A team with heart & drive



Brett Williamson OAM

Brett was Chief Executive Officer of Volunteering Australia (VA) from October 2013 until December 2016. Prior to that, he was CEO of Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) for 6 years.

Brett holds tertiary qualifications in the areas of human movement studies (BHMS Ed) from the University of Queensland, in education (B Ed) from the Brisbane College of Advanced Education (Queensland University of Technology) and a Corporate Directors Diploma from the University of New England. Brett was a sport and physical education teacher for several years prior to beginning his professional involvement with Surf Life Saving in 1984, when he started in the dual role of State Development Officer and State Director of Coaching. He moved on to the roles of Deputy Administrator, State Manager and General Manager before being appointed as CEO of Surf Life Saving Queensland in 1991 and CEO of Surf Life Saving Australia in 2006.

As VA’s Chief Executive Officer, Brett was primarily responsible for ensuring the effective development, management and sustainability of the organisation and its vital services and outputs.

The unique and diverse nature of VA’s operations required Brett’s extensive engagement with government and industry on volunteering and not for profit issues.

He has had articles published in the Medical Journal of Australia and the Australian Journal of Emergency Management and has been a regular presenter at conferences and seminars on topics including Surf Life Saving, association management, risk management, emergency services, sport and visitor/tourist safety.

Brett has been a volunteer member of SLSA for over 40 years after starting his involvement as a ‘nipper’ in 1967 and is a highly credentialed surf lifesaver from his 20 years of active patrolling service. He has also been a coach, instructor, examiner and filled responsible volunteer positions on Club and Branch committees prior to being employed by SLS. Brett has been awarded an International Training Officer Certificate and a ‘Citation of Merit’ from the International Life Saving Federation. He is a Life Member of Maroochydore SLSC on the Sunshine Coast and Surf Lifesaving Queensland.

Brett is a former President of the Australian Society of Sports Administrators (Qld Chapter) and has sat on a wide range of State and Commonwealth government and non-government advisory and consultative groups. He is a Fellow member of the Corporate Directors’ Association of Australia, the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian Society of Sports Administrators. He also holds membership of several professional associations, including the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI), Australian & New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA), Corporate Directors Association and the Australian Institute of Emergency Services.

Brett has received the following civil honours:

  • 2004: Order of Australia Medal (OAM)
  • 2003: Australian Centenary Medal
  • 2003: Judges Special Award – EQT Not-For-Profits CEO Awards
  • 2000: Australian Sports Medal
  • 1996: Queensland Father of the Year
  • 1995: Queensland Sport Administrator of the Year


Vice President

Brett Johnson

Brett has worked in numerous roles spanning the community services (not-for-profit) sector, from residential youth services to large NGOs and peak bodies.

Most recently he has worked in various capacities, both for the Queensland Government and as a representative for the local government sector, undertaking multiple projects across a number of social policy areas.

Brett has a strong passion for social justice and aspires to work in developing a greater appreciation for community wellbeing programs and initiatives. Brett has been a member of several external reference committees undertaking research and developmental projects. He has previously been a member on the Anti-Poverty Week Advisory Committee.

Brett is currently the Manager – Digital Member Services with the Local Government Association of Queensland. He was previously their Principal Advisor, Community Policy and Strategy Development where he supported councils and undertook research surrounding the Queensland Government’s social services reform program, housing and homelessness re-alignment, renewal of youth services, and numerous local government social and community planning strategies and policy advisory pieces.

Brett has a bachelor’s degree in Communications, majoring in Public Relations and Journalism and diploma level tertiary qualifications in Project Management and Community Services. He has been employed with LGAQ for the past seven years to assist in supporting councils to deliver excellence in community services.



Deborah Nisbet

Deborah is an experienced non-executive director and finance executive with a demonstrated history in strategic management.

An active listener who seeks to strengthen deliverables through strategic, innovative initiatives. Skilled in not-for-profit organisations, stakeholder engagement, business planning, team building, fundraising, governance and management.

Through her high-level interpersonal skills, she has developed and implement significant financial and change management strategies across complex and diverse organisations, with a strong focus on effective governance process.

Deborah is passionate about making a difference and her commitment to the not-for-profit sector has seen great improvement in the financial and social outcomes achieved. She places much of the credit for this success on building a strong team culture, encouragement of innovation and a focus on stakeholder communication.

Deborah is an FCPA, GAICD and FGIA. She holds an MBA, a Bachelor of Business (Accounting), and an Associate Diploma of Business. She is currently a Vice President on the CPA Qld Divisional Council, a member of the CPA Qld Executive Committee, chair of the CPA Qld Not for Profit Committee, and past chair of the CPA Qld Corporate Committee.

She is a Non-Executive Director for SALDA (Speech & Language Development Australia), and is on the Audit, Risk and Finance Committees for the National St Vincent de Paul Society, the St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland, SALDA and Volunteering Queensland.



Jane Hedger

Jane has a strong background in change management, leadership and transformation. Her extensive experience spans across both government and the not-for-profit sector.

Having spent ten years teaching, Jane joined the Queensland Government in 1997. She has since held senior executive positions in Corporate Services, Media & Communications, Customer Experience, Information Technology and Organisational Change across a number of Government departments. In addition her consultancy The Culture Quotient, works with not for profit organisations and their boards on governance, strategy and workforce redesign across Australia and New Zealand.

An experienced board member, Jane has a long history of community service and is committed to improving diversity and inclusion. Jane recently travelled to The Netherlands to complete studies in Futurism, and has a strong interest in digital disruption, workforce agility and organisational future-proofing.

She believes that volunteering is about giving back to our community in a meaningful and useful manner, and taking the time and skills that we have to assist others who are in need in a way that is respectful and empowering of people and organisations.


Board Directors

Natasha Doherty

Natasha is a partner with Deloitte Access Economics and leader of Deloitte’s policy and program evaluation practice. She works across the public sector, predominately in health and social policy.

Natasha is passionate about evidence based policy and practice and has led a number of evaluations for Commonwealth and state based reforms across health, community services, funding reform and the innovation agenda.

Prior to joining Deloitte, Natasha had 10 years’ experience in government industry development and reform including in health, economics, creative industries, investment, modelling, emerging industries and SME development. Natasha has worked on a variety of evaluations and reviews of state based reforms and initiatives, using qualitative and quantitative analysis, process, impact and outcome evaluation. She was involved in the development of Demand and Supply models for the Health workforce.

Natasha is an advocate for good governance, operational and workforce practices in the not-for-profit industry as well as a strong supporter of productive, respectful partnerships and collaborations between the private, government and community sectors. She promotes corporate engagement with community through giving programs such as corporate volunteering and the nurturing of the skills and development of staff through initiatives such as employee volunteering.


Linda Lavarch

Linda is a lawyer by profession and has broad experience in developing and advising on public policy in Australia. She now combines her legal skills and policy experience as the Director of Member and Specialist Services for the Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union (QNMU). Linda served in the Queensland Parliament from 1997 to 2009 during which time she served as State Attorney-General in 2005/06.

After leaving Parliament in 2009 Linda joined the team at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofits Studies (ACPNS) at QUT co-ordinating a Nonprofit Law project aimed at streamlining the laws that regulate charities and not for profits in Australia. Through this project Linda gained extensive experience in working with and for the Not-for- profit Sector in Australia. She was appointed by the then Federal Government as Chairperson of the National Not-for-profit Sector Reform Council (2011-2013) and Chairperson of the Not for Profit Sector Tax Concession Working Group.

Linda currently serves as Chair of the Board of Screen Queensland. She is also a Director and Deputy Chair of the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF) and is Director of Volunteering Queensland. Linda also currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (QUT).

Linda has also previously held a number of Board positions including a Director on Hockey Queensland, Chair of Coast 2 Bay Housing Group and a Director of the Princess Alexandra Hospital Research Foundation.

Linda was named as one of the YWCA 125 leading Queensland women and was chosen to be part of the National Library of Australia’s trailblazing women in the law project documenting the oral history of women lawyers in Australia.


Scott Black

Scott is a community media specialist, content producer and creative writer who for the past 12 years has been working in the community broadcasting not-for-profit sector working closely with volunteers in almost every capacity. He is currently Station Manager at Radio 4RPH. 

Scott has considerable experience serving on a number of boards, including the Brisbane Fringe Festival, Community Digital Radio Network, and Australian Media Network boards. He has also worked in various capacities as a direct manager and senior executive serving boards. In these roles Scott has kept up to date with all legislation, policies and governance requirements that relate to a not-for-profit company with a volunteer base. 

Scott is a passionate and innovative writer with digital and media production and marketing capability and 20 plus years’ experience managing and providing high quality creative writing, editorial, digital, social and multimedia content services to customers, clients and management in both the private and community (not-for-profit) sectors.


Peter Tragardh

Peter’s breadth of experience derives from roles as a Director of the Monash Mt Business School, Head of HR for Bank of Queensland, the author of Government Owned Corporation HR/IR policy in Queensland, Executive Development Consultant to the Brisbane Graduate School of Management at QUT and as a Senior Consultant in one of the world’s largest corporate restructuring and change management firms – Right Management Consultants.

Peter has made a significant contribution to Queensland business over the past 30 years as a State Councillor with the Queensland Chamber of Commerce, a State Councillor and Chartered Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute, State Secretary/Fellow of the Australian Institute of Banking & Finance and UQ Academic Board member, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

In 2009 Peter returned to consulting after a further four years’ senior corporate experience. His focus has been on organisational sustainability, employee engagement, corporate planning and cultural alignment across mining, local government and remote indigenous councils/corporations.

Peters experience is backed by undergraduate qualifications in organisational psychology and a post graduate qualification in business administration from University of Queensland as well fifteen years consulting across the private and public sectors.