Leadership

Meet the Micah Projects Board and our team of leaders.

Karyn Walsh, Chief Executive Officer

Karyn is a founding member of Micah Projects and has held the position of CEO for over 28 years.

Originally trained as a nurse at the Mater Hospital in Rockhampton, she became the city's first outreach youth worker for young people experiencing homelessness.

She has since been a determined social justice advocate for over 40 years. During her career, Karyn has served in numerous roles including as the president of the Queensland Council of Social Services, as a former executive member of the National Coalition for Gun Control, as a former coordinator of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre, as a member of the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Implementation Council, as co-chair of Queensland's Anti-Poverty Week, as a council member at the Queensland Mental Health Commission and as the Chair of the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness.

In recognition of her work in the field, Karyn was awarded an honorary Doctor of Social Work and Nursing from the University of Queensland in 2016, made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2017, and named as a Queensland Great in 2021.

Debora Jackson, Chairperson

Debora has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry, as CEO of two industry superannuation funds, and through several other senior executive, and non-executive roles.

As a practiced non-executive director, with a demonstrated history of working in the 'Profit for Purpose' sector, Debora is a strong outcomes and governance driven professional, with proven ability to work across a range of industry sectors. She has skills in leadership, business development and transformation, superannuation, and corporate governance, and is passionate about ensuring effective organisational governance practices lead to good decisions and outcomes for all stakeholders.

Debora is currently: Governance Consultant through Community Business Australia; and facilitates various governance related training modules for the Governance Institute of Australia.

Debora holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Melbourne; a Certificate of Organisational Leadership, London Business School (2010); and recently successfully completed ‘The Effective Director’ course, at the Governance Institute of Australia.

 

Board Members

  • Damien has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Queensland, as well as a Master of Law with first class honours from the University of Cambridge. He has been practising at the private bar in Brisbane since 1995 and he was appointed silk in 2018. He specialises in commercial and medicolegal litigation, and he is engaged as both an advocate and a mediator.

    Damien has a special passion for Youth Justice. For over 20 years, he has been the Chair of the Youth Advocacy Centre which provides front-line services and agitates for law reform, and he cycles regularly with Chain Reaction, raising money for young people in need. He is the Chair of the Bar Association’s Human Rights Committee and a Director of the Medico-Legal Society of Queensland.

    Damien was educated at Villanova College in Coorparoo, and he lives in West End with his wife, Marilyn Trad, and their children.

  • M. Education Dip. Project Management

    Jenny currently holds the positions of Multicultural Engagement Coordinator at AMPARO Advocacy along with being Ethnic Community Council Queensland’s Project Coordinator for the national Speak My Language Disability project.

    In both projects she leads and coordinates teams of people mostly from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background. The purpose of both projects is to improve outcomes for CALD background people living with disability to live a good life. Jenny has expertise in addressing the social barriers and issues that impact the lives of CALD people living with disability

    She is skilled in facilitation of cultural awareness and unconscious bias education and community engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse communities. She has strong management and leadership skills with an ability to make cultural change in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

    Jenny is passionate about social justice and for the past 30 years has always worked in a role that is contributing to more equitable outcomes for people from a migrant or refugee background.

  • A.D.B.E.T. B.Arch. Greenstar and Earthcheck Accredited Professional

    Queensland Registered Architect, Mark Thomson has 32 years professional experience, specialising in Ecological Sustainable Development. He has 26 years experience as a company director with organisations which have won awards, including an Australian Quality Award, a Telstra Small Business Award, multiple A.I.A. (Architects Institute of Australia) Awards and UDIA (Urban Development Institute of Australia) property development Awards.

    Since 2009 Mark has been an active participant in mentoring design students, via the QUT (Queensland University of Technology) Work in Learning program. He has also supported The Exchange Community Centre at Kelvin Grove Urban Village by mentoring immigrants studying at local universities. Mark is immediate Past President of the Australian Green Development Forum, a past QUT Adjunct Professor and a regular judge in local, national and international Award programs.

  • Cherie has over eight years experience in the areas of innovation and commercialisation management and stakeholder engagement. She currently holds a position as a Commercialisation Account Manager with CSIRO, focussed on developing appropriate strategies and business models to commercialise deep science as well as establishing and managing relationships with funding and operational partners for building both technical and social value.

    Cherie’s strengths lie in establishing strong relationships with industry, research and government partners, implementing commercialisation and innovation management strategy and plans. This includes developing sound intellectual property strategy, R&D portfolio optimisation and internal resource allocation.

    She is strongly motivated by interpersonal connections and community engagement.

    Cherie currently holds a national trustee role with the Licensing Executives’ Society of Australia and New Zealand (LESANZ) and is a registered Australian Patent and Trade Marks Attorney. Her qualifications include a Masters of Intellectual Property Law, PhD (Hydrometallurgy) and a BSc. Chemistry (Hons).

  • PhD; B. Social Work (Hons 1); BA (Psychology and Sociology)

    Jemma is a social worker with experience in frontline practice, research and teaching. She currently holds a teaching and research position within the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at The University of Queensland.

    Jemma’s program of research seeks to enhance service responses to children, young people and their families, with the intention of bringing about more equitable and just policies and practices. Underpinned by a commitment to social justice and participatory practice, her work is focused on capturing the experiences of people as they navigate service systems, particularly in relation to child protection and domestic and family violence.

    Prior to her roles in academia, Jemma worked in a variety of practice contexts including homelessness, disability and policing, as well as providing counselling for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Reflected across all of her roles has been a commitment to the values of social justice, partnership and respect.

  • Alison specialises in resolving workplace conflict for parties in dispute, whether that conflict is beginning to simmer or is at the formal level of a complaint to an independent government body specialising in the investigation of corruption.

    Her conflict resolution expertise extends across workplace reviews, facilitated discussions, mediation, workplace investigations and their independent reviews. Having completed her studies with the Queensland University of Technology, Alison is a member of and accredited as a mediator with the Resolution Institute in Queensland.

    Before commencing as a private consultant and then co-founding Farren McRae Workplace Lawyers and Consultants, Alison worked in the education sector for 15 years across Queensland and Tasmania. Beginning in the Tasmanian Department of Education’s investigations unit, Alison investigated and managed employee, parent, and student complaints regarding misconduct, bullying and discrimination.

    Alison then went on to work in various roles in the public and private sectors, first in Tasmania and then in Queensland, working up to the national level. During her impressive career, Alison has amassed extensive specialist and management experience guiding policy and compliance issues in both the private and public sectors at the state and national levels.

    Alison is a nationally accredited mediator and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Along with the Micah Projects Board, Alison currently also serves on the Queensland Advisory Committee of SecondBite.

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