Our Board

Anthony Mitchell (Chair)

Anthony Mitchell is the co-founder and Chairman of Bendelta, an advisory firm specialising in strategic planning, leadership development and organisational design.

Anthony is also a member of the Amnesty International Australia 2020 Council, and has a special interest in Indigenous rights. From 2011-16, he was Chairman of Amnesty International Australia.

Lilly Brown

Lilly has lectured at the University of Melbourne since 2012 and currently teaches first year Indigenous students within the University of Melbourne’s pathway program while completing her PhD in youth studies and Indigenous education. In 2012, Lilly was awarded a Charlie Perkins scholarship to attend the University of Cambridge, where she completed an MPhil with distinction in Politics, Development and Democratic Education. As an interdisciplinary researcher and educator, Lilly is motivated to attend to both the possibilities education presents, but also the role the education system has played in the subjugation of minority and Indigenous peoples. These motivations have underpinned her work with young people, community organisations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. Lilly belongs to the Gumbaynggirr people of the mid north coast of eastern Australia.

Julie Coates

Julie is the National Managing Partner of PwC Australia’s Priority Clients and Segments Practice and a member of PwC Australia’s executive board. She is also the financial Services Industry leader and a member of the global Financial Services extended leadership team. Julie has a Bachelor of Arts (Accounting) degree from the John Moores University in Liverpool, England and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and England. She is a member of the professional services taskforce at committee for Sydney and a member of Financial Executive Women.

Anna Collyer

Anna Collyer is a leading energy expert and has recently joined the AEMC as Chair. She has more than two decades of public and private sector experience in energy and has worked extensively on industry reform. As a partner of Allens law firm from 2001 to 2020 Anna has advised governments, market institutions, industry participants and large energy users on a wide range of matters, including industry reform, renewable energy projects, power purchase agreements and privatisations.  

Helen Dalley

Helen is a Walkley Award-winning journalist and broadcaster with decades of experience in television media and journalism. Helen was a reporter and presenter for almost 20 years on the Nine Network, including on the award-winning Sunday show, and was an inaugural reporter on Business Sunday. Most recently Helen was host, presenter and interviewer of several politics and business interview programs on Sky News Australia and Sky Business Channels, including The Dalley Edition and Late Agenda, and was a senior anchor of news programs like News Now with Helen Dalley, over 11 years.  She’s reported on a wide range of issues, including Indigenous affairs, and has interviewed many political,  business and community leaders.

Helen is a Governor on the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. She is also Patron of Osteoporosis Australia.  Helen has a BA Hons from the University of Sydney, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mark Heiss

Mark is a Wiradjuri man from south western NSW, born and raised on Gadigal land in Sydney. Mark holds a Bachelor's Degree in Human Movement and Health Education (USyd) and holds a Masters in Educational Leadership (ACU). He is passionate about physical activity and education, integrating Indigenous studies into the school day and creating quality professional learning for teachers. Mark attended the Harvard School of Education’s Project Zero course in 2017 and in 2018 was awarded a ‘New Voice Scholarship’ from the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL). He is the Chair of the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) Board. Mark has represented NSW in Masters Athletics and enjoys various sports at a recreational level.

Charles Prouse

Charles is a Nyikina man from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Charles has worked across Australia and has been involved in the delivery of various Federal programs including Environmental Management, Employment and Youth and Education Programs for Aboriginal communities. Charles has broad experience in Community Capacity Building, Business and Governance. He has recently retired as Chairman of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. He provides leadership at Lendlease in the infrastructure and construction sector to support Indigenous suppliers. In 2017, Charles was awarded a Roberta Sykes Scholarship to undertake a Masters of Public Administration at Harvard University.

Craig Ritchie

Craig Ritchie is the Chief Executive Officer of The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies’ (AIATSIS).

Craig has held senior positions at AWABAKAL Newcastle Aboriginal Co-operative, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), ACT Health, the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and the Australian Government Department of Education. Craig Ritchie is a Dhungutti/Biripi man.

Joanne Spillane

Joanne Spillane is an Executive Director and Global Head of Private Capital Markets. Jo is responsible for Macquarie Capital’s relationships with significant investors in real assets, including superannuation funds, foreign pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and specialist fund managers. In her roles she also drives cross divisional opportunities with these clients for the wider Macquarie Group.

Jo has been at Macquarie for 20 years, spending her first 12 years in Equity Capital Markets where she was responsible for the origination and execution of equity capital raisings for listed entities and Initial Public Offerings. Following this she joined Macquarie Group’s Investor Relations team, liaising with the Group’s own shareholders and banking analysts before re-joining Macquarie Capital in her current role.

Jo has a BA Communications from UTS and MBA from the Australian School of Management at University of NSW.

Damien Miller

Mr Miller is currently the Assistant Secretary of the Soft Power, Partnerships and Research Branch at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.  He is co Faculty Head of the “Understanding Australia” Faculty at the Australian Government’s Diplomatic Academy.  In 2017 he joined the inaugural cohort of Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity.  From May 2013 to May 2017 he was Australia’s Ambassador to Denmark, with non-resident accreditation to Norway and Iceland.  He was the first Indigenous Australian to be appointed head of an overseas mission.  Mr Miller previously served overseas as Australia’s Deputy Ambassador to Germany (2010-2013) and at the Australian High Commission in Malaysia (2000-2003).  He joined the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1995.  Mr Miller holds a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University and a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales.  He was selected "Aboriginal Scholar of the Year" by the National NAIDOC Committee in 1993.  He is a descendant of the Gangalu people of central Queensland.

Our Leadership Team

Leila Smith | Chief Executive Officer

Leila is the CEO of the Aurora Education Foundation and has experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and education sectors, in policy development, organisational growth, and program delivery in the not-for-profit sector, private sector, federal government, and academia.

Leila is a Wiradjuri woman whose family is from central New South Wales. Raised in Canberra, Leila holds a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor’s degree with first class honours in Sociology from the Australian National University.

Prior to Aurora, Leila was the Knowledge Translation Manager at the Lowitja Institute, and a Senior Management Consultant at Nous Group. She also led the Policy and Programs team at the Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association, and worked in data analysis and research roles at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Australian Social Science Data Archive, and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Tamara Murdock | Deputy CEO & Head of Strategy

Tamara is a Noongar woman, raised in Geraldton and whose family is from the southwest of Western Australia.  She holds a Masters of Philosophy in Geography and the Environment from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor’s degree with first class honours in Environmental Management from Edith Cowan University. Tamara was a participant on the 2013 Aurora International Study tour, a 2014 recipient of Charlie Perkins Scholarship and 2015 Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation’s Murray Chapman Scholarship. In 2017, she was a mentor on Aurora’s International Study Tour.  Tamara has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and government organisations in the environment, health, education and native title sectors. Prior to Aurora, Tamara was a Senior Management Consultant at Nous Group and has experience in program development, delivery, evaluation and strategic reform.   

Tamara is responsible for leading Aurora’s High School Program. 

Kirsten Campbell | Head of Corporate Services

Kirsten has worked in the Not-for-Profit and SME sectors in Finance and Operations for over 25 years. Kirsten has a track record of bringing stability and sustainability to the entities she works with through a combination of commercial acumen and strong financial management. Kirsten’s commitment to the not-for-profit sector has seen her work across a broad range of for purpose organisations including health, children’s services, environmental and community services. Kirsten is a CPA with a Bachelor of Applied Science and Graduate Finance & Accounting qualifications from the University of Technology, Sydney. She has held Not-for-Profit Board and Association positions in Children’s Services and Financial Counselling.

Brooke Shepherd | Head of Policy & Programs

Brooke has worked with and for Aboriginal communities throughout her career. She has a strong passion for addressing system inequity and achieving sustainable and meaningful change, particularly in areas of health and education. Prior to joining Aurora, Brooke worked for a consortia of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, leading the development of a range of population and primary health care strategies. She has held senior policy positions at the NSW Ministry of Health focusing on Aboriginal health and population health. Brooke's qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Social Inquiry) from UTS and a Master of Public Health from University of Sydney.

Kim Barlin | Internships Manager

Kim has managed the Aurora Internship Program since June 2006. The program benefits from her strong organisational skills, stakeholder relationships and ability to coordinate the various components of the program. Kim’s experience as a senior administrator and project manager has seen her successfully undertake roles in a range of organisations in both New York and Sydney, as well as establish and operate her own educational business.

Sharon Kumar | Scholarships Manager

Sharon is originally from Fiji and of Indian descent.   She assists and administers the Charlie Perkins Trust Scholarships and the Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation Scholarships and Bursaries.  She also facilitates and coordinates the Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour and accompanies the contingent on the five-week Study Tour to the US and UK. She has an extensive background in management and operations with more than 18 years’ on-the-job experience in a variety of roles, both in Fiji and Australia, concentrating in the not-for-profit sector for the last 5 years.  She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing from Western Sydney University and has completed a Graduate Diploma in Management from Central Queensland University.  

Our Staff

Anne Clatworthy | Office Manager

Anne has been with Aurora team since 2011 and is responsible for the smooth running of our day-to-day operations as well as coordinating our human resources activities.  Anne’s background includes extensive experience in office management, having worked previously in recruitment, office manager and EA roles. She has a Certificate IV in Human Resources.

Jessica Crawford | Executive Assistant to CEO

Jess grew up in Wagga Wagga in southern NSW and provides high level administrative and logistical support the CEO. She has previously provided support to C-suite executives across a variety of industries, ranging from fashion to finance, and has a passionate interest in Australian art, music and history. She was drawn to Aurora because of its strong commitment to education and its desire to develop the next generation of Indigenous leaders. Jess is currently completing a Bachelor of International Studies at the University of New England, majoring in Sociology and Languages, and looks forward to developing her skills to give back to the Indigenous community and to act as a positive non-Indigenous ally.

Ashanti Fogden | Program Officer - Internships

Ashanti is our Internships Program Officer, with responsibility for all day-to-day program activities and is a key point of contact for our interns and host organisations. Working previously in arts management and the higher education industry, she has experience in delivering client-focused events and projects, and establishing and maintaining stakeholder relationships. Ashanti completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in Art History & Theory from the University of Sydney, and is committed to continually developing her skills to an ever-higher level. She has prioritised learning, understanding and embracing Indigenous knowledge, culture and histories and has completed Cultural Competency and Awareness Training with Nura Gili and Your Mob Learning.

Taylor Wild | Support Officer - Internships

Taylor is a Wiradjuri/Darug woman from Cowra, NSW who has recently joined the Internships team as our Internships Support Officer. Taylor's previous role with Aurora was as a High School Program mentor over the past year. Taylor is currently studying her Bachelor of Education and although her degree focuses on primary education, she is keen to further her knowledge and embrace the work of Aurora more broadly. Outside of work, Taylor recently launched her own performing arts company in the Western Sydney area.

Natalie Foster | Regional Leader, NSW - High School Program

Nat is a Bidjigal, Yuin woman with family connections to the La Perouse and the Jervis Bay areas. Growing up, Nat was surrounded by people that connected her to community, but as a child never realised that this was her culture.  Sharing of stories, participating in the school Aboriginal dance group and listening to community elders share their own personal experiences and knowledge are fond memories she hopes younger generations can enjoy. Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is her passion; and so, she decided to complete a Bachelor of Education (Primary), realising that knowledge and education is the key.Nat sees education as a way of providing choices and fantastic opportunities to Indigenous Australian youth.

Marlee Tyson | Student Support Officer - High School Program

Marlee is a Dharawal woman of Jerrinja, Wonnarua and Gomeroi descent. She liaises with students, families, and schools to provide ongoing academic support to students who are participating in the Aurora High School Program. She graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Tourism Management, majoring in Tourism and Heritage in 2019. In 2020, Marlee was a participant in the Aurora Internship Program. The projects she completed on this internship sparked her interest in continuing to help support young Indigenous people through their educational journey. Marlee believes that education is the key to growth of our future Indigenous leaders, and is excited to be a part of this process.

Shayna Daniels | Regional Leader, WA - High School Program

Shayna Daniels is of Aboriginal and African American descent who was born in Hawaii and raised in the Perth to Geraldton area. Shayna is Aurora’s Community Engagement Facilitator for the South West region of WA and has extensive community engagement experience through her work with the defence force where she developed and executed engagement strategies throughout WA. Shayna is passionate, forward thinking and dedicated to assisting our young people and their families to strive for and build sustainable futures for themselves and our community through education and leadership.

Tiana Allen | Program Support Officer, WA – High School Program

Tiana is a descendant of the Bundjalung tribe whose family history includes one of the first Aboriginal members of the NSW Bar and an advocate for justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She completed a Certificate III in Business Administration and prior to Aurora, worked as an Administration Officer at a private Psychology Practice, Tiana has ongoing experience working with people from all walks of life and experiences.

Ashley Humes | Community Engagement Facilitator, WA - High School Program

Ashley is a Nyoongar woman, who is also of Sri Lankan descent, born and raised in Perth WA. In 2012 she joined Aurora’s pilot of its High School Program as a student and went on to graduate from the program in 2017, becoming a member of its Alumni. In 2018, she returned to the Program as a mentor to current participants and now works as a Community Engagement Facilitator, working with students and families. Ashley is currently studying an Undergraduate degree in Criminology and Justice, majoring in Family and Child Support. Ashley is passionate in helping our young people become our next generation of leaders and believes that education is the key to fulfil that.

Bianca Roberts | Program Officer - Outreach

Bianca is a proud descendant of the Gomeroi, Wiradjuri and Gumbaynggirr people and has called Gadigal land home for over fifteen years. Bianca has brought her skills in administration, communications and event management to the Aurora Outreach team where she plans and facilitates workshops to link up high performing Indigenous academic role models with high school students around Australia.  

Bronwen Andrews-Baxter | Development Coordinator

Raised by two teachers on the Central Coast of NSW, Bronwen has appreciated the importance of education from an early age.  Bronwen was drawn to work at Aurora as she is passionate about social justice and reducing societal inequality. As the Development Coordinator, she aids the CEO and Development Manager with writing, organisational and administrative tasks. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communications Social Inquiry) from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Rosa Hall | Marketing and Communications Officer

Rosa has responsibility for a variety of marketing and communications activities including internal and external comms, social media, merchandise and brand strategy. She also coordinates the communications for our Indigenous Scholarships Portal and its newsletter. Rosa has great knowledge across all social media platforms and has strong written and communication skills and has a passion for humanitarian and Indigenous education issues.  She has previously worked as a Communications Coordinator at NGO Recruitment and Legacy Sydney. She holds a Bachelor of Communications and Media from the University of Wollongong and a Diploma of Communications and Media from Petersham TAFE.

Khyati Thakrar | Finance Manager

Khyati has extensive experience in accounting and finance management, with particular expertise in the not-for-profit sector. She has a track record of bringing finance process efficiency and improved reporting systems. Khyati has a strong passion to making real positive impact to people’s lives, specially connected to education as she believes an investment in education yields the best interest to society. Khyati is a CPA, CA and holds a Bachelor of Commerce. 

Judy Zhang | Finance Officer

Judy is our Finance Officer in our Corporate Services team. She holds a Masters in Professional Accounting and brings extensive experience to her role. Judy strongly believes that education is key to making a difference in someone’s life and is committed to supporting Aurora’s purpose through her role.

Jarrod Hughes | Monitoring & Evaluation Manager

Jarrod is a Taungurung man of the Kulin nation. Jarrod has diverse experience in the fields of social and legal research, policy analysis and development, service delivery and community development. Jarrod is motivated by a desire to improve the way that Aboriginal perspectives, values and aspirations are captured in both qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation.

Jarrod has worked in research positions at the Centre for Innovative Justice at RMIT University and the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics. He has previously worked at the Victorian Department of Justice, the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. He has also held board positions at the Taungurung Land and Waters Council and Tarwirri.

Jarrod holds a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws with first class honours in law from Monash University. In 2018, Jarrod received a Roberta Sykes scholarship and undertook a Masters of Social Policy (Research) at the London School of Economics, where he graduated with distinction and was awarded the Loch Exhibition Prize.

Tyrrel Freeman-Mafi | Scholarships Program Officer

Tyrrel is a proud Wiradjuri man from Young, NSW. He comes from two strong cultures – his mum is Aboriginal and dad is Tongan. A spirited young man currently playing Semi-Professional Rugby for the West Harbor Pirates, Tyrrel hopes to assist to better the education of Indigenous students, through the belief that education opens pathways for the future of Indigenous success of culture and community. Tyrrel’s current role is to assist and administer the Charlie Perkins Trust Scholarships and the Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation Scholarships and Bursaries. He facilitates and assists in the administration of the Lorna Earl & William Woodberry Scholarship in addition to assisting the Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour.

Jake Slaytor | Research Assistant

Jake is a Research Assistant to the CEO and also offers general support to staff across the organisation. He is passionate about the transformative power of education and believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential. Jake has experience in the secondary education space, having co-founded two tutoring and mentoring programs for Year 12 students, including an initiative which provided free tutoring to rural and regional students in NSW. Jake holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours and a University Medal from the University of Sydney and is currently in his fourth year of a Bachelor of Laws.

Joshua Gregory | Procurement Officer

Josh is our Procurement Officer in our Corporate Services team and is responsible for the procurement functions for the Aurora High School Program. From Wollongong NSW, Josh has always been interested in helping others within the community, which is evident through his hockey coaching at schools across Sydney. Josh is particularly passionate about education as he believes this is the key to developing a fairer and more sustainable future. Josh is currently in his final year of a Bachelor of Business in Supply Chain & Logistics with Swinburne University of Technology.