Leonie Coates

Leonie Coates died from ovarian cancer at Nurse Maude Hospice, Christchurch on May 22, 2006. We pass on our kindest wishes and respect to the Coates family on the 10 year anniversary of her passing.

Leonie’s daughters, Rachel Brown and Jackie Whiting launched the Foundation on May 22, 2007. Leonie desperately wanted to help other women and their families through education and awareness, and to support others with the disease. Leonie’s husband Allan gifted $10,000 from her estate and this funding along with the sheer hard work and unwavering commitment of her daughters to honour her wishes, meant New Zealand women finally had their first dedicated gynaecological charity.

The Leonie Coates Gynaecological Cancer Charitable Trust known as the New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation (NZGCF) is now entering its 10th year. Leonie’s original wishes are still at the heart of the Foundation's work.

Rachel Brown, BA

Rachel Brown (nee Coates) lives in Christchurch with her partner. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Canterbury University and in 2007 co-founded the Foundation with her sister, Jackie in memory of and following the wishes of their mother, Leonie Coates.

In addition to her current role, Rachel has worked in recruitment for several years in New Zealand and overseas. Rachel also worked for six years as an Account Manager for several multinational companies across both private and public medical facilities, in both Pharmaceuticals and Medical Technology. In these roles Rachel gained valuable experience in the fields of Oncology, Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology, Respiratory, Blood Collection and Intravenous Technology.  Rachel then became Director of her own company, working as a Personal Insurance Consultant, with a focus primarily on women's personal health related insurances.

Rachel has also worked as a volunteer telephone counsellor and face to face as a youth counsellor.

Jackie Whiting

Jackie Whiting is sister to Rachel Brown and co-founder of the Foundation.

Jackie is a director of a family-owned construction company and lives in Christchurch with her husband and two daughters. She is actively involved in the community including participating in school fundraising and committee events. Jackie has a strong social and business network in the Canterbury region.

In May 2006, Rachel and Jackie lost their mother, Leonie Coates, to ovarian cancer. It was in Leonie’s memory that the Leonie Coates Gynaecological Cancer Charitable Trust (now the New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation), was established in May 2007.

Past Board Member 2013-2016

Catherine’s professional career has seen her work in a range of senior HR roles across several sectors. Her most recent role was as General Manager Human Resources for Summerset Group, a publicly listed Retirement Village operator. Catherine has also held roles in the Financial Services Industry, including with the National Bank and Sovereign and as a senior consultant for an international Management Consultancy firm.

Having recently retired, Catherine and her husband Steven now divide their time between Queenstown and Wellington where they both contribute to a range of charitable organisations. Catherine has been a Trustee with the Foundation since 2013. Over many years Catherine has worked through a number of gynaecological issues and has a particular passion for ensuring that everyone can access quality information about their condition that will assist them in their decision-making. She is also committed to fostering on-going research in this field.

Past Board Member 2015-2017

Amy joined the Foundation as a Trustee in July 2015 bringing more than 20 years journalism and public relations experience.

She has worked in both the public and private sectors across industries spanning health, banking, telecommunications, non-for-profit, FMCG, manufacturing, education and the arts. A blend of analytical and creative thinking, Amy thrives on developing communication strategies across consumer and corporate disciplines, finding clever solutions which strike the right balance between standing out in front and mitigating risk. She has represented some of the world's best multinational brands both in New Zealand and Europe as well as iconic locally owned and operated Kiwi companies. Amy joined the Foundation soon after experiencing pre-grade 3 cancer which was caught in time and she wanted to use her expertise to raise awareness of gynaecological cancer so that she could help women in all stages of the disease.