Meet Our Team

Our Team

Vale Kathy Woolley


Kathy joined the WRI team in February 2018 having previously worked on a variety of boards and senior management roles across sectors including media, health, education, regional development, government, event management, research and sales.

For a number of years Kathy also ran a consultancy specialising in services for not for profit entities, focusing on best practice techniques in management and governance.

In July the Board and Team at WRI were deeply saddened by the passing of CEO Kathy Woolley from a serious illness Kathy had been battling for sometime.

Kathy will be remembered for being a wonderful mentor, generous with her knowledge and for her wit and humour.

Kathy leaves a tremendous legacy behind at WRI, and more broadly in the regional development and local government professions having dedicated her career to building vibrant regional communities.


Dale Curran

Senior Research Officer

Dale is the senior researcher officer at WRI and has worked with organisation across many roles and projects over the past 10 years. Her expertise in research centres around consultation processes, her keen eye for detail and quality assurance. She has also managed the executive support, finance, management of the Board of Directors and maintenance of policies functions in the organisation and understands how businesses work.

Dale has extensive experience in administration, financial management, corporate governance and design. Dale brings a high level of organisational skill and efficiency to her role.


Chris Mullen

Research Officer

Chris is an Economics graduate from the University of New England and is currently undertaking a Master of Economics course. Chris has a great interest and passion for macroeconomics and microeconomics, policy analysis and regional development economics. Throughout his undergraduate degree Chris has gained skills in benefit cost analysis, business statistics and economic modelling. Having grown up on a property on the mid-north coast, Chris has a strong understanding of life in regional Australia and the issues rural communities face.


Heather Waters

Administration Officer

Heather brings strong skills in customer service from her experience working in the retail industry. She provides all the administrative support and is responsible for the creation of desktop published reports where required. In 2020 Heather was awarded the Skillset Joyce Hawkes Trainee of the Year and is now a finalist for the NSW Training Awards for Western NSW.

Heather is passionate about building strong rural communities and advocating for training and upskilling.

Our Board
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Juliet Duffy, MSMngt (USyd) MAICD


Juliet is an award winning, regional entrepreneur and can add WRI’s first
female Chair to her growing list of achievements. Juliet founded Regional EnviroScience, now rebranded EnviroScience Solutions Pty Ltd.
In 2018 Juliet was named NSW Regional Woman of the year, listed on both the Australian Financial Review (AFR) Fast 100 growing companies and the AFR 100 most influencial women.


Juliet was recently awarded a regional scholarship to undertake the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) course in 2020. Juliet is an expert in environmental and science. She holds a Masters in Sustainable Management from Sydney University, and has been managing occupational health and environmental projects since the 1980s.


Additionally Juliet has worked in Regional Development and in an Asia Pacific role for a Tier One IT & C Company working within the Asia Pacific region in Sydney, Singapore and Santa Clara.


Jo-Anne Strader, BComm (Hon Queens)


Jo-Anne is an accountant with senior level executive experience and is the Financial Controller for the global company DSM Nutritional Products Australia Pty Ltd.

Gavin Priestley


Gavin has an intimate knowledge of the issues confronting regional Australia which has enabled him to contribute in government (Federal and State) and the commercial arena. Extensive experience and qualifications in management has assisted him in developing remote
teams ensuring professional service delivery of complex technical solutions.

Gavin is passionate about bringing education and employment opportunities to the smaller towns in NSW. He has particular focus on training and employment for aboriginal youth in remote communities.