Our people

At the top level of our organisation structure is our national Board who guide the strategic direction of Special Olympics Australia. They officially meet at least four times a year but can be often seen at a competition or fundraising event.

Board

Cameron Brownjohn (Chair) 

Cameron chairs Special Olympics Australia (SOA) and serves on the Board’s Finance, Audit and Risk sub-committee and Governance sub-committee. The founder and CEO of Federation Asset Management, Cameron brings to the Board his lengthy experience in financial services garnered here and overseas. He has competed in sports at state and national level and brings to the Board his passion for sport and the community as well as his fiscal skills. Cameron was appointed to the Board in May 2014 and became Chairman in November 2016.

Andrew Richardson (Vice Chair) 

Andrew is an Australian Institute of Company Directors Fellow and the CEO of disability service provider Aruma, (formerly House with No Steps), which supports and empowers people with a disability throughout Eastern Australia. He has strong ties to Sydney South Club and has a daughter in the Special Olympics program. Andrew has served in a variety of board and leadership roles within the disability sector, where he is a respected thought-leader. He has a passionate commitment to social inclusion and human rights and a personal connection with disability. He has been associated with Special Olympics for 25 years. Andrew was appointed to the Board on 25 February 2020.

Tanya Brown 

Tanya is a Director of Hardie Finance Corporation and Entertainment Enterprises, a business comprising commercial property and hospitality venues in Western Australia. A Harvard Business School graduate, she previously chaired the Special Olympics WA Fundraising Committee, a subcommittee of the WA State Sports Committee. Tanya was appointed to the Board on 25 February 2020.
 

Keiran Corry

Keiran has been an active member of Special Olympics for just over 20 years. As a swimmer he competed in many club, state, national and international events. He has been a mentor for young athletes at the Junior National Games and has also served in roles such as official and marshal at State events. As an athlete leader Keiran brings a common-sense approach to the expectations of athletes. During the COVID pandemic he contacted athletes via zoom and teleconference to check on mental health and safety. He always advocates for his fellow athletes and believes that the athletes voices must be heard and considered.

Shaun Fraser 

Shaun is a chartered accountant with 30 years’ experience in corporate insolvency and restructuring gained here and overseas. He is a founding partner of corporate advisory firm McGrathNicol, where he established its Perth corporate advisory service, counselling leading businesses on strategy, governance and performance improvements. Shaun was appointed to the Board on 30 May 2015 and chairs the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.

Michael Hogan 

A retired public affairs consultant, Michael chairs the Nomination Committee and sits on the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee. Michael has more than 30 years’ involvement in SOA, as his son has been a long-term Special Olympics athlete. He is a fervent supporter of Special Olympics as a pathway to greater community inclusion for athletes and their families and carers. Michael was appointed to the Board on 9 July 2012.

Anna-Louise Kassulke

Anna-Louise is the CEO of Gold Coast Recreation and Sport and has 30 years’ experience in the sport and disability sector. She was instrumental in establishing Special Olympics Australia in Queensland and has served as State Director of Sport and Training and Head of Delegation for the Australian team at the 2007 World Games in Shanghai, 2011 World Games in Athens and 2015 World Games in Los Angeles. Anna-Louise was appointed to the Board on 30 October 2015 and is a member of the Nomination Committee.

Megan Lavender

Megan has 30 years’ experience as a public company director and government board member. She is a University Dean and college director and has previously held CEO and city councillor positions and served as ministerial advisor to the Australian Minister for Sport and the Sydney 2000 Games. Megan was appointed to the Board on 29 April 2016 and is a member of the Governance Committee.

Ruby Lawler 

A Special Olympics’ Athlete Leader from the Gladstone Club and a member at her local swim club, Ruby is an active volunteer and advocate. Ruby volunteers at the RSPCA and is a Youth Ambassador with Gladstone Community Linking Agency. She is enthusiastic about representing Special Olympics athletes and having the opportunity to share ideas, athlete stories and bringing an athlete’s perspective to the Board. Ruby was appointed to the Board on 4 November 2016.

Donald McGauchie AO 

Donald is a farmer and businessman who has served as president of the National Farmers Federation and in several advisory positions within government. He has been on the boards of the Reserve Bank, Telstra and Nufarm and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to agricultural industries in 2004. He chaired the Special Olympics National Games Board in 2014 and has a grandson with intellectual disability. Donald was appointed to the Board on 7 January 2020.

Anna Mezger 

Anna has 30 years’ experience in human resources, learning development, facilitation and project management. She is the founder and Director of Strategic HR Solutions. She has a sister with an intellectual disability and a son who is a Special Olympics athlete at Melbourne Inner East Club. This first-hand experience motivates Anna’s commitment to promoting healthy, active lifestyles for people with intellectual disabilities and endorsing Special Olympics Australia as a vehicle for achievement, community engagement and inclusion. Anna is a graduate of the AICD. Anna is a member of the Nominations and NDIS Board Committees. Anna was appointed to the Board on 25 February 2020.

Jehad Rasheed 

Jehad has a promotional marketing background and has served on the Australasian Promotional Products Association Board. Dedicated to advancing education and coaching and enhancing the community, Jehad was the Chairman of the 2018 Special Olympics National Games held in Adelaide and has held other senior roles within Special Olympics South Australia over the past 10 years. Jehad was appointed to the Board on 31 July 2019.

Dr. Jill Rathborne 

Jill has 20 years’ experience as an astronomy research scientist and exceptional expertise in quantitative and qualitative research and analysis. She helped establish the national program to improve gender equity in STEMM in Australia’s higher education and research sector. She is currently the Director of Research for The Inclusive Organisation Group of companies and brings to the Board her passion for both inclusion and sport. Jill was appointed to the Board on 25 February 2020.

Andrew Scipione AO APM 

Andrew was Commissioner of the NSW Police Force from 2007 until his retirement in 2017, before which he was Deputy Commissioner from 2002. Earlier in his career He held positions including Commander of the Special Technical Investigation Branch, Commander of Special Crime and Internal Affairs and Chief of Staff to the NSW Police Commissioner. He is a special expert advisor to The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’. Andrew was appointed to the Board 22 January 2020.

Ross Smith 

Ross is a finance professional who has lead finance and corporate services teams in Australia and across APAC for US multinationals. Ross passionately believes in the benefits that can be derived from sport and physical activity for everyone. Ross is actively involved in numerous community activities, including his local SO Club, and has a keen interest in helping Special Olympics athletes achieve their goals, whether they be in sport or life. Ross was appointed to the Board on 14 September 2018 and is a member of the Finance, Audit and Risk committee.

Staff

 

LEADERSHIP

Pierre Comis, Chief Executive Officer
Pierre provides overall leadership and direction to the Special Olympics Australia executive team, the staff, and the broader network of clubs, coaches, volunteers and athletes across the country, to ensure we achieve our vision for an inclusive Australia through which people with intellectual disabilities live an active, healthy and fulfilling life.
Connect with Pierre.

Nikki Napier, Executive Assistant to the CEO
Contact Nikki.

 

OPERATIONS

Gareth Hogan, General Manager Operations
Connect with Gareth.

Terry Visscher, Head of Sport & Competition

Ethan Rogers, National Sports Administrator / State Coordinator New South Wales

Maureen Scott, Membership Manager

Edward Smith, Database Administrator

Tara Schwarze, State Manager Western Australia

Matthew Pearson, State Manager South Australia

Kim Lawley, State Coordinator Queensland

Sarah Venning, State Coordinator Victoria

State Coordinator Tasmania (vacant)

 

PARTICIPATION & PROGRAMS

Yvonne Snell, General Manager Participation & Programs
Connect with Yvonne.

Naazmi Johnston, Program Manager – Young Athletes

Leisl Stimpson, Program Manager – Training & Education

Sean Douglas, Schools Project Officer

Sarah Wheadon, Participation Coordinator Victoria

Anne-Maree Schiavo, Participation Coordinator Queensland

 

FUNDRAISING & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Aaron Henry, General Manager Fundraising & Public Affairs
Connect with Aaron

Catherine Isted, Head of Fundraising & Partnerships

Hannah Hong, Graphic Designer

Zoe Greenwood, Communications Assistant

Hayley Vander-Wal, Fundraising Coordinator – Events

 

ATHLETE AND CORPORATE SERVICES

Deborah Begg, Athlete & Corporate Services
Connect with Deborah

Patricia Sugita, Finance Manager

Wenham Qi, Accountant

Susie Bennett-Yeo, Athlete Leadership Coordinator

 

GAMES

Bredette Koen, Games Director
Connect with Bredette