Our Board & Executive

AHL Board

Mr Anthony Ashby

Non-executive Chair
Appointed 18 September 2020

Qualifications
Bachelor of Commerce (UNSW), Chartered Accountant, Registered Company Auditor

Experience

Anthony Ashby is a Gamilaraay-Yuwaalaraay man from north-western New South Wales.  He is a Chartered Accountant and Registered Company Auditor, holding a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales and a Certificate of Public Practice from Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

He is an Independent Director of the NT Aboriginal Investment Corporation and an ex-officio member of the Supply Nation Audit and Risk Committee.

Anthony and his wife Vanessa have operated their own public accounting practice since 2004, providing a mix of taxation, assurance, accounting and consultancy services to their client base.

 

Professor Valerie Cooms

Non-executive Deputy Chair
Appointed 18 September 2020

Qualifications
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) (ANU), Doctorate of Philosophy (ANU)

Experience

Prof Valerie Cooms belongs to the Nunukul people of North Stradbroke Island in Queensland.  Valerie worked as a full time Member of the National Native Title Tribunal and has had many years’ experience in Government administration including the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and Regional Manager of ATSIC office in Brisbane.  Valerie has had a lot of experience in Native Title, having worked as the Manager of the Native Title Unit in the ATSIC Western Australian State Office, the CEO of Queensland South Representative Body Aboriginal Corporation and Queensland South Native Title Services as well as serving as a Director and Chair of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Prescribed Body Corporate.

 

Mr Paul Allen

Non-executive director
Appointed 6 May 2020

Qualifications
Bachelor Commerce (Accounting), University of Canberra Graduate Diploma Government Investigations Member Australian Institute of Company Directors Fellow, Certified Practicing Accountants Professional Member of the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Experience

Paul Allen was a founding Director of Callida Consulting, a professional services firm operating in Canberra focussing on the Commonwealth Government and assisting clients to improve business processes, governance arrangements and their ability to effectively deliver their services. Prior to the establishment of Callida, Paul was a senior member of the Oakton Ltd. Canberra office, responsible for the Assurance and Risk Management service line. He was previously a Partner with Acumen Alliance, responsible for leading the Audit and Assurance team and also has over 14 years’ experience with the Australian Federal Police in a variety of financial and audit positions.

 

Mr Simon McGrath AM

Non-executive director
Appointed 6 May 2020

Experience
Mr Simon McGrath was previously Chief Executive Officer of Crown Sydney and Group Head of Hospitality of Crown Resorts. Simon has over three decades of experience in the hotel sector across the Pacific region and is one of Australia’s most accomplished Hoteliers.

Prior to his role at Crown, Mr McGrath was the Chief Executive Officer of Accor Hotels Pacific and led the growth of Accor Hotels Pacific to almost 400 hotels across the region and leading a team of over 18,000 employees.

Prior to his role at Accor Hotels Pacific, Mr McGrath held senior executive positions in hotel groups including Southern Pacific Hotels (SPHC) and Rydges Hotel Group.

Throughout his career, Mr McGrath has played a major advocacy role in advancing Indigenous employment in hospitality and wider economic employment. He has also championed and taken a lead role to greatly improve gender diversity in the tourism sector.

Mr McGrath has been recognised for his contribution to the hospitality industry with numerous awards however most recently he was recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in June 2019 for his significant work in promoting Australian tourism internationally.

 

Ms Leann Wilson

Non-executive director
Appointed 30 October 2020

Experience
Leann is a descendent of the Bidjara and Kara-Kara peoples in central and central-western Queensland, she also identifies with her South Sea Island heritage. Leann is the Managing Director of Regional Economic Solutions a majority owned First Nation Business based in Rockhampton/Brisbane and has significant involvement in and understanding of Cultural Heritage, Native Title issues. Leann has been appointed to regional, state and national boards including:

  • The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation
  • The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
  • The Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council and
  • The Qld Governments Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Business & Innovation Panel

An entrepreneur of 8 years and former senior public servant Leann has been a finalist in the Queensland Telstra Business Woman of the Year awards and has been the recipient of The Queensland Centenary Medal. Recently she has been a recipient of the Australian Financial Review 2019 100 Women of Influence finalist. She actively promotes:

  • Cultural Agility programs based on truth telling and stories of strength
  • Trauma Aware and Healing Informed engagement
  • Women’s rights
  • Meaningful Education, skills development and business ownership

 

 

Ms Katie Wyatt

Non-executive director Appointed 25 October 2022

Experience

Katie Wyatt is a proud Noongar Yamatje woman from Whadjuk Noongar country. Katie is a 20+ year leadership and business professional with multi-sector experience. Katie is driven by the idea that business has the power and responsibility to effect social change.

Katie’s career story is a unique and diverse one, and a path that has given her a distinctive set of technical, strategic and multi-sector experience in driving change, growth, development and performance at the organisation and Board level.

Katie is a deep practitioner in organisation development and change, a strategic innovator with direct entrepreneurship cred and she brings complex stakeholder management achievements from private and for purpose sectors.

In her current role, as Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Coles Group, one of Australia’s largest employers and most iconic brands, Katie drives the strategic D&I agenda and facilitates cross-business programs and initiatives to build an inclusive and diverse environment, with a specific focus on gender equity, accessibility, inclusion and belonging.

Katie is also an experienced Director and Board Member of the Reece Group Foundation.

 

 

Ms Alison Page

Non-executive director
Appointed 25 October 2022

Qualifications
Bachelor of Design First Class Honors (UTS), Graduate Australian Institute Company Directors

Experience
Alison Page is a Walbanga and Wadi Wadi woman (from La Perouse, Sydney) and is an award-winning Designer and Film Producer whose career spanning 23 years links indigenous stories and traditional knowledge with contemporary design. She appeared for eight years as a regular panelist on the ABC TV show, The New Inventors, in 2015, was inducted into the Design Institute of Australia’s Hall of Fame and is the winner of the 2022 Interior Design Excellence Awards Gold Medal. She is Associate Dean (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) in the Design, Architecture and Building Faculty of UTS.

Alison’s other current board roles include Sydney Harbour Trust, Art Gallery South Australia, National Australia Day Council, Australian National Maritime Museum, Ninti One Ltd and Chair of Ninti Pty Ltd.

Alison is a co-founder of Zakpage Pty Ltd, an Aboriginal creative practice currently undertaking projects in urban design, architecture, public art and film.

 

 

Ms Shona Reid

Shona Reid

Non-executive director
Appointed 15 June 2023

Qualifications
Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Flinders University)

Experience
Shona Reid is an Eastern Arrernte Woman, with family legacy that extends into the Hart Ranges in the Northern Territory, and has lived and worked across South Australia for most of her life. 

Shona holds a Bachelor of Behavioural Science degree from Flinders University and has devoted her knowledge, experience, professional and personal life to the advancement and rights of Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities for over two decades. 

Shona has worked across the child protection, young offending and the out-of-home care sector, predominately in regional and remote areas, including the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. In early 2020 she was privileged to be the recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award for service to Aboriginal Children, Young People, Families and Communities from Flinders University.

Prior to becoming the Guardian for Children and Young People in SA, Shona was the CEO at Reconciliation SA.

Shona is currently a member of SA/NT Poche Board, a director on the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and a member of the Rio Tinto Australian Advisory Group.

 

AHL Executive

Mr Dave Chalmers AO, CSC

Chief Executive Officer

 

Experience
Dave served for 34 years in the Australian Army, rising to the rank of Major General.  He was the Operational Commander of the Northern Territory Emergency Response and later FaHCSIA’s Northern Territory State Manager and Head of the Office of Indigenous Policy.  He led the national commemoration program for the Centenary of ANZAC during the period 2013 to 2018, before returning to indigenous affairs as CEO of AHL.

 

Mr Dermot Walsh FCPA, MAICD

    

Chief Financial Officer & Company Secretary

 

Qualifications
Bachelor Commerce (Accounting), University of Canberra Fellow Member, CPA Australia Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors

Experience
Dermot has over 20 years’ experience in the public sector in a range of areas, including: community infrastructure and program delivery, land development, workers compensation and general insurance, and complaints management and oversight. Dermot has held a number of executive leadership roles with responsibility for financial management and governance, corporate services and program delivery. Prior to joining AHL, he worked in range of Commonwealth and ACT Government agencies, including: the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the ACT Land Development Agency and Economic Development Directorate, Comcare, the National Gallery of Australia, Defence Service Homes Insurance Scheme and the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

 

Mr Bob Harvey PSM

    

General Manager, Operations

 

Experience
Bob has over 30 years’ experience in developing, delivering and administering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and training programs both in the public and private sector. Bob was awarded a Public Service Medal for his dedication to increasing employment and economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  Bob led the establishment of the National Indigenous Training Academy, contributed to the establishment of the National Indigenous Culinary Institute and managed Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia’s training and employment strategy leading to employment of over 400 Indigenous employees across three tourism properties.

 

Mr Peter Bligh

    PB

General Manager, Business Development & Employment

 

Experience
Peter is a proud Kullili and Wakka Wakka man from Southern Queensland. 

Peter has over 10 years’ experience in leading, developing, delivering and administering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public policy and programs; having worked across natural resource management, legislative, research and Indigenous Affairs portfolios to embed strategies to enhance employment, heritage, environment and economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.