PROFESSOR LARISSA BEHRENDT AO | Chair
Larissa Behrendt AO is an Eualayai/Gamillaroi woman.
Larissa is currently the Director of Research and Academic Programs at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a graduate of the UNSW Law School and has a Masters and SJD from Harvard Law School.
Larissa is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a founding member of the Australian Academy of Law. She has published numerous textbooks on Indigenous legal issues and is an award-winning filmmaker, including the 2018 Australian Directors Guild Award for best Direction of a Documentary Film for 'After the Apology'.
Larissa won the 2002 David Uniapon Award and a 2005 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for her novel 'Home'. Her second novel, 'Legacy', won a Victorian Premiers Literary Award. Her most recent books are 'Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling' (2016, UQP) and 'After Story' (2021, UQP). She is a Trustee of the Australian Museum and on the board of the Sydney Dance Company..
Larissa was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award, 2011 NSW Australian of the Year and an AO in 2019. She is the host of 'Speaking Out' on ABC Radio.
RICHARD THOMAS | Treasurer
Richard is the Managing Partner of Melbourne-based Jeffrey Thomas & Partners, Chartered Accountants and is actively involved with Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand.
Richard has been Treasurer of the foundation since its inception in 2007.
Over his time as Treasurer, Richard has been part of a vast expansion in the reach of the foundation, now entrenched in four remote communities, as outlined in this Annual Report. He is constantly inspired by the people he works with, those who offer their time and financial support, and the lives changed by hard work and dedication. In Richard’s view, the rapport and trust developed with the partner communities over 15 years has also been a major part of the success. Richard believes the Community Spirit Foundation is in a strong position to continue to deliver programs in the long-term and he is proud of his association.
DR ODETTE BEST
Odette is a Wakgun Clan member of the Gurreng Gurreng Nation and also holds a Boonthamurra bloodline with adoption ties to the Koomumberri people. Odette holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences (double major in Aboriginal Health and Community Development), Master of Philosophy and a PhD titled ‘The stories of Aboriginal nurses in Queensland 1950-2005.’ Odette is passionate about Indigenous Australians accessing and succeeding in education. Since obtaining her nurse's registration, Odette has worked within the area of Indigenous health and within the women’s and youth prison systems in Brisbane for 10 years.
In 1998 Odette held lecturer positions at the University of Queensland, University of Southern Queensland and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). In 2012, Odette accepted a Senior Lecturers position at the Oodgeroo Unit which is the Indigenous Support Unit at QUT.
Currently a Senior Advisor for Credit Suisse in Australia, Campbell commenced his career in investment banking at a New Zealand investment bank acquired by Credit Suisse.
Currently is a Senior Advisor for Credit Suisse in Australia. Campbell commenced his career in investment banking at a New Zealand investment bank acquired by Credit Suisse. Campbell has been working in investment banking for over 30 years and has significant experience in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and capital markets in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Campbell is also a Board member of the Wenona School Foundation. Campbell is a chartered accountant and has a BCA Degree (with First Class Honours in Accounting) from Victoria University in Wellington.
He was a member of the New Zealand Society of Accountants and a member of the New Zealand Stock Exchange.
Don is a company director in the mining industry and holds a Degree in Mining Engineering from Sydney University. He is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
He initially worked with Rio Tinto in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and was associated with the then Pundulmurra independent Indigenous College before it became a regional TAFE. The college was focused on providing skill training which could lead to opportunities for employment for young Indigenous people in the region.
He joined BHP and spent the majority of this time in overseas postings including senior positions in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong and India. While in India he was active in securing BHP funding support for the establishment of the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Bhubaneswar, Orissa state. The institute provided high quality eye care to the poorest of people.
During his career Don sought to combine business objectives with sustainable programs for local Indigenous people. He joined the board of the then Cathy Freeman Foundation in 2017. During this time he has seen the work of the foundation grow from its focus on a single community to the present day four communities.
Professor Juanita Sherwood is a proud First Nations Australian whose rich career spans more than 40 years. Juanita started her working life in nursing before transitioning to primary teacher. These experiences provided her with a strong notion for equity and safety in health care and education.
Juanita is a founding member of CATSINaM (Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives) , and has been a member of its Elders Circle. Her work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child health created a strong shift in knowledge within the health and education sector regarding Otitis Media and its impact on the life development of all children, and later in her work with Aboriginal women in prison. She continues to be strongly involved in community health through Board Governance at WAMINDA (South Coast Women’s Health and Wellbeing Aboriginal Corporation) and Nelly’s Healing Centre (Aboriginal-controlled Indigenous Corporation and registered charity).
Juanita continues to work in First Nations health research, and social justice operations and is one of the top five most productive researchers globally on the topic of decolonisation. Her work has popularised the use of decolonising frameworks and praxes in teaching, research, and health care across Australia.
Professor Tracey Bunda is a Ngugi/Wakka Wakka woman and The University of Queensland Professor of Indigenous Education.
She has an extensive three-decade career in the university sector as a leader of Indigenous Higher Education.
Her research and scholarly interests address the value of storying as methodology, power inequities in white institutions and Indigenous women’s leadership.
Her most recent co-authored book with Louise Phillips is Storying Social Movement/s