Our Board

YWCA Canberra operates under a strong governance model and is governed by a board of 12 company directors who define the strategic goals of the organisation.

Our Board of Directors operates according to a Code of Ethics and Proper Practice. A governance manual guides the work of the Directors and establishes the relationship between the Board and the Executive Director.

Our Constitution guides our work and sets out the fundamental principles under which our organisation is governed. It was last amended at the Annual General Meeting on 20 October 2014.

We actively seek potential Board candidates who have a belief in and commitment to our values and vision, and a commitment to work for the greater good of the organisation.  We also look for potential Board candidates who possess the knowledge, expertise, experience and networks relevant to our needs.

To register your interest in joining our board, please contact the Executive Director on 02 6175 9900 or canberra@ywca-canberra.org.au.

President - Jude Burger

Jude first became involved with YWCA Canberra through the Board trainee program in 2004, and over the following ten years served two years as Treasurer, four years as Vice President and Chair of the Nominations Committee for three years. Her business “Think Act Relate” is a proud sponsor of the She Leads Diploma.

Jude lauds the YWCA Canberra Board’s commitment to young women, and is a firm believer in quotas because they work.

In addition to her volunteer commitments for the Y, Jude is also President of the Tesla Owner’s Club of Australia, and volunteers for the Food Intolerance Network.

Vice President - Sarah Burr*

Sarah was elected to the Board at the 2014 AGM. She has a B. Environmental Management in Sustainable Development (Hons) from the University of Queensland, a Grad. Cert. in Public Administration from the University of Canberra, and is currently completing a Master of Agribusiness via distance through the University of Melbourne. In addition to her role on the Board, Sarah is a member of the Y’s Finance Committee and the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group. Sarah works full time at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Indigenous Affairs, is a member of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Advisory Council, a foundation member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Canberra Hub, and plays the violin in the National Capital Orchestra. Sarah believes women can do anything.

Vice President - Skye Saunders

Dr Skye Saunders of the Australian National University College of Law is a leading expert in gender issues in rural Australia. Her work, Whispers from the Bush – The Workplace Sexual Harassment of Australian Rural Women (Federation Press, 2015), is the first in Australia to focus on the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment in rural workplaces. Recently, Skye also collaborated with the Victorian Women’s Trust to produce a short film called Grace Under Fire, based on her book. Skye is also the Acting Director of ANU’s professional legal education programs, sits on the ANU Academic Board, and the Australasian Professional Legal Education Executive Committee. In her capacity as a senior legal academic, she recently taught a comparative US/Australian Gender Law program at the University of Alabama. Skye is also a regular speaker at national and international conferences and events, and is a nominee in the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards (University of Canberra).

Treasurer – Betty Ferguson

Betty was co-opted to the Board in late 2007 following a resignation, then elected to the Board and Treasurer position in October 2008. Prior to this, she had participated in the Finance Committee as a member of the organisation. After completing her term, Betty was re-elected to the Board in 2016. Betty’s strong financial expertise has been a welcome addition to the Board, and her continuing involvement in the Finance Committee is of great benefit.

Executive Director – Frances Crimmins

Frances has a passion to see women achieve their potential and shape their communities.

Frances’ innate leadership ability was first recognised after she left a regional high school that had a notorious reputation, and was named both Canberra Trainee of the Year and Australian Trainee of the Year.

Moving from hospitality into a human resources role in the health sector, Frances’ natural drive and pursuit of excellence saw her establish her former employer as an Employer of Choice for Women, and ACT Employer of the Year for Apprenticeships & Traineeships.

Frances was drawn to YWCA Canberra in 2010 as she had always identified as a feminist, and has a strong belief in social justice, which she attributes to her mother’s influence. Having faced discrimination during her own career journey, she is now committed to being a strong voice for women.

Frances was YWCA Canberra Director of Operations before being appointed Executive Director in 2013. She is the Treasurer of WESNET, former Co-Chair of Anti-Poverty Week in the ACT, and is a member of the ACT Women’s Services Network, and the Canberra Business Chamber Social Enterprise Taskforce.

Frances is the former Chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Committee for Women, and former Board Director of No Sweat Fashion.

In 2015, Frances received an Edna Ryan Award for advancing the status of women in the ACT.

Frances loves living in Canberra with her husband and children, and is committed to YWCA Canberra making a real and lasting difference to this community. She is conscious that the organisation stands on the shoulders of the women who have gone before, and is keen to take it strongly into the future.

Julia Burns

Julia was elected to the Board in 2015. She was previously the Executive Director of the Australian Government’s Office for Women and has addressed the United Nations General Assembly on gender equality. Julia now runs her own HR consultancy company, having previously worked in the public sector including as a senior executive, for many years. Julia is a strong feminist, committed to supporting young women to be great leaders.

Kate Chipperfield*

Kate completed a Board Traineeship in 2011-12 and was elected to the Board in October 2012.  She has a Bachelor of Social Science and skills in higher education policy development, communication, program management and funding assessment.  Kate is also a valued member of our Finance Committee.

Sophie Fisher*

Sophie was a Trainee on the Board of YWCA Canberra in 2016-17 and is also a member of the Y’s Finance, HR and Membership sub-committees. She holds a Bachelor of International Relations and is studying a Master of Asian and Pacific Studies at the Australian National University. Growing up in Tasmania, she has always been passionate about the environment and currently works for the Australian government managing international fisheries stocks. Sophie volunteers her spare time as a tutor for young migrant and refugee women in the community and has recently used a Great Ydeas grant to establish a learn-to-ride program, Girls on Bikes. As a young woman with lived experience of mental illness, she is also a Youth Ambassador at Reach Out.


Marni Pilgrim*

Marni was elected to the Board in 2016 after completing the 2015-2016 YWCA Canberra Board Traineeship Program. Marni heads up the Digital Engagement team at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and has extensive experience in audience engagement, online communications and advocacy. Marni is a proud feminist and is deeply committed to human rights and equality. She has a Bachelor of International Communication from Macquarie University and a Master of International Law from the Australian National University.

Hannah Wandel*

Hannah was elected to the Board in 2015 after completing the 2014-2015 YWCA Canberra Board Traineeship Program. Hannah is a social entrepreneur, public speaker, and is the Founder/CEO of Country to Canberra. She is also a Social Policy Adviser at the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, a Canberra Global Shaper through the World Economic Forum and a UN Gender and Youth Taskforce Member. Hannah has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and a Bachelor of Media, and has a wealth of experience in communications and the non-profit industry, and has an unwavering commitment to the empowerment of young women.


Carina Zeccola*

Carina was co-opted to the YWCA Canberra board in 2017. Carina is a Partner of Griffin Legal, a commercial law firm specialising in legal services for not-for-profit, government and business. Carina graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Laws and Actuarial Studies. In 2016, Carina completed the YWCA Canberra SheLeads Diploma in Leadership and Management. Carina is strongly committed to seeing women of all ages and backgrounds empowered and supported to reach their fullest potential and occupy leadership positions.

* Denotes young women (aged 30 years or under) at time of appointment. The YWCA maintains a commitment to ensuring that 30% of all leadership positions and decision-making bodies are held by young women.