Our Team

Founder & Director of TEARS – Mara Glennie

Against all odds, Mara survived a life-threatening event involving grievous bodily harm. After she recovered she founded TEARS, an organisation that provides a support network for victims of rape and abuse. Her aim is to enable victims of rape and sexual abuse to find the assistance, comfort and compassion they need.

She is passionate about women’s rights and the fact that despite our progressive laws and many studies done on violence against women in South Africa, women still have very little protection.

She has been a crusader for social issues over the past six decades and the driving force and facilitator behind numerous development conventions and training initiatives to change the perception of the community and public in general around rape, abuse and Gender-based violence.

Charlene Roberson

TEARS Director & Chief Operations Officer – Charlene Roberson

Growing up in a broken household, where parents used the children as a form of weapon against each other, she was forced at the tender age of 6, to choose between her parents. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, she chose to go where ever her older sister went, and she eventually become her protector!

Currently, as head of operations she oversees donor relations, customer service and implementing technology solutions programs in the GBV Sector under TEARS foundation’s umbrella. She’s hardworking and motivated with a passion for helping Mara succeed in her dream: A dream where no victim is left behind. A dream where women and children can be free, and safe from harm.

Charlene is an administrative professional with over 22 years’ experience, whose diverse skills and qualifications make her an asset to the TEARS team. She’s built her career in a variety of roles and industries, mostly in small companies where she was not just the admin but also gatekeeper, technology whiz, and marketing guru. She’s not only used to wearing many hats, she sincerely enjoys it; she thrives in an environment where no two workdays are exactly the same. She is adaptable, conscientious, enthusiastic with a ‘can do’ attitude.

TEARS Director – Michael Johnson

Michael is a loyal member of the TEARS Team and has been a director since its inception. Michael is an entrepreneur offering a wide range of support services in the field of high technology electronics. He enjoys a reputation for his expertise in providing practical solutions to complex engineering challenges. Although his main activities are in the business sector he supports the TEARS Foundation with business expertise and financial aid whenever he can, and is inspired by the TEARS innovations and dedication to fill a definite need in our society. For the individual to flourish we need a healthy and free society and TEARS provides a much needed support system for the individual overwhelmed by a sometimes uncaring collective. Michael feels honored to be associated with the work of TEARS and its contribution to society.


TEARS Director – Kerry Marshall

Financial Management- Wits business school

An accomplished writer and art director, with a specialty in design, Kerry’s career in advertising and marketing spans 30 years. In that time she has developed campaigns for blue chip clients across a variety of industry sectors. Along the way she has had the opportunity to contribute to various social and community initiatives. She is known for her empathy and deep commitment to any project she undertakes.


Lynn Pamensky : 40+ years of experience in Human Development

Holistic Guidance and Natural Health Care

Lynn Pamensky is a practitioner in Natural Holistic Healing and Guidance registered with The Natural Healers Association of South Africa (NHASA). She is an integrative health professional. One aspect of her support focus is dedicated to persons who have been raped or abused in the many different forms abuse takes.

Her work is also in general Natural health well-being and well balance of her clients. She is an Holistic Guidance and Natural Health Care professional. In this context Lynn includes Ethno Health Care, Metaphysical Para Guidance and Philosophy.

Lynn is also a Human Resources Generalist practitioner registered with The South African Board For People Practices (SABPP) in support of general corporate Human Resources support including Wellness programmes, guidance and development of the people within the business arena.


TEARS Advisor – Dr Aquina Thulane

MBChB, Bsc MedSc (Hons) Reproductive Medicine, MBA, MPPM

Aquina’s professional experience within the healthcare industry spans the public and private sectors as well as the developmental and non-governmental sector. Aquina’s leadership competencies are in the areas of political-economy of health, politics, economics and public policy management. She is the Technical Specialist on Health Economics and Advisor on National Health Insurance (NHI) in the Department of Health. Aquina previously ran a full-time family practice in Tembisa, focusing on Reproductive Medicine, Reproductive Health including on Gender-Related issues within the township.

TEARS Advisor – Debbie Harrison

Organisational Development Director – Life Online

Debbie Sue is the Organisational Development Director of Rape Crisis Pietermaritzburg, Natal.

During her 20 years with Lifeline she has been responsible for the establishment of an independent Childline in Pietermaritzburg, partnering with the local City Council to establish a referral network of resources for HIV positive persons, and mentoring and supervising the placement of trained AIDS counselors in all 22 City Clinics.

Debbie serves on various related councils and committees, and is the author of several papers and publications within the field.


TEARS Advisor – Dr Corné Davis

Senior Lecturer – Department of Strategic Communication

Corné Davis is a senior lecturer at the Department of Strategic Communication within the School of Communication at the University of Johannesburg. She has completed her D Lit et Phil with UNISA in 2011, with a focus on the social systems theory of Niklas Luhmann.

She has presented papers at both international and national communication conferences Her field of expertise is social systems theory, communication research related to gender-based violence (GBV), and the development of communication campaigns aimed at GBV prevention and intervention. Her third-year students won the AMASA award for their “Rape does not Exist” campaign in 2013. She has been a Trustee of Matla a Bana, a well-known NGO who campaigns against child rape and secondary abuse, since 2013. She has represented Matla a Bana in the Vodacom Change the World program and has been a keynote speaker at various SAPS FCS units events in Gauteng through Matla a Bana. She works with other NGOs, such as TEARS Foundation and the Open Disclosure Foundation. She has been collaborating with UJ’s Transformation and Community Engagement centres and has been participating in their GBV programs. She has developed and presented GBV programs attended by more than 300 UJ students. She has facilitated and presented various keynote addresses in collaboration with UJ Transformation Unit, UJ Community Engagement, and UJ PsyCad. She has completed the GBV program with the Foundation for Professional Development in 2017. Her current research focuses on the need for private sector participation in issues related to GBV, and the de-stigmatisation of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and domestic violence (DV) through collaboration with TEARS Foundation and other GBV organisations who deal with IPV and DV. Her scope broadened over the past two years to include LGBTQI+ issues. Her primary objective is to contribute to the development of employee support programs and community action networks aimed at addressing GBV at the community level through inter-organisational collaborations (IOCs), cross-sectional partnerships (XSPs), and community action networks (CANs). Employee wellbeing and support has become another key area of focus in her career. She successfully completed the UJ Transformation Unit Woman Leadership Development program in 2018 and her team’s proposal for addressing GBV at UJ was voted second best.