Chief Executive Officer

Sarah Davies

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.

T +61 (0)3 9662 9299

CEO EA & CRM Officer

Vanessa Kobielak

Before joining Philanthropy Australia, Vanessa worked at Snowdome Foundation in an executive administrator role. Vanessa has more than 15 years’ experience working in the not-for-profit sector in a variety of administrative, office and project management positions, for organisations including Carers Victoria, UnitingCare Community Options and Nillumbik Health.

 T +61 (0)3 9662 9299

» Melbourne office

Philanthropic Services Manager

Chris Wootton

B Sc (Hons), Grad Dip Ed, MBA

Chris joined Philanthropy Australia in January 2014 as the Victorian & Tasmanian Membership Manager.

Chris has worked in philanthropy for over 10 years managing the granting programs for some of the largest trusts including the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust; William Buckland Foundation; L E W Carty Charitable Trust, The Felton Bequest; Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Trust, the JO & JR Wicking Trust and the RACV Community Foundation.

In his previous role at ANZ Trustees (now Equity Trustees), Chris was responsible for the granting programs for around 250 trusts and foundations across Australia which distribute over $85 million per year.

He was the inaugural CEO of WaterAid Australia (2004 – 2007) an international aid and development agency delivering water and sanitation community development programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific and established new programs in Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.

Chris has also held senior executive roles at Melbourne Water, the University of Melbourne as General Manager, Vice-Chancellor’s Office and was the inaugural General Manager of Melbourne University Private.

He has also served on the Boards of Community Information and Support Victoria (2009 – 2015), the Trustees for the Strathewen Bushfire Relief Fund (2010-2013) and the Bushfire Education Foundation (2013+).

T +61 (0)3 9662 9299

» Melbourne office


State Manager (SA & WA)

Julia Steele Scott

Julia has strong commercial acumen in a range of sectors including not for profit, health and finance organisations.  She is passionate about encouraging the growth of philanthropy at all levels, from structured giving to giving circles which is a rising phenomenon that is attracting more people who want their dollar to make an impact.

Julia’s previous role was driving a revolutionary change in systems for Bellberry Limited, a not for profit organisation responsible for the scientific and ethical review of human research projects.  Julia has broad experience in business management with a passion for improving business results and systems through relationship building, project management and business and financial analysis.

She holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Adelaide, Associate Diploma in Accounting and also is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

Julia’s current community roles include Treasurer of Impact100 SA and board Member of the Pembroke School Foundation Inc.

T +61 (0)4 18 854 361

» Adelaide office

State Manager (VIC & TAS)

Patricia Burke

Pat has experience in the not-for-profit sector and human resources management across a 25 year career in the United States and Australia. Pat joined the team at Philanthropy Australia in 2011 as an intern and upon completion of her Swinburne Masters in Social Investment & Philanthropy, she took up a role supporting the Victorian & Tasmanian membership. 

A giving circle advocate, Pat is Co-Founder of the Melbourne Women's Fund, a giving circle established in 2014 to support women & families in greater metropolitan Melbourne. Pat has worked in grant making for Melbourne based Gardiner Foundation and is a board director and company secretary for Variety the Children's Charity, Victoria.

She has held leadership positions with not-for-profit boards and has experience in policy and program development, grants, fundraising, and board governance.

T +61 (0)3 9665 9104

» Melbourne office

State Manager (Qld & NT)

Sue Fisher

Sue comes to us with extensive experience in philanthropy, business development and corporate community partnerships. Most recently Sue drafted a philanthropy policy for Arts Queensland and spent seven years as the Queensland Director for the Australia Business Arts Foundation, responsible for promoting relationships between the private sector and the arts in the state.

In 2010, Sue was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and travelled internationally to research best practice in stimulating private sector support for the arts in a challenging economic environment. She has also held project and advisory roles at the Australia Council for the Arts, Griffith University and in local government. Sue began her career as an economist, working at Queensland Treasury and the University of Queensland.

Sue holds a Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours from the University of Queensland.

» Brisbane office


State Manager (NSW & ACT)
& New Generation Manager

Jenna Liang

Prior to joining Philanthropy Australia in November 2015, Jenna worked with the Aspen Institute to build research and inform foundations and donors on effective and innovative strategies to increase jobs and create small business in the United States. She has also worked with the Global Philanthropists Circle, an international network of leading philanthropic families, at the Synergos Institute.

Jenna has significant experience in supporting and managing the not-for-profit sector through monitoring and evaluation. Previously, she has worked with Impact Investment Shujog, Brilliant International Group, Action Pour Les Enfants, and various not-fo-rprofit organisations throughout the United States and Asia.

Jenna holds a master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Administration (SIPA) and a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.

» Sydney Office


New Gen Program Officer

Heather Kennedy

Since first visiting SE Asia after graduating high school, Heather has focused her career on the blend of business and philanthropy. She is particularly passionate about the reduction of poverty, healthcare, anti-slavery and the rights of women and children which have long been her personal focus. Heather studied Communications at Macquarie University and is a graduate of the Australian Catholic University in Marketing and International Business. She has a post graduate certificate in Public Relations and has studied for her Masters of Social Development at Newcastle University.

Prior to working at Philanthropy Australia, she managed the Manan Trust, a private philanthropic trust for staff in the First State Stewart Asia team. She set up the Trust in Hong Kong and worked on due diligence of 26 large scale projects in 7 countries across Asia.

Heather also worked as the Executive Director of Fundraising for a non-profit representing the work of the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre on education projects with the aim of reducing slavery across Asia. She also spent 7 years at Macquarie Group Foundation as Vice President Asia, based in Hong Kong, and Senior Manager, Sydney managing grants and major philanthropic and CSR activities for the group in Asia and Australia. She has also worked for 5 years in PR for non-profit clients and has extensive experience in the non-profit sector, including grant management, fundraising, due diligence, corporate social responsibility advisory services and volunteering programs. In 2003 she won the Prime Minister’s Award for contributing to sustainable international development.

» Sydney Office


Advocacy & Insight Manager

Krystian Seibert

Krystian has broad experience in public policy development, and an in-depth awareness of government, legislative and political processes. He has particular expertise in not-for-profit sector policy and in regulatory reform.

Prior to joining Philanthropy Australia, Krystian was an adviser to a former Australian Assistant Treasurer. In this role he was responsible for the delivery of major not-for-profit sector reforms including the establishment of Australia’s first independent charities regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), and the passage of Australia’s first comprehensive statutory definition of charity, the Charities Act 2013.

Krystian is an Adjunct Industry Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology and is a Board Member of Mental Health First Aid Australia. He regularly writes about matters relating to philanthropy, the not-for-profit sector and public policy, with his contributions featuring in both sector news and peer-reviewed publications.

Krystian has completed a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science focusing on regulatory policy, and a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) from Deakin University.

T +61 (0)3 9662 9299

» Melbourne office


Marketing, Communications & Events Manager

Ruth Heenan

Ruth is a creative and passionate communications and marketing specialist with experience across commercial, NFP, health and government sectors. Ruth excels in creative and strategic driven communications which yield demonstrable results and outcomes.

Ruth has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Board Ready course and led a campaign that was awarded Mumbrella’s CommsCon Awards,  Best Community Relations Campaign in 2015.

In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her daughter in the beautiful Melbourne seaside suburb of Elwood.

T +61 (0)3 9665 9112

» Melbourne office


Digital Marketing Executive

Matthew Romania

Matthew is a digital savvy marketer who utilises his experience in advertising, communications, event promotion, and project management to develop and execute online campaigns and improvement strategies. He has a background in both corporate and not-for-profit sectors and began his journey in digital marketing with a community radio station shortly after completing a Bachelor of Business (La Trobe).

Constantly exploring the ever-changing world of marketing, Matthew is a comprehensive problem solver and inventive strategist with an uncanny ability to work under challenging circumstances. Matthew is a conscientious marketer with a drive to grow and improve Philanthropy Australia's online presence. He is passionate about sharing inspirational stories and is proud to promote giving in Australia.

T +61 (0)3 9665 9101

» Melbourne office

Partnerships & Business Development Manager

Giselle Pinto 

Giselle joined Philanthropy Australia in April 2016.  She has significant experience in the for-purpose sector, having previously worked at The Foundation for Young Australians, World Vision Australia, YMCA Victoria and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.  Giselle has over ten years’ experience working across marketing, communications and fundraising, and has focused on partnerships and business development for the last five.   

Prior to joining the for-purpose sector, Giselle worked in publishing at Penguin Books Australia. She also volunteered at YGAP for five years – as company secretary and in a communications capacity.  

Giselle holds a Master of Global Media Communication from the University of Melbourne, Graduate Diploma in Editing and Publishing from RMIT University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University.

» Melbourne office

Finance and Operations Manager

Mal Lewis

Mal has had significant experience in finance and operations across a range of community and non-profit organisations over 20 years. Mal is CPA qualified, and has applied his knowledge through voluntary Boards and Committees. He currently is a co-Chair of the FLiFBO Network, providing development and capacity building to finance and operations leaders in the for-benefit sector. Before joining Philanthropy Australia in March 2017, Mal was the Director of Finance and Operations at the Australian Conservation Foundation for 6 years. He is a vocal advocate for LGBTI rights and equality, and spends his downtime with his husband and dogs.

» Melbourne office

Finance Administrator

Anantha Vedavratha

T +61 (0)3 9665 9299

» Melbourne office


Events and Administrative Coordinator

Angela Band

After living in London, Melbourne and New Zealand, Angela is proud to now call Sydney home. Angela has previously worked at Bangarra Dance Theatre, Australian National Academy of Music and Theatreworks. Angela holds a Masters of Arts and Cultural Management from the University of Melbourne, a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Theatre from the University of Otago, and is currently embarking on an Advanced Diploma in Event Planning & Design.

» Sydney office

Vision is for a more giving Australia…

Sarah Davies (CEO) launched Philanthropy Australia's Strategic Plan 2017 - 2020 at our 2016 Conference.