Meet Our Team

  • Karen Thomas

    Karen Thomas

    Chief Executive

    Karen has been Chief Executive at SOLGM for almost 5 years and has responsibility for fulfilling SOLGM’s vision to promote and support professional excellence in local government.

    Karen’s previous roles have included Chief Executive at the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and Regional Assistant Commissioner at the State Services Commission where she led the development of the proposal to establish the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), a world-leading educational institution.

    Karen’s interests include supporting her teenage son in his competitive swimming. With an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” outlook, she qualified as a National Swimming Referee and now chairs the board of her son’s swimming club. She has also been the Deputy Chair of AFS New Zealand and twice served on the Board of Directors for her Rotary Club.

    Email Karen Thomas

    ddi 04 978 1282

  • Saba Howell

    Saba Howell

    Executive Assistant to the CE

    Prior to joining us Saba worked at the Blind Foundation head office in Auckland as National Administration Coordinator, previously working within event coordination at AUT University for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Auckland, and she brings to SOLGM her knowledge of project coordination, office and document management, and a passion for streamlined work processes.

    Outside of work Saba is enjoying exploring Wellington, including it’s best eateries and cinemas, with her husband.

    Email Saba Howell

    ddi 04-978-1280

  • Raymond Horan

    Raymond Horan

    Manager, Sector Improvement

    Raymond re-joined SOLGM in June 2014 taking on a new role, Sector Improvement Manager. He has spent most of the last 20 years in local government related roles, most recently with the Department of Internal Affairs.

    He describes his job as two-thirds, providing assistance to the local government sector and one-third providing advice to central government on local government matters. His ambition is to help develop a Local Government Act that doesn’t require changes every 18 months. He asks that you wish him well with this task.

    Email Raymond Horan

    ddi 04 978 1283

  • Jeanette Bullen

    Jeanette Bullen

    Manager, Marketing and Communications

    Jeanette leads the marketing and communications team responsible for providing a consistent, high quality and inclusive experience for all our members and other stakeholders.

    Prior to joining SOLGM in March 2014 Jeanette held senior communication, marketing and client services roles, primarily in the financial services sector and most recently on contract with Foodstuffs (Wellington) Cooperative and listed property company, NPT Limited. She has developed and implemented integrated strategic and tactical business, communications and marketing plans and brings to SOLGM experience in stakeholder engagement, acquisition and retention, brand development and management and e-marketing, particularly website development. Jeanette holds a BBS from Massey University.

    Outside of work Jeanette enjoys spending time on the many DIY projects at her 1950’s Paraparaumu Beach home.

    Email Jeanette Bullen

    ddi 04 978 1288

  • Marie Jeffries

    Marie Jeffries

    Manager, Finance and Administration

    Marie heads up SOLGM’s finance and administration functions with a focus on always looking for operational efficiencies.

    After graduating from Massey University with a BBS, Marie was employed in various accounting based business roles in both the private and public sector. In 2005 Marie became part owner in children’s rainwear company Toi Design and in 2007 took on the role of General Manager responsible for New Zealand marketing, planning, finance & administration and latterly manufacture in China. Marie brings to SOLGM a strong belief that accounting is the language of business and that her role is to act as interpreter.

    Marie is the mother to two teenagers, a regular user of social media and is currently loving inner-city apartment living.

    Email Marie Jeffries

    ddi 04 978 1287

  • Natalie Stevens

    Natalie Stevens

    Manager, Learning and Development

    Natalie is an experienced educator, facilitator and qualified marketing professional and has held a number of senior roles in Marketing both as a practitioner and academic..

    She has a passion for leadership development and executive education and a deeply held belief that learning and development should be practical and engaging while being evidenced based. She is known for creating interactive applied learning sessions that allow participants to experience measurable outcomes in their careers.

    Natalie comes to SOLGM as Learning and Development Manager after a successful tenure as the Director of the MBA programme at Victoria University of Wellington.

    Email Natalie Stevens

    ddi 04 978 1272

  • Richard Mabon

    Richard Mabon

    Senior Advisor, Sector Improvement

    Richard joined SOLGM in December 2016 as our Senior Advisor, Sector Improvement. His role in the sector improvement team involves contributing to the development of the sector good toolkit, with a focus on the legal compliance modules . He is delighted to have joined the team and looks forward to continuing his thirty-year association with local government, having held a variety of roles in that time with Waitaki District and Rotorua District (as it was then known) Councils.

    Richard is planning to combine his relocation to Wellington with study towards a Masters in Public Policy. He has one teenage and two adult children, and lives in fervent hope that Liverpool FC will again be Champions of England in his lifetime.

    Email Richard Mabon

    ddi 04-978-1284

  • Leeanne Templer

    Leeanne Templer

    Events Manager

    Leeanne is an experienced training and events programme developer and manager. Most recently she has worked in legal training and communications, although her experience also spans business and human resources.

    Leeanne’s role is to manage the delivery of SOLGM’s events and she is excited about the chance to learn more about local government. Leeanne holds a Diploma in Business in Marketing and Bachelor of Laws and Arts from the University of Auckland, and a Master of Laws from Victoria University of Wellington.

    Leeanne’s interests include travel writing, languages, going to the gym, walking and planning her next adventure

    Email Leeanne Templer

    ddi 04-978-1281

  • Owen Winter

    Owen Winter

    IT and Communications Advisor

    Owen joined SOLGM in April 2014 bringing with him extensive knowledge of the Local Government on Line (LGOL) legacy products. Many will recognise Owen from contact regarding, LGConnect subscriptions and the twice weekly LGNewsBulletin e-newsletter of which he is the editor.

    With a background in multi-media journalism – he holds a National Diploma in Journalism (Multi-media) (Level 5) from Whitireia Polytechnic where he won the award for Best New Media Journalist at graduation. Owen draws on his passion for digital integration and for utilising technology to enhance and foster communication and work processes.

    When he's not wrangling websites Owen is heavily involved in Toastmasters being both his club President and an Area Director for four CBD based clubs.

    Email Owen Winter

    ddi 04 978 1289

  • Samantha Morris

    Samantha Morris

    Events and Communications Administrator

    Originally from Auckland, Sam has relocated to Wellington and started with SOLGM as the Events and Communications Administrator. Recently returning to New Zealand from 3 years spent abroad in London UK and Kelowna Canada, Sam is pursuing her career in events and marketing and looking forward to gaining a further understanding of local government and authorities.

    Sam’s role is to provide support and assist in the delivery of SOLGM’s communications, on-line services, events and webinars. This includes producing the LGNewsBulletin and administering the vacancy board and LGConnect on-line discussion groups.

    Email Samantha Morris

    ddi 04 978 1273