Philanthropy Meets Parliament Summit 2017


Joe Skrzynski AO

Board Member, Philanthropy Australia

Joe Skrzynski, AO, is Co-Chairman of CHAMP Private Equity which he co-founded with Mr Bill Ferris, AC in 1987. He has served on the Boards of numerous portfolio companies both in Australia and overseas. His not-for-profit activities have included several public sector appointments including Chairmanships of The Australian Film, Television and Radio School, The Sydney Opera House Trust, and SBS Radio and Television. He has also served as the CEO of the Australian Film Commission, a federal statutory authority. 

He is currently a member of the Australian Committee for Human Rights Watch, a director of The Observership Program, The Conversation Media Group global board, and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Past positions have included the membership of the boards of The Sydney Dance Company, Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Pty Limited and the major organisations board of The Australia Council. 

He is Chairman of the Skrzynski family foundation, the Sky Foundation with programs relating to women’s rights, indigenous advancement, overseas aid, medical research and education.

The Hon Christian Porter MP

Minister for Social Services

On Monday 21 September 2015, Christian was sworn in as the Minister for Social Services by the Governor General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd). Prior to this position he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister with a primary focus on the continuation of the Government’s red tape cutting agenda and the cyber security strategy. 

Christian was born and raised in Western Australia and lives in Yanchep, in the northern part of his Pearce electorate, with his wife Jennifer. Prior to winning the seat of Pearce at the 2013 Federal Election, Christian served as a Minister in the State Government, variously holding portfolios of Attorney General, Minister for Corrective Services and Treasurer of Western Australia.

As Attorney General, Christian managed a legislative agenda that decreased reported crime by 10 per cent in the State Government’s first year in office.

As Treasurer, Christian delivered successive budget surpluses in Australia’s fastest growing economy and budgeted for the provision of $600million to revitalise the Western Australian not-for-profit sector. Christian was also responsible for the largest infrastructure program in WA’s history and was the architect of the $1billion WA Future Fund.

Christian holds a Bachelor of Economics, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Australia, as well as a Master of Science (Political Theory) from the London School of Economics.

Prior to politics, Christian worked as a lawyer in both the commercial and government settings; beginning his career at Clayton Utz and then later working as a Senior State Prosecutor for the Director of Public Prosecutions WA, where he prosecuted criminal trials for the State.

Christian has also lectured at Edith Cowan University and the University of Western Australia in law, public policy and economics. Immediately before entering Federal Parliament, Christian was the Professor of Law at Curtin University.

Tom Switzer

ABC Radio

Tom is a host on ABC's Radio National. He has worked at the University of Sydney's United States Studies Centre (2009-17), The Spectator (2008-14), The Australian (2001-08), the Australian Financial Review (1998-2001) and the American Enterprise Institute (1995-98). 

He has been published in the the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs and The National Interest.

Misha Ketchell

The Conversation

Misha Ketchell is managing editor of The Conversation, a global network of websites featuring the work of academic and researchers that he helped launch in 2011.

He's was previously founding editor of The Big Issue Australia, editor of Crikey and The Melbourne Weekly and a reporter and feature writer on The Age. He's also worked at the ABC, as a producer on Media Watch and The 7:30 Report and an editor on The Drum.


Prof Helen Sullivan

Australian National University

Professor Helen Sullivan is a public policy scholar who commenced as Director, Crawford School of Public Policy, in January 2017. Her research and teaching explores the changing nature of state-society relationships including the theory and practice of governance and collaboration, new forms of democratic participation, and public policy and service reform. She is widely published; the author of four books and numerous academic articles, book chapters, and policy reports. She appears regularly in print and online media commenting on contemporary public policy issues.

Helen’s work reflects a long-term commitment to finding new ways to bridge the gap between research and policy. In 2013 she established the Melbourne School of Government – an innovative, multi-disciplinary School that works directly with policy makers locally, nationally and internationally. In 2015 she led the Pathways to Politics Program for Women, generously supported by the Trawalla Foundation.  Helen is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Victoria). 

Karen Mahlab AM

Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

Karen Mahlab AM has been an innovator in opening the channels of connection between communities, not-for-profit organisations, volunteers, philanthropy and business. In 1999 after a career in the corporate sector she established Pro Bono Australia as a social purpose business. Since then it has developed into a national Media "hub for the Common Good" engaging over one million Australians.

Karen has long and broad volunteer experience on boards and in initiating social change philanthropic programs. She currently sits on the Boards of Reichstein Foundation and the Australian Arts Orchestra.

In recognition of her achievements she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM) Queens Birthday 2015 for contribution to the Australian Not for Profit sector and Innovation in Philanthropy. She is a certified Yoga instructor 2016.

The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Leader of the Opposition (Invited)

Bill Shorten is the Leader of the Opposition and the Member for Maribyrnong.

Bill was born and raised in Melbourne, and is a proud Victorian. After completing high school at Xavier College, Bill graduated from Monash University in Arts and Law. Bill also has an MBA from the Melbourne Business School.

Becoming involved in the Labor Party at university, Bill worked as a lawyer at the firm Maurice Blackburn Cashman after finishing his studies.

Bill joined the union movement in 1994 when he began work at the Australian Workers' Union as an organiser. Passionate about getting a fair deal for Australian workers, Bill became the AWU's Victorian Secretary and then National Secretary. Bill was also a director of Australian Super before entering parliament in 2007.

His experience in the union movement and with Australian Super have given Bill the belief that Labor can and does deliver for working people.

Bill lives in Maribyrnong with his wife, Chloe and their three children. He barracks for Collingwood in the AFL and enjoys taking part in fun runs, reading and spending time with his young family.

Professor Kristy Muir

Centre for Social Impact

Professor Kristy Muir is the CEO of the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), a Professor of Social Policy at UNSW Sydney and an elected member of UNSW Sydney’s Council. She has worked for more than two decades with for purpose organisations to help understand, measure, and find innovative solutions to complex social problems.

Kristy has worked with dozens of government, not-for-profit, corporate and philanthropic organisations to help improve social impact; has won more than $11m in research funding; and has published widely in academic journals and popular media, such as TEDx and The Conversation.

Kristy was formerly CSI’s Research Director, the Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Director of the Disability Studies and Research Centre at UNSW Sydney. She has a PhD in social history is a graduate of the AICD and, prior to joining academia, worked in the not-for-profit sector.

Rebekha Sharkie MP

Nick Xenophon Team

Rebekha was elected to Mayo in the 2016 federal election. She brings years of community experience supporting a wide range of organisational, sporting, school and fundraising groups in the Adelaide Hills.

Rebekha’s career began in conveyancing and office management in law before moving into politics, where she holds tertiary qualifications.  Prior to being elected to the Seat of Mayo Rebekha worked as a senior manager in the youth sector. She also operates a small business in the Adelaide Hills with her husband, Nathan.

Rebekha is the first female Chair of the Mount Torrens Soldier’s Memorial Committee in its 100 year history and also co-wrote the published "150 Years of the Springhead Community". She is dedicated to the community she lives in and committed to being a strong community advocate for the Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island regions, dedicated to MAKE MAYO MATTER in Canberra.

Senator Rachel Siewert


Senator Rachel Siewert has been in Parliament for over ten years, making her the most experienced MP of the Australian Greens. Her portfolios include Family and Community Services, Disability, Ageing, Mental Health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues.

Rachel is the Australian Greens Whip and chair of the Community Affairs committee. Rachel has been a strong advocate for the not-for-profit sector throughout her time in Parliament.


Cathy McGowan AO MP


Cathy was born in Albury Hospital and raised on a dairy farm in the Indigo Valley near Wodonga. She was educated in Beechworth and Melbourne and gained qualifications in economics and agriculture.

She began her working life in rural Victoria as a teacher in Nhill and Wangaratta, and then as electoral assistant for Ewen Cameron, the Federal Member for Indi, in the 1980s, before joining the Victorian Department of Agriculture.

When she was 27, Cathy purchased a farm in the Indigo Valley and established a rural consulting business with a focus on working with communities, and farming families on issues such as Home and Community Care, child care, and care for people with cancer.

This gave Cathy an understanding of the various challenges facing small business and community groups, and how they could be overcome. 

Cathy has also worked as an academic at the University of Western Sydney, researcher, and company director. Her work with women in agriculture took her all around the world, with contracts in Papua New Guinea and Ireland and she was regularly asked to speak at international conferences.

Cathy’s community service has been acknowledged with an Order of Australia, a national Centenary medal, and the award of a Churchill Fellowship. Cathy stood as an independent candidate in the 2013 election for the Federal seat of Indi to provide voters with a real choice for representation on issues that matter to them. She was re-elected again in 2016.

Daniel Lee

Levi Strauss Foundation

Daniel Jae-Won Lee is the Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, which supports pioneering social change in the areas of HIV/AIDS, worker rights and well-being and social justice in communities touched by Levi Strauss & Co.’s business. 

During his tenure, the Foundation’s signature initiatives have included Pioneers in Justice (supporting next-generation civil rights and movement leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area) and Worker Well-being (partnering with suppliers to improve the well-being of makers in the apparel industry).

His board service includes the Council on Foundations, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Funders Concerned about AIDS and Astraea Foundation, and he has served on the advisory councils of the Global Fund for Women and Horizons Foundation.

Previously, he was Senior Program Officer for Asia Pacific at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. He received his AB in religion from Princeton University and Master of Divinity from Harvard University.

Nicole Richards 

Philanthropy Australia

Nicole Richards has helped share stories in the social sector for more than a decade, including most recently as Editor of Generosity magazine.

With a background in strategic communications and marketing, Nicole has worked across the not-for-profit, private and public sectors, writing for and consulting to start-ups, NGOs, trusts and foundations, state and federal government departments and private corporations.

Her feature writing has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and a variety of specialist publications. 

Iain Walker

New Democracy Foundation

Iain Walker (MA, Sydney) is Executive Director of the newDemocracy Foundation in Australia. He holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Sydney (2007) and a Bachelor of Business from UTS (1996).

The work of the Foundation focuses on exploring and delivering systemic structural reform based on a role for randomly selected everyday people.


Jane Haycock 

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Jane Haycock is Assistant Secretary (A/g) at DFAT’s innovationXchange, an initiative launched by the Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop MP in 2015.  The innovationXchange has a portfolio of investments in health, water, aquaculture, humanitarian response, education, technology and social entrepreneurship that seek to demonstrate new, cost-effective ways of delivering Australia’s aid program.  The innovationXchange is also supporting the adoption of innovative thinking, policy-making and programing throughout the wider Department.   

Jane brings to the role 20 years international development experience gained as a public servant, consultant and academic in the UK, Australia and many other countries. 

Kirsten Herring

Arts Queensland

Kirsten was appointed as Deputy Director-General, Arts Queensland in 2013. In this role Kirsten oversees the activities of Arts Queensland, including the Queensland Government’s investments in the South Bank Cultural Precinct, the funding of the major arts companies, the corporate governance support for the state’s arts statutory bodies and government-owned companies, and the delivery of the arts investment and infrastructure funding programs. Before joining Arts Queensland, she held a number of executive positions with Events Queensland.

These roles included Interim Chief Executive Officer (from 1 August 2012 until the merger with Tourism Queensland in early 2013) and General Manager – Event Acquisition and Development. Kirsten has also worked as the Commercialisation Manager for the University of Queensland’s Arts faculty, the Head of International Production for Screen Queensland (then known as the Pacific Film and Television Corporation) and as the Director of Investment for the Department of State Development.


Julius Colman AM

Colman Foundation

Julius Colman was born on 7th September 1946 in Poland and arrived in Australia in 1950. Julius holds the degrees of Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws, from Melbourne University, is a Bachelor of Arts and a Fellow of the Australian Property Institute.

He was a partner in the legal firm of McGrath Colman Stewart from 1969 until 1997 and was one of the founders (and the CEO since its inception) of MCS Property Limited (MCS) which was, until its sale, the largest syndicator of property in Australia. After the sale of MCS, Julius became one of the founders of the Japara Group of companies, which listed on the ASX in 2014.

Julius and his wife founded the Colman Foundation, which entered into a unique partnership with the State Government of Victoria to assist in the development and growth of an age 0 - yr 9 state school in one of the most disadvantaged areas of Melbourne. 

The model of education and community engagement created there, known as the Doveton model (now known as “Our Place”), has received world-wide recognition and attention and is being rolled out to other schools in Victoria.

In 2015 Julius was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) for his work with underprivileged children.

Tessa Boyd Caine

Health Justice Partnerships Australia

Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine is CEO of Health Justice Australia, a new national charity supporting partnerships for better health and justice outcomes.

Tessa has worked in health, justice and human rights organisations in Australia and internationally. She was previously Deputy CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service and was the inaugural Fulbright Professional Scholar in Nonprofit Leadership.

Tessa’s PhD in Law and Sociology from the London School of Economics was published as a book, ‘Protecting the Public? Detention and Release of Mentally Disordered Offenders’ by Routledge in 2010. She is a graduate of the AICD Company Directors course; is on the Board of Gondwana Choirs, the leader in Australian choral performance; a member of the Executive of the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance; and plays ultimate frisbee.

Dr Tim Reddel

Department of Social Services

Dr Reddel has been Group Manager of the Policy Office in the Department of Social Services (DSS) since July 2016, leading the Department’s policy, research and evaluation strategies, policy evidence capacity and the implementation of the Priority Investment Approach to Welfare.

Prior to his appointment to the Policy Office, Dr Reddel was Group Manager in DSS’s Program Office from December 2013, leading the Department’s grant program reform agenda including program broadbanding, improved performance reporting and whole of government initiatives.

Dr Reddel joined the Australian Public Service in 2010 as Deputy Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services where he provided strategic advice on monitoring and driving service delivery outcomes for the 29 Indigenous communities under the Remote Service Delivery National Partnership Agreement.

Dr Reddel has also worked in a range of senior executive roles in the Queensland public service, the community services sector and academia including leading and Australian Research Council funded project into social inclusion and place management from 2000 until 2004. He has an extensive background in public policy, including Indigenous affairs, community planning and social policy development. Dr Reddel has written numerous research articles and papers, including in the Australian Journal of Public Administration, the Australian Journal of Social Issues and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 

Tim has also co-edited a book, Community and Local Governance in Australia published by UNSW Press in 2005. Since November 2016, Dr Reddel is also an Adjunct Professor, Cities Research Centre at Griffith University in recognition of his leadership and standing in the field of public policy. 

Jane Farmer

Swinburne University of Technology

Jane Farmer is Director of the Social Innovation Institute and Professor of Health and Social Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia.

She previously held positions as Associate Pro Vice Chancellor, Research and Head of the Rural Health School at La Trobe University, Australia; and as co-director of the Centre for Rural Health Research and Policy at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Inverness, Scotland.

Jane has a background in health services research and has led international award-winning research and development studies in rural health service design, community co-production and social enterprise in European and Australia.

Rob Koczkar

Social Ventures Australia

Rob Koczkar is the Chief Executive Officer of Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and Managing Director of Adamantem Capital. Rob has extensive experience in investing and management consulting along with a deep understanding of the social purpose sector.

Before these roles, Rob was a Managing Director of Pacific Equity Partners for 10 years. Prior to that he was a Principal at Texas Pacific Group in Europe, and a strategic consultant with Bain & Company.

He currently sits on the board as a non-executive director of Goodstart Early Learning. Rob is also a member of the Australian Government’s Cities Reference Group to support delivery of the Smart Cities Plan.

He previously served on the boards of Spotless Group Holdings Limited, Energy Developments Limited and on Mission Australia’s Corporate Advisory Council.

Stacey Thomas

Fay Fuller Foundation

Stacey is the CEO of the Fay Fuller Foundation, a private ancillary fund improving health outcomes for those in South Australia.  Having worked in the philanthropic and family office sectors around Australia for over ten years, Stacey is passionate about designing and implementing high-impact giving programs. 

Stacey holds a Master of Business majoring in Philanthropy and Social Investment and sits on the boards of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, Time for Kids and Impact100 SA.


Sarah Davies

Philanthropy Australia

Prior to joining Philanthropy Australia in October 2015, Sarah was CEO of The Reach Foundation, a for-purpose organisation working to improve the wellbeing of young people so they can get the most out of life. Sarah has also been CEO of the Australian Communities Foundation, a non-profit charitable foundation which enables accessible philanthropy and matches its donors’ interests to emerging social issues and needs of communities. 

Before moving into the non-profit sector, her professional life included senior executive roles in tertiary education in Australia and private sector consulting in HR, marketing and strategy in Australia, Europe and the Middle East.

Sarah’s current community roles include Director of Kids Under Cover and board member of the Centre for Social Impact. Sarah is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Williamson Community Leadership Program and a Victorian JP.

Maree Sidey

Australian Communities Foundation

Maree is Chief Executive Officer (2015 - present) of Australian Communities Foundation (ACF), a non-profit Public Ancillary Fund supporting charitable giving.  ACF offers individuals, families, groups, corporations and not-for-profit organisations an easy and satisfying way of giving something of real value back to the community that they care about.

Maree is also a Non-Executive Director of the Confident Girls Foundation, an affiliate of Netball Australia.


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