Announcing JWB’s Next Leadership for Our Second Decade

November 6, 2023
Category: Communications | People Profile | Press Release

We are delighted to announce that Cathy Heeley will succeed our Founder Douglas MacLean as Executive Director and Member of the Board of Justice Without Borders from December 2023. JWB looks forward to continuing its collaboration as Doug’s work expands in the migrant worker sector.

Doug announced his departure on 2 November, stating,

“I have exciting news! After 10 years of leading Justice Without Borders, I will be stepping out of my role as Founder and Executive Director to pursue our work at a cross-regional level. Our newly selected Executive Director, Cathy Heeley, will be taking up the baton and leading JWB into its next decade of service. She comes with deep experience in the region and a passion for our work. I am very excited to see where she takes JWB next, and I will always be available to support her informally as she moves forward.”   

“Doug has been the bedrock of JWB since he founded the organization in November 2013. He has brought the organization from an idea to incredible success in its first ten years. We are delighted that Doug’s work at JWB has led him to new opportunities in building access to justice for migrant workers beyond our own sphere. While we are very sad to lose him, we are excited to partner with Doug in his new area of work, and continue our collaboration going forward,” Gene Bulmash, Chair of the Board of Directors said.

About Cathy Heeley

Cathy was appointed after an extensive search in South East Asia with the support of Major Lindsey & Africa. As JWB starts its 11th year of operations Cathy is well-placed to support our growth journey into its next phase.

“JWB’s work is so very important: Serving migrant workers and those who support them to create a fairer, more equal world. I am both delighted and intimidated by the challenges ahead of us. The JWB team, including its volunteers and amazing supporters, gives me great confidence we can change the world.” Cathy said.

Cathy is an Australian lawyer who started her career with Allens Arthur Robinson. Cathy moved to an inhouse role covering South East Asia with Kraft Foods in 2005. Subsequently, Cathy became Region Counsel for Asia Pacific at Mondelez International.  More recently, Cathy was with Aidha, a Singapore NGO focused on financial education for migrant domestic workers where Cathy has volunteered since 2017. Cathy has degrees in Law and Economics and a deep commitment to the well-being of migrant workers.

The Road Forward

JWB has been successful in building access to justice that is truly as mobile as migrant workers themselves. Beginning in 2014, JWB developed the initial strategy for enabling workers who had faced harms overseas to pursue claims against their abusers, even after they left their country of work. Successful claims led to real compensation for real people. Lessons learned led to best practices that are making such claims more efficient, effective and affordable for workers. Success has changed the lives of those who have survived harm, allowing them to exit cycles of debt and to hold those who abused them accountable.  JWB has launched successful year-long mentorship programmes that transfer their expertise to caseworkers on the frontlines. Today, more community organisations are able to help more workers in ways that were not possible before. 

Cathy and the team will be taking these foundations forward, as the work grows into a movement for access to justice that is just as mobile as migrant workers.

Gene added, “We sincerely thank Doug for the extraordinary work he has done in founding JWB and establishing it as a critical partner in the communities of practice that support migrant workers from Southeast Asia.  Doug has shown awe-inspiring commitment to the cause of migrant workers across a long career.  In taking JWB from an idea to a reality, Doug has demonstrated his capacity for securing real, measurable impact. We look forward to supporting Doug as he continues this work at a higher level going forward. It has been a great honor and a pleasure to work with Doug and we look forward to continuing our collaboration going forward.

A big thank you also to Major Lindsey & Africa for their help throughout this process.

About Justice Without Borders

JWB is a regional non-profit building access to justice for migrant workers, even after they return home.

JWB’s work empowers women to hold abusers accountable and secure just compensation. Serving key migration routes in Southeast Asia, JWB has operations across Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines. The organisation operates at the intersection of economic empowerment and access to justice.

Key work includes:

  • Addressing the issues that survivors and their lawyers face in bringing cross-border claims
  • Scaling up impact by educating and empowering a growing network of leaders in migrant worker communities, frontline NGOs, pro bono legal aid, and government agencies.
  • Sharing best practices and resources across the region, drawing JWB’s work and collaboration with leading law firms and corporate organisations.

In the past decade, JWB has successfully litigated all of the most common harms that migrant workers in its target countries face. Experiences from this impact litigation have started making access to justice just as mobile as migrant workers. The lessons learned have fuelled skills-building trainings that have turned local caseworkers into effective advocates for transnational claims. JWB’s first decade of success now sets the stage for a movement that will turn the extraordinary of transnational justice into the ordinary. We invite you to join us in our next decade of work. 

#accesstojustice #justicewithoutborders #communityempowerment 

#jwb10 #teamjwb #SupportingMigrantWorkers #IsOurSharedVoice