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 (Chairman)

Cameron Brownjohn is Chairman of Special Olympics Australia and a member of the Finance, Audit and Risk committee. He is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Federation Asset Management, and enjoys over twenty years of experience in the financial services industry, having lived and worked in Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States over this period. Prior to joining the corporate world, Cameron was competitive at state and national level across a range of sports and graduated with degrees in Law and Commerce with First Class Honours. In addition to combining his passions for sport and the community, Cameron brings his business acumen, corporate knowledge and fiscal skills to the Board.

Michael Hogan (Vice Chair)

Michael Hogan is a retired public affairs consultant. He is a wise counsel. He is a passionate believer in the work of Special Olympics Australia with over thirty years of exposure as the parent of a Down Syndrome son who has been a longterm SOA athlete. Michael believes Special Olympics is the gateway for families, athletes and carers to a more inclusive lifestyle. “When you consider that our athletes exceed the national ID average in terms of employability SOA is doing something right. It’s all part of the big journey we’re on as we continue to pioneer new territory for everyone associated with intellectual disability”. Michael is the chair of the Nomination Committee and a member of the Finance, Audit and Risk committee.

Tanya Brown

Tanya is a Director of Hardie Finance Corporation and Entertainment Enterprises, a diverse Western Australia family business, comprising a major commercial property portfolio and multiple hospitality venues. Tanya has recently served as the Chair of the WA Fundraising Committee, a subcommittee of the WA State Committee.
 

Shaun Fraser

Shaun is a Chartered Accountant with 30 years’ experience in corporate restructuring in both Australia and the United States and was a founding partner of boutique corporate advisory firm McGrathNicol in 2004. Shaun has spent most of his career assisting companies, boards and stakeholders through difficult situations and he has been involved in some of Australia’s largest and most complex corporate insolvency and restructuring cases. He has been responsible for the growth and development of various aspects of McGrathNicol’s business including the establishment of the firm’s Perth practice and Corporate Advisory business, which provides support to market leading Australian corporates on strategy, governance and performance improvements. Shaun is the chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk committee.

Ben Haack

As a Special Olympics athlete, coach, volunteer and leader, Ben brings vast experience to his role on the Board. He has played sport at all levels and has completed athlete leadership training. Ben is currently a member of the Special Olympics Asia Pacific (SOAP) Leadership Council and Co-Chair of the SOAP Athlete Input Council. He is a Special Olympics International (SOI) Board Director, a member of the SOI International Advisory Committee as well as a member of the SOI Research and Public Policy Committee. Ben is the third athlete representative to the National Board continuing the good work of Kim Flannigan (SA) and Andrew Williams (VIC).

Anna-Louise Kassulke

Anna-Louise is the CEO of Gold Coast Recreation and Sport Inc. She has worked in the sport and disability sector for 30 years and has experience in project development and leadership. Anna-Louise was instrumental in establishing Special Olympics Australia in Queensland and has served Special Olympics Australia in a variety of capacities since 1988, including State Director of Sport and Training and Head of Delegation for the Australian team at the 2007 World Games in Shanghai and 2011 World Games in Athens. Anna-Louise was originally appointed to the Board in 2009 and stepped down as a Director in 2014 to take up the position of Head of Delegation for the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles. Anna-Louise rejoined the Board as a Director after the World Games. Anna-Louise is a member of the Nomination Committee.

Megan Lavender

Megan has three decades’ experience as a public company director and government board member, and currently serves as a non-executive director on fifteen boards.
A transformational leader of organisations – with a focus on stakeholder engagement – she is a University Dean and college director and has previously served as Chief Executive Officer in the health industry, national head of corporate affairs, ministerial advisor to the Australian Minister for Sport and the Sydney 2000 Games, and as an elected city councillor. Megan is passionate about Special Olympics which embodies the Australian notion of fair go, fair dinkum for everyone involved. She is a member of the Governance Committee.

Ruby Lawler

Ruby is an active member of Special Olympics Gladstone and her local swim club. She regularly volunteers at the RSPCA and is committed to investing in her local community as a Youth Ambassador with Gladstone Community Linking Agency. Of her appointment, Ruby said, “I am excited to work alongside Ben to represent Special Olympics athletes, to have an opportunity to share ideas, good news stories and opinions that are important to all of us."

Donald (Don) McGauchie AO

Donald (Don) McGauchie AO will be familiar to many as he was Chair of the Special Olympics National Games Board in 2014. Don is an Australian farmer and businessman. He has a farming background and is a senior partner of C & E McGauchie, Terrick West Estate, a poll merino stud in the Loddon Valley area of northern Victoria. From 1994 to 1998 was president of the National Farmers Federation. Don has served in several advisory positions within government, serving on the Prime Minister's Supermarket to Asia Council, the Foreign Affairs Council and the Trade Policy Advisory Council. Don was a member of the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia from 2001 to 2011. In 2004 he succeeded Bob Mansfield as chairman of Telstra Corporation. He joined the board of Nufarm Limited in 2003 and has been chairman since 2010 and in 2001 won the Rabobank Agribusiness Leader of the Year award. In 2004, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to the Australian grain and wool industries, and for his economic reform of Australian agricultural commodity handling and marketing. Don has lived experience with ID.

Anna Mezger

Anna is the Founder of Strategic HR Solutions Pty Ltd and works with businesses to achieve their goals through tailored, people-focused solutions. Anna has a son in the Special Olympics program Anna is currently the Chair of Melbourne Inner East Club.

 

Allison O'Shea

Allison has an extensive and diverse professional background with over 25 years in the Finance, Law, Insurance, Tourism Technology, Health and Sports industries and Philanthropy. Currently she works for The Growth Faculty bringing the world’s best business minds and thought leaders to speak in Australia as well running her own leadership and wellbeing consultancy business. Previously she held senior management and executive roles and has been integral in managing stakeholder and client relationships as well as business development and team leadership and performance. Allison is passionate about the key mission and purpose of the Special Olympics globally to provide sporting opportunities to motivate and inspire participants to develop the skills and networks to flourish and achieve physical and mental wellbeing and promote inclusion. She is a Graduate of the AICD. Allison is the chair of the Development Committee.

Jehad Rasheed

Jehad Rasheed was Chairman of the successful 2018 Special Olympics National Games held in Adelaide and has held senior roles for Special Olympics South Australia over the past 10 years. He was a highly successful businessman in the Promotional Marketing Industry where he held a National Board role for the Australasian Promotional Products Association before selling his company to an ASX listed company. Jehad has a passion for education, coaching and making a difference in his community; this passion and the ensuing results has made him a highly respected figure within Special Olympics Australia.

Dr. Jill Rathborne

Dr. Rathborne has over 18 years of experience as a research scientist at world-leading institutions with expertise in the research and analysis of quantitative and qualitative datasets. Dr. Rathborne is currently an internationally renowned Director of Research and an active Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Advocate.
 

Irena Reiss

Irena is a practicing lawyer with an extensive career mainly in the area of commercial dispute resolution having acted for clients across the corporate, private and public sectors. As a parent of a Special Olympics athlete, Irena’s lived experience and previous roles at a regional committee level brings to the board a demonstrated understanding of the grass roots of the organisation. Irena's passion for Special Olympics is driven by a commitment to human rights, corporate social responsibility and inclusion. Irena is also on the Board of the Council for Intellectual Disability, a member of the Law Society of NSW Human Rights Committee and served as an expert panelist on disability for the Law Council of Australia’s ‘Access to Justice Project’. Irena's diverse networks and advocacy skills place her in a unique position to help empower people with intellectual disabilities. Irena is the chair of the Governance Committee.

Andrew Richardson

Andrew is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Aruma, a leading Australian NGO supporting and empowering people with a disability. Andrew has strong connections to Sydney South Club and has a daughter in the Special Olympics program.

 

Andrew Scipione AO APM

Andrew Scipione AO APM, Commissioner (Rtd) New South Wales Police Force, joined the NSW Police Force in 1980. He gained experience in several areas and in 1985 was seconded to the National Crime Authority of Australia. He has held a range of Command positions including the Commander of the Special Technical Investigation Branch (STIB), Chief of Staff to the NSW Police Commissioner and Commander of Special Crime and Internal Affairs. Mr. Scipione was appointed Deputy Commissioner in 2002. He served as the 21st Commissioner of the NSW Police Force from 2007 through until his retirement in 2017. Andrew currently sits as a Director on a number of Boards including World Vision Australia and Georges River Life Care. He is a special expert advisor to NSW Commission of enquiry into the drug ICE. Commissioner Scipione is a recipient of the Australian Police Medal and National Medal. In June 2016 he was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and received the Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia. He is married to Joy and has 3 adult children.

Ross Smith

Ross is a finance professional and graduate of AICD, who as CFO, has worked for listed and private Australian companies as well as leading finance and corporate services teams 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 is a member of the Finance, Audit and Risk committee.

Corene Strauss, CEO

Corene is a passionate cause-related marketing and management professional who spent seven years as National Marketing Manager for Legacy Australia where she unified the organisation, increased donations and partnerships. Her most recent role was as CEO of the Men of League Foundation which she brought back into positive revenue by increasing income streams, growing members and embedding the funding received by the NRL into the organisation.

Staff

Corene Strauss, Chief Executive Officer

           

SPORT

Terry Visscher, General Manager Sports Development
Terry is responsible for the design and management of sports development and competition pathways across the country.

Yvonne Snell, National Partnerships Manager - Sports
Yvonne is responsible for national sports partnerships and for increasing sports participation and providing access to competition pathways in VIC/SA/TAS.

Ethan Rogers, National Sports Administrator

Susie Bennett-Yeo, Special Projects Coordinator (QLD)

Kaitlyn Frawley, Community Development Coordinator (VIC)

Tom Hancock, Community Development Coordinator (TAS)

Naazmi Johnston, National Young Athletes Manager (NSW)

Kim Lawley, Community Development Coordinator (QLD)

Melinda Manners, Community Development Coordinator (WA)

Christine Newberry, Community Development Coordinator (SA)

 

GAMES

Bredette Koen, Games Director
Bredette is responsible for delivering our Junior Games and National Games in Launceston, Tasmania proudly presented by NAB.

 

SCHOOLS

Pierre Comis, Head of Schools and Participation
Pierre is responsible for developing and implementing the Schools Pilot Program and building the program into a desired and indispensable tool for inclusive sport within the education sector.

Leisl Stimpson, Schools Manager
Leisl provides day-to-day expertise to the NSW Schools Pilot Project as well as support and coordination to our national schools strategy work.

FUNDRAISING

Fran Eustace, National Fundraising Events Manager
Fran organises corporate fundraising events on a national scale and works in partnership with over twenty organising committees to help with the implementation of these events.

Mabel Park, Fundraising Events Coordinator
Mabel works with the events manager to facilitate and promote fundraising events throughout the country.

Umesh Paramasivam MFIA,
Manager Fundraising & Partnerships

Umesh is responsible to develop and execute fundraising campaigns and generate revenue through partnerships.

Andrea Phillips, Trusts and Foundations Manager
Andrea manages all aspects of the organisation’s grant-related activities, obligations and relationships and also assists with communications.

 

FINANCE

Patricia Sugita, Finance Manager
Patricia is responsible for all accounting operations, including monthly financial reports, accounting records, budgets designed to mitigate risk and reporting of company results.

Wenham Qi, Accountant
Wenham secures revenue by verifying and posting receipts, resolving discrepancies and performing weekly bank reconciliations.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

Aaron Henry, General Manager
Aaron is responsible for internal and external communications, brand and marketing, media and public relations and digital channels.

Hannah Hong, Graphic Designer
Hannah is responsible for development of all resources and collateral to address marketing and communication requirements.

Chris Bunton, Assistant (p/t)
Chris assists with anything communications-related, including acting as a roving reporter. He is also a Special Olympics Australia athlete.

 

MEMBER SUPPORT

Gareth Hogan, General Manager, Operations
Gareth is responsible for volunteer management, state committees, risk, insurance and compliance across the organisation. 

Maureen Scott, Database Manager
Maureen is responsible for maintaining the accuracy and reliability of all databases and software packages. First level IT Support and administration.

Edward Smith, Database Officer (p/t)
Edward assists in maintaining the accuracy and reliability of all databases. He is also a Special Olympics Australia athlete.