Ms Michelle Leonard OAM is the founder, Artistic Director and Conductor of Moorambilla Voices. This nationally awarded program seeks at its core to give country kids a rare opportunity to sing, dance and create incredible performances with artists of the highest calibre. The friendships, performances and opportunities the children make are life-changing. Under Michelle’s direction, the choirs and annual program has flourished, receiving numerous national and state awards.
Michelle’s work was featured in Wide Open Sky (directed by Lisa Nicol and winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at 2015 Sydney Film Festival) and Outback Choir (Heiress Films/ABC Australia), both documentaries about the Moorambilla Voices program released to wide acclaim.
Michelle is also the founding Artistic Director and Conductor of Leichhardt Espresso Chorus since 1998. This adult chorus annually performs traditional “major works” with orchestra and also actively commissions new Australian work – currently 100 new Australian choral works have been created for this ensemble.
Michelle is widely sought after as a choral clinician on Australian repertoire and appears regularly as a guest speaker, adjudicator and workshop facilitator. Michelle was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for Services to the Community and Performing Arts in 2017, she was awarded the University of Sydney Alunmi Award in 2018.
- Ms Margaret Moore OAM: Margie Moore has extensive experience in arts, education as a music educator and administrator. She has had successful careers as a teacher, music consultant, lecturer in arts education and managing the highly regarded Sydney Symphony Education Program. She has worked with many major arts companies around Australia and overseas. Margie has had major roles with the NSW and National Orff Schulwerk Associations. In January 2011 Margie was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her services to Arts through Music Education.
- Alison McKechnie: Alison is a Project Director for Cardno Emerging Markets which delivers international development programs across the Asia Pacific region. She also lectures at the University of Melbourne in Design Management for the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.
Alison is a Registered Architect in WA and Victoria. She has completed executive education in leadership and change management at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Alison is a member of Australian Institute of Architects, Australian Institute of Company Directors and Women on Boards and has been involved in several not-for-profit organisations including Habitat for Humanity and the Victorian based, Fitted for Work.
Alison has been involved in music and musical theatre for most of her life and brings to the Moorambilla board a strong understanding of the joy of being a part of collaborative arts and education programs.
- Ms Lucinda Edwards: Lucinda is Legal Counsel at Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Australia. She works as a lawyer in the field of intellectual property including copyright, Indigenous cultural rights and business law for clients including government, arts organisations and libraries.
- Ms Justine Lawler: Chair Justine is originally from Baradine, and a co-founder of Moorambilla Voices, Justine is a senior experienced curator, arts manager and arts consultant, based in Perth and Western Australia. Previously Gwoonwardu Mia Centre Manager Justine is now with Perth MRA as a manager in urban renewal and place making. An advocate of new Australian music and music education, Justine is also on the board of TURA New Music in Perth.
- Sarah Hogan: is a Director of MPA, one Australia’s leading interior fitout and refurbishment company. Her executive role in client relations, marketing and business development sees her as one of the most influential women in the property industry. She is well known for her abilities in achieving leading outcomes through diversified teams and her extensive professional and corporate networks. Sarah is also the NSW President of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), a role she has held for the past 4 years.
MOORAMBILLA VOICES AMBASSADORS perform a crucial role in helping us generate support for our candidates and the program.
Ms Jennifer Aaron: Jennifer has a background in nursing, Industrial Relations, organisational and cultural change and was an international negotiator and mediator for 12 years. She is a member of the Leadership team of the Leichhardt Annandale Business Chamber and the Leichhardt Residents Precinct Committee. A successful business owner Inner West Sydney for 26 years, is a donor, choir supporter and energetic networker.
Ms Suzanne Blythin: Suzanne is a trained teacher with 30 years’ experience in education and children’s services. She strongly advocates for community partnerships in children’s Education and Care. Suzanne has supported Moorambilla since its inception in a volunteer capacity and has extensive knowledge of program, partnerships and stakeholders. Suzanne is passionate about the power of working within a learning community to enhance and change lives. She is committed to the achievement of excellence in her business of school aged care provision for over 4000 children (Primary OSHCare), and through her wider involvement in the development of curriculum through TAFE NSW, liaison with social agencies, sponsorship and support of community events. Primary OSHCare are currently establishing a research project with Macquarie University and are in partnership with Max Employment to place and train long term unemployed people in supported workplaces.
Mr John Clark: An experienced management consultant and social researcher as director of Decided Advantage, former Marketing Manager with Unilever, and senior lecturer in Marketing at Sydney University, John is a Fellow of the Australian Market and Social Research Society. He is skilled in research design and data interpretation, and in the use of evidence by senior decision-makers in the public and private sectors. In NFP governance, John is past chair of forestry company Tilba Lake Community and a former director of Good Beginnings Australia, for whom he developed board objectives, comprehensive governance policies, and corporate marketing strategy.
Mr Mark Ferguson: Mark Ferguson is currently weeknight presenter for Seven News in Sydney. He was previously a senior news presenter with Nine News Sydney, presenting the weeknight news bulletin. Ferguson was one of nine children. He and his wife Jayne (a successful publisher) have three children (Jack, Ted and Paddy). He is passionate about World War II Aviation and is known to frequent Bankstown Airport. He got his start interviewing veterans in Georges Hall and hopes to one day write a biography of Simpson the Donkey man. Ferguson was a Goodwill Ambassador for the Good Beginnings charity organisation. He is known affectionately as ‘Fergo’ by friends and television presenters Lisa Wilkinson and Karl Stefanovic.
Ms Sue Kingwill: CEO of Contact Inc (Contact) a leading Australian charity helping to address the impacts of isolation for children, families and communities, working across all child, family and children’s sectors, providing service delivery in ways that best fit local child and family need and designed to improve outcomes for children (see here). Sue has a wide range of community, regional, government and philanthropic connections.
Ms Patria Jafferies: Ms Jafferies has a strong background in business, the arts and events, and is an outstanding contributor to Australia. She was named National Telstra Business Women of the Year in 2000 as co-founders of Dome Coffees Australia.
Ms Jafferies has has served on various boards including the Reserve Bank of Australia subcommittee, Cullen Wines, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, Creative Partnerships Australia, Barking Gecko Thetre Co, Volunteering WA, Solaris Care and the Land Valuers Licensing board. She also chaired the Small Business Development Corporation for five years.
Kirsty McCahon: We welcomed Kirsty McCahon in 2018 as a Moorambilla Voices Ambassador. Born in Carnarvon, WA, and educated in country Victoria, Kirsty is now one of Australia’s leading double bassist. She has been a member of many significant and well known orchestras, internationally and well as within Australia. This includes as the Principal Bass with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra for 20 years as well as a founding member of the Australian World Orchestra.
Kirsty has already worked closely with Moorambilla Voices – most recently providing her exceptional talent and skills in supporting Michelle as part of the ensemble for the Hillary Clinton Sydney performance and the MAXed OUT Company recording sessions – and has been a strong advocate for the organisation since her involvement with events. We are delighted to have Kirsty accept an Ambassadors position and join the team.
Ms Elizabeth Stanley: Beth Stanley came to Moorambilla in 2013 as the International Educational Observer. Beth has been in education for 37 years mainly in the United States. She continues to lend her services to Moorambilla as an Ambassador and is seeking ways for Moorambilla Voices to be a sustainable organisation for the future.
Ms Barbara Wellesley AM: Barbara has a long and successful career in child and youth health services planning and management, in policy development and program evaluation and extensive clinical experience in community child, youth and family health and well being. As a former NSW child health policy advisor, and Child Health Manager for Orana and Far West Health Region her work has covered urban, rural, remote and indigenous communities. She was Co-Founder and National Director of Good Beginnings Australia, now a division of Save The Children. She has served on ministerial and departmental advisory committees. She has experience in collaborating with corporate Australia, the NFP sector and major service organisations. Currently a director of Contact Inc., a director of Perinatal Infant Research Institute (PIRI), and Convenor of ARACY Early Years Chapter.
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