Board of Directors

Hayley Lee Allen

Hayley Lee Allen

Chair

Hayley Lee Allen is a governance manager with specific experience delivering business initiatives focused on strategic and corporate planning, supporting efficient board processes and performance, policy framework renewal, procurement, legislative compliance and projects. She has worked across premier arts institutions National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Recital Centre, Bendigo Art Gallery and State Library Victoria. Hayley has delivered on corporate and education partnerships, fundraising, and major events and festivals across contemporary and classical music, visual arts, and comedy. A former member of the This Life team, Hayley administered strategic partnerships to support program development and build revenue while living in Siem Reap in 2015. Following this, Hayley managed the logistics for the Leader of the Australian Greens throughout the extended 2016 federal election and parliamentary sittings, working from both the Australian federal parliament in Canberra and the Leader’s Office in Melbourne. Hayley was appointed to the Board of This Life in May 2019, and as Chair in December 2021. Based in Melbourne, Australia, she currently fulfils the role of Manager, Governance and Projects at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.
Matthew Lucas

Matthew Lucas

Vice Chair

Matthew is a senior executive with experience across diverse organisations in challenging global markets and varied products. He has held management positions in multi-billion-dollar companies including Expedia Inc and carsales.com, been responsible for aspects of financial reporting and regulatory compliance in businesses across the globe, served as Chief Operating Officer of an Australian household brand, led mergers and acquisitions teams, worked in investment banking and, most recently, founded a travel technology start-up.
Navaka Arachchige

Navaka Arachchige

Treasurer

Navaka Arachchige is a finance, governance and corporate services professional and currently the Chief Financial Officer of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. He has over 20 years’ experience in finance, management and corporate leadership in practice, private, public and not for profit organisations and has successfully led and managed multi-disciplinary teams and complex projects. Navaka has a keen interest in all aspects of organisational management and financial governance and has held positions or volunteered at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Austar Entertainment, Qantas, Sydney Water, the State Emergency Service of New South Wales, the Australian Graduate School of Management, Federal Court of Australia, the office of the Merit Protection Commissioner and several Federal government tribunals.
Emer Purdon

Emer Purdon

Secretary

A passionate advocate for social and climate justice, Emer Purdon is an international development professional with extensive experience in the not-for-profit, private and public sectors gained throughout the developing world. Emer brings skills in strategic planning, leadership, impact measurement, compliance and continuous quality improvement as well as facilitating partnerships across a range of stakeholders from communities through to partner governments. Based in Sydney, Emer's current role is with Cardno International Development as Contractor Representative for a range of large, complex and multi-disciplinary DFAT-funded facilities in Indonesia. In addition to a Masters in Development Management and qualifications in project management, Emer is currently undertaking postgraduate studies in Climate Change Adaptation at Griffith University.
Stephanie Stephens

Stephanie Stephens

General Member

Stephanie Stephens is a clinical psychotherapist with 10 years’ NFP and service delivery management experience. She has worked in education, mental health, youth, family and alcohol and other drug settings. Stephanie’s current Canberra-based role, as Directions Health Services’ Director of Service Delivery, focuses on clinical governance, service quality and performance, advocacy, and supporting front line staff to deliver equitable, empowering, life-changing services to vulnerable people. Stephanie completed her undergraduate at La Trobe University, Masters (clinical and research) at the Cairnmillar Institute, and MBA at Griffith University. Her post-graduate research considered service users’ experience of family violence support services. Stephanie has a passion for developing and implementing equitable, accessible and client-centred services, advocating for a ‘nothing about us without us’ ethos, building positive workplace culture and supporting staff to deliver empowering and respectful services.
Anthony O'Brien

Anthony O'Brien

General Member

Anthony is a senior human resources executive experienced in leading complex organisations and workforce transformation programs to deliver business value. He is passionate about human capital and workforce performance, and enjoys supporting people in their development. He has extensive experienced in organisational strategy, talent and resource management, leadership development and workforce performance. Anthony holds a Masters of International Business; Masters of Human Resources Management and is currently studying an Executive Masters of Business Administration at HEC Paris.
Damon Martin

Damon Martin

General Member

Damon Martin is a qualified social worker and mediator with over 23 years’ experience and commitment to ensuring the rights, safety and wellbeing of children are paramount. Based in Sydney and employed as the Deputy CEO of International Social Service Australia, Damon leads a team that delivers child protection and post adoption services that connect vulnerable children, adults and families affected by cross border issues. He also has extensive experience as the Social Work Expert for the ISS global project A Better Future is Possible aimed at promoting the rights of children with disabilities living in institutions to access family-based care. As part of this project he has completed over 15 missions to Cambodia, Vietnam and Azerbaijan. Prior to working in the NGO sector, Damon worked in statutory child protection authorities for 10 years in NSW, England and New Zealand (where he is originally from).
Jessica Erhart

Jessica Erhart

General Member

Jess has been building and managing brand communities for 10 years, with a special focus on the tech sector. She started her career in the non-profit sector as a volunteer for youth leadership organisation AIESEC, going on to become an Australian Director and to organise youth conferences in Tunisia, Malaysia and Jordan. Jess also spent time volunteering for Carpets for Communities, a non-profit supporting women to break the cycle of poverty for their families in Cambodia. Jess specialises in community management and engagement and has worked for Microsoft Europe, Virgin Australia, Queensland Museum and Microsoft Stores. She currently manages community programs for Asana in the Asia-Pacific region.
Louise Crowe

Louise Crowe

General Member

Louise is a management consultant with professional experience working in the education, medical research and financial services sectors. She has delivered a range of projects including operating model implementation, strategy design, implementation reviews, and Government evaluations. Currently working in the strategy field, Louise has also worked as a public policy consultant, meaning she brings to the Board strategic thinking capabilities, evaluation skills, bid funding development experience, and NFP sector experience. Louise has a particular passion for the NFP sector, and cares deeply about Indigenous rights, gender equality, and environmental protection. Louise is a Trinity College Dublin Gold Medallist and has a First-Class Honours Business degree from the University. She currently works with the Melbourne division of the strategy consulting firm, Strategic Project Partners.
Suresh Rao

Suresh Rao

General Member

Suresh has extensive experience as an IT management professional in a range of sectors including Government, not-for-profit, energy, finance, and health. Recent roles include eight years as CIO at The Smith Family where Suresh helped transform the organisation through innovative award winning enterprise-wide IT solutions, as Project Director for the Secure Unified Research Environment (SURE) Australia’s first secure private cloud infrastructure for health research, and as co-author of two research reports at the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC) that discussed the technological and governance barriers to health research in Australia. Most recently he worked as a volunteer IT Adviser with NGOs in Indonesia and Cambodia, advising and mentoring staff and management on effective and efficient use of IT to fulfil their mission. Suresh has gained a strong blend of strategic, operational and governance skills through senior technology and project management roles over more than three decades. He believes in the power of technology to transform organisations, and in adopting a strategic approach to implementing operationally appropriate and effective technology solutions. Suresh is based in Sydney, Australia.