Experts ready to answer your government board questions


What is the board recruitment process for government boards? How can you best position yourself for those roles, and what is required of you once you are on a government boards?


These are just some of the questions which will be up for discussion at three WOBMeet events on Government Boards, featuring expert panellists from around the country.

WOB is holding three events in Sydney (24 August), Melbourne and Brisbane (25 August) 5.30pm-7.30pm.

Meet the panellists:


Virigina Malley

  • Deputy Chair, NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust
  • Chair Compliance Committee, Bell Asset Management
  • Non-Executive Director and Chair Risk Committee, iCare NSW
  • Independent Chair Risk Committee, Future Super
  • Chair Code Review Panel, Carbon Industry Code of Conduct
  • Chair, Pinnacle Fund Services Ltd Compliance Committee (ASX:PNL)
  • Chair of Audit & Risk Committee and Director, Perpetual Equity Investment Company Limited (ASX:PIC)

Virginia Malley has a strong and successful long term track record as trustee and steward of financial and natural capital assets (biodiversity, carbon abatement, carbon sequestration, superannuation, managed investments). Her experience as a non-executive director includes overseeing the integrity and performance of market-based environmental schemes promoting increased  renewable energy generation, carbon abatement and protected biodiversity in Australia.

Virginia was previously Chief Risk Officer at Macquarie Funds Management Group and has served on the boards of the Clean Energy Regulator, Macquarie Investment Management Ltd and Perpetual Superannuation Ltd. She has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Applied Finance from Macquarie University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Technology Sydney and a Graduate Diploma of Environmental Law and a Master of Laws from the University of Sydney.

Margaret (Meg) McDonald

  • Member, Clean Technology Research and Development Grants Technical Review
  • Environment Commissioner, Greater Cities Commission
  • Non Executive Board Member, Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)
  • Principal, National Corporate Analysis Pty Ltd
  • Advisory Board Member, The Nature Conservancy Australia
  • Board Member, NSW Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board, NSW Government
  • Committee (TRC), NSW Environmental Trust, NSW Department of Planning and the Environment
  • Expert Panel Member, NSW Decarbonisation Innovation Study, Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer

Meg McDonald has extensive international career experience in business, and in government, as a senior career diplomat, in environmental policy and in philanthropy. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and on the Board of the Co-operative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL). She also serves as a judge for the MacArthur Foundation #100andchange program.

Meg has had leadership roles in renewables and innovative clean energy financing as COO of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and as CEO of Low Carbon Australia (LCAL). She previously had senior global roles with Alcoa as President of Alcoa Foundation and Director, Global Issues, Alcoa, in New York and General Manager, Corporate Affairs for Alcoa in Australia. Before joining Alcoa, she was a senior Australian career diplomat, including serving as Australia’s Deputy Ambassador to the United States and as Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment, as well as having been senior adviser in the offices of three Australian Government Cabinet ministers.


Margaret Donnan

  • Governing Board Member, Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA)
  • Independent Director | Chair, Risk and Audit Committee, Battery Stewardship Council
  • Chair, Audit and Risk Committee, Australian Radiation Protection And Nuclear Safety Agency
  • Chair, Major Hazards Committee & Chair, Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)

A strategic and skilled Chair and Non Executive Director, and Chief Executive experienced in working with public sector, commercial and not for profit Boards, management teams, clients and staff to manage diverse and complex issues and in response to high stakeholder expectations.

Margaret has a strong reputation and extensive experience as a leader in both government and industry and is recognised for her expertise and leadership in occupational health and safety, process safety, sustainability and stakeholder engagement.

Margaret has a record of successful representation and advocacy on behalf of government and industry organisations with all stakeholders, including government ministers, senior bureaucrats and regulators, and the business, research, union and community sectors.

Susan Benedyka

  • Managing Director, The Regional Development Company

Susan Benedyka is an experienced Director and CEO and regional leader. She has a rich mix of industry and community leadership across rural and regional development. Susan utilises her influencing skills and expertise to bring together government, nongovernment agencies and regional communities for sustainable outcomes.

Susan's recent board roles have included board member, La Trobe University Regional Advisory Board, Albury-Wodonga (2019-21); Chair, North East Integrated Water Management Forum (2018-21);  Chair, The Executive Connection (Albury-Wodonga) (2018-21); Independent Chair, Clinical Advisory Group, Albury Wodonga Health (2020-21).

Susan established a go-to regional consulting company in 1997, and continues to direct and lead The Regional Development Company as Managing Director.

Jen D'Arcy Smith

  • Partner - Board and Executive Search, Watermark Search International Melbourne

Jennifer (Jen) D’Arcy-Smith is an experienced search consultant who focuses on Board, CEO and C-suite level and is trusted with high profile, often confidential, sensitive engagements. With more than a decade in executive search, Jen has managed complex Board and executive search assignments in both the public and private sectors in a diverse range of organisations that includes: government, healthcare, higher education, consumer, agribusiness, community and not for profit in Australia and New Zealand.

Jen has partnered with boards, chief executives, senior leadership and elected members in the appointment of directors and executives sourced through local and international networks. Prior to joining Watermark Search International, Jen worked as a Managing Consultant in the leading global professional and executive search firm and as a Principal Consultant with one of New Zealand’s longest established and respected integrated HR consultancies. Beyond Board and executive search, Jen has previously facilitated the development and review of chief executive performance management frameworks, organisational review and design management processes, executive talent management, and coaching & mentoring leaders.


Sarah Zeljko

  • Chair & Non-Executive Director, Stockyard Pty Ltd
  • Non-Executive Director, Unitywater
  • Non-Executive Director, Verbrec Ltd (ASX:VBC)
  • Non-Executive Director, LGIAsuper
  • Non-Executive Director and Chair of the People and Safety Committee, Powerlink Queensland
  • Expert Member - Ministerial Advisory Council for Flood Mitigation Manuals, Department of Natural Mines, Resources and Energy Queensland

Sarah is a professional Non-Executive Director with extensive executive, operational, governance and advisory experience across large ASX listed, government and private corporations, having led a range of Boards, Committees and Executives through strategic and operational challenges.

Sarah is recognised for her commercial acumen and has an extensive executive career leading governance, risk, compliance, legal, insurance and internal audit teams. She has a history delivering revenue growth in large corporations through developing and executing corporate strategy, negotiating commercial agreements, capital raising, M&A and project management across complex multimillion-dollar transactions.

Peta Irvine

  • Chief Executive Officer, Local Government Managers Australia Queensland (LGMA)
  • Chair, QLeave
  • Chair, Resolution Pathways

Peta is an experienced not-for-profit CEO with senior executive experience in both the public and private sectors, covering a range of industries including local government, tourism, hospitality and transport.

In her role as LGMA CEO, Peta has been instrumental in broadening the reach of the organisation, its membership, stakeholder engagement and support and enhancing sustainability. LGMA today represents a diverse group of local government officers from every part of the state and provides extensive training in leadership and management.

Jon Hottot

  • Director, Government - Executive & Boards,Troocoo 

Connecting Senior Executives to opportunities and employers to the best available talent in the market in both the Local and State Government. Advocate for people wishing to transition into their first Board roles.

Jon is a director in the Executive Search team at Troocoo and is also responsible for the growth and performance of the State Government team. With over eight years of operating within the Queensland executive market, Jon has a wide network of executives and board members who value both his service and objective advice.

He prides himself on providing a candidate experience for everyone that ensures that all candidates feel as though they have been offered an opportunity to present their best self, irrespective of the outcome. He has a reputation for utilising best-practice search methodology and data to facilitate a robust and equitable process. This includes psychometric testing in which Jon is a certified assessor of a number of different tests.

To register for the WOBMeets, or find out about any other WOB events coming up, head to our EVENTS calendar. 
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