Our Values

Who We Are

Our Vision

What are we working towards?

Communities free and healed from the trauma of human trafficking, slavery, and abuse.

Our Mission

Why do we exist?

To do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to transform the lives of those impacted by deep trauma and to end the cycle of trafficking, slavery and abuse.

Our Values

What do we stand for?

Respect: We believe in the right of all people to be heard and treated with respect and dignity.

Integrity: We are committed to acting ethically and honestly, striving to do the right thing at all times and in all circumstances.

Compassion: We want compassion and kindness to be evident in our attitude, communication and in active, practical ways.

Excellence: We hold ourselves to high standards, listening and learning from those we support, our partners and each other, to continuously improve all that we do.

Our Goals

Our Goals are intended to provide focus. To achieve each of these goals there are a range of strategies we will pursue and outcomes we will measure and hold ourselves accountable to.

1. Transform Lives

As active members of the global Hagar network, we will draw on and provide expertise, evidence and an understanding of emerging needs to transform the lives of those who have experienced trauma.

2. Advocate for Change

We will advocate for the Australian community – through its government, companies, civil society and citizens – to play a leadership role in combating human trafficking and slavery within our region and the world.

3. Grow

We will engage more Australian partners to resource and support Hagar’s work as we grow and diversify our income.

4. Nurture Excellence

We will invest in and equip our people to build a high-performing, cost-effective organisation that consistently reflects our values.

Our People

We cannot accept that, today, there are more people in slavery than at any other time in human history. That is why we are committed to playing a leading role in bringing slavery to an end and helping communities heal and thrive after the trauma of trafficking, slavery and abuse.

Our Board

Connie Ridley

Chairperson

Connie Ridley has a background in banking, finance and securitization and has worked in Australia, the US and several Pacific Island nations. She is passionate about social justice and committed to bringing change to vulnerable people and communities in Australia and overseas. For the past 30 years Connie has used her experience in finance to serve not for profits organisations in roles such as Board Member of Library for All, recently concluded 15 years as a Board member of Opportunity International and previously served for 22 years as a Board member of Emerge Women’s and Children’s Network including serving as Chair for 8 years. She has been awarded Honourary Life Governor of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

Connie Ridley

Chairperson

Connie Ridley has a background in banking, finance and securitization and has worked in Australia, the US and several Pacific Island nations. She is passionate about social justice and committed to bringing change to vulnerable people and communities in Australia and overseas. For the past 30 years Connie has used her experience in finance to serve not for profits organisations in roles such as Board Member of Library for All, recently concluded 15 years as a Board member of Opportunity International and previously served for 22 years as a Board member of Emerge Women’s and Children’s Network including serving as Chair for 8 years. She has been awarded Honourary Life Governor of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

Marita Ham

Secretary

Marita has been a barrister for more than a decade, with areas of practice including victims of crime, family violence and matters in the Children’s Court. Prior to her appointment to the bar, Marita held legal roles in Cummins South Pacific, Matthew Shaw and Associates, Australia Post and the Department of Justice.

Marita Ham

Director
Marita has been a barrister for more than a decade, with areas of practice including victims of crime, family violence and matters in the Children’s Court. Prior to her appointment to the bar, Marita held legal roles in Cummins South Pacific, Matthew Shaw and Associates, Australia Post and the Department of Justice.

Carla Webb-Sear

Treasurer

Carla brings years of Executive Finance experience across the technology, media and music industries to this critical role. She is currently the Chief Financial Officer at Network Ten, and previously held a range of executive finance roles at Fairfax Media. She has also worked at EMI Music, and started her career at PwC in Australia, the UK and the US.

Carla Webb-Sear

Treasurer
Carla brings years of Executive Finance experience across the technology, media and music industries to this critical role. She is currently the Chief Financial Officer at Network Ten, and previously held a range of executive finance roles at Fairfax Media. She has also worked at EMI Music, and started her career at PwC in Australia, the UK and the US.

Catherine Jacob

Director

Catherine is the Founder and Director of Footprint Consulting, specialising in business diagnostics, vision setting, strategy development and business improvement. Prior to this, Catherine established and was the General Manager for Façade Solutions, a business for BlueScope Steel. Catherine has also worked as a Senior Management Consultant for the Renault-Nissan Group. In her early career, Catherine worked as a structural engineer across Europe and the Middle East.

Catherine Jacob

Secretary
Catherine is the Founder and Director of Footprint Consulting, specialising in business diagnostics, vision setting, strategy development and business improvement. Prior to this, Catherine established and was the General Manager for Façade Solutions, a business for BlueScope Steel. Catherine has also worked as a Senior Management Consultant for the Renault-Nissan Group. In her early career, Catherine worked as a structural engineer across Europe and the Middle East.

Suzanne Williams

Director

Suzanne brings legal experience as a former Law Firm Partner and General Counsel for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games; and more recent expertise in human resource and governance consulting gained at leading International Talent Advisory Firm, Korn Ferry. She has consulted to and served on the Boards of a number of International NGOs, educational institutions, sporting and church organisations, including South Head Anglican Parish where Suzanne is currently a churchwarden.

Suzanne Williams 

Director
Suzanne brings legal experience as a former Law Firm Partner and General Counsel for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games; and more recent expertise in human resource and governance consulting gained at leading International Talent Advisory Firm, Korn Ferry. She has consulted to and served on the Boards of a number of International NGOs, educational institutions, sporting and church organisations, including South Head Anglican Parish where Suzanne is currently a churchwarden.

Our Executive Team

Merewyn  Foran

Executive Director

Merewyn is an accomplished fundraising, marketing and communications professional with 19 years’ experience working across the not-for-profit and corporate sectors, including 10 years in management roles. She has extensive experience in the non-for-profit sector in Australia, particularly a track record of delivering great fundraising results for the RSPCA, Hanover and World Vision. She has also held senior executive roles in various organizations which is backed up with academic qualifications in business, advertising, marketing, and strategic planning. Merewyn most importantly has a real passion for international development and the work of Hagar and our objective to free and heal communities of the trauma associated with trafficking, slavery and abuse.

Merewyn  Foran

Executive Director
Merewyn is an accomplished fundraising, marketing and communications professional with 19 years’ experience working across the not-for-profit and corporate sectors, including 10 years in management roles. She has extensive experience in the non-for-profit sector in Australia, particularly a track record of delivering great fundraising results for the RSPCA, Hanover and World Vision. She has also held senior executive roles in various organizations which is backed up with academic qualifications in business, advertising, marketing, and strategic planning. Merewyn most importantly has a real passion for international development and the work of Hagar and our objective to free and heal communities of the trauma associated with trafficking, slavery and abuse.

Want to join our team? Check out current opportunities to work or volunteer with us on our Careers page.

Our History

How did Hagar first begin?

Hagar was founded in 1994 in response to the prevalence of extreme domestic and community violence affecting women and children in post-civil war Cambodia.

Hagar Australia was incorporated in 2004, initially in Perth, before moving to Melbourne.

In 2008, Hagar began operations in Afghanistan , supporting women and children facing the worst forms of gender-based violence and human trafficking. The following year, Hagar established an office in Vietnam to care for women who were affected by the growing magnitude of exploitation and abuse.

With almost 25 years’ experience, Hagar has transformed into an internationally renowned leader in recovery services for survivors of human trafficking, slavery and abuse.

What is the significance of our name?
The Hebrew name Hagar means “one who flees” or “one who seeks refuge.” The story of Hagar and her son, Ishmael, is the story of millions of exploited, abused, and trafficked women and children.

Around 2000 BC, Hagar worked in a foreign land as a domestic servant for a rich man called Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Sarah was unable to bear children and, following a common practice of the time, Sarah offered her servant to Abraham. When Hagar became pregnant, Sarah grew jealous and threw her out of their home. An angel found Hagar alone in the desert. He promised a blessing on her child, naming him Ishmael, which means “God hears.” In response Hagar declared: “You are the One who sees me.” The story of Hagar is known to many faiths including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Hagar is committed to providing sanctuary and hope to women and children like Hagar and Ishmael, walking with each one on the whole journey.

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