Margaret represented the ACT in the Senate for 22 years. In 1996, she became the Senate’s first female President. She is Chair of the Advisory Board for the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics. Margaret was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, the Order of Polonia Restituta in 1987 and appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2004.
Virginia Hansen, OAM – Deputy Chair
Virginia has lived in Canberra for almost 40 years and has been actively involved in community fundraising for much of that time. In 2008, she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her efforts. Virginia served as President of the Canberra Cancerians for five years.
James is Managing Director of the JGS Property Group, Chairman of CIC Australia and Chairman of the ACT Building and Construction Industry Training Fund Authority. He is also a Director of Canberra CBD Limited, President of the Canberra Cancerians Committee and Chairman of Koomarri.
Jane is Director of premium fashion retailer Pink Ink. She is a passionate advocate of small business and a renowned entrepreneur. Jane launched the Kiss Project in 2010, with Therese Rein as Patron, to raise funds for support services for those battling mental illness and to create a more active conversation about mental health.
Vanessa is Director and Financial Controller of Sound Advice Australia. She is a former model, fashion industry buyer and retailer. Her commitment to fundraising for mental health extends back to 1987 when she was a finalist for Miss World. She’s been a long time member of the AFFIRM board and committed to breaking the stigma around mental illness.
Susie is a Director of Beaver Galleries in Canberra and has worked in the arts industry for more than 30 years. She has a strong belief in the value and importance of mental health research and has had a committed involvement in this field for many years.
Diana is a senior communication consultant. She has employed her strong communication and public relations expertise for over 38 years in film & television production, retail, community service & advocacy, and publishing. She holds a bachelor degree in communication, public relations and personnel management. While managing a busy consultancy and a publishing company, Diana established Bliss Key Communication in 2009 to engage more significantly in social enterprise. She participates as an active volunteer on fundraising committees and Boards. Her deep commitment to the development of social capital, and in particular AFFIRM’s mission to further mental health research, comes from the insights she gained while working in the community sector and from her own family experiences.
Melissa is the Managing Director of Servcorp Canberra and has worked in the Canberra business community for 30 years. She is passionate about giving back to the community and has been working in conjunction with Doma Group over the past 10 years on charity events that have supported over 20 charities, along with supporting local charities through her business. With the combination of family and work colleagues and the experience with mental health issues in both arenas over the past two decades, Melissa has become a greater advocate for mental health understanding and research. She would love to work towards the removal of longstanding stigmas associated with mental illness, and a greater understanding in families, schools, friendships and the business community.
Luke is a Partner with EY in their advisory business focussed on Digital and Technology transformation in Federal Government. He has a professional background that spans both management consulting and as a CIO in an ASX50 company. Luke is a husband and father, a passionate triathlete and coach and is strongly committed to a mentally healthy Australia and believes that research and awareness are two of the pillars to this goal.
Dorothy is a Director of Forrest Hotel and Apartments. She is a passionate advocate for Canberra and has loved seeing our city evolve into the innovative and amazing place it is today. Dorothy loves people and their stories. She enjoys connecting people and believes in strong and supportive communities especially around mental health. She is involved with many local and regional associations including the Design Canberra Marketing think tank, and CIT Business Tourism and Industry Advisory Council.
Helen is Director of the Black Dog Institute and a Professor of Mental Health at the University of New South Wales, a NHMRC John Cade Research Fellow, a member of the Academy of Social Sciences and former President of the Australasian Society for Psychiatric Research. She is renowned for her research into suicide prevention, depression and anxiety.
Adam is Head of Video at Media Holding Group and serves as Executive Producer at the Australian Academy of Science. He was the man behind top-rating television shows such as Sunrise and The Morning Show. He wrote about his struggle with bipolar for Melbourne University Publishing in the book Brekky Central.
Ian is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney, Co-Director of The Brain and Mind Centre and a national Mental Health Commissioner. He was the inaugural Chief Executive of beyondblue and one of the founders of headspace.