Board of Directors

GENCA is structured as a Company Limited by Guarantee operating under the Corporations Act 2001. Download GENCA's Constitution here.

GENCA's Board of Directors is responsible for monitoring the Company's progress. It operates in accordance with the Board Charter.  

The GENCA Board 2019-20-comprises:


Lea Wiggins - President

As a Registered Nurse who is passionate in gastroenterology nursing and advanced nursing practice that positively affects patient outcomes, Lea is committed to innovation in practice that better utilises nursing expertise and experience to provide best practice care for our communities. She began her nursing career in Cairns Base Hospital as an enrolled nurse, completing RN certificate based training at Nambour in 1992 and a certificate of the Fundamentals of Gastroenterology at QUT in its inaugural year, graduating with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2003.

Lea set up the bowel cancer screening program for the Sunshine Coast in 2007, also becoming involved in the development of the electronic recording and reporting system for endoscopy for Queensland. In 2009, she was awarded for a high achievement as a credentialled gastroenterology nurse at the COGEN examinations and in 2011 accomplished a Masters of Nurse Practitioner studies in chronic diseases management. In 2014 Lea was awarded the Trudy Rayner Memorial Scholarship by GENCA.  Lea currently works as a nurse practitioner /nurse endoscopist at Logan Hospital's endoscopy unit - the nurse endoscopist implementation and training site in Queensland.  

Throughout her gastroenterology nursing career Lea has been a committed GENCA member, having stepped down from the role as Queensland Regional Manager in October 2014 to join the GENCA Board.



Catherine Conway - Immediate Past President

Catherine has been a member of GENCA since 2001, participating on the NSW committee since 2005 including five years as Regional Manager. She enjoys the camaraderie and networking opportunities she has had as a GENCA representative whilst working with other committee members to provide high quality educational activities across NSW.
Catherine joined the Board in 2013 with the goal of further promoting gastroenterology nursing as a profession and help to maintain the standards of excellence GENCA has been working towards over its 30 year history. She has worked in gastroenterology and endoscopy for 18 years, recently expanding her area of interest into IBD. Catherine has a great passion for education and delivery of quality health services and feels strongly about inequity in health care services around the world. She also volunteers her services to increase knowledge and standards in the field of endoscopy in the Pacific Island nations.



Stephanie Buckton - Chair, IBDNA

Stephanie is a registered nurse and endorsed nurse practitioner, having completed her nursing degree and post graduate certificate in Gastroenterology at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and Central London. Stephanie was one of the first IBD Nurses in the UK and worked as a Nurse Consultant before a move to Australia in 2004. Stephanie completed her Masters of Nursing and Nurse Practitioner at the University of Queensland and endorsed as Australia’s first Gastroenterology Nurse Practitioner in 2007. She works both publically and privately as an IBD Nurse Practitioner on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Stephanie has played a pivotal role in the recognition and promotion of the IBD nurses role across Australia. She was the founding chair of the IBD nurses interest group and now sits on the GENCA board as a Director and lead of the IBD specialist interest group. Stephanie has published in major medical and nursing texts and has presented extensively throughout Australia and Europe. Stephanie is also an advisor on many steering committees and involved in the development of the IBD standards of care as a member of the CCA Quality of Care in IBD Committee.



Robyn Foulds


Sharon Gillespie

Sharon has had a diverse career working as a Nurse Unit Manager for Perioperative Services, Clinical Nurse Consultant for a busy surgical ward, Labour Room Midwife, Sales Specialist for Olympus and Erbe and is now a credentialed Advance Practice Nurse Endoscopist.

Sharon believes every decision regarding patient care should be based on achieving the best possible outcome for them within a risk management framework.

She is passionate about nursing and the advancement of the nursing profession. Sharon has seen enormous change over her 40 + year career however she believes that there is still so much more to be done to advance our position within the current health care setting.

Marian O'Connor

Marian joined the team at Taranaki Base Hospital, in January 2018 following a move from the UK. Marian works as an Autoimmune Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), and provides care to patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) predominately. The GI service at the Base Hospital consists of 0.1 FTE Consultant Gastroenterologist and a CNS providing care for approximately 500 patients with IBD whom live in the region.

Prior to living in New Zealand, Marian trained and worked in London, England for 18 years and spent the majority of that time working at internationally renowned St. Mark’s Hospital. Marian led the IBD nursing service there for more than 10 years and built the largest IBD CNS team in the UK with eleven CNS staff, in order to accommodate the cohort of 10,000 patients.

Marian is currently the co-chair of the NZ IBD Nurses group and the secretary for NZgNC (New Zealand Gastroenterology Nurses college). Marian is a past chair of NECCO (Nurses European Colitis & Crohn’s Organisation – 2011 – 2014), having been a founding member of NECCO since 2008. Marian also led on publishing the first N-ECCO consensus statements (2014) on the role of nurses in caring for patients with IBD.   Marian co-edited the first Inflammatory Bowel Disease Nursing book.

Marian has completed her Masters (MSc) in health studies and at the University of Bedfordshire in November 2014. Marian has also been awarded GI Nurse of the year 2012, and awarded an ECCO Mark Of Merit in 2014 for her work with N-ECCO.