Meet Our Team

  • Karen Thomas

    Karen Thomas

    Chief Executive

    Karen has been Chief Executive at SOLGM since September 2011 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 is a Chartered Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. She has been on several boards including Refugee Trauma Recovery and AFS Intercultural Programmes where she was the Deputy Chair. She now chairs the Capital Swim Club Board and is a swimming NZ qualified referee. Her other interest include reading and genealogy research.

    Email Karen Thomas

    ddi 04 978 1282

  • Tori Burleigh

    Tori Burleigh

    Executive Assistant to Chief Executive

    Tori is Karen’s Executive Assistant and provides support to our wider team.

    Originally from Te Horo on the Kapiti Coast, she has experience in regulatory and council environments. Finding her fit as an assistant complements her love of organisation and administration in her work and personal life.

    In her spare time Tori enjoys getting out in the fresh air, spending time with friends and walking the dog.

    Email Tori Burleigh

    ddi 04 978 1280

  • Helen Ballantyne

    Helen Ballantyne

    Manager, Business Services

    Helen joined SOLGM in July 2017 into the newly created Manager, Business Services role and has previously held a number of senior corporate service management roles mostly in the Not For Profit sector.

    Helen believes that the business services team has a pivotal role to play in ensuring SOLGM’s success and her role is to lead and manage the delivery of SOLGM’s business services including the finance, membership, marketing and communication and information communication technology functions.

    In her spare time Helen enjoys exploring her downtown neighbourhood’s many cafés and restaurants.

    Email Helen Ballantyne

    ddi 04 978 1288

  • 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

  • Fiona Purchas

    Fiona Purchas

    Manager, Professional Development

    Fiona Purchas joined SOLGM in September 2017 as Manager, Professional Development. Fiona brings a broad range of skills from the fields of learning and development, career transition and coaching, strategic planning, and facilitation to the role. Her background as a trainer on leadership courses, and as a leader in a range of not for profit and membership organisations over the last 20 years, contributes to SOLGM’s goal’s of leading, learning and linking.

    Fiona has worked with range of local and central government clients, as an Associate with a corporate training provider, and is looking forward to expanding her local government sector knowledge and applying her skills to benefit SOLGM members and the wider community whom they serve.

    Fiona enjoys mountain biking and skiing with her husband Chris, identical twin sons, and daughter. On fine days she can normally be found in her Miramar garden plotting how to beat the Wellington wind!

    Email Fiona Purchas

    ddi 04 978 1272

  • Dr Pim Borren

    Dr Pim Borren

    Principal Economist

    Pim has recently joined SOLGM as an economist (part time) after previously serving on the executive board for three years and as a vice president for one.

    Previously Pim was Chief Executive at Masterton District Council for four years in his first role in local government.He has had two previous CE roles in the public sector (institutes of technology) and worked as an economist for almost 20 years prior to that.He has a passion for economics and education and with his more recent experience in local government fits SOLGM range of offerings very well.

    Pim is a member of the Institute of Directors and has served on several commercial and non-commercial boards.He has a PhD in economics.

    Apart from always ensuring that work is fun, Pim plays golf, reads, and spends time with family in his spare time.

    Email Dr Pim Borren

  • Richard Mabon

    Richard Mabon

    Principal Advisor, Sector Improvement

    Richard joined SOLGM in December 2016. He loves his role assembling and sharing good and relevant practice so that people in local government have easier, more effective working lives. He is focussed on the SOLGM legal compliance modules, electoral readiness resources, and supporting G-REG the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative, He also has a hand in delivering some SOLGM events and policy projects.

    Richard is studying part-time towards a Masters in Public Policy. With wife Christine, he has one teenage and two adult children, and believes passionately that Liverpool FC will again be Champions of England in his lifetime.

    Email Richard Mabon

    ddi 04 978 1284

  • Leeanne Templer

    Leeanne Templer

    Senior Advisor, Professional Development

    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

  • Jane Wilson

    Jane Wilson

    Instructional Designer

    Jane has recently joined SOLGM in a newly created role of ‘Instructional Designer’.

    Jane’s background is in learning and development where she has held a number of roles in the government sector, and for the past 4.5 years she has worked as a self-employed contractor. She is passionate about instructional design, particularly in the digital e-learning space, and enjoys exploring new concepts and ways of doing things to engage learners.

    In her spare time Jane is busy providing a taxi service for her two teenagers! She also enjoys interior design and walking her two dogs Frankie and Delilah.

    Email Jane Wilson

    ddi 04 978 1270

  • Rebecca Moore

    Rebecca Moore


    Rebecca, or Bex as she likes to be called, joined SOLGM in September 2017 in the role of Accountant, and brings with her over 12 years of experience working in similar Financial and Administrative roles.

    Her background is in the implementation of financial accounting systems, the development of business processes, and establishing quality business analytics and monthly reporting.

    With a passion for facts and figures, she looks forward to providing seamless financial support to SOLGM as part of the Business Services team

    Email Rebecca Moore

    ddi 04 978 1287

  • Samantha Morris

    Samantha Morris

    Administrator, Professional Development

    Recently from Auckland, Samantha joined SOLGM in October 2016 in the Professional Development Team. Recently returning to New Zealand from 3 years spent abroad in London UK and Kelowna Canada, Samantha's role is to provide support and assist in the delivery of SOLGM’s communications, Professional Development programmes, Leadership Pathways, on-line services, events and webinars.

    Email Samantha Morris

    ddi 04 978 1273

  • Tamsen  Welsh

    Tamsen Welsh

    Administrator, Membership & Communications

    Tamsen’s role is to provide administrative support across the company in areas such as accounting, membership, sponsorship, communications, marketing, IT administration and customer service.

    Tamsen has lived in Wellington City for 6 years and loves the creative culture that it offers, she also enjoys being outdoors in Wellingtons beautiful natural surroundings.

    Email Tamsen Welsh

    ddi 04 978 1271

  • Ann Thomson

    Ann Thomson

    Contractor - Senior Advisor, Communications & Events

    Ann is contracted to SOLGM on a part-time basis to manage our Annual Summit and Gala Dinner & The Marketplace.

    Ann is a communications, event management and stakeholder engagement professional with broad experience across sectors including tertiary education and the public sector. She is now enjoying learning more about the local government sector and how membership organisations work.

    Email Ann Thomson