Mario D’Elia – President
Mario is a former Partner at PwC, where he commenced and led its Infrastructure Advisory Practice for over 20 years.
Mario is a strategic, commercial and financial advisor with years of experience across a wide range of industries, project types and sizes.
He was a senior member of PwC Asia infrastructure advisory board, a board member of PwC Asia’s Infrastructure Group, and was also a member of the Australian Japan Business Cooperation Committee Infrastructure Subcommittee. Over a long period, Mario has successfully provided strategic advice and leadership on iconic and groundbreaking projects. He has been a keynote speaker at numerous national and international conferences on a range of topics including international finance, project delivery and industry reform.
Mario commenced the PwC Infrastructure Advisory Practice in 1999. The business has grown to provide a range of commercial, financial and strategic advice to various Government and private sector entities. He has held chair positions for a number of Government steering committees, successfully delivering iconic infrastructure and industry reform through strong stakeholder engagements at all levels.
Mario was a lead advisor to the restructure and refinance of Chrysler Finance with facilities totalling well over US$20biillion with over 150 banks. This was the world’s largest financial at the time. He has expansive qualifications and experience as a leader working across government and in Chair roles. Mario has a track record as a trusted advisor to government and the private sector and his collaborative and inclusive leadership will be crucial in continuing to grow the UNAAs presence and partnerships across government, business and civil society.
Dr. Patricia Jenkings – Vice President and NSW President
Dr Jenkings is passionate about the importance of quality education, in particular, for women and girls. Dr Jenkings was awarded her PhD and BA with Honours from the University of Sydney.
In 2014, Dr Jenkings was a representative at the UNA European meeting in Geneva. Patricia has served as Vice Chair UN Women Sydney, is a Member of the Academic Council on the UN System and, at the Council’s Annual Meeting in New York, presented on UN principles.
Dr Jenkings is an experienced Ministerial Policy and Research Analyst who has assisted disadvantaged peoples globally. For women and struggling communities throughout Africa, she has developed strategic programs, contributed towards educational and workplace reform, combatting child trafficking and improving life chances for disadvantaged youth in Pakistan. Dr Jenkings also led a UN Local Governance Project for Uzbekistan to increase local participation. At home, Dr Jenkings initiated a surf awareness program at Bondi Surf Club for new settlers to Australian shores, for which she received international recognition. She is passionate about advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a UN initiative to transform our world by 2030, to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.
Justin Howden – Vice President and Independent Director
Justin is Group Head, Government Affairs and Industry Development at Swisse Wellness (H&H Group).
Justin’s career started in marketing with food giants Kraft and Fonterra, including as State Manager NSW, National Marketing Manager and then six years as Regional Manager for Asia. He then joined the Victorian Government progressing to GM International Business, leading teams on investment attraction, business migration, university alumni and Ministerial travel. After leaving Government Justin consulted on international business for ANZ, Boral, Ericsson, Macquarie Bank, Santos, Singapore Government, Telstra and the Vitamins Industry.
Joining Swisse in 2012, Justin has developed Swisse’s Government Affairs and Industry Development team. Now part of The H&H Group that fully acquired Swisse in December 2016, the team covers the wider group’s global and local public policy contributions on health, trade, innovation, regulation, trade agreements and advanced manufacturing. Justin has also led the development of the Swisse strategic science program of validation and clinical trials with CSIRO, and the University sector.
Justin is on the Boards of Complementary Medicines Australia and the European Australia Business Council. He has previously been National President of the Australia Malaysia Business Council, and the Australia Philippines Business Council and was a founding Board member of Swinburne Ventures – the University’s vehicle for spinning off research and innovations. He has a daughter and a son, and is an active player of both golf and cricket.
Louisa Minney – National Secretary
Louisa is a Special Advisory Consultant with over 20 years of experience in strategic change management and evaluation, with expertise in the international and security sectors.
Louisa founded her career through work in disaster relief (crisis response) and supportive work for developing nations. Louisa has worked with the United Nations World Food Programme in China and more recently, consulted to the Australian Civil-Military Centre where she designed the Australian Interagency Preparedness Framework to enhance whole-of-government capacity to respond to crises. Louisa has worked with a UNFPA Inter-Agency Working Group drafting coordination policies for sexual and reproductive health response in crises. Louisa is currently working with the Asian Development Bank, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand to develop initiatives that increase economic participation and employment opportunities, in particular for women and girls.
Louisa is an Officer in the Australian Army Reserve and provides service on diversity and inclusion, and women, peace and security to the Vice Chief of the Defence Group and the Peace Operations Training Centre. Louisa is also on the Board of Australia Business Volunteers and an elected member of the International Development Contractors Australia Executive Committee. Louisa was nominated as a participant in Australia’s future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world panel for the 2020 Australia Summit.
Liesel Meinecke – National Treasurer
Liesel joined the UNAA in 2019 and has 15 years’ experience of providing financial and cost management advice. Liesel is known for being a pragmatic, results-focused project manager who is able to translate jargon and impact of the technology changes into simple, compelling business language that her clients can understand and embrace, often using the concept of “tell-the-story-on-a-page” to get people on-board for the journey. Having lived in six countries and worked across four continents, she brings with her a wide range of consulting experiences from different countries and industries (including automotive, telecom, packaging, health and education) along with over 10 years of local experience with the public sector here in Canberra. Originally trained in the UK as a management accountant, this coupled with her interest in technology and large system implementation has seen her gravitate to the area of IT financial management, service costing and IT-enabled business change. Liesel also has extensive experience in the area of grants reform in the public sector.
Melissa King – Independent Director
Melissa has worked in Corporate, Government and For Purpose sectors in Humanitarian, Arts, International Events, Governance, Behavioural and Health sectors. As the previous Chief Executive of Surf Life Saving Australia, she was instrumental in navigating the organisation through a time of change and growth. Melissa’s strategic perspective coupled with strong stakeholder engagement, marketing communications, sponsorship and business development skills, has seen her represent organisations including Sydney Opera House, Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet – APEC Australia 2007 Taskforce and the Governance Institute.
Melissa has had a long term interest in the work of the United Nations (UN) and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and is focused on providing support to increase the profile, awareness and positioning of UNAA and therefore the work of the UN. Melissa’s work experience spans UK, India and Australia.
Richard Gruppetta – Independent Director
Richard has over 27 years’ experience in both the public and private sectors including as a former Australian diplomat, advisory firm Partner and now as a corporate advisor to global brands navigating international business, the Australian Government and business development objectives.
With a long-term background in management consulting, Richard offers unparalleled expertise in business strategy, governance, risk compliance, design, government advocacy and private-public sector partnership development. This is enhanced by experience from his leadership roles within PwC and Grant Thornton, leading their Asia Practice Groups, supporting Australian business expand business opportunity with the region across from Japan, South Korea, China, South and South-East Asia.
A graduate from Monash University and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Richard has spent 22 years within the Asian region and is fluent in the Japanese language.
Sandy Chong – WA President
Donnell Davis – QLD President
Bio coming soon…
Brian Gleeson – ACT President
Brian has had over fifty years of experience in the international and Australian Public Service, working with and for most UN agencies for over fifteen years, including as head of the UN in Libya, setting up UN Women, working directly with five Heads of UN agencies and a previous Secretary-General as Senior Adviser in transition teams and change management.
His last position (2009 to 2014) in the Australian Public Service was the Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services – a statutory position responsible for oversight of the Remote Service Delivery program in support of improving the quality of life of Indigenous Australians in designated remote communities around Australia.
Lidia Moretti – SA President
Lidia was a teacher at the University of South Australia for over 25 years. Lidia taught English in the Foreign Language Department of Huizhou University, China for 6 years. She was also coordinator of Food and Wine Study Tour of South Australia for 5 years for the University of Gastronomic Sciences, Italy. Lidia has led delegations to the Salone del Gusto/Terra Madre, held in Turin Italy, which included members of Government, Australian Ambassadors to Rome, Business Leaders, SBS Broadcasting Network, iconic Australian chefs and members of UN Youth since 2006. Lidia has also been an advisor to the Australian Slow Food Management Group and co-leader of the South Australian Division.
Lidia has hosted weekly information and interview radio food program on 5RPH (Vision Australia) since 2005. Lidia is a Board Member of 5RPH and on the Advisory Board of 5RPH(Vision Australia), and also an Honorary Member of Cittaslow Goolwa (Australia). Lidia has been a delegate to the International Assembly of Cittaslow International Italy and the Netherlands since 2008, and also coordinator of a music cultural exchange between Adelaide and the headquarters of Cittaslow, Orvieto, Italy. Lidia has been an ambassador for OZ Harvest Food Rescue Program since 2011 and has helped to establish it in South Australia.
Lidia represented the UNAA at the WFUNA European Meeting in Geneva. Lidia is also a Committee Member of the Australian Committee for UN Women, Adelaide Breakfast (SA), an active member of the Italian Community(SA), and a Justice of the Peace.
Katrina Fong Lim AM – NT President
Katrina Fong Lim is a born and bred Territorian. Her family has a deep connection to Darwin and Northern Australia, having arrived in the 1860s from southern China. Katrina has had a career in the Public Service, Community Sector and runs a small business. She holds a Bachelor of Business, Masters of Professional Accounting and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Most recently Katrina has completed a five-year term as City of Darwin’s Lord Mayor. Her skill set includes financial management; governance, marketing, event management, fundraising and working with people. Her volunteer involvement in the community has included sitting on the board/committee of Youth Training Advisory Committee, NT Volunteering, NTCOSS, Foundation for Young Australians and the National Heart Foundation.
Michael Henry AM – Board Director
Michael was an intern at the UN in New York in the early 1970s and went on to work for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), based in New York. He was responsible for education and research programs in South East Asia, as well as programs in the Philippines and South Pacific. On returning to Australia, Michael undertook UNFPA needs assessments in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Tonga and renewed a long-standing interest in NGO development issues.
Michael has served substantial terms as Chair for Oxfam Australia and Deputy Chair of Oxfam International, retiring in 2012. He is currently a member of the Council of the Australian Institute for International Affairs (Victoria) and is Managing Director of the Strategy Shop, in Melbourne.
Laura John is a lawyer in the Office of General Counsel at Australian Government Solicitor. She has extensive experience in leadership, advocacy, and public speaking internationally and at home in Australia.
Laura has previously worked as a consultant for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva and volunteered with advocacy organisation Human Rights First in New York. She was a rapporteur for the 2nd UNESCO Conference on Global Citizenship Education in Paris and a panelist at the World Education Forum in South Korea.
Laura was selected as the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations in 2014. In this role, she engaged with a variety of stakeholders including young people, media, politicians and civil society. Laura’s term as Youth Representative culminated with a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on the importance of good mental health, resilience, and well-being.
Laura received the inaugural Graduate of the Year award from the Australian Public Service in 2015 for her outstanding contribution and leadership. She is currently completing a Master of Laws in International Law through the Australian National University.
Professor Ramesh Thakur – Goodwill Ambassador for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament
Professor Thakur is Director of the Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University and Editor-in-Chief of Global Governance. He was formerly Senior Vice-Rector of the United Nations University (and UN Assistant Secretary-General). Educated in India and Canada, he has held full-time academic appointments at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, the University of Otago in New Zealand, and the University of Waterloo in Canada. He has also served as a consultant/adviser to the Australian, New Zealand and Norwegian governments on arms control, disarmament and international peace and security issues.
Professor Thakur was a Commissioner and a principal author of The Responsibility to Protect, and Principal Writer of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s second reform report. He was a Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation and Foundation Director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario. He is presently Co-Convenor of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.
Hon. Dr Lynn Arnold – Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Dr Lynn Arnold AO is former Premier of South Australia and former CEO of World Vision Australia. Prior to his appointment as Premier in 1992, Dr Arnold worked in the Labor Government for 11 years. He has extensive experience working with World Vision, having also served as Senior Director for World Vision International and World Vision’s Regional Vice-President for Asia and the Pacific. A long-time member of the UNAA (SA), Dr Arnold has held the positions of State President in South Australia and National Vice-President. Dr Arnold is also former CEO of Anglicare SA, which works in the areas of aged care, families, vulnerable people, housing and economic participation. He was awarded the Order of Australia (AO) in 2004 for his services to Australia through the South Australian Parliament and internationally through the development and humanitarian aid assistance. In 2013, he was ordained Deacon in the Anglican Church and since 2014 has been serving as a Priest in Adelaide.
Ms. Erika Feller – Goodwill Ambassador for Global People Movement, Refugees & Asylum Seekers
From 2005 to 2013, Erika Feller held the post of Assistant High Commissioner (Protection), one of the four top management positions of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Erika’s professional career has included 14 years and three international postings with the Australian diplomatic service, followed by 26 years with UNHCR, both in Geneva and the field. As the High Commissioner’s Representative in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, Erika served as UNHCR’s Regional Coordinator for Status Determination for the Indo-Chinese refugee outflow. As Director of the Department of International Protection for six years, Erika ran key protection negotiations and initiated and managed the 2001/2002 Global Consultations on International Protection, which generated the Agenda for Protection, an internationally endorsed multi-year “road map” for global refugee protection. As Assistant High Commissioner, Erika had oversight for the performance by UNHCR’s core protection responsibilities worldwide, in over 120 countries.
After retiring from UNHCR, Erika was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs in 2013 and a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne in 2014. Her recent work has centred on regional refugee protection and on the reduction of statelessness. One direct outcome has been the creation in 2018 of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness.
In 2015 Erika was awarded the Arts Alumni Award for Leadership and is an academically acknowledged authority on refugee law. Erika is an entrant in Who’s Who in International Law and a contributor to the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law.
Professor Barbara Norman – Goodwill Ambassador for Sustainable Cities and Communities
Professor Barbara Norman is the Foundation Chair of Urban and Regional Planning and Director of Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) at the University of Canberra. Professor Norman is Chair of the ACT Climate Change Council, an Honorary Professor at the University of Warwick UK and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. Barbara is a Life Fellow and past national president of the Planning Institute of Australia and a Life Honorary Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute (UK). Barbara’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Town & Regional Planning, Masters of Environmental Law and a PhD on sustainable coastal planning. She also has a substantial professional background having worked at all levels of government and run her own practice. Her current research and teaching interests include sustainable cities and regions, coastal planning, climate change adaptation and urban governance. Barbara was a contributing author to IPCC 5 WG 2 report on Impacts 2014. Professor Norman advises the public and private sector in Australia and has strong international linkages within Asia, Europe and the United States. Barbara was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community through urban and regional planning.
Leanne Smith – Goodwill Ambassador for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Leanne Smith is an international human rights lawyer by training, with a Masters in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. Leanne has worked in the Australian judicial system, for the Australian Human Rights Commission, in the international NGO sector, regional human rights organisations, as an Australian diplomat (DFAT) and in various roles for the United Nations in New York and in the field, most recently as Chief of Policy and Best Practices for UN Peacekeeping Operations. Leanne has published a number of articles and is a visiting fellow at the ANU Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy and the UNSW Australian Human Rights Centre, and a member of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law Advisory Committee.
Grace Forrest – Goodwill Ambassador for Anti-Slavery
Grace is a founding director of the Walk Free Foundation, an international human rights group with an objective to end modern slavery. Underpinned by research, the Walk Free Foundation uses direct engagement with business, government, faiths, and grassroots intervention to drive systems to change from the top-down and ground up. Grace has spent extensive time working in South East Asia and the Middle East, using photography and storytelling to share the stories of survivors of modern slavery, with a current focus on refugee communities. She regularly represents the Walk Free Foundation at international forums, including recent events at the Vatican and United Nations. She is also a director of the Minderoo Foundation, recently joined the board of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and previously worked at the Legatum Institute as a research analyst on global people movement.
David Macintosh AM – Goodwill Ambassador for Oceans
David Macintosh is Australia’s United Nations Association of Australia Goodwill Ambassador for Life Below Water. He has been involved with the ocean and marine life for the past 50 years in Surf Life Saving, conservation, Outrigger Canoe paddling throughout Australia and the Pacific and has a real appreciation for our marine parks, Great Barrier Reef, fishing and fish stocks.
From 1976 to 2016 David worked in the Transport Industry in Australia and in Europe and the Construction and Property Industry in Australia in both Managing Director and Executive Chairman roles. From 1978 to present, David has a close relationship with Royal Alexandria Hospital for Children – Westmead as Donor and Committee member. Awarded Founder in 2013 after establishing an Endowed Chair in Perpetuity in 2008, “The Macintosh Chair of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine” Sydney University and The Children’s Hospital, Westmead.
David is a Life Governor of the Australian Respiratory Council, Patron of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research after being Governor 2000 – 2011, Governor of the St Vincent’s Curran Foundation. In 2011 David was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for services to Business, Medical, Philanthropy and Surf Life Saving. Awarded the National Medal in 2014 for Surf Life Saving.
David published “The Quartered Cap”, a children’s book written in 1992 for children to understand the history, mythology, health, education and wonders of Surf Life Saving and the ocean. David holds a Business Degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.
Tanya Hosch – Goodwill Ambassador for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Tanya Hosch is the General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy at the AFL. Ms Hosch has a long and distinguished history in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy, advocacy, governance and fundraising.
Before joining the AFL as the first ever Indigenous person and 2nd woman in their Executive ranks in August 2016, Tanya was the Joint Campaign Director of the Recognise movement for constitutional reform.
At the AFL Tanya’s portfolio’s include – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, Gender equality, Sexuality and Gender Diversity. Tanya is tasked with the implementation of the AFL’s enhanced Indigenous strategy, advising the AFL Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council, maintenance of the Respect and Responsibility Policy, 2017, the AFL’s Gender Action Plan and the Gender Diversity Policy.
Tanya is a member of the Indigenous Advisory Group of the NAB and is a Board Director of the Indigenous Land Corporation, Circus Oz, the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute and was a member of the Referendum Council that led the process and final recommendation that resulted in, The Statement from the Heart in May 2017.
Candice is the UNAA National Communications Manager | Social Media Manager | Editor (UNity), and a Doctor of Behavioural Science.
Passionate about the celerity and dynamics of social marketing and the non-profit industry, Candice has a strong interest in humanitarian, health and non-profit industries, cancer prevention, spokesperson effects, the psychology of decision-making and international affairs. Candice is a published author, a research and news analyst for UNDP (BERA, New York), a Communications and Marketing consultant for the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), a senior project officer in Health Promotion and Communications at Cancer Australia, and has performed managerial duties in Public Information/Global Communications with WFUNA for WIMUN New York (2017, 2018 and 2019) and India (2019) conferences.
Candice has previously completed her Bachelor, Masters (with Distinction), and Ph.D. at the University of Newcastle and comes with a professional background in health, marketing & communications, and research.
Lucy is currently studying a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics and a Bachelor of Languages at the Australian National University. She is driven by her interests in international economics, human rights, gender equality and climate action.
She has recently completed an internship with the Office for Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet where she worked on advancing gender equality through improving women’s economic security. She has also worked for the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research as a data analyst looking into Chinese investment in Australia.
In her spare time, Lucy enjoys exploring her interests through volunteer work. Earlier this year, she travelled to a rural village in Nepal to build a twenty-first century digital library that functioned to combat human trafficking. Other organisations that she has engaged with in the past include the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services ACT and Amnesty International.
Arielle Levy – National Intern
Arielle is currently studying a Bachelor of International Relations / Bachelor of Languages at the Australian National University. She is particularly passionate about women’s rights, the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and climate action. Her language studies, which include Arabic, French, and Spanish, are driven by her desire to work in the NGO sector, focusing on promoting and protecting human rights both internationally and here in Australia. This interest has led to a period of overseas study in Jordan in 2018, as well as a consultancy role with 180 Degrees Consulting, working with a local not-for-profit organisation to improve membership standards and services provided to the wider community.
Natalie Seeto – National Intern
Natalie is studying a Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Law (Hons) at the Australian National University. In her Bachelor of Arts, she is completing an International Relations Major, Peace and Conflict Studies Minor, and Southeast Asian Studies Minor. She is interested in Asia-Pacific and Pacific politics, particularly transitional justice, post-colonial legacies, and the rise of climate refugees in both regions.
Natalie is involved in the ANU International Relations Society as their Careers Officer. This year, she co-organised an Alumni Evening and Careers Fair with organisations across government departments, NGOs and policy think-tanks attending.
Natalie also has experience in legal centres and law academia. She was a legal assistant in Sydney’s Redfern Legal Centre and paralegal at the ANU’s Kimberley Community Legal Service Hotdesk, where she experienced first-hand the dedication of legal communities amidst limited resources and funding. She is currently involved with Canberra Community Law’s Night Legal Advice Service and is a student editor for the ANU Federal Law Review.