Associations Forum National Conference

16-17 July 2018, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland


Adj. Prof. John Kelly

Chief Executive Officer, National Heart Foundation

Adjunct Professor John G Kelly AM is the National CEO of the Heart Foundation of Australia. He commenced his role at the Heart Foundation in August 2016, returning to the heart health field after starting his career as a cardiac nurse specialist. John has extensive experience on national non profit boards including periods as Chair of the Smith Family, Royal College of Nursing Australia and Uniting Care Aging (NSW & ACT).

In 2009 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) as well as receiving the Alumni Award for Excellence from UTS. In 2010 John was appointed by the Federal Government as Commonwealth Aged Care Commissioner.

Amanda Jamieson

Finance and Administration Officer, Venue Management Association (Asia Pacific) Limited

Amanda is the Finance and Administration Manager at the Venue Management Association, bringing 18 years of finance and operational management experience. She holds a Diploma in Accounting and is working to complete her Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting. Having started her career in the Food Retail sector, Amanda moved through the ranks quickly acquiring a Project Management role, and rapidly being offered the Finance Manager role for three trading entities.

In her current role, Amanda oversees all areas of finance and administration and also plays the role of the Membership Manager. Amanda finds working at the VMA a rewarding challenge and loves working with a passionate team and Board, who are committed to developing the education and knowledge sharing of its members.

Amelia Hodge

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Property Institute

Amelia is the CEO of the Australian Property Institute and has enjoyed a senior executive career spanning some 25 years, with her depth of experience driving successful outcomes across a range of sectors, projects and industries.

Her previous executive role was as the CEO of Qld Law Society and she has held executive and project roles with Origin Energy, Powerlink Queensland, the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority and Coffey Commercial Advisory, following her legal career in the property sector.

She has held Non Executive Directorships with Transmax, the Gladstone Water Board, 3rd Space and Artisan Qld, has chaired board audit and risk committees and sits on the advisory board of two tech startups, LawAdvisor and Obzervr.   On behalf of the Qld Office for Woman, Amelia also sat on the Great Artesian Basin Advisory Council.

Anita Hobson-Powell

Chief Executive Officer, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA)

Anita Hobson-Powell is the current CEO of Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). She has been in a leadership role within the organisation since 2006. Anita has had many years of experience as a director sitting on Allied Health Professionals Australia Board, National Alliance of Self Regulating Health Professions Board, Gymnastics Australia Board and the Gymnastics Queensland Board. She is also the Company Secretary for ESSA and sits on the Nominations Committee for the Brisbane South PHN.

Anne Buck

Chief Executive Officer, Wounds Australia

Anne Buck was appointed the inaugural CEO of Wounds Australia in 2016, in which role she has lead the organisation through transition to a national structure. She as previously Deputy CEO of Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health and senior manager with the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses. 

Prior to pursuing her associations career, Anne worked for several federal government departments in policy development and program management roles. Anne’s career focus has reflected a strong interest in the areas of health and social policy sectors, and she also pursued this interest by serving on not for profit boards in her local community. 

Carina Trinh

Vice President & Councillor, Optometry NSW/ACT

Carina Trinh graduated from UNSW with Class 1 Honours in 2011. She works as an optometrist at Dresden Optics where she fiercely agrees with their ethos, and thoroughly enjoys and finds meaning working with various organisations. Her clinical experience spans from regional work in Dubbo, outreach services across small towns in Western NSW, Aboriginal clinics in the Northern Territory, school screenings in Sydney, outreach work in the Himalayas, myopia and contact lens focused practice in Sydney.

She is currently the Vice President of Optometry NSW/ACT (since 2018, Councillor since 2016), Secretary of Eyes4Everest (since 2014), and the former Young Optometrists Inc. NSW/ACT Chair (2015-2017, Treasurer 2012-2015, Co-founder).


Chris Whitehead

Chief Executive Officer, Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA)

Chris was appointed as CEO and Managing Director of FINSIA in October 2016. Whilst FINSIA has strong reserves, it has been making significant losses for a number of years. Chris was appointed to turnaround the performance of the institute and put it on a sustainable footing for the long-term.

Chris joined FINSIA from the financial services sector. He has previously been CEO of CUA (Credit Union Australia) and BankWest Retail Banking Division. He also has significant experience as a Non-Executive Director in banking, payments, insurance, financial advice and funds management and is currently a Director of Directmoney, an ASX-listed marketplace lender . Chris commenced his career in the IT industry and retains a passionate interest in technology and innovation.

David Buley

Chief Financial Officer, Association of Independent Schools NSW

David Buley is a CPA, has an MBA and a Masters of Applied Finance and Investment. His career started with Deloitte in the 80's and subsequent experience includes many industry sectors and roles. As well as being a CFO in the independent school sector, he's a Director on an $8billion superannuation fund which serves 100,000 members. He is an active presenter in leadership programs covering a broad range of business-related topics, and has over 30 years of professional consultancy experience assisting company Boards achieve increased returns and enhanced sustainability through strategic and operational improvements. He has undertaken executive education at Wharton, Berkeley, MIT and Columbia as his personal mantra is 'never stop learning'.

Dean Brakell

Chief Executive Officer, Furnishing Industry Association of Australia (FIAA)

Dean Brakell is the Chief Executive Officer of the Furnishing Industry Association of Australia (FIAA).  The FIAA is an industry association representing the kitchen, furnishing and joinery sector across all the States and Territories.

FIAA, through the behest of its regional members, became a Registered Training Organisation around 20 years ago.

Today, FIAA delivers National Recognised trade training to the industry to over 550 students throughout NSW, the ACT and South Australia.

After a successful career as the National Production Manager for a International Franchise group, Dean joined the FIAA in December 2010, becoming CEO in July 2013. Dean represents the FIAA on numerous committees including Australian Standards, Industry Reference Committee (Furnishing Training Package review) and is a Director of Manufacturing Skills Australia.

Gill Stapleton

Executive Director, Direct Selling Association of Australia

Gillian Stapleton was appointed Executive Director of Direct Selling Australia in July 2016. Gill is the first female appointed to this position in the Association’s 50- year history. Gill, started her career as a teacher in the UK but joined a home based direct selling business, so that she could be a full- time mum to her two children. Rising to the top of that business, Gill was offered a corporate role in Australia with that same organisation.

Since then, she has been the CEO of both an International network marketing organisation and a party-plan business and CEO of Special Olympics Australia, a national Charity. Gill has also previously served as a member of the DSA Board.

Grant Warner

Chief Executive Officer - The Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Sydney

The primary focus at the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors is stakeholder engagement and management to drive membership growth and retention, and to raise the profile and standing of the AIQS as a pre-eminent professional body for Quantity Surveyors globally. Grant is skilled in forming and maintaining productive partnerships and alliances with key member and industry participants, and has a comprehensive understanding of Corporate Governance and risk management

Grant is an advocate for service excellence and place significant emphasis on employee empowerment. It is of critical importance to create and sustain organisational environments with a focus on the customer, and the provision of commercially viable solutions that are aligned with best practice principles and deliver a high level of customer engagement.

Jeremy Irvine MAICD

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Dental Prosthetists Association

Jeremy Irvine is Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Dental Prosthetists Association, which he has led since March 2016, including through the unification of its state/territory and national component associations in July 2016. He’s a passionate believer in the roles of associations and the value they can – and do – bring to members.

Jeremy has headed or held senior roles in industry associations for over a dozen years and previously worked as a political adviser and ministerial speechwriter in Canberra and New Zealand. He has been featured as a guest columnist in Fairfax, and as a panellist at a ‘spin doctor’ conference televised on ABC News.

Kathy Nguyen

Manager - Client Services, Associations Forum

Kathy is passionate about associations, having spent most of her career in the sector and seeing the good and often unrecognised work done by associations for the benefit of society.

Kathy commenced working at Associations Forum in 2004, leaving in 2010 to work at Governance Institute of Australia until 2013. She has also done stints at the Trade Association Forum in London and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Since returning to Associations Forum in 2013, she has worked on over 30 consulting projects helping association clients improve their structure, operations and governance.

Kathy started her career at Ernst & Young in legal and compliance after graduating with a Bachelors of Law & Business degree from UTS.

Kerry Davies AE

Chair and Councillor, Council of the Institute of Professional Editors

Kerry Davies AE has forty years’ experience in the publishing and communications industries in private, educational and government sectors. She runs a freelance business, Kerry Davies Publishing Services, established in Sydney in 1997 and based in Brisbane since 2004, and is an accredited editor (AE) under the national accreditation scheme of the Institute of Professional Editors Ltd (IPEd).

She was President of the Society of Editors (Queensland), now Editors Queensland, a branch of IPEd, from 2010 to 2016. In 2011 Kerry was appointed by IPEd to facilitate the review of Australian Standards for Editing Practice, the second edition of which was published in 2013. She became Queensland Councillor for IPEd in 2013 and Chair in 2015.

Mark Fraser

Chief Executive Officer, Pet Industry Association of Australia

Mark Fraser is the Chief Executive Officer for the Pet Industry Association of Australia. Mark has been in the role for three years and helped to implement many significant changes in an ever evolving industry landscape. He is strongly involved in PIAA advocacy efforts and has introduced a robust education arm that rewards learning and aims to see the industry grow in both the sector and public eye.

Prior to PIAA, Mark was Executive Officer with the Australian Veterinary Association, responsible for their NSW Division and a number of national special interest groups. His experience and focus on membership growth, along with member and stakeholder engagement, sustainability and financial success all serve him well with the challenges at hand with the Pet Industry Association.

Mark's previous roles include CEO/ General Manager at Red Apple Education and proprietor and founder of Redback Surf & Snow Australia. Mark also has an extensive background in journalism, multimedia and retail.   

Paige McNeil 

Managing Director, Western Australian Primary Principals’ Association (WAPPA)

Paige McNeil is currently the Managing Director of the Western Australian Primary Principals’ Association (WAPPA). She brings a wealth of knowledge from a background in corporate governance and a passion for education. Paige started her career as a primary school teacher and holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Notre Dame. She then completed a Graduate Diploma in Training and Development at Edith Cowan University and provided adult training services in information technology.

In 2014, Paige was awarded a scholarship to undertake a 12 month Advanced Leadership Program. Backed by a consortium of educational bodies and industry experts, the program was part of a national initiative to increase Australia’s pool of executive level female leaders. Paige is an advocate for women in leadership in both the Education and Governance sectors. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and an accredited gci coach.


Raff Del Vecchio

Chief Executive Officer, Migration Institute of Australia

Raff is the CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia, the peak body representing migration professionals. With a strong background in member based organisations, governance and transformation he successfully re-engineered numerous member based organisations in an executive and non-executive capacity. Prior to his current position he spent 10 years as the Head of Administrative Services for the Police Association of NSW. Apart from his executive role he is a Director of Police Bank, a mutual with a membership base of close to 70,000 members.
His pro bono and community work involves a Directorship with the Charity Educating the Future and was the chair of Eastern Suburbs Football Association and a Director of NSW Police Legacy.  

Away from work Raff has a passion for riding an expensive Italian racing bike and following the fortunes of his favourite Italian football team who haven’t enjoyed success since Duran Duran and Madonna were topping the charts.

Richard Woodward

Business Development Strategist, Richard Woodward & Associates

Richard facilitates strategy sessions and planning days and trains business development teams, helping organisations to generate the revenue required to achieve their goals.  His clients include leading players in the arts, culture, charity, environment, association and government sectors.

Richard has held senior marketing, business development and sponsorship roles in Australia and the UK for Commonwealth Bank, KPMG, RAC, Stadium Australia and the Sydney Opera House and has worked on both sides of sponsorship including National Sponsorship Manager for CBA.

Richard is the author of Business Development That Works and How to Attract and Retain Sponsors and Partners and his workshops of the same names have been attended by hundreds of organisations. Richard is a frequent speaker at events, speaking in 2017 at the Louvre in Paris.

Troy Williams

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA)

After twenty years as an association executive Troy Williams has developed a skillset that enables him to reposition an association for growth, deliver great member services and achieve lasting legislative reforms.  He’s worked as a leader of professional bodies and industry associations ranging in size from two to sixty staff.  Along the way he’s had some great mentors and real-life experiences that’s helped shaped his character – along with dodging sharks while surfing and turning 4WDs into submarines in his spare time.

Since 2010 Troy has been Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA), the peak industry association representing healthcare product manufactures, which was named ‘2017 Association of the Year’ by Associations Forum.




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