Dementia New Zealand Team
Meet Catherine Cooney – CEO
Cathy is the Chief Executive Dementia NZ and is proud of the network of dedicated and skilled practitioners who provide community-based dementia mate wareware services to those living with dementia and their carers and whānau. She is passionate about the equitable provision of accessible services and information that support people to have a sense of purpose, to be socially connected and to live their best possible lives.
Cathy is a Registered Nurse with a background in governance, health sector and nursing leadership, and public health. She is a Fellow and President of the Aotearoa Branch of the Australasian College of Health Service Management; a Fellow and Censor of the College of Nurses, Aotearoa; a member of NZ Institute of Directors; and a member of the interRAI NZ Leadership Advisory Group. In 2021 Cathy received an MNZM Award for services to health and community.
Meet our Trustees
Dementia New Zealand benefits from the strong governance of a highly regarded group of individuals who each bring a wealth of experience. Their considerable combined knowledge allows us to leverage valuable business acumen, while their shared empathy and passion towards supporting our community ensures we continue to deliver excellence through our services. Each Trustee provides their time on a voluntary basis.
Jocelyn Weatherall – Chair
Jocelyn has been on the Board of Trustees for Dementia New Zealand since November 2016. She is a Trustee on the Dementia Auckland Trust Board where she was Chair up until May 2016 and is currently the Chair of its Finance, Risk and Audit Committee. Jocelyn has a passion for offering practical assistance for those affected by dementia.
For several years she has undertaken voluntary consultations for individuals and families affected by dementia, who require practical financial advice. Jocelyn holds the designation of Authorised Financial Advisor, and Accredited Investment Fiduciary. Jocelyn has 27 years’ experience in financial advisory, management and operational roles. Part of Jocelyn’s business focus is to assist charitable trusts with the strategic and on-going management of financial matters and investment reserves.
Frances Blyth – Deputy Chair
Frances is Deputy Chair of Dementia New Zealand. She is also Chair of the Ministry of Health NGO Council, a former Chair of Dementia Wellington, and a Trustee of Incredible Families Trust. She has been involved in NGO governance for many years and has a background in the Public Sector (Health, Education and Justice).
Carol is the Chair of the Dementia Lakes Board of Trustees where she has held that position for over 15 years. Carol works part-time as a Registered Nurse with her main interest being in the area of health services for older people.
Carol is committed to supporting Dementia New Zealand to provide national level assistance to its Affiliate Organisations that enables them to provide best practice services for people living with dementia and their carers. She has extensive hands-on and governance level experience and is passionate about the role Dementia New Zealand provides when it comes to meeting the demand for services that will continue to increase as the incidence of dementia grows over the next 30 years. Carol is passionate about providing quality support services that have been shown to assist people with dementia and their care partners to live well at home and to remain engaged in their own communities for as long as possible.
Cheryl has a background in nursing, working mainly in medical, elder care and mental health. She worked for eight years at the psychiatric unit in Hastings, at a time when this was the only service for people with a dementia related diagnosis. Cheryl’s interest in dementia has been through her involvement at both a local and national level. It has also been fostered through involvement and personal journey with two family members.
Cheryl was a member of the Alzheimers Society Hastings Inc board and was chairperson for three of the eight years. As their representative at National level, she was also a member of the Advisory Board with Alzheimers NZ. Alongside this Cheryl held a position with the Community Services Advisory group at Eastern Institute of Technology and the Hawkes Bay Aged Care Residential Executive Committee.
Cheryl was actively involved with Alzheimers Hastings working towards the amalgamation with Napier, in the formation of ‘Dementia Hawkes Bay’ and the alignment with Dementia New Zealand. Her role is now as a Trustee, while also doing contract work externally. She continues to assess for workplaces engaging in training through Careerforce.
Dr Mark Fisher
Dr Mark Fisher is a senior and experienced Consultant Psychiatrist who has worked in the areas of dementia and the Psychiatry of Old Age in Auckland, Bay of Plenty and the United Kingdom. He has also had leadership roles in the DHBs and worked to improve DHB services for people with dementia.
Other areas of special interest have been driving safety in dementia, medico-legal issues in dementia – around capacity and being admitted into care. Recently, Dr Fisher has set up a private practice in Auckland, Hinengaro Clinic, which is focussing on helping people with dementia or at risk of this.
Michael Aitken brings with him significant experience in the delivery and management of health care, as well as experience in multiple governance roles.
Michael trained and worked as a clinical psychologist in the public health system in Christchurch before moving into a range of senior management roles in health and local government in Christchurch and Auckland.
Michael is a Member of the Institute of Directors and serves on the boards of Dementia Canterbury, Dementia New Zealand and the Building Bridges Community Mental Health Trust.
Rosemary is a former Chairperson of Dementia Waikato and a current Trustee of the Dementia Waikato Foundation Trust. Her interest in dementia arose through family links and her realisation of the need for wider availability of dementia services in the community, especially in rural areas.
Rosemary is a retired lawyer whose practice included applications to the Courts under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act (1988) or the Administration Act (1969), often where a family member living with dementia had no Enduring Powers of Attorney or valid Will. Rosemary strongly advocates for everybody to put these in place early to avoid later stress for their loved ones. Rosemary has been a Trustee of Dementia New Zealand since 2019.
Bev Bibby is the Chair of Dementia Hawkes Bay and joined the Dementia New Zealand Board of Trustees in July 2021. Bev was born and raised in the Hawke’s Bay, where she and her husband David are now raising three teenage children. She has previously spent a number of years on the Board of Trustees of a local primary school where she was the chairperson for a three year period.
Bev enjoys playing netball, umpiring, running, and supporting her family in their interests. During the day she works as a Business Manager at ANZ providing support to people in business. Bev has also held several Branch Manager roles throughout Hawke’s Bay. She enjoys contributing to the local community through her involvement with the staff and fellow board members at Dementia Hawkes Bay and has joined the Dementia New Zealand Board to broaden her involvement and make a contribution at a national level.
Connal served as Chief Executive of the Property Council New Zealand, who advocate for owners and investors in the commercial property sector and strives to achieve the best outcomes for New Zealand cities. A key part of this role is to scrutinise legislation and regulations to ensure that they foster and do not hinder growth and economic prosperity.
Previously, Connal has held senior management roles in the finance industry, served as Regional Manager at Housing New Zealand, and worked as a management consultant. He has an M.A. with honours and is a Justice of the Peace.