she was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to community health and research. Formerly a secondary school English teacher in Wellington and Auckland, Bronwyn’s daughter Lisa was diagnosed in 1997 with the rare lung disease lymphangioleiomyomatosis ( LAM ). As the director and founder of the New Zealand LAM Charitable Trust since 1998, she raises funds for scientific investigation into the causes of LAM and works closely with New Zealand, Australian, European and US LAM research teams, in search of a cure for LAM. She supports women in New Zealand who are diagnosed with LAM and works as an educator to raise awareness of LAM in the GP and general community throughout New Zealand. Bronwyn was a founding trustee of NZORD when it was formally incorporated in 2001, she is a member of the US based Worldwide LAM Patient and Family Federation and has produced a number of short video films for GPs and the LAM Patient and Family Community.

Mike Eccles

Board MikeEcclesWith a background in biochemistry and genetics, Dr Mike Eccles has been the NZ Institute for Cancer Research Trust Professor in Cancer Pathology at the University of Otago since 2006. He was a Fogarty International Scholar at Princeton University’s Department of Molecular Biology (1987 – 1989), and a James Cook Research Fellow in the Biochemistry and Pathology Departments at the University of Otago (2000 – 2002). His laboratory, which presently consisting of three research fellows, two research assistants, and four post-graduate students, is focused on the genetics and epigenetics of cancer and kidney diseases in childhood. Outside work, his time is mostly occupied with family; his wife works as a general practitioner, and they have three teen-age children. Mike is a founding trustee of NZORD.

Martin Hanley

Board MHanleyMartin has an adult son with a rare genetic skin condition, epidermolysis bullosa, EB, that causes the skin to blister and tear with the slightest friction. As well as hours every day of bandaging and caring for his son when he was younger, Martin has spent years negotiating the health and education systems on behalf of his son and the EB support group DEBRA NZ. Martin is a partner in Red Design Architects with his wife Anna Kemble Welch, and a part time tutor in design at the School of Architecture. He is also involved in organising the Newtown Festival each year, and assisting the Newtown Resident's Association on urban design and resource management issues and with community liaison while the new Wellington Regional Hospital was being designed and built. Martin is a founding trustee of NZORD.

Stephen Robertson

Stephen RobertsonStephen has been the Curekids Professor of Paediatric Genetics at Otago University, since 2003. He studied medicine and specialised in pediatrics and then subspecialised in clinical genetics. From 1999 to 2002 he was Nuffield Medical Fellow at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University, studying the genetic basis of a set of genetic disorders characterised by severe life-limiting malformations in children. His work in this area has led to the implication of several genes, in the generation of malformations in children, with a particular focus on conditions that affect the skeleton and brain. He was awarded the Health Research Council’s Liley Medal for outstanding contributions to medical research in 2010. Stephen continues to be an active clinician, staffing clinics throughout the South Island, in addition to teaching genetics to science and medical students in Dunedin. He joined the board of NZORD in 2013.

Bice Awan

Bice AwanBice was the chief executive of Skylight a not for profit charitable trust until February 2015. Bice was Skylight’s first staff member when it began in 1998. Skylight was the first organisation in New Zealand to focus specifically on the multifaceted impact that change, loss and grief has on children, young people and their families. She focuses her activities in areas where there is a need for a voice to be heard around the challenges that exist within the area. Bice is on the Board of PADA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa), and also the Board of SPCA where she is the Chair of its Animal Welfare Committee. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Wellington and joined NZORD Board in November 2014. Bice became a Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2016 for services to mental health and rehabilitation.

Carol Gernhoefer

Carol GernhoeferCarol is a Chartered Accountant who brings her business acumen to the NZORD board. She has extensive governance experience with not-for-profit organisations and is a board member of Independent Living Services, Stardome Observatory & Planetarium, and formerly Auckland Museum and SANDS Auckland Central. Carol is the founder and editor of Auckland for Kids, an online platform that inspires and enables families with children to enjoy Auckland. Carol lives with her family in Auckland and her eldest daughter has Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Carol joined the NZORD board in 2018.