In our Lessons from the Boardroom series we asked WOB members to tell us something about themselves that people might not know - and what an interesting and eclectic bunch you all are!
“Diversity and having a range of people with different interests and backgrounds is essential for all boards,” said Women on Boards Executive Director Claire Braund. “And it is great that this diversity and breadth of interests and skills is reflected in our vast WOB network.”
Read on to find out some surprising facts about WOB members.
Tegan Smith - Communications specialist | Board game designer
With a background in science research and a PhD in Earth Science, communications specialist Tegan Smith is also on the board of Australian Science Innovations (ASI), a not-for-profit organisation that runs the Australian Science Olympiads and Science development programs for high school students. In her spare time she designs board games. “I tend to lend science-based themes to my designs, with one about building an economy on Jupiter's moons, one where players are 19th century beetle naturalists, and another where players cooperate as a local government managing bushfire season in a small town.”
Dr Rosemaria Flaherty - Senior Psychologist | Koala spotter
Psychologist and child protection expert Dr Rosemaria Flahertyis a highly regarded leader in the child protection, mental health, domestic violence, and health sectors. Rosemaria embarked on her board journey in 2020, upon completing her PhD, and now sits on two boards - Act for Kids and UniSA Justice and Society Academic Unit Board. Based in Grafton, northern NSW, Rosemaria is also an avid koala-spotter who fell in love with the iconic marsupial after doing a geography project on them in high school.
Jenifer Frederick - Management consultant | Permaculture farmer & weaver
A specialist in transformation, workforce strategies, and governance and financial management, Jenifer has served as a director and treasurer on a number of boards, including not-for-profit organisations in the health, education and employment, and banking and financial services sectors. In March 2022 she was appointed as a Director to the National Board of the Institute of Management Consultants. She is also a permaculture farmer and weaver, and her first career choice was a musician and composer.
Jenny Selway - Engineer, NED and joint venture expert | Trained in offshore firefighting and helicopter underwater escape
Jenny Selway is a non executive director and global engineering executive, highly skilled in the management and operation of major infrastructure assets in the energy industry. As a young engineer she also spent much time offshore and is trained in firefighting, helicopter underwater escape, helicopter handling, and life-raft navigation.
Libby Soderholm - Physiotherapist and NFP Board member | Tribal belly dancer
From tribal belly dancing to singing in a rock band, sports physiotherapist and clinical governance specialist Libby Soderholm is always up for a challenge. She is now vice chair of the South Coastal Health and Community Service which provides women’s health, mental health and Aboriginal health services in Perth and also vice chair on another not-for-profit helping rural disadvantaged girls in rural WA attend school.
Bridget Thakrar - AgTech software company executive | Wannabe Muay Thai Fighter
Amateur Muay Thai fighter Bridget Thakrar has found her strength in the ring - and the boardroom. In between facing opponents in the ring and raising two small children, amateur Bridget also sits on two not-for-profit boards - Refuge Victoria and Link Community Transport and is a people and operations executive with AgTech software company Sensand. Bridget is also the co-founder of In The Game, a game-based leadership consultancy.
Alicia Kent-Rooney - Teacher, education professional | Eurovision Song Contest expert
In early 2022, experienced education professional Alicia Kent-Rooney landed her first board position with YWCA Hunter. Alicia - Head of Vocational Education Pathways at Arethusa College in Queensland - is also a die-hard Eurovision fan who gets up at 5 am once a year to watch the contest and drink lychee martinis.
Ruth Ottewill - National Payroll Manager | Massive petrol head
Ruth is National Payroll Manager at Lucent Advisory business advisors and a board member with Diving SA and Northern Economic Leaders - a business leaders’ network in northern Adelaide. She is also a “massive petrol head” who loves all things motorsport and was part of the Volunteer Events Committee for The Bend Motorsport Park supercars events from 2019 to 2021. She is currently restoring a 1963 Austin Healey Sprite.
Sharon Dickson - IT specialist | Beekeeper
IT specialist Sharon Dickson is an award-winning diversity champion, transformation CIO, and beekeeper. Drawing inspiration from the collective decision-making of bees, Sharon has honed her board skills as Chair and NED on The Alliance for Gambling Reform, and previously Chair and Co-Chair of QBE Pride Committee.
Sharon Howes - Career NED | Lead and zinc blast furnace expert
The first woman in the world to run a lead and zinc blast furnace and refinery, Sharon Howes started out with a BHP Steel degree traineeship before transfering to aluminium smelting where she worked in community and government relations. She then went into lead and zinc smelting where she went from managing the community health impacts of lead pollution to marketing slag and eventually running the refinery. Sharon spent seven years at Snowy Hydro, heading HR, Safety & Environment and led a major research effort into augmenting snowfall.
Dr Dianne Ball - Strategic change expert, COO and management consultant | Budding cellist
Dr Dianne Ball is Chief Operating Officer at Communio, leading the establishment of a coronial services contract in New Zealand locations. Dianne is an experienced company director and management consultant specialising in governance, strategy and organisational change. Earlier this year, Dianne gained her first NZ board appointment with the New Zealand Psychologists Board. She also played cello when she was younger and is hoping to pick it up again and loves reading classic literature.
Theresa Best - Senior marketing executive and experience NED | Group fitness trainer
This year senior marketing executive and experience NED Theresa Best was appointed to the Barwon Health Foundation Board and Australasian Birth Trauma Association - advertised through WOB. Before taking these two new roles, Theresa was a NED on the board of Cricket Victoria for four years. She was also a group fitness trainer for 30 years - even when she moved into her executive career. “It was a great stress buster to run a class at the end of the day.”
Sharyn Darrell - Teacher and Diving SA board member | Ballroom dancer
Sharyn Darrell is an educator and has also been an educational leader as a member of the South Australian State School Leaders Association. She is on the board of Diving SA and in her spare time enjoys ballroom dancing with her husband.
Professor Vera Ignjatovic - Paediatric thrombosis specialist | Former Olympian handball player
Serbian-born Professor Vera Ignjatovic is the Group Leader of Haematology Research at Murdoch Children's Research Institute and a former handball player who represented Australia at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. A specialist in the field of paediatric thrombosis, Professor Ignjatovic is also an advocate for diversity, inclusion and gender equality, is on the Board of Toyota Community Foundation Australia and a member of the Women in Science Parkville Precinct (WiSPP) committee
Diana Nestorovska - Board and legal professional | Former diplomat who speaks four languages
Board and legal professional, and former Australian diplomat, Diana Nestorovskaspeaks four languages (English, Arabic, French and Macedonian) and serves on the Boards of Melba Support Services and South Gippsland Water Corporation. She is also a member of La Trobe University’s Human Research Ethics Committee. She has served on the Board of Family Planning Victoria and the University of Wollongong’s University Council.
Ilona Meyer - Lawyer and MedTech board member | Secret Fruit Loop addict
With more than 25 years of experience both as a general counsel and senior executive in healthcare and emerging technologies Ilona Meyer has held executive roles with private and public companies, including ASX-listed companies and dynamic high-growth start-ups. Ilona has just shared her new role as incoming global General Counsel and Company Secretary of Nuix Limited (ASX:NXL) and is also a NED and Member of the Audit and Risk Committee of Micro-X Limited - an ASX-listed X-ray technology company. She also has a secret love of Fruit Loops cereal.
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