Meet our board
Peters Waters has worked with law firm Gilbert+Tobin for more than 25 years, formally as a partner and currently as a part-time consultant. Peter has been an active supporter and participant in Gilbert+Tobin’s pro bono practice and Director of the Pride Foundation.
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, Chair of the New Energy Tech Consumer Code Council, and Customer Advocate for NAB’s Wealth Advice Remediation.
Michelle Champ has a 25-year career in senior financial management and strategy. She is currently CFO of Hireup, which is Australia’s largest NDIS registered online platform which gives people with disability the power to find, hire and manage their very own support workers. Michelle also sits on the Board of Netball NSW, is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), holds a Bachelor Degree in Commerce and is a Fellow of the Certified Practising Accountants.
Jonathan Ladd is the Chair of Humanetix and Assistive Technology Australia, the latter a not-for-profit providing information and guidance on technologies that assist people with disabilities. He retired from Datacom Group in 2019 where he was the CEO and International Executive Chair.
Abang Anade Othow
Abang Anade Othow has served as an ambassador for organisations such as Red Cross and Oasis Africa. She works for a social enterprise, Enterprising World, empowering displaced individuals, refugees, and minority groups, and is a current national ambassador for the Refugee Council of Australia.
Heather Payne has an international career in marketing and has held senior positions with leading data & insights company Kantar, including as Managing Director Australia, CEO Asia Pacific, CMO Asia Pacific, and Global Chief Client Officer, and was a member of the Global Board for 15 years. Upon returning to Australia Heather worked for CareerSeekers which is a social enterprise helping refugees and asylum seekers re-start their careers in Australia. Heather holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) and is a graduate of the AICD.
Mary Reemst has worked in finance for more than 30 years and was formerly the CEO of Macquarie Bank Limited from where she retired in 2021. She is a Director of the Sisters of Charity Foundation and Chair of The Hunger Project Australia.
Graham Thom is Refugee Adviser at Amnesty International Australia and has previously chaired the NSW Asylum Seeker Interagency. From 2007 he has attended the UNHCR NGO Consultations and Annual Tripartite Resettlement Consultations in Geneva.
Meet our patrons
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 currently Chair of the Tourism and Transport Forum, Chair of Business Events Sydney and a member of the Sydney Opera House Board and the Lord Howe Island Board.
Rosemary Kariuki OAM
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 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, Los Angeles Book Prize, the Gold Medal of the University of California 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 22 books – fourteen in the field of social psychology and ethics, and eight novels. His latest book, The Kindness Revolution, was published in 2021. 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.
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 first woman since WW2) from the Australian War Memorial, and many others. Wendy has been awarded many international artist residencies including Egypt, Mexico, China, the Arctic, two in Antarctica and two in Paris. In 2019 she travelled to Ethiopia to make work for a fundraising exhibition for Hamlin Fistula Foundation. In 2020 she painted the Women’s Empowerment Mural in Newtown and in 2021 the 40m ephemeral mural at Sydney Jewish Museum ‘Where is the little street?’ In 2022 she had a fundraising exhibition of drawings of shoes for Lou’s Place women’s refuge. 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. Her work has always been about people. She has held more than 60 solo exhibitions around Australia and internationally.