Peter Waters, Chair
Meet our board
Peters Waters has worked with law firm Gilbert+Tobin for more than 25 years, formerly as a partner and currently as a part-time consultant. Peter has been an active supporter and participant in the firm’s pro bono practice and is a director of the Pride Foundation.
Clare Petre, Deputy Chair
Clare Petre has had a long career in community and government sectors and was the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW for more than 16 years. She is currently a board member of the ACT Suburban Land Agency, NAB’s Customer Advocate (Wealth Remediation), and Chair of The Energy Charter Independent Accountability Panel, the New Energy Tech Consumer Code Council, and ACFID’s Code of Conduct Committee.
Marina Brizar arrived in Australia as a refugee from the former Yugoslavia. Marina was named the 2015 Young Migration Lawyer of the Year, the 2015 Woman Lawyer of the Year – Up Coming and a ‘Woman of Influence’ 2016. She is an immigration lawyer and advocate, Churchill Fellow and currently the UK Director of Talent Beyond Boundaries.
Michelle Champ brings over 25 years of experience as a business executive holding various senior finance and leadership roles across multiple industries, including Aged Care and Retirement Living, Media, digital operations and Building Products. Michelle brings a track record of expertise in financial management, regulatory compliance, risk and change management. Michelle also sits on the Board of Netball NSW. She is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and holds a Bachelor Degree in Commerce and is a Fellow of the Certified Practising Accountants.
Om Dhungel is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and serves on different committees and boards. He works as a consultant, trainer and mentor. Formerly a refugee from Bhutan, Om is a recipient of a number of awards including ZEST 2021 Outstanding Volunteer Community Leader Award, the 2016 Community Service Lifetime Achievement Award and 2017 UTS Sydney International Alumni Award.
Betty Hounslow AM
Betty Hounslow has more than 30 years’ experience in the community sector including as Executive Director of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Vice-President of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), and Deputy CEO of The Fred Hollows Foundation. She has been an active campaigner for the rights of refugees and migrants since the early 1980s.
Jonathan Ladd was the CEO and International Executive Chair of Datacom Group from where he retired in 2019. He is the Chair of Humanetix and Assistive Technology Australia, the latter a not-for-profit providing information and guidance for technologies that assist people with disabilities.
Heather Payne has a career in marketing insights and has held senior positions across the globe with leading data & insights company Kantar, including Managing Director Australia, CEO Asia Pacific, CMO Asia Pacific, and Global Chief Client Officer. Heather has also worked for CareerSeekers which is a social enterprise helping refugees and asylum seekers re-start their professional careers in Australia. Heather holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) and is a graduate of the AICD.
Mary Reemst was the Managing Director and CEO of Macquarie Bank Limited from July 2014 to July 2021. Mary has worked in finance for more than 30 years covering a number of areas including corporate and infrastructure finance and risk management.
Graham Thom is Refugee Adviser at Amnesty International Australia and has previously chaired the NSW Asylum Seeker Interagency. From 2007 he attended the UNHCR NGO Consultations and Annual Tripartite Resettlement Consultations in Geneva.
Meet our patrons
Associate Professor Munjed Al Muderis
Munjed Al Muderis
Born in Baghdad, Munjed Al Muderis fled Iraq at the age of 27 when as a young doctor he refused the orders of Saddam Hussein to mutilate the ears of army deserters. He hid – knowing that if they found him he would almost certainly be taken away and shot. After enduring a life threatening journey to Australia, he arrived by boat at Christmas Island and then spent 10 months in Curtin Detention Centre. Munjed is a pioneer in developing bionic and robotic technology, restoring mobility for amputees around the world – giving them the opportunity to walk again. One of his goals is to “leave something behind the world can benefit from”.
Bruce Baird AM
As a member of the NSW Parliament, Bruce Baird was Minister for Transport from 1988 to 1995, Minister for Sydney’s Olympic Bid from 1990 to 1993, Minister for Tourism and Roads from 1993 to 1995 and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in State Parliament from 1992 to 1995. In Federal Parliament, he was the Member for Cook, NSW, from 1998 to 2007, Chairman of the Economics Committee and a member of the Human Rights Committee. Bruce has had a distinguished career in both the public and private sectors. In 2008 he was appointed Chair of the Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council which advises the government on refugee and humanitarian settlement in Australia. He is also Chairman of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
Rosemary has been a member of the ASC community for more than twenty years, as a client, a volunteer and now in her role as multicultural community liaison officer with the NSW Police. “The Centre was my family when I first came to Australia. I went every day, had food, taught the Australian accent and it was my home.” In partnership with the African Women’s Group, she helped start the African Women’s Dinner Dance. Now in its 14th year, more than 400 women attend the annual event. She also started the African Village Market – a program to help migrants and refugees start their own businesses – which ran for four years. Rosemary stars in the documentary Rosemary’s Way and won the 2021 Australian of the Year Local Hero Award.
Thomas Keneally AO
An Australian Living Treasure and one of our most successful authors, Tom Keneally is best known for his Booker Prize winning novel Schindler’s Ark, later adapted to Steven Spielberg’s Schlindler’s List which won an Academy Award for Best Picture. He has been shortlisted three more times for the Booker, won the Miles Franklin Award, the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and the Helmerich Award. Tom co-authored A Country Too Far, a landmark anthology by 27 of Australia’s finest writers which confirms that the experience of seeking asylum – the journeys of escape from death, starvation, poverty or terror to an imagined paradise – is part of the Australian mindset and deeply embedded in our culture. Tom has a passionate commitment and deep understanding of why people come to our country seeking safety and protection.
Hugh Mackay AO
Australia’s pre-eminent social researcher, Hugh Mackay is internationally recognised for his pioneering work in this area. He is the author of nineteen books – twelve in the field of social psychology and ethics, and seven novels. His latest book, Australia Reimagined: Towards a more compassionate, less anxious society, was published in 2018. He delivered the 2017 Gandhi Oration at the University of NSW: The State of the Nation Starts in Your Street. Hugh is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and of the Royal Society of NSW, and has been awarded honorary doctorates by five Australian universities. He was a newspaper columnist for over 25 years and is a frequent media commentator. He is a former deputy chairman of the Australia Council and Chairman of Trustees of Sydney Grammar School. He was the inaugural chairman of the ACT Government’s Community Inclusion Board.
John Menadue AO
John Menadue has had a distinguished career in the public sector, including as Head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet under two Prime Ministers, Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser. He was Ambassador to Japan as well as Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, and the Department of Trade.
Private sector appointments included General Manager, News Limited, Sydney. He was also CEO of Qantas, a Director of Telstra and Chair of the Australia-Japan Foundation. John was Founding Chair and is a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development. John publishes a blog ‘Pearls and Irritations‘ at www.johnmenadue.com.
Wendy Sharpe AO
Wendy Sharpe is one of Australia’s most awarded artists. She has won many major national awards, scholarships and prizes including The Archibald Prize, The Sulman Prize and The Portia Geach Memorial Award (twice). Major commissions include the olympic pool size mural for Cook and Phillip Park Aquatic Centre, Sydney; Australian Official Artist to East Timor 1999 (the 1st woman since WW2) by the Australian War Memorial, and many others. She was a member of the Council of the War Memorial from 2005 to 2013. Wendy has been awarded many international artist residencies including Egypt, Mexico, China, the Arctic, two in Antarctica and two in Paris. Her most recent Australian residency was with the State Library of NSW. She has held more than 60 solo exhibitions around Australia and internationally. Her exhibition, ‘Seeking Humanity’, which comprised 39 portraits of people seeking asylum and refugees, made an enormous contribution to the perception of asylum seekers at all levels of society. Wendy is a figurative painter. Her work has always been about people.