About us

Board’s Secretariat

Vanessa Simpson

Vanessa Simpson is the Board’s Tumuaki/Pouroki (General Manager/Registrar). She is responsible for Secretariat Leadership and the regulatory functions of the organisation. Vanessa joined the NZ Psychologists Board in October 2022 bringing a background of leadership and governance across the ambulance and health sectors.

Ann Connell

Ann Connell (Registered Clinical Psychologist, practising) is the Board’s Kaitohutohu Matua – Mātai Hinengaro (Senior Psychology Advisor). She advises the Board, the Secretariat, and the wider psychology community on professional aspects of complaints, competence, fitness, and registration matters, as well as any other issues arising that impact on the psychology profession. She takes a lead role in setting up Competence Reviews and Programmes, and is a member of the Complaints, Competence, and Fitness (CCF) Committee and Accreditation Committee. Ann has previously worked as a Clinical Psychologist for DHB mental health, addiction, and intellectual disability services. She is the usual first point of contact for psychologists who want to discuss professional matters of concern.

Dr Jane Freeman-Brown

Dr Jane Freeman-Brown (Registered Clinical Psychologist, practising) is another of the Board’s Kaitohutohu Matua – Mātai Hinengaro (Psychology Advisors). She advises the Board, the Secretariat, and the wider psychology community on professional aspects of complaints, competence, fitness, and registration matters, as well as any other issues arising that impact on the psychology profession.

Jane is of Ngai Tahu iwi, and is a registered clinical psychologist with 17 years of clinical experience in mental health and forensic settings. In addition to her clinical experience she has steered her career to towards the interface between ethics and the law and has previously worked as a senior advisor to the Department of Corrections with a focus on psychological practice and psycho-legal issues. Jane has previously been the chair of the ethics committee of the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists.

Gina Giannios

Gina Giannios is the Board’s Pouroki Tuarua (Deputy Registrar). Her role includes considering applications for registration and practising certificates, and working with the Professional Advisors to manage conduct, competence and fitness cases. Gina’s role also includes the administration of the Board’s accreditation processes for university- and agency-based training programmes as well as the coordination of the Continuing Competence Programme annual audit.

Becca Jennings

Becca Jennings is one of the Board’s Kaiwhakarite Rēhita me te Paerewa (Registrations and Standards Coordinators). Becca has come from a long background in Emergency Services and now processes registration applications in accordance with the HPCA Act and Board policies. She also supports the Board in ensuring the Board meets its obligations in terms of the principal purpose of the HPCA Act. Becca also helps to administer those sections of the HPCA Act that deal with competence, fitness to practice, and other concerns about registered psychologists.

Dana Calvert

Dana Calvert is the Board’s Kaiāwhina Rehita me te Paerewa (Registration and Standards Assistant). Dana has a background in policy and regulatory environments and is a Bachelor of Health graduate majoring in population health, policy, and service delivery. Dana is currently working for the board on a part-time basis and is assisting with policy updates and rebranding.

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is the Board’s Kaiāwhina (Administrative Assistant). She undertakes general office duties, maintains records and computer files, co-ordinates meetings and functions, undertakes projects, processes applications for registration from overseas-trained practitioners, and assists the rest of the team as required. She draws on extensive experience from her previous career as a retail banker with a strong focus on customer service and administrative processes.

Rachael Heslop

Rachael Heslop is the Board’s Kaitohutohu Rautaki me nga Kaupapa (Strategy and Projects Advisor). She has been working in professional regulation since the early 2000s and has held statutory and senior positions in several regulatory authorities. Rachael is currently contracted to the Board on a part-time basis. She is involved in progressing several of the Board’s strategic projects

Brian Emery

No Ngati Maniapoto, Ngati Matakore, Ngati Haua, Ngati Kauwhata. Ko Brian Te Rauroha Emery. He is an independent consultant, auditor and surveyor of health services for Nga Paerewa Health and Disability standards. Previously he was General Manager Support Services for Te Roopu Taurima o Manukau January 2012 to May 2013. Brian was Quality and Risk Manager from 2004 to 2012 for Te Roopu Taurima and Eastern Access Community Health, Melbourne. From 1997 to 2003 he was Manager Maori Mental Health, and Group Manager Maori Health at Counties Manukau DHB. From 1999 to 2005 he was auditor/surveyor/team leader for Quality Health NZ. He has served on several boards for schools, education and training, health services, disabilities, and Maori health.