Associations Forum National Conference

30 April - 1 May 2024, National Convention Centre Canberra



David Pocock

Independent Senator for the ACT

Having migrated from Zimbabwe with his family as a teenager, David went on to captain the Wallabies and Vice-Captain the Brumbies as part of a stellar rugby career in which he has been awarded for leadership on and off the field. With a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture, David also has a track record as a powerful advocate on issues ranging from climate to marriage equality. He has been involved in multiple small businesses and has co-founded numerous not-for-profit community initiatives in Australia and overseas, including with his wife Emma. In 2021, David attended the COP26 climate summit and led The Cool Down campaign that saw over 470 Australian athletes from 40+ sports call on the Australian Government to lift its ambition on climate change. Upon returning home, he announced his run as the community-endorsed Independent Senate candidate for the ACT. After campaigning on a platform of integrity, doing politics differently and making Canberra count, David was successfully elected at the 21 May 2022 Federal Election.

Andrew McKellar

Chief Executive, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Andrew McKellar is the chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) – the nation’s largest business organisation, representing employers of every size and sector in Canberra, across the country, and around the globe. Under Andrew’s leadership, ACCI champions policies that enable businesses to innovate, invest, and grow, promoting Australia’s economic strength and international competitiveness. His current appointments include membership of the board of Australian Made Campaign, the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration, the Respect@Work Council, and the World Chambers Federation General Council. Previously, Andrew served as secretary general for mobility at the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, based in Paris; chief executive of the Australian Trucking Association; chief executive of the Australian Automobile Association; and chief executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries. 

Tanya Barden OAM

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Food and Grocery Council

Tanya Barden is the CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, the leading national organisation representing Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing sector and is an Independent Director of Foodbank Australia. Throughout her career Tanya has worked in government and the private sector on policy, economic, regulatory, strategic and sustainability issues that impact various industries, including the telecommunications and energy sectors. Tanya also previously ran her own online organic grocery business. Tanya holds Bachelor of Economics/ Bachelor of Arts degrees, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Luke Achterstraat

Chief Executive Officer, Council of Small Business Organisations Australia

Luke Achterstraat is the CEO of the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA), the only national peak body dedicated exclusively to the interests of over 2.5 million small businesses in Australia.He has advised two federal government ministers and appeared before parliamentary inquiries on behalf of both federal and state industry groups.Most recently he was the NSW Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia and was also appointed by the NSW Government as the inaugural Chair of the NSW Expert Housing Advisory Panel.Luke is passionate about small business, having helped co-found and lead the talent disruption business Commtract. His grandfather emigrated to Australia from the Netherlands in 1951 and started a small business, a legacy that helps inform Luke on the vital role small businesses play in building livelihoods and communities across Australia. 

Innes Willox

Chief Executive, Australian Industry Group

Innes Willox is Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group, a leading industry organisation representing businesses in a broad range of sectors including manufacturing, construction, transport, defence, ICT and labour hire. Innes was appointed Chief Executive in May 2012. Innes is a Board Member of Australian Super, Chair of the Migration Council of Australia (since
2022 known as Social Policy Group) and President of the Global Business Coalition. Prior to joining AiGroup in 2008 he served as the Australian Consul General to Los Angeles from 2006 to 2008, Chief of Staff to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, from 2004 to 2006 and earlier was Manager of Global Public Affairs for Singapore Airlines based in Singapore (2000-04). Innes began his career as a journalist. His positions included Chief of Staff at The Age newspaper in Melbourne and Chief Political Correspondent for The Age in Canberra.

Alex Robson

Commissioner and Deputy Chair, Productivity Commission

Alex Robson is a Commissioner and Deputy Chair of the Productivity Commission. He commenced in March 2022 for a 5 year term. Professor Robson has a broad range of experience in academia and the public and private sectors, most recently as Associate Partner at EY (Ernst and Young). Prior to that, Professor Robson served as Australia’s Ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He also served as Senior Economic Adviser and Chief Economist to the former Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, and has held a number of other positions, including Managing Director at FTI Consulting; Director at Deloitte Access Economics; Director of the Economic Policy Analysis Program at Griffith University; Lecturer in Economics at the Australian National University; and as a graduate economist at the Commonwealth Treasury in Canberra. Professor Robson’s teaching and research has been in the fields of advanced microeconomics, game theory, public economics and public choice, law and economics, and macroeconomics. 

Vase Jovanoska

Chief Executive Officer, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Vase Jovanoska is the current Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG). Born in Macedonia and migrating to Australia, Vase understands the challenges faced when migrating to a new country and is passionate about social justice and equity. She is committed to improving the quality of health services and community wellbeing. Vase has many years’ experience across the corporate and not-for-profit sectors, including over five years at the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM), two years at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), and until recently, a Board Member of DPV Health and Girl Guides Victoria.

Prof Andrew Conway

Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Public Accountants

Andrew leads the renewal and growth of the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), and its Group entities, the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) and the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), with stakeholders in over 80 countries.
As CEO, he is responsible for creating and delivering value to 46,000+ IPA members and helping small business navigate social, environmental and economic change.A former Chief of Staff at the Australian Government Treasury, Andrew holds a record for being the youngest CEO of a public entity, appointed at just 28 years of age in 2009.  In 2001, Andrew was awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal recognising his contribution to Australian society and government in representing Australia on the international stage.
IPA was awarded the Association of the Year for 2023 at the Associations Forum Annual Awards!

Narelle Clark

Chief Executive Officer, Internet Association of Australia

Narelle Clark is a highly experienced Internet industry expert and is the Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Association of Australia. Narelle has a broad technical and strategic view of Internet scale ICT delivery, having been a user, builder, operator and researcher ofInternet networks, through her extensive career working with major telcos, research agencies and consumer bodies. Narelle also has a leadership and governance background in the not-for-profit sector and, until recently, held a five-year tenure on the board of thePublic Interest Registry which operates the Org top-level domain.Before joining IAA in 2019, Narelle was the Principal Consultant with Pavonis Consulting where she advised companies in telecommunications regulation, operations and technology. She sits on the engineering advisory board of the University of NSW.

Zena Burgess

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Psychological Society

Dr Zena Burgess is an experienced non-executive Director and Chief Executive Officer with significant experience across commercial and social enterprise organisations. She holds a PhD in OrganisationalPsychology and Master’s Degrees in Business Administration and Education. Zena was awarded Fellowship of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 2013. Prior to joining the APS in 2020, Zena was the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) for 11years. During that time she oversaw a transformation of the RACGP to be the largest, most influential and innovative medical college in Australia. Zena has a passion for building human capability in individuals, organisations and systems. Zena has driven new strategic directions and change implementation, achieving a culture of high-performance and innovation in organisations.

Julia Whitford

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Health and Safety

Julia brings over 20 year's knowledge and experience from membership-based organisations, primarily in the not-for-profit sector. Currently as CEO of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety(AIHS), Julia continues to demonstrate significant achievements in cultural transformation, member experience and loyalty, commercial growth, and customer and stakeholder relationships. She has built and executed business strategy and provides the leadership and vision necessary to effectively grow organisations to ensure their financial strength. She previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer at the Australian HR Institute (AHRI). Julia holds an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business.

Steve Knott AM

Chief Executive, Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association

Steve Knott was appointed as Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association ( AREEA ) Chief Executive in 1997. On behalf of AREEA’s members, Steve represents Industry workplace advocacy to government, opposition and other relevant stakeholders at both the state and federal government level. Steve also leads AREEA’s extensive array of employment consulting services including workplace relations and human resources management.These services are provided on a national basis to AREEA’s extensive member network of mining, oil and gas and service related companies, from large blue chip corporations to small businesses. Steve is well known for his advocacy on employment legislative that facilitates employers and employees entering into productive enterprise-based working arrangements. Prior to promotion to the Chief Executive role, he served two years as AREEA’s West Australian Manager and one year as Tasmanian AREEA Manager. Before joining AREEA, Steve served 10 years in senior management positions with the Hydro Electric Commission Tasmania, including the roles of Industrial Relations and Human Resources Manager Steve previously served as a member of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council, the International Labour Advisory Committee, and was on the ACCI board from 2015-2023. In 2017, Steve was appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to the resources and energy industries, to the advancement of women, and to industrial relations”. 

Lindsay McGrath

Chief Executive Officer, Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia

Lindsay McGrath is a highly regarded leader in the world of associations. His leadership at SPASA has led to remarkable achievements, including a spot on the 2023 Australia Financial Review Fast 100 list. Under his guidance SPASA has been a finalist in the Association Turn Around of the Year and External Campaign Categories at the 2023 Association Forum Awards, and Lindsay himself was a finalist in the 2023 CEO Magazine Not for Profit (CEO of the Year) category. His role as one of the seven AUSAE 2023 Influencers of the Year highlights his commitment to empowering association professionals in Australia and New Zealand.

Kersten Gentle

Chief Executive Officer, Frame and Truss Manufacturers Association of Australia

Kersten Gentle is the CEO of the Frame and Truss Manufacturers Association of Australia, a position she has held since 2009. Kersten has passionately worked in the Forest and Wood Products sector for over 30 years, representing timber communities, forest contractors and over the past 14 years timber frame and truss manufacturers throughout the country. In 2021, Kersten was honoured to be inducted into The Association Forums Hall of Fame which recognised her work with Industry and Community Associations over 30 years. Kersten is a qualified facilitator, mediator and is a Civil Marriage Celebrant in her spare time. She is passionate about addressing our climate crisis by addressing emissions within the built environment through FTMA’s environmental arm, Carbon Warrior. Living in Healesville, in the beautiful Yarra Valley, Kersten is happily married to Scott and has three adult children. Her life changed on the 15 March this year with the arrival of her first grandson Austin Scott Gentle, and she loves being a doting Nan.

Keir Paterson

Chief Executive Officer, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria

Neighbourhood Houses Victoria represents over 400 neighbourhood houses and community centres in metro, regional and rural Victoria, visited by 160,000 community members each week. He joined NHVic as CEO in September 2022, having spent time in senior management roles in public health and mental health, as well as consulting and financial services. He is active in his local community as a volunteer journalist, tutor and advocate, and is a past board member and President of Bicycle Network, the peak body for commuter and recreational cyclists. With 25 years' experience across corporate, government and NFP in management, alliances, business development, stakeholders, community relations and marketing, Keir is focused on improving the financial sustainability of the community sector and its peak bodies through meaningful service innovation for NHVic members and their communities. He holds an MBA from Melbourne Business School. 

Stefanie Jackson

Chief Executive Officer, Change Management Institute

Steffi Jackson is the CEO of the Change Management Institute, the global peak body for the Change Management profession, which supports its members in pursuing professional excellence and connects a vibrant change community across 43 countries. Steffi has almost 20 years of national and international experience in change management across multiple industries, from Management Consulting to Insurance and Financial Services and the Not-For-Profit sector. Steffi joined the Change Management Institute in 2018 to support key Strategic Initiatives and was appointed as the Institute’s inaugural CEO in 2021. In 2023, Change Management Institute was awarded Small Association of the Year at the Associations Forum Annual Awards.  

Bryce Wakefield

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of International Affairs

Dr Bryce Wakefield is the chief executive officer of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University. He has lived, worked and researched in the United States, Japan, Europe and New Zealand. He trained as a political scientist with particular expertise in International Relations and the international affairs of East Asia.

From 2008 to 2012 Bryce was the associate responsible for Northeast Asian programs at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He was also a university lecturer with tenure in area studies and international relations at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Bryce is regularly quoted in the media. His work and views on political issues in Asia and Australasia have appeared in such outlets as BusinessWeekDer SpiegelFinancial Times, SCMP, the Telegraph, de Volkskrant and the Washington Times, as well as on the ABC, ACN, SBS, BBC News, CNBC, CSPAN, 7News Australia, and Sky News Australia and in such Japanese outlets as the Daily YomiuriNHK and the Sankei Shimbun.


Tegan Carrison

Executive Director, Australian Association of Psychologists

Tegan Carrison is approaching 5 years as the Executive Director at the Australian Association of Psychologists, the national peak body for psychologists. Tegan has spent two decades in health care ranging from hospitals, community health, clinical education, the university sector, government and national project management. Tegan also brings a wealth of diverse experience in business leadership, along with governance and advocacy and is passionate about the use of technology as an enabler for the work of associations.

Kylie Walker

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering

Kylie is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. She works with Australia’s leaders in applied science, technology and engineering to advise decision-makers, lead crucial national conversations to solve complex challenges, and support Australia’s technology-powered, human-driven future. As the past CEO of Science & Technology Australia, Kylie led campaigns to increase investment in Australian research and development, and created the acclaimed Superstars of STEM program, championing Australian women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Kylie is a visiting Fellow at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science. She has been Chair of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, is a member of Chief Executive Women, and has been named one of AFR’s 100 Women of Influence, for her work on improving equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM.

Melissa Brown

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Business Events Association

Melissa Brown is a business development and marketing executive who has been driving performance outcomes for multinationals, not-for-profit, SME and start-up organisations for over 20 years. Her work has spanned multiple industries and geographies in core and growth markets, including roles in the UK, USA and Hong Kong. She has worked with renowned organisations such as Telstra and Talent International; recently returning to Australia to contribute her expertise to a cyber security start-up, Sapien Cyber. She played a pivotal role in managing the Australian Chamber of Commerce in London, where she built a significant associate membership and advocacy program through skilful stakeholder engagement. Melissa prides herself in connecting sales, marketing, brand and product strategies to create value for organisations in their pursuit of growth; whilst her passion for building teams and proven track record in managing diverse stakeholders position her perfectly as a champion for the varied organisations and interests that form the business events industry.

David Bushby

Chief Executive Officer, Commercial & Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia

David has experience in both the public and private sector, with thirty years’ background in the practice of law, as a company director, in government and community relations, law making, politics and diplomacy. He is an admitted solicitor to the High Court of Australia and served as a Federal Senator for Tasmania from 2007 to 2019, where he was Chief Government Whip of the Senate from 2014 onwards. David was for many years, Chair/Deputy Chair of the Senate Economics Committee where he took a particular interest in the banking, finance and superannuation sectors. Between 2019 and 2022, David served as Australia’s Consul-General in Chicago. Most recently, he was assisting the state Government in Tasmania. In October 2023, David commenced as the Chief Executive Officer of the Commercial & Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia (CAFBA), a position in which he relies and draws on his experience in small business, as a lawyer and an economist, government relations, law making and diplomacy. In particular, David’s understanding of government, regulation and policy development and implementation, place him ideally to assist with the public policy advocacy aspect of his role as CEO of CAFBA.

Cindy Smith

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Association of Social Workers

Cindy has led the AASW since 2016. She is a qualified social worker with almost 20 years’ experience in positions including leadership in community health and out-of-home care, managing a counselling team, senior management of a Child, Youth and Family Directorate in community health, and Executive Director of a not-for-profit organisation. Cindy is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management, and a member of Chief Executive Women. She is a Certified Health Executive, holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a Master of Health Administration, and a Graduate Certificate in Health Service Management.  Cindy served as a AASW Board Director from November 2011 to June 2016.

Cath Hart

Chief Executive Officer, Real Estate Institute of Western Australia

Cath Hart brings over two decades of leadership in both government policy and private sector advocacy to her role as Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA). Her diverse experience across major industry brings a fresh perspective to REIWA’s role as the peak body for the real estate sector in WA, and its positive impact on the broader community. Cath is passionate about WA being the best place in the world to live and do business, and advocates for policies that support a stable property market. Her former roles include Executive Director of the Housing Industry Association WA, and Director of Advocacy for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in WA. Cath began her early career as a journalist before taking on Ministerial advisory roles within the WA Government. Cath also holds positions on several industry boards including the WA Government’s Housing First Homelessness Advisory Group, Property Industry Advisory Committee, and was formerly Chair of the WA Government’s Housing Industry Forecasting Group.

Tony Mahar

Chief Executive Officer, National Farmers' Federation

Tony comes from a farming background in South Western Victoria and has worked in and around agriculture for the majority of his working life. He has experience in
working with global food manufacturers, major Australian agribusinesses and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture. He was appointed NFF CEO in March 2016 after holding the positions of Trade and Economics Manager and Deputy CEO. He has tertiary qualifications in agricultural commerce from Sydney University and a masters degree in industry policy from Australian National University.

Helen Duncan

Chief Executive Officer, Migration Institute of Australia 

The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) is the peak membership body for migration advice professionals.  It represents both Registered Migration Agents and lawyers, and provides professional support, continuing professional development, member events, conferences, and advocacy on migration matters to its members. Helen has held the position of CEO at the MIA since July 2023.  She has been a Registered Migration Agent for close to 24 years and is a Life Member of the MIA.  Prior to joining the MIA, Helen was Immigration Director at Newland Chase, a global immigration firm where she primarily assisted employers in meeting their labour needs through the sponsorship of overseas workers.  Helen has also managed her own small business and lectured in migration law at the Australian National University. Helen is passionate about being a collaborative leader and attributes many of the skills required to be a successful leader, to her time as a stay-at-home mum, when time management, conflict resolution, creativity and active listening, were of great importance. 

Leanne Raven

Chief Executive Officer, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia

Leanne has been acknowledged for her innovation in the not-for-profit sector as the winner of the 2013 Telstra Business Women’s Award in Victoria for Business Innovation and national finalist. Prior to taking up the Chief Executive role with Crohn’s & Colitis Australia in 2018 Leanne was the national CEO of Red Nose (formerly SIDS and Kids). She has led change and transformative growth in not-for-profit organisations to build capacity and sustainability, volunteering for many years in the disability sector. Leanne enjoys building purpose-driven companies that are creating social impact and making a difference in our lives and communities. She has qualifications in Science, Business Management, Nursing, Education and Company directorship. She was honoured to be appointed in 2014 as an Associate Professor with the University of the Sunshine Coast Queensland, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering. She has been a self-employed strategy and management consultant with executive, non-executive director and senior management experience in primary health, community and human services, education and health professional regulation. As a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors she has held directorships on 15 companies and served as Chair on 4 of these companies including Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local, the Australian Nursing Council, ISPID (International Society for the Study and Prevention of perinatal and Infant Death) and ENBIS Pty Ltd, a computer software marketing business. 

Greg Harford

Chief Executive, Canberra Business Chamber

Greg Harford is the Chief Executive of the Canberra Business Chamber, the peak body for business in the ACT. Previously, he was the Chief Executive of Retail NZ, the peak body for New Zealand’s retail sector, and brings a unique perspective of leadership across the associations sector in both countries. 

Anita Campbell

Chief Executive Officer, Nursery and Garden Industry NSW and ACT

Anita Campbell is the Chief Executive Officer at Nursery and Garden Industry NSW and ACT (NGINA). She has over 20 years’ experience across 6 different membership-based industry associations where she has built and maintained strategic relationships with a range of key stakeholders. She specialises in communication, corporate governance and developing high quality business and policy strategies that are aligned with short-term and long-term objectives. 

Paul Vardy

Chief Executive Officer, Golf Management Australia

Paul is the Chief Executive Officer of Golf Management Australia. As CEO Golf Management Australia is in the process of merging five state members into the national body.
GMA supports leaders in golf and club management, primarily through professional development and health and wellbeing events. Members are typically general managers or senior managers of golf clubs.   The process of merging the state bodies was assisted by a period of five years whereby GMA managed the affairs of the association on behalf of the states, growing services, membership, internal capability, revenue and connections. 

Robert Lucas

Chief Executive, Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries Australia & New Zealand

Robert Lucas is an experienced industry association executive. With over 28 years’ senior executive experience working within and leading industry associations and business groups. He has a proven track record in turning around poorly performing associations and growing them into sustainable, relevant organizations. He is known for his deep knowledge of contemporary business issues and being a straight shooter and is well known as a leader in inspiring and motivating his teams to get things done.
On the 11
th of September 2023 he became the Chief Executive of the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries Australia & New Zealand and the Wall and Ceiling Institute the only dedicated training provider for the wall and ceiling industry in Australia. He is currently well down the path of restructuring the wall and ceiling association space in Australia by leading the merger of 5 State based Associations with the National Association to form AWCI Australia Ltd the new peak body for the Wall and Ceiling Industries in Australia. He has graduate and postgraduate tertiary qualifications in Business Administration, Management, HR/IR and Education and Training.

Steve Walker

Chief Executive Officer, Boating Industry Association of Victoria

Steve Walker is an experienced and successful CEO and event organiser. In CEO terms Steve has led the Boating Industry Association of Victoria for the past six years, and prior to that held the same role at Yachting Victoria for the same period. He’s also had extensive CEO experience at Tennis New Zealand and Baseball Victoria. Major events have always been central to these and other roles with Steve holding leadership/event director roles in international tennis tournaments, world cup sailing regattas, a major boat show, and many other events. Steve will discuss the ‘pivot’ of the Melbourne Boat Show in 2022 and 2023, how the event succeeded after a three-year hiatus, and his approach toward delivering upon the event’s KPI number 1. 


Miranda Grace

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Association of Practice Management

Miranda Grace has more than 20 years’ experience in executive roles. Known for her active leadership style and ability to manage various projects at once, Miranda is committed to delivering exceptional results while fostering a culture of collaboration and excellence. She is passionate about healthcare and the Association she leads.


Libby Day

Chief Executive Office, Defence Teaming Centre

Libby Day is a CEO and Non-Executive Director with over 20 years’ experience in complex and highly regulated industries at a national and international level. Libby is experienced in leading member-based organisations and in high tech advanced manufacturing industries including medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Libby’s experience spans multinationals in Australia and Asia Pacific in the Commercial Health Sector and with Not-for-Profit organisations. Libby is the Chief Executive Office of the Defence Teaming Centre, a membership based industry association. Prior to this she was the Chief Executive Officer with the Australia Medic Alert Foundation, is the Deputy Chair of the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre and is an advisor to the MedicalTechnology Association of Australia. 

Jodie McKenzie

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Counselling Association

Jodie McKenzie is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Counselling Association, the largest registration body for counsellors and psychotherapists in Australia with approximately 16,000 members. Jodie has cultivated a versatile skillset, navigating a rich career path that has seen her evolve from a counsellor specialising in grief and loss to assuming pivotal leadership roles in expansive corporate landscapes, particularly in the realms of IT program/project management, and people leadership. Her proficiency spans strategic development, meticulous planning, governance, stakeholder engagement, change management, and risk and issues management. Beyond her corporate endeavours, Jodie is a fervent advocate, consistently championing the recognition of counsellors and psychotherapists as mental health practitioners to the Australian Government. Her compelling speaking engagements seamlessly weave together her forward-thinking vision, reflecting a profound commitment to advancing and strengthening the counselling profession.

Jill Brookfield

Chief Executive Officer, Association of Australian Certifiers

Jill Brookfield CAE GAICD is the CEO of the Association of Australian Certifiers (AAC). She has extensive experience in stakeholder relations and leadership, successfully driving the strategic direction and growth of the AAC since 2005. Under her guidance, the AAC has become the key organisation representing registered certifiers in New South Wales.
Her track record includes expanding member services, developing professional development training, and achieving consistent growth in membership. She has built strong relationships with government ministers, legislators, and industry stakeholders, enhancing the AAC's reputation. She has effectively advocated for industry reform, demonstrated crisis and media management skills during challenging times, and passionately worked towards creating a more accountable and professional construction industry. Jill is a Certified Association Executive and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Laurie Leigh

Chief Executive Officer, National Disability Services

Laurie Leigh is the CEO of National Disability Services, the peak body representing disability providers across Australia.

Since training as a registered nurse in the UK, Laurie has worked across many facets of health and human services, from mental health, safety and quality, primary health, aged care and disability. Currently she works across the disability sector, representing and advocating for disability services providers to ensure there is a viable, sustainable system that provides people with disabilities access to high quality services which support their inclusion in all aspects of life.

Laurie is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and brings many years’ experience of corporate and clinical governance. She is a registered nurse, has a Mathematics BA(Hons) and a Masters in Health Services Management.

Scott Wiseman

Chief Executive Officer, P&Cs Qld

Scott Wiseman is currently the CEO at P&Cs Qld, the peak body supporting and representing 1264 P&C Associations and more than 900,000 state school parents and wider school communities through-out Queensland. As a strong leader within the sector, Scott is a dynamic advocate for parents as partners in education and building strong, sustainable, and successful P&Cs that support state schools to Give Every Child Every Chance in education and in life.
Displaying a dynamic leadership style that motivates, Scott is responsible for managing all facets of P&Cs Qld, driving the mission, operations, and engagement with the board of directors and aligning the day-to-day work of staff with values around diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
With more than 25 years’ experience in not-for-profit organisations across a range of industries and member bodies, he has completed business degrees, an MBA in Accounting and Finance and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). His strengths are in member engagement, governance, and advocacy with a passion for seeing organisations continue to grow through effectively representing members and increasing value to members.

James Goodwin

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Airports Association

James Goodwin has a background in corporate affairs and public policy with a particular interest in the transport, aviation and infrastructure sectors. He was appointed Chief Executive of the Australian Airports Association in early 2020, at a time when the aviation industry was being heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The AAA represents the interests of more than 330 airports and aerodromes as well as 150 corporate members who make up the aviation value chain. James leads its members in advocating for national policy which ensures we have a thriving aviation system that is safe, secure, competitive, environmentally responsible and with a skilled workforce to benefit all Australians and visitors. Prior to his role at the AAA, Mr Goodwin was the Chief Executive of Australia’s leading vehicle safety advocate, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) since 2015.

Robert Barnes

Chief Executive Officer, Betty Bot

From his first association role at 19 years old in Darwin, NT, Rob has worked with associations for 30 years in Australia, New Zealand and the US. Formerly CEO of Australian Canoeing, Surf Life Saving NZ (Northern Region) and General Manager – Operations for Fitness Australia, Rob is now a co-founder and CEO of based in Washington DC. He has been known to talk about associations and technology with a mouth full of marbles under wet cement.

Branko Ninkovic

Board Director, Australian Information Security Association

Branko has been an Australian Information Security Association (AISA) member since 2008, he has held prior roles on the ASIA National Board as an advisor between 2009 and 2011, volunteered his time in several capacities to help build and advance the industry through AISA. Prior to joining the board, Branko was the Sydney Branch Chair and was honoured to receive the AISA Branch Chair of the Year in 2019 in response and recognition to his leadership. Outside of his work in AISA and Dragonfly, Branko also served as a volunteer and founding committee member for the inaugural Sydney FAIR Institute Chapter founded in 2018. Branko is the founder and VP of Cyber Security at Dragonfly Technologies. Prior to Dragonfly’s inception, Branko held several Technology Leadership roles in Macquarie Bank and Brambles Australia.

Christine Pope

President, Australian Traditional Medicine Society

Christine Pope is an experienced Naturopath and Nutritionist based at Elemental Health St Ives. Christine is also the President of The Australian Traditional Medicine Society, a natural therapy association with over 9,000 members and a director of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia. (COSBOA). Christine is an experienced trainer and presenter and was Head of Nutritional Medicine and Homeopathy at Nature Care College at St Leonards from 2012-2015 and has also setup and run “Transition to Practice” for ATMS. More recently she has founded her own training program “Ageing Outrageously”.
Christine has over twenty years experience in her earlier career in Risk Management and Venture capital and is able to utilise those skills in her board roles. At ATMS she has focussed on building referral streams for natural therapists with expanded social reach, upgrades to the website for “Find a Practitioner” and a national marketing campaign “Natural Medicine Week” which had over 4 million views in 2023.

Jenny Lambert OAM

National Policy and Research Advisor, Accommodation Australia

Jenny has over four decades of experience in policy and advocacy, with a particular focus in the tourism and hospitality sectors.  She commenced her industry association career as the industrial and research officer at the national office of the AHA followed by project manager and deputy CEO for the tourism industry training advisory body. Jenny took on her first CEO role as head of Restaurant & Catering NSW and then National R&CA. Jenny then headed up three industry bodies, being Meetings & Events Australia, Nursery & Garden Industry and the National Tourism Alliance. For over a decade to 2022, Jenny served as a policy director with one of Australia’s peak business bodies, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, specialising in skills, migration and employment and served on the government’s 457 visa review panel in 2015. Jenny joined Accommodation Australia last year as their National policy and research advisor, and still works actively in skills, employment and migration policy.   

Kylie Fiddy

Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary, Australian Library and Information Association

Kylie Fiddy is the Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the national peak industry and professional body for the Australian library and information sector. Kylie has more than 30 years’ experience as a Certified Practising Accountant working across diverse industries, including mining, publishing, merchant banking, statutory authorities and not-for-profit.  She has also worked extensively as a consultant implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems in Australia and internationally. Kylie is passionate about process improvement, and its ability to unlock efficiencies and cost savings for the not-for-profit sector. 

Luke Toy

General Manager - Advocacy, Australian Medical Association

Luke Toy is the General Manager of Advocacy at the Federal Australian Medical Association and oversees the organisations political advocacy strategy, as well as the AMA’s Research and Reform, Communication and Fees List units. He was previously the General Manager for Advocacy for a National Health NGO, and prior to that had been the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser to a Federal Minister in both the Health and the Defence portfolios. Luke has worked on national security issues in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and on pharmaceutical policy in the Department of Health. Luke was also a speechwriter to the Hon Anthony Albanese MP and the Hon Catherine King MP in the Infrastructure portfolio. He has a first-class honours in Communications (Media/Politics), was the recipient of the University Medal for his journalism thesis, has a Master’s in Public Policy and a Master’s in Diplomacy, and is an Adjunct Professional Associate at the University of Canberra. 

Julie Hood

General Manager Member Relations & Events, Australian Energy Producers

Julie Hood is General Manager of Member Relations and Events at the Australian Energy Producers is responsible for ensuring the organisation delivers maximum engagement and information sharing for its members. She also directs the events team, delivering top-quality oil and gas industry events, in particular the flagship Australian Energy Producers Conference & Exhibition. This 4 day event boasts 8000sqm of exhibition space, over 20 corporate sponsors, 150 speaker program and close to 3000 delegates annually. It is one of the largest annual rotating conference and exhibition in Australia.

Julie’s background was built as an Event Manager at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre for 5 years, gaining key operational and logistical experience before moving to APPEA for the past 23 years– which is has recently rebranded to Australian Energy Producers. Responsible for event delivery and quality, liaising with over 70 suppliers and close to 200 corporate members, Julie's unique strength lies in her ability to navigate the intricate details of an issue while simultaneously strategizing for its long-term success. Her multifaceted approach ensures not only flawless execution by her and her team, but also the advancement of strategic objectives.

Julie Allen

Head of Events, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

Julie has over 35 years experience in Events and Corporate Communications. She cut her teeth with projects such as the Qantas Float, Ampol/Caltex merger, the launch of Optus and Optus Vision, product launches for organisations such as Arnott’s, Goodman Fielder, Uncle Toby’s, Telecom New Zealand, Volkswagon, Joop, to name a few. She managed her own PCO business for 14 years, specialising in turning association events into financially sustainable models. Her role at AusIMM includes the strategic management and direction of the conferences portfolio within the resources sector to deliver professional development, as well as managing an in-house PCO team. She has been responsible within organisations for creating high-performing teams, implementing processes, leading change management and assisting in adjusting company culture. Her passion lies in organisational strategy and turning companies into successful financial and cultural entities..


Helen Dehen

Director, Hydora Lane Communications

Helen Dehen is a communications consultant working with non-profits, charities and other for-purpose organisations. Prior to moving into communications, she was a TV journalist and producer for more than 15 years. She’s worked at SBS World News, 7 News Sydney, the BBC in London, and Sky News. Helen was PR Manager and content producer at Australia for UNHCR, before launching her own consultancy - Hydora Lane Communications.

Jasmine Collins

Manager ‑ Events & Marketing, Civil Contractors Federation Queensland

Jasmine Collins is an events and marketing manager with over nine years of events & marketing expertise. As Manager - Events & Marketing at Civil Contractors Federation Queensland, Jasmine proudly oversees all event planning, industry partnerships, sponsorship, and associate membership. Jasmine holds a Bachelor of Business (Event Management) from Torrens University and is an active member of the Australian Marketing Institute. With a dedication to excellence and continuous improvement, Jasmine brings a wealth of knowledge to her role, ensuring the seamless planning and execution of quality events while fostering invaluable industry relationships.

Ruth Ferraro

Academic Lead - Strategy, Adjunct to Governance Academy, Governance Institute of Australia

Dr Ferraro has more than 20 years in executive roles in education across multiple disciplines within membership bodies. The sectors she has worked in include education, medical specialisations, accounting, law and financial planning. Ruth has been responsible for the design of formal accredited programs using work-integrated models and continuous and lifelong learning with credit recognition through microcredentials.
Currently Ruth pursues a portfolio career comprising: Academic Lead – Strategy at Governance Institute of Australia, several non-executive Director roles for private higher education providers registered with TEQSA and consulting to member bodies in niche/sub-specialisations applying her research on professionalism and professionalisation through education.

Jennifer Moltisanti

Assistant Commissioner - Not For Profit Centre, Australian Tax Office

Jennifer Moltisanti is an ATO Assistant Commissioner heading up the NFP Centre and Government Relations teams. Jennifer’s focus is directed at strengthening the integrity of tax administration for not-for-profits and Government clients. She works closely with clients and intermediaries to understand how the sector can be best supported to get tax obligations right, both now and into the future.
Prior to her appointment in the ATO, Jennifer was a senior manager with the Australian Customs Service. Jennifer holds a Master of Business Administration from the Melbourne Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from La Trobe University.
Jennifer has a broad experience in public sector administration and has held a diplomatic role with Australia’s permanent delegation to the OECD as Australia’s first Minister-Counsellor Taxation. Jennifer is consistently drawn to delivering for the public good and increasingly for those most vulnerable in the community. Jennifer’s passion for lending voice to key issues that support sustainable generational change is exampled in her recent appointment as the ATO’s Diversity Champion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Sallyann Stonier

Assistant Commissioner, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Sally was part of the taskforce set up to establish the ACNC in 2012 and has been responsible for managing the ACNC Registration Team ever since. She has worked with international charity regulators, including the New Zealand Charities Commission and the Charity Commission of England and Wales. Sally has extensive experience in the charity and not-for-profit sector in both the UK and USA. Sally has been CEO for charities providing support for the homeless, individuals with mental ill health and drug and alcohol misuse. She has held senior roles with Home-Start UK (an organisation working with vulnerable families) and Odyssey House in the USA. She has served on the board of several schools and various other community groups. She has experience in charity law, strategic planning, human resources, project management and service development.

Mick Keogh

Deputy Chair, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Mick Keogh was appointed to the ACCC in February 2016, and then as Deputy Chair of the ACCC in 2018, with responsibility for Small Business and Agriculture. He was reappointed in May 2023. Mick has a long and diverse history of involvement with the small business and agriculture sector, including periods of employment as a business consultant, and in advocacy and advisory roles to policymakers and governments. He has also chaired a number of Commonwealth Government inquiries and Ministerial advisory boards. He is currently a member of the Commonwealth Government’s Emission Reduction Assurance Council, and a Board member of the Food Agility Co-operative Research Centre.


John Harmata

Professional Development Manager, The Institute of Internal Auditor-Australia

John has over 25 years’ experience with Australia's leading industry professional associations. He is currently the Professional Development Manager at The Institute of Internal Auditors-Australia, where he is responsible for developing content for conference programs and overseeing the operations of the professional development department. Prior to this, John was Director of PD Partners, which provided public training programs and conference program development services for associations. John also held conference production and professional development program roles at CPA Australia, Chartered Institute of Company Secretaries in Australia (Governance Institute) and the National Institute of Accountant (Institute of Public Accounts). He has built a wealth of expertise in conference program development to deliver relevant programs through effective member engagement and has developed a sound knowledge of addressing the challenges of delivering conferences in a changing environment.

David Turvey

First Assistant Secretary, Jobs and Skills Australia

David is responsible for overseeing the operations of the organisation, including providing strategic advice on the work program, technical advice on analytical products, building relationships with partners and stakeholders and managing operational aspects such as budgeting, recruitment, technology and culture and people management. Prior to his current role, David was First Assistant Secretary, National Skills Commission. David has held executive roles at the Department of Education Skills and Employment, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Treasury, and the Department of Finance and Administration. David also worked as an economist at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. David has worked in a range of policy areas including labour market policy, vocational education and training policy, industry policy, fiscal policy and public debt management. His governance experience covers several Australian Government entity audit committee roles and as Treasurer of a not-for-profit community organisation in the ACT.

Petá Sweeney

Information and Content Specialist, RIMPA Global

Petá Sweeney, an accomplished professional, has a rich background in the information disciplines. Her journey began as a library assistant, and over the years, she has honed her expertise through study, professional development, and extensive experience in both the public and private sectors.

Currently the Information and Content Specialist at RIMPA Global, Petá brings her wealth of knowledge to the organisation. Her commitment to excellence is evident through her long-standing professional membership, recognition as a Fellow in 2013 and receiving the prestigious J Eddis Linton Outstanding Individual award in 2022.

Petá’s passion lies in sharing knowledge and facilitating learning opportunities. She enjoys hosting students, and her engaging presence makes her a sought-after MC and presenter who embodies expertise, dedication, and a commitment to advancing the field of information management. 

Paula Rowntree

Head of External Engagement, Australian Psychological Society

Paula is a passionate advocate for the power of business events to create long-term economic and sustainable impact. With over 28 years of experience in the business event and association/not-for-profit sectors, Paula has successfully designed, developed, and implemented strategies for business events, strategic alliances and partnerships that enhance the member experience, adapt to changing environments and best practice, generate revenue, and increase the value of the organization.

As Head of External Engagement with The Australian Psychological Society and Founder of the Business Events Network, a free online community for all those involved in events, she is committed to driving support, innovation and growth for the events industry.


Sue Bruce

Finance Manager, Forestry Australia

Sue has over 30 years experience in accounting, finance and teaching in Australia and overseas. Much of her career has been spent in the not-for-profit sector including the Australian Government, Charities and Associations. She currently works as the Finance Manager for Forestry Australia and volunteers her time for a number of not-for-profit organisations. She has a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) from Charles Sturt University, a Master of Management from the Australian National University and a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education from the University of Canberra.  She has developed expertise in Financial Management and Training working in various Chief Financial/Operations Officer positions and teaching in Australia and overseas. Sue is a Fellow CPA and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Monique English

Engagement Manager, Standards Australia

Monique English is the Engagement Manager at Standards Australia in the Manufacturing and Agriculture sectors. Monique started with the organisation in 2021 after a 20-year career in stakeholder management, project management and business administration. Monique is passionate about engaging with industry and learning where standards can play a pivotal role in resolving challenges and supporting innovation.

Kathy Nguyen

Senior Lawyer, Governology

Kathy has extensive experience working with associations both nationally and in the Asia-Pacific, on association structure, operations and governance. She has reviewed hundreds of constitutions, and regularly presents to organisations on membership, governance and events. Kathy has worked for Associations Forum, the Governance Institute of Australia, Ernst & Young, the Trade Association Forum in London and for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Kathy holds Bachelors of Laws & Business.

Jelena Dokic

Former world number 4, popular tennis commentator and best-selling author of her autobiography ‘Unbreakable’

Jelena Dokic’s story of survival is nothing short of remarkable, both on and off the court.  Her rise in the ranks of tennis was meteoric, reaching the quarter finals at Wimbledon at the age of just 16. With a steely nerve, she fought off opponents with the same gutsy zeal Jelena Dokic used to fight off poverty and racism, bullying, discrimination, injury, depression - and the greatest fight of her life - the physical and emotional abuse she suffered for over 20 years at the hands of her tyrannical father and coach.

Jelena’s keynote and guest speeches always leave a lasting impression. She has a way of captivating audiences with engaging, authentic and inspirational stories that provide a unique insight into managing the highs and lows of both your personal and business life.

John Peacock AM

Chief Executive Officer, Associations Forum

John is one of Australia’s most experienced advisors to associations and charities and is a thought leader for the associations sector. He is a regular presenter, both nationally and internationally, on matters essential to the governance and operations of associations, charities and other mutual bodies. Since 2000, John has trained and consulted to hundreds of associations and charities, large and small, on strategic planning, governance, Board effectiveness, operations, restructuring, financial issues and external reviews. John’s work with associations was recognised in the 2021 Australia Day Honours List with his appointment as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (General Division) for significant service to the associations and not-for-profit sectors through a range of initiatives.

Michael Bell

Senior Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Michael is a Chartered Accountant, Fellow of the Governance Institute and Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors. He has worked in chartered accounting practices and the banking and finance industry holding General Manager roles in Finance, Strategy and Operations. More recently he has consulted in governance, financial control and risk management to a range of organisations.
He has been an active Committee Member in several Not for Profits and joined the board of Coeliac NSW&ACT before becoming President of Coeliac Australia in 2016. During his time as President he successfully transformed the organisation from a federated to a national company limited by guarantee. Michael brings a broad governance, finance, project management and risk perspective to his roles ensuring this works in a positive way to achieving strategic goals.

Andrew Gosbell

Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Andrew Gosbell (PhD, GAICD, BAppSc) is based in Melbourne and provides a range of advisory services for Associations Forum based on his broad experience in governance, change management, leadership development, government relations and policy development, risk management, strategic planning, negotiation and partnership development.
Andrew has over 15 years senior executive experience working in medical colleges and associations, including successful tenures as CEO of General Practice Registrars Australia and Deputy CEO at the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine. He has a track record of working collaboratively with volunteers, association members and office bearers, and professional staff to successfully deliver a range of strategic initiatives at both national and state levels. He has well-developed networks in the health and associations sectors. Andrew also has governance experience as a non-executive director and currently holds a number of Board and Committee positions in the NFP and tertiary-education sectors.

Claire Hewat

Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Claire has over 20 years’ experience in senior executive positions including two successful roles as a CEO at Dietitians Australia and Allied Health Professions Australia. Claire has also had substantial non-executive governance experience on four national and one international board. She has extensive experience in professional self-regulation and is currently chair of the Ethics Review Committee for an Australian allied health profession.
Claire has used her experience to provide support and mentoring to other NFP CEOs and boards in areas of governance, strategic planning, complaints and disciplinary processes, change management and more.

Tony Gleeson

Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Tony Gleeson MBA GAICD is Associations Advisor at Associations Forum. He has over 30 years of experience in the fields of association management and governance, leadership, project and change management, organisational integration and talent development.
Tony has been Chief Executive of Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air-conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) and the Australian Institute of Management (AIM), and was an Executive General Manager with CPA Australia. Prior to his roles with membership associations, he held senior consulting roles in strategy, process re-engineering and change management with PwC, Deloitte and Terra Firma Consulting. Tony is an innovative and energetic leader, skilled communicator / team builder, and adept negotiator. He has significant experience in providing support and guidance to CEOs and boards in areas of governance, strategic planning, change management and more.


Lewis Kaplan

Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Lewis has over 30 years’ leadership and management experience in public and primary health including over 20 years in CEO roles in peak consumer and health organisations including Diabetes Australia, Australian Red Cross NSW Division and Alzheimer’s Australia NSW. He has governance, management, policy, lobbying and advocacy expertise across a range of sectors including primary health care, ageing, aged and community care, public health, health promotion, community development, international development and mother and child health.
Lewis has a proven track record in initiating new organisations and concepts and bringing together diverse stakeholders to achieve outcomes which individually are unattainable. 

Amanda Dollman

Marketing Manager, Associations Forum

As the Marketing Manager for Associations Forum, Amanda is responsible for overseeing the overall marketing and branding for the organisation, assisting membership, events and corporate support business areas in their communication activities, updating and maintaining the website and increasing the profile of Associations Forum.

Amanda holds a Bachelor of Law, a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Management and a Postgraduate Diploma in Labour and Industrial Relations Law.