Meet the Board

Jill Profit

Caroline Ellis

Pat Kingsland

Joanna Defries

County Chair

County Treasurer

County Vice-Chair

County Vice-Chair


Phillippa MacKinnon

Joanna Defries

Anne Styles

Maggie Eccleston and Rahat Aboobaker

Pam Wright

Rahat Aboobaker, Caroline Ellis, Pat Kingsland, Jill Profit

Rahat  Aboobaker

Maggie Eccleston & Phillippa MacKinnon

Lorraine Mead


Lorraine Mead

Joyce Spackman

Climate Change Officer

Combined Arts Officer

County Craft Adviser

Education and Development

Federation & Inter-County Quiz

Finance Committee

IFE Co-ordinator

Resolutions Officer

Safeguarding Officer

Social Media and Press Officer

Sports Officer

Yearbook Co-Ordinator


Beverley Hayes

Lorraine Stapleton


Catherine Abrahams

Newsletter Editor

Federation Secretary

Social Media and Press Officer

Federation Archivist


Rahat  Aboobaker
My career experience has primarily focused on financial and strategic management in both the public and private sector.  With a young family, we spent several years in Spain and Mexico, where I was privileged to be involved in many fundraising projects and improve my Spanish.  I joined Potters Bar Gems WI in 2020 as Vice Treasurer and subsequently joined the Board of Trustees in October 2022. This is an interesting and challenging time for the WI, and I am looking forward to taking an active part in its future.

Joanna Defries
I am a Yorkshireman and grew up in South Yorkshire when coal and steel were king. Came South to go to College when I was twenty, I am a musician and have done a lot of work in performing and theatre production.  Married a Londoner and stayed here! Two grown up daughters, three grandchildren. My strength on the Board of Trustees lies in organising events and the social/creative side of things, which I enjoy thoroughly.

Maggie Eccleston
I am a retired Government Servant having spent 33 years working in HM Inland Revenue, then HM Revenue and Customs.

I joined Bishop's Stortford WI in 2013, shortly after it formed.  In May 2015 I was elected to the committee and with another member planned their Programme for the next two years.  In May 2016 I was elected President, and re-elected in the following 2 years, standing down in May 2019.  In January 2020 I was co-opted onto Hertfordshire Federation Board of Trustees and agreed to train as a WI Adviser.  I was appointed as a WI Adviser in September 2021.  I've continued as a Trustee and Adviser to date. Within Hertfordshire Federation I chair the Members Advisory Team, I'm a Resolutions Officer, Denman Ambassador and a member of the Current Affairs and International Sub-committee.

My interests are in history, literature, art, music, handicrafts, and cookery.  I frequently volunteer as a room guide at Audley End House, a local English Heritage property.”

Caroline Ellis
I joined the WI in my 20s, as there was a morning WI where I lived in Wiltshire, and the afternoon WI ran a crèche for member’s children. When my children started school, I started training to be an accountant, and then when I qualified and started working full time, I transferred to an evening WI.

For those of you that remember Denman Fanfare in 1995, I was one of the “Marys”, which I remember with great fondness. I also set to sea with the WI on a Tall Ship in 2000, crossing the channel with 38 other WI members on an all-female crew to Cherbourg and back.

In my 40’s I came in search of the big city lights, and got as far as Watford.  I am now living in St Albans and I joined Bricket Wood WI in 2005, becoming their treasurer shortly after my arrival.  Heading towards my double 30, I decided to stand as Federation Treasurer to give me a new challenge, which I am really enjoying.

Phillippa MacKinnon
I joined the WI in 1974, and was a founder member of the first City Institute, St Albans City.  I was very soon elected as President and served several years as such, I have been on HFWI Sub Committees for many years, and on the Board of Trustees for some time. I am currently on the Current Affairs and International Team and the BOT.

Lorraine Mead
I joined The Causeway WI in May 2012, and was Treasurer for 3 years, before becoming President, and am now on my 8th Year.  I also run the WI Workshops for members making various Crafts, which is my passion.

I am also Chair of Sports and Leisure Team, Secretary of Arts and Crafts Team and a member of House & Premises Team.

Pat Kingsland
I grew up in West London moving to Stevenage for senior school, trained as a hairdresser, married and took on office work as the hours suited me better.  We have 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren which keeps us busy.  Having to move around with my husbands job I joined the WI in 1979, in the then Huntingdonshire.  On moving again in 1981, I became a member of Bicester WI in Oxfordshire.  Arriving  back to Stevenage in 2003 I joined Knebworth WI as Stevenage only had day time WI’s and I was working. There are now 3 evening and one afternoon WI’s in Stevenage.

When I first joined a WI committee I was the ‘tea bag’, in charge of teas, but since then I have been Secretary, President and any other job requested of me, but not Treasurer.  I was nominated in 2011 by Knebworth WI to join the Board of Trustees and have been ACWW rep, Chair of House, Vice Chair and County Chair, all of which I have enjoyed and endeavoured to do to the best of my ability.

I also enjoy baking, knitting, gardening and socialising, I’m not keen on ironing.

Jill Profit
I have owned and managed my property management business for 30 years, Deenside Management Ltd., working in the commercial and residential block management sector. My experience also lies in setting up and running Business Centres, my current one being situated in Hitchin.

For 7 years I worked as a volunteer bereavement counsellor for Cruse.  My mother was a staunch WI supporter and encouraged me to join Puckeridge and Standon WI (now closed) when I was 25 years old, recently married and moving to the area.

I am a member of Royston Meridian WI and a dual member of Royston Evening WI.

I joined the Board of Trustees in 1998 and served on Performing Arts, House and Premises, sub committees. I served as Chair of the Federation from 2015 to 2018.  I am the current Chair, appointed in October 2022. I am a member of the House, Premises and County Room and Sports and Leisure teams.  My interests are travel, theatre, cooking and walking.

Anne Styles
I have been a Trustee of Herts Federation for 10 years.  Having served on The Homecraft Committee (as it was then) and the Performing Arts  Committee, I am now Chair of Arts and Crafts and the County Crafts Advisor.

My background is TV where I was a costume designer and lately as an interior designer for building companies designing show houses. I have published two novels and am still involved in drama doing costumes for a local company in Bishops Stortford. I am a member and President of Braughing WI

Pam Wright
I have lived most of my life in Finchley, where I became a teacher, married and had twin boys.  When I retired I became a Lecturer for the National Trust.  In 2006 we moved to a smaller bungalow in Potters Bar as my husband was ill and later died. I joined Oakmere WI the same year and soon after was invited to join the Hertfordshire Federation Board of Trustees.

Since then I have given many talks to WI groups, I am on the Performing Arts Team (and have only recently retired as Chair) where I help with the events and currently organise the County and other quizzes. I find this voluntary work rewarding and have enjoyed meeting so many WI members over the years!


Arts & Crafts Team
Chair – Mrs Anne Styles
The Arts and Crafts Team  deals with all the craft and homecraft needs for the WI in Hertfordshire, bringing together teaching and exhibiting art and craft for members and the general public.

We welcome new members to join us on the Team, especially if you have a specific craft, but good organisers are very welcome too!.

Current  & International Affairs Team
Chair – Mrs Joyce Spackman
Law and order, history,  the environment, science, customs and culture of other lands, ACWW, local walks and talks; these are just some of the day and evening events organised by the Current  and International Affairs Team.

We are also responsible for briefing meetings when experts are invited to give us background information on the Resolutions, and two members are there to help any Institutes with the wording of any resolution they may wish to submit.

So, if you are interested, like organising and running events and being part of an enthusiastic team, come and join us on our Team and you will open a door to opportunity and a window on the world.

Performing Arts Team
Chair – Mrs Joanna Defries

If you are thinking of joining us this is what we do:

We are the team responsible for organising various social events in order to fund-raise for the Hertfordshire Federation. Our events include such things as tea parties, lunches, musical things, workshops, and we are always looking for inspiration for other events.  We would be delighted to welcome new team members to help us put on these.  Our meetings are always good fun and the coffee flows like wine and we end u8p putting on some very jolly gatherings! Call the office if you want to know more and they will give you my contact number to have a chat.

Members Support Team
Chair - Mrs Maggie Eccleston

The Members Advisory Team is made up from the Hertfordshire Federation's WI Advisers.

A WI Adviser is a WI member who has volunteered to be trained by the National Federation of WI's (NFWI) to enable her to support the growth and governance of the organisation.  She is appointed annually by NFWI to work under the direction of her local federation Board of Trustees (BOT).

She acts as the liaison between the BOT and the membership and officers of her federation WI's. The focus of her role is opening and closing WI's and supporting the growth of membership, but she will be able to advise WI's on a range of topics.  WI Advisers are required to attend all formations, enlargements, reformations and suspensions of WI's.  They can help you with planning programmes, resolutions, subscription fees, Annual Meetings, and will support you with the smooth management of your WI.

If you need help with any aspect of your WI, contact a WI Support Member.  They can also tell you how to train to become a WI Adviser.

You will find contact details in HFWI News, or you could contact Hertfordshire Federation Office.

House and Premises Team
Chair – Pat Kingsland

The House Committee is responsible for the maintenance of County House, the Hertfordshire Federation of Women's Institutes Head Office and the letting of the County Room available to anyone looking to hire a space to suit both individuals/clubs and commercial.

Sports & Leisure Team
Chair – Lorraine Mead

The Sports & Leisure Team organise a variety  of activities, including Petanque and scrabble, walking netball, gliding, archery, shooting, flash mob dance, outings - this year to Brick Lane Music Hall, board game afternoon with tea and cakes, and an annual day on The Farm with various crafts and other activities.  Our Team meetings are held infrequently either in person or by zoom.