Board Nomination Statements 2022

Personal Information (qualifications, position(s) and professional activities) 

Over a decade as a documentary filmmaker, I’ve travelled extensively in search of culturally diverse stories to share with the world. In 2009, I started the RMIT Cultural Visions Scholarship to help students that were interested in creating projects pushing for cultural awareness. In 2017, I was a major supporter in the resurrection of The Capitol Theatre in hopes to create a cultural hub for students and industry.

During the pandemic, I started working with a number of NFP’s to help navigate what their virtual structures could look like and how to continue engaging with communities. These included Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) and Asia Society.

With MIFF’s festival not being able to be in person for 2 years in a row due to lockdowns, in 2021 I was a major supporter in the creation of their first extended reality (XR) platform that showcased immersive experiences in a 3D version of The Capitol Theatre. To further support the community to create within this space, I initiated the inaugural MIFF XR commission.

From 2020-2021, I was the executive producer for IFFM’s ‘My Melbourne’ film initiative. A project encouraging emerging writers from the Indian diaspora to continue creating during the pandemic. Themes included race, gender, sexuality and disability. The writers of each group were chosen especially from the communities that the themes represented in order to share first hand perspectives.

My involvement with Asia Society is to help break down new forms of cultural engagement. In 2020, they streamed a live conversation between Sid Myer AM and myself to broaden the community’s understanding of philanthropy. In 2021, I was on the panel for the inaugural Melbourne Asia Game Changer awards. An initiative to raise awareness on people helping bridge Asia and Australia through their work.

Nomination Statement (addresses the skills, experience and profiles identified by the Board as current priority)

In light that we are still in a pandemic, my work continues in supporting educational and cultural institutions navigate their engagement with communities. Learning and understanding what their strategic plans are, to help rebuild local and regional economies through creative technology. Finding ways to bridge the disconnect through building infrastructure that utilises emerging technology and teaching communities how to utilise them, respective to their practice. Applying the knowledge I have gathered and constantly researching how to grow existing frameworks in hopes to reach a broader audience, diversify and help nurture a stronger future for generations.

The limitations I found within the educational and cultural sectors led me to learn more about the governance and advocacy that could be done. How to collect the case studies necessary in order for another level of change to be imparted throughout the communities. Local and potentially across the country, as example.

March 2022

Personal Information (qualifications, position(s) and professional activities) 

My name is Lisa George and I have the privilege of being the Global Head of the Macquarie Group Foundation. The Foundation is Macquarie Group's philanthropic arm and one of Australia's largest corporate benefactors ($A64 million contributed in FY21). 

I am seeking election to the Board of Philanthropy Australia because of my commitment to deepening the reach of philanthropy and social impact in this country. 

I believe I will make a meaningful contribution to the board of Philanthropy Australia for three reasons: 

  • 16 years' experience in the social impact sector, including 11.5 years in corporate philanthropy
  • Global education and professional expertise
  • Diverse background

I am an experienced board director (>10 years), currently serving on the board of For Purpose Investment Partners and previously on the boards of SVC Ltd and YWCA NSW. I am also a Graduate of the Al CD's Company Director's Course. I'm Chair of the Harvard Club of Australia Non-profit Fellowship, which awards 2 scholarships annually to Australian non-profit CEOs to study at Harvard Business School. I hold a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School. 

Nomination Statement (addresses the skills, experience and profiles identified by the Board as current priority)

The Board of Philanthropy Australia has indicated the following gaps in its skills matrix (among others), which I am qualified to help fill: 

  • Cultural diversity
  • Age diversity

Originally from India, I have studied, lived and worked in Nigeria, Italy, Mongolia, the United States and Australia. I have worked in the social impact sector my whole career, starting in the non-profit sector in the United States. I then continued after moving to Australia in 2007, joining Social Ventures Australia prior to the Macquarie Group Foundation. I also recently spent 1.5 years working in Singapore with the Macquarie Group Foundation. 

As a result, I have an extensive network of colleagues and friends in the social impact sector around the world, which I believe will benefit the work of Philanthropy Australia. I will also bring a unique perspective to the boardroom table, having worked in both non-profits and philanthropy, and lived in both developing & developed country contexts. 

As a director under age 40, I also bring a unique perspective of younger generations to the board table. I was an inaugural member of Philanthropy Australia's New Gen Network and maintain many close personal contacts from that group. It is critical that Philanthropy Australia continues to engage with the next generation in the social impact sector as part of its next strategic plan. 

March 2022

Personal Information (qualifications, position(s) and professional activities) 

With over 30 years’ experience working to support social impact, I have had an abiding commitment to Philanthropy Australia and believe that a strong and impactful peak association is essential if philanthropy is to continue to build on the important focus of more and better philanthropy.

As CEO of the non-partisan Menzies Foundation, I am applying all that I have learnt to develop and implement a catalytic strategy to address pressing leadership challenges and raise the profile and importance of ‘outstanding leadership.’ We do this by building multi-sector collaborations to seek innovative solutions for systemic change. Our work in school leadership, science entrepreneurship, emerging technologies and the law, Indigenous women’s entrepreneurship, emerging leaders and citizen leadership and community resilience gives me a strong insight to the leadership required to navigate the challenges of a complex, global, tribal, digitized world.

Philanthropy has a significant role to play in building these platforms for innovation and it is imperative that as a sector, we focus on developing the leadership skills and mindsets to be major contributors to this work.

I was instrumental in establishing the Centre for Ethical Leadership and Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre at the Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne and during this time was awarded a Research Fellowship to consider best practice in philanthropy. This work culminated in the release of two Reports: Philanthropy – Towards Better Practice (2018) and Philanthropy – The Continued Journey to Real Impact and Better Practice (2021). In 2019 I was delighted to undertake a national road tour in partnership with Philanthropy Australia to share the insights from this work.

Nomination Statement (addresses the skills, experience and profiles identified by the Board as current priority)

I have extensive governance experience. I am a GCAID member of the AICD and have served on the Boards of the Public Galleries of Association of Victoria, Social Firms Australia, Uniting Care Community Options, United Way Australia and supported the Development Committee of the Towards a Just Society Foundation. Currently, I am on the Advisory Board of Barmal Bijiril.

I have extensive experience in oversight of financial management systems and investment governance. I served on the Audit & Investment Committee for Uniting Care Community Options and am very comfortable with accounting principles and conventions.

I am very aware of the profound implications of digital transformation agendas, both in terms of the way technology and digitization is transforming social impact and in improving efficiency and effectiveness from an organizational perspective.

As part of this work The Menzies Foundation recently brokered and signed a Heads of Agreement with a high potential start-up in Silicon Valley to digitize the platform being developed by the Menzies School Leader Incubator, which has the potential to be transformational in supporting Australian school leaders to improve student learning outcomes. In addition, in partnership with Swinburne University, the Foundation is collaborating on a digital play to connect citizens directly into the Australian leadership discourse.

The Foundation is currently undergoing a digital transformation program as we increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our database and grant making platforms. In addition, the Foundation is rolling out a communication platform which is highly strategic in orientation and, aligned with our aspiration to build a leadership movement, focused on developing a ‘new power’ approach to digital marketing and the design and development of all communication materials to maximise engagement and impact.

All these will hold me in good stead to contribute to Philanthropy Australia’s digital opportunities.

Regarding Government Relations, I worked with Hon. Ted Baillieu AO for three years as his Advisor on Post Compulsory Education and have had first experience in working in government, particularly regarding the development of policy and the challenges of managing this through the parliament.

In addition, I have brokered several philanthropic partnerships with government, most notably a $3M partnership with the Victorian State Government to support community resilience.

I have academic qualifications in commerce, business and public policy.

March 2022

Personal Information (qualifications, position(s) and professional activities) 

I have over 24 years working for IBM Australia, holding a variety of business and departmental roles across the global IBM world. I have managed and run large teams, across service delivery, relationship management and business development areas across many industry sectors.

Chair, Good2Give Australia: technology provider for Workplace Giving, Grants and Foundation management.

Chair, ShareGift Australia: makes it easy and cost effective for shareholders to grow philanthropy in Australia through the donation of shares and related proceeds to charity.

Chair, AbilityMade: award winning, social start-up that provides ankle-foot-orthoses to children with cerebral palsy using innovative scanning and 3D modelling & printing technology. 

Chair, mPort: an IT technology start up, that brings the innovation of 3D body mapping to consumers, heralding a new era in health tracking and assessment. mPort also owns SpringDay, which provides corporate employee wellbeing intranet sites for many ASX companies and government departments. 

Board member, Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home {Montefiore): Australia's leading aged care provider with a proud history spanning more than 120 years. 

I am also advisor and have been on the Board or Advisory committee to other NFP and tech start-up entities. 

Graduated with BSc (Information Technology) and MBA (Executive) from UNSW/AGSM

Nomination Statement (addresses the skills, experience and profiles identified by the Board as current priority)

I have skills in business, governance, philanthropy, and information technology, all of which are useful and necessary skills for Philanthropy Australia (PA). 

With over 24 years in the IT sector, I have worked across multiple industries and understand how technology can help organisations become more effective and efficient. As Board member of Montefiore, a NFP residential aged care provider, my technology experience and understanding has helped the Board better assess and decide upon technology implementations. 

I have been both a fund raiser, having raised significant funds for a communal charity. As such I understand the needs of charities and how fundraising is a key necessity for their growth and success. Today, I am on some fundraising advisory committees and provide pro-bona guidance to some NFPs on fundraising strategies and events. 

I am also a Board member for several NFP organisations. I am on the Board of Montefiore (aged care sector) and am Chair of Good2Give & ShareGift Australia. Good2Give is the largest technology provider in the Workplace Giving Australia, whilst ShareGift allows for individuals and corporates to provide shares, dividend reinvestments or sale of lost parcels to the charitable sector. As Chair of Good2Give, I have recently taken the organisation through a merger with another NFP and understand the importance of governance, organisational structures, communications, and brand market awareness. 

As Board member, I am also involved in assessing investments and investment managers for funds held by the organisation{s). I also sit on the Audit/Risk Committees for several of my NFPs. 

I am also Chair of AbilityMade, a social start-up and mPort, a start-up that provides wellbeing solutions. With these Board roles, I understand importance of Board membership and the responsibilities of independent Directorship. 

I am also a Member of the AICD. 

March 2022

Personal Information (qualifications, position(s) and professional activities) 

I have served on the Board of Philanthropy Australia since 2019 and I have been the CEO of the Besen Family Foundation since 2017. 

The Besen Family Foundation is a Private Ancillary Fund and a member of Philanthropy Australia at the 'Engaged Member' level.

Prior to my role with the Besen Family Foundation I was the General Manager of Philanthropy and Not-for-Profit Services at Equity Trustees where I oversaw a portfolio of approximately 450 charitable trusts. 

I am passionate about the role that philanthropy plays in the community in tackling social issues that require innovative, compassionate and sustainable solutions. Before moving into the philanthropy sector in 2008 I worked as a social justice lawyer at Justice Connect (then the Public Interest Law Clearing House) and that experience and exposure to the causes and contributors to inequality, hardship and disadvantage underpins my approach to the practice of philanthropy. Importantly it also fuels my desire to increase the number of people involved in philanthropy, the funds distributed and the impact of their giving. 

My knowledge of the philanthropic sector includes the relevant law, governance, and regulatory framework and taxation issues; investment oversight, discretionary grant-making, and communications and reporting: 

My qualifications include a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Skills and Ethics, Law (Monash University); Bachelor of Arts/Law (Monash University); and I am part-way through the Master of Social Investment and Philanthropy (Swinburne University). 

Nomination Statement (addresses the skills, experience and profiles identified by the Board as current priority)

Having regard to the preferred skills, experience and diversity matrix for the Board I am confident that I continue to meet the criteria and that I have the relevant skills and experience to contribute meaningfully to the important work of Philanthropy Australia. This experience includes administering PAFs, PuAFs and Testamentary Trusts, working for not-for­profit organisations and being involved in the establishment of the Not-for-Profit Legal Service at Justice Connect and advocacy around the introduction of the Charities Act, the establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) and protections for NGOs to advocate on issues within their remit without risk to their charitable status. In terms of diversity, the Philanthropy Australia Board on which I currently sit is relatively representative of gender, age, and cultural diversity.

As well as serving on the Board I am also a member of Philanthropy Australia's Advocacy and Reform Sub-Committee and I currently co-chair the Family Foundation Network. 

March 2022

Personal Information (qualifications, position(s) and professional activities) 

Bachelor of Engineering - University of Queensland

Bachelor of Commerce - University of Queensland

Graduate Diploma of Social Science (Philanthropy and Social Investment) – Swinburne Uni.

Co-founded JBWere Philanthropic Services in 2001, continuing as Senior Consultant

Current Board member Philanthropy Australia, Summer Housing Author of

  • (co author) Impact Australia – Investment for Social and economic benefit
  • The Cause Report – 20 years of (r)evolution in the not for profit sector
  • The Support Report – The changing shape of giving and the implications for recipients
  • The Corporate Support Report – The evolution of corporate giving and community investment in Australia
  • Philanthropy 50 – Annual list since 2016 of Australia’s top 50 individual and family givers
  • (co author) Corporate 50 – Annual list since 2019 of Australia’s top 50 corporate givers
  • New Zealand equivalents of the Cause, Support and Impact Reports.

Nomination Statement (addresses the skills, experience and profiles identified by the Board as current priority)

My many years of research in and personal involvement with giving through our family PAF, provides a strong level of understanding of the needs and opportunities for philanthropy in Australia. The current Philanthropy Australia Blueprint for Giving which seeks to double structured giving in Australia by 2030 relied heavily on input provided from research completed in the Cause and Support Reports which I authored and in the compilation of other research including trends for higher net wealth level and corporate giving.  Involvement with many families and corporates considering starting or growing their philanthropic journey also provides an insight into the needs of those yet to fully experience the joys of giving. In addition, our work in impact investing including our own PAFs investments provides great experience to help promote the use of corpus for social good, not just annual donations.  Finally, the experience from co-founding JBWere Philanthropic Services, over 20 years ago, and which now manages over $10 billion of for-purpose investments across a range of cause areas, gives great insight into the broader issues facing the recipients of philanthropy, the 
“doing” charities. 

March 2022

Personal Information (qualifications, position(s) and professional activities) 

I am an experienced and multi-faceted leader with strong roots in both the NFP and Philanthropic sectors. I bring extensive governance experience and strategic nous and a well demonstrated commitment to growing philanthropy in Australia, and supporting the development of contemporary and effective philanthropic practice.

I have been CEO of Australian Communities Foundation (ACF) since 2015. With a corpus of more than $140M and a team of nearly 20 staff, ACF distributes $14M annually through 900+ grants to 500+ organisations and supports more than 400 Funds and Foundations.

I have been a long-term advocate for the importance of collaboration and peer networks demonstrated through the establishment of Australia’s first co-located philanthropic hub (the Community of Giving). I am also an ambassador for the power of collective giving and current Chair of Mannifera.

I am familiar with the challenges and opportunities facing membership-based organisations and have served on the Board of Community Foundations of Australia (peak body), for the past five years. I also maintain strong links with the NFP sector through my role as a Director of Australian Progress

Previously I worked for twenty years in the NFP sector holding senior roles in sector leading National NFP’s; including Head of Public Relations at headspace, Head of Corporate Services at Orygen Youth Health, and Head of Community at the Australian Drug Foundation. My specialty areas are Public Relations, Government Relations, Communications, Systems Change and Strategy.

My contribution to the For Purpose sector has been recognised by Scholarships from the Centre for Social Impact (2017), the Harvard Club of Australia (2014), and Chief Executive Women (2012). I also hold an MBA (Social Impact), from the University of New South Wales.

I live on half an acre on Wurundjeri Country, and am a passionate gardener, beekeeper, chicken enthusiast, and Mum of three.

Nomination Statement (addresses the skills, experience and profiles identified by the Board as current priority)

I have strong strategic and operational financial acumen and hold a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), from the Australian School of Graduate Management (AGSM).

Government relations has been a key focus of my work to date, with the successful securement of $100M+ of government support for health promotion, community development and mental health initiatives during my career.

A particular career highlight was being a part of the founding executive team working closely with government to establish headspace (national youth mental health initiative) and building the national network of headspace centres.

Digital transformation has been a significant achievement of my time at Australian Communities Foundation, most recently overseeing the due diligence and roll out of a world leading database implementation system. I have also overseen the development and roll out of the ACF’s National Funding Platform (in partnership with Philanthropy Australia), a place for clearinghouse of funding opportunities from across Australia, and an essential service during the challenges of Covid 19.

I bring a strong and well-rounded set of skills, and would be happy to make a contribution to any Board Committee, at the discretion of the Board.

March 2022

Personal Information (qualifications, position(s) and professional activities) 

I have been at the helm of The Wyatt Trust (Wyatt) since 2019. Wyatt works across South Australia to provide support to people experiencing poverty. More recently, I also established Foundation SA and lead this new South Australian community Foundation to grow philanthropy across the state. I was previously the CEO of Fay Fuller Foundation and have also worked in management roles for the Myer Family Company, Telstra Foundation and the Trust Company.

I hold a Master of Business majoring in Philanthropy and Social Investment, am a graduate of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation Program and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

While currently a Director of Philanthropy Australia and member of the Policy and Research Committee, I also volunteer my time on the Investment Committee of the Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation and was on the Committee of Management for Impact100 SA for five years.

Nomination Statement (addresses the skills, experience and profiles identified by the Board as current priority)

In re-standing my appointment strengthens the geographic and age diversity of the current Philanthropy Australia Board while also bringing a varied range of perspectives. I have experience in government relations sitting previously on the COVID-related Social Recovery Committee (SA) and currently on the NFP Community of Practice Committee (SA).

March 2022

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