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John Mackay AM (Chair) has been actively associated with the Arboretum since its inception. He was a member of the original 'Shaping our Territory' team that developed Jon Stanhope's vision of an Arboretum in the post-disaster rebuilding response to the 2003 bushfires. He chaired the original Board of Governors and the subsequent Strategic Advisory Board. John has a strong track record and experience in government, private and not-for-profit organisations and has been instrumental in brokering donations and other partnerships for the Arboretum. John is among the most passionate supporters of the Arboretum and, together with wife Colette, has been extraordinarily generous in donating personally to the Arboretum. It is our pleasure to announce that John Mackay is the inaugural Chair of the National Arboretum Canberra Foundation Board.
Rowena Abbey, also known by her maiden name Rowena Sylvester, is the Mayor of Yass Valley Council and has extensive experience as a Company Director—including Essential Energy, South Eastern Livestock Exchange, CBR Joint Organisation and the Yass District Education Foundation. Rowena also has a broad range of business experience in private enterprise, Government and not-for-profit sectors. Her strong background in finance, risk management and governance will serve the Foundation well, as will her strong links to the Capital Region.
Thomas Barrington-Smith works as a commercial solicitor and has previously worked with charitable organisations including World Vision. Thomas is a former small business owner, former member of various ANU boards and through these roles and his corporate legal experience and training, is well placed to make a strong contribution as a Board member. Thomas also publishes the legal blog, Commercial Lore, and is a member of the ACT Rural Fire Service.
Dr Cris Brack is an Associate Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at ANU and one of the Arboretum's longest standing supporters. Cris is a member of two of the Arboretum's advisory committees and oversees ongoing research activities in the ANU forest at the Arboretum. Cris's connections and knowledge will allow him to play a key advocacy role in promoting and coordinating research at the Arboretum, particularly attracting support from the higher education and research sectors.
David Earle is a Chartered Accountant and former partner and CEO of Duesburys Nexia Chartered Accountants. David is an experienced current and past board member of many organisations including the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve strategic advisory board, Canberra Southern Cross Club and Ronald McDonald House. David has had extensive experience at the CEO level and advising Canberra organisations for nearly 30 years and his expertise will add great value to the Board.
Brand Hoff AM started his long professional career in ICT as a public servant at Treasury and then the National Library. In 1985 with wife Peta, Brand founded TOWER Software, a great local success story, which grew to be a Canberra based multi-national. Brand has extensive experience on many boards as a Company Director, including on the National Board of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Brand served 10 years on the Canberra Business Council and three years as Chairman and has developed an enviable network of business associates. Brand and Peta both love Canberra and demonstrated their commitment to the Arboretum with a generous donation which will be used towards the construction of the Children's Garden on the Events Terrace.
Trish Keller OAM has a background in education including in school principal roles. As a long-standing supporter of the Arboretum, Trish has been involved in the Friends of the Arboretum for many years and in 2015 was elected as Chair of the Friends. Trish is a hand-on volunteer at working bees as well as a leader of a group, and has become an integral part of the Arboretum. The Friends contribute some 19,000 hours of volunteer service each year and are key advocates for the Arboretum. Trish brings to the Board an extensive community network and a passion for the Arboretum.
Gweneth Leigh is a landscape architect at Tait Waddington in Canberra. She holds a masters degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University. Gweneth has previously worked at various arboreta in the US, including the National Arboretum in Washington DC, as well as at the National Capital Authority in Canberra. She publishes regularly in professional journals and her commitment to the profession has been recognised through industry awards, including the 2012 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Bruce Mackenzie Leadership Award and the 2010 and 2016 AILA ACT Award of Excellence for Communication and Research for her publications and curatorial work.
Lucy Stackpool is a sixth-generation Canberran who currently works as a member of the Executive Board of IMT, an Australian IT solutions company. Lucy, together with her husband Makis Marmaridis are Arboretum Foundation members, and it is a pleasure to also announce Lucy's appointment to the Board. Lucy brings strong financial, communications and business management skills to the Board as well as a multi-generational perspective on the Arboretum's future.
James Willson is the managing director of local strategic creative company Cre8ive. Over the past 12 years James has been a member of numerous boards including private companies, not-for-profits, business groups and sporting organisations across Canberra. In addition to his strategy and communications skills, James brings an in-depth understanding of sponsorships and business relationships that will add great value to the Board.