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Michael Chalmers, Director for Children and Families, Scottish Government

Michael Chalmers was appointed Director for Children and Families in June 2017.

Prior to his appointment, Michael was Director of the Office of the Advocate General, the UK government’s most senior legal official in Scotland, from December 2012 to June 2017.  He has undertaken a variety of roles in government, including head of HM Revenue & Customs’ Scottish legal office and legal adviser in the Scottish Government’s litigation team.  Before joining government in 2005, Michael worked for one of Scotland’s leading commercial law firms.

Michael graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in law (hons) in 1996 and a Masters degree (dist) in International Law and Human Rights in 2011.

Michael Chalmers 
Dorothy Adams, Acting Chief Executive, Social Investment Agency (NZ)

Dorothy has headed up Social Investment since it was established as a Unit in July 2015, now the Social Investment Agency.   Before taking up this role she was GM Insights, Ministry of Social Development (MSD), responsible for leading its data, analytics and evidence hub.

Prior to joining the Ministry in 2008, Dorothy worked in local government for 10 years specialising in policy and governance, with her most recent role being Manager, Strategic Development at Hutt City Council. Dorothy has also held senior roles in the Department of Labour, NZ Employment Service and was an advisor to the Minister of Employment.

Dorothy has a Master of Public Administration from Monash University and an LLB from Victoria University of Wellington. She is an Enrolled Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of Wellington.

Dorothy Adams

Argiri Alisandratos, Deputy Secretary, Children and Families Reform, Department of Health and Human Services (VIC)

Argiri Alisandratos is the Deputy Secretary, Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria.

Argiri joined the department more than 25 years ago as a child protection practitioner. Since then Argiri has held a number of senior leadership roles within the department including: Deputy Secretary South Division, Chief Operations Transformation Officer; Director, Southern Melbourne Area; Director, Inner Gippsland Area; Assistant Director, Placement and Family Services in the Children, Youth and Families Division; and Manager Community Services, Loddon Mallee Region.

As Deputy Secretary, Argiri leads state-wide policy and programs for children and families. This includes leading the major reform transformation of the state’s child and family system under the Victorian Government’s Roadmap for Reform agenda; as well as the development of a Quality and Safety infrastructure for community services across Victoria. Argiri’s extensive experience leading service delivery, performance and quality improvement and large-scale service and system design means that he is uniquely placed to drive the Children and Families policy and reform agenda across Victoria.

Argiri holds a Bachelor of Social Work (Monash University), an Executive Master of Public Administration (Monash University).

Argiri Alisandratos 
Stan Grant, Journalist and Presenter

Stan Grant is the Indigenous Affairs Editor for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a multi-award winning current affairs host, an author and an adventurer.

Well known for having brought the former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to tears when interviewed about Indigenous affairs on The Point, Stan's is insightful, engaging, always professional and at times, controversial.

Stan Grant's Aboriginal heritage has shaped his dynamic, resilient personality. Born in Griffith in south-west New South Wales, in 1963, Stan Grant's mother is from the Kamilaroi people and his father is of the Wiradjuri.

Stan spent most of his childhood on the road living in small towns and Aboriginal communities across outback NSW. His father was an itinerant saw-miller who worked when and where he could. Stan moved so often he attended 12 different schools before he was in his teens.

The early travelling gave Stan a love of adventure and stories. He grew up listening to the tales of his grandfather and uncles and aunts. Despite poverty and an early sporadic education the security of his family and the larger Aboriginal community gave him a strong platform for life.

After attending University, Stan won a cadetship with the Macquarie Radio Network, launching a career in journalism that has spanned more than 30 years and more than 70 countries. In that time Stan has travelled the world covering the major stories of our time from the release of Nelson Mandela, the troubles in Northern Island, the death of Princess Diana, war in Iraq, the second Palestinian intifada, the war on terror, the South Asia Tsunami, the Pakistan Earthquake and the rise of China.

Stan has hosted major news and current affairs programs on Australian commercial and public T.V. He has been a political correspondent for the ABC, a Europe correspondent for the Seven Network based in London and a senior international correspondent for the international broadcaster CNN based in Hong Kong and Beijing.

Returning to Australia in 2013, Stan continued to cover international events for Sky News Australia and reignited his passion for telling the stories of his own indigenous people. He has worked as the Indigenous editor for the Guardian Australia, managing editor for National Indigenous Television and international editor for Sky News. In 2016 Stan Grant was appointed as the special advisor to the then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Indigenous constitutional recognition.

Stan has won many major awards including an Australian T.V Logie, a Columbia University Du-Pont Award (the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize), and the prestigious U.S Peabody Award. He is a four-time winner of the highly prized Asia TV Awards including reporter of the year.

Stan has written The Tears of Strangers and Talking To My Country (Harper Collins), and has published numerous articles and opinion pieces for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian.

Stan Grant is passionate about justice and humanity. His years of international reporting has given him a deep understanding of how the world works. He is deeply immersed in the politics and history of Asia and the Middle East. He can link the importance of leadership and the impact of history and above all believes in the power and resilience of people.

Stan is married to ABC Sports Broadcaster, Tracey Holmes and has four children. He lives in Sydney.

Stan Grant

Michael Coutts-Trotter, Secretary, NSW Department of Family and Community Services & Chair, Their Futures Matter Implementation Board

Michael Coutts-Trotter was appointed Director-General (now Secretary) of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services on 29 July 2013.

He was appointed Director-General of the newly-created NSW Department of Finance and Services on 4 April 2011.

Before that he was the Director-General of the NSW Department of Education and Training for four years. He has also been the Director-General of the NSW Department of Commerce and was Chief of Staff to the NSW Treasurer for seven years.

Michael is a fellow of the Institute of Public Administration of Australia NSW (IPAA).

Michael Coutts-Trotter 
Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary Strategy and Resources, NSW Ministry of Health & Board Member, Their Futures Matter Implementation Board

Dr Nigel Lyons has over 30 years’ experience in the NSW Health system as a clinician, manager and executive.

He is the Deputy Secretary, Strategy and Resources at the NSW Ministry of Health where he is responsible for strategic health policy development, inter-jurisdictional negotiations and funding strategies, system-wide planning of health services including mental health and setting the direction for child and family health policy.

He has also held other executive roles in the NSW Ministry of Health and NSW Health Services including Chief Executive of the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation and Chief Executive of Hunter New England Area Health Service.

Dr Lyons has been actively involved during his career in many other roles which demonstrate a commitment to postgraduate education, rural health and clinical service improvement at regional, state and national level. He has held a number of Board appointments relating to these areas during his career.

Dr Nigel Lyons 
Gary Groves, Executive Director, Their Futures Matter

Gary Groves is Executive Director of Their Futures Matter, a landmark reform of the NSW Government to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families. Appointed in January 2018, Gary is leading the implementation of a multi-agency, coordinated service system to deliver evidence-based, wraparound supports via a whole-of-government investment approach.

Over his illustrious twenty-five year career in the public service, Gary has held a number of senior executive roles within the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) and NSW Police. He has extensive experience in public administration with a strong track record in human service delivery.

Gary is adept in organisation reform, change and cultural shift through leadership, collaboration and capability development. By focusing on a critical analysis of performance, he has delivered results in key areas of FACS’ work, including housing, community services and disability. Gary was also instrumental in establishing the NSW Child Wellbeing Units for Police, Health and Education followed by managing the Out of Home Care Reforms for FACS in 2013. Gary played an integral leadership role at the NSW Ombudsman working on a review of Aboriginal Disadvantage in Bourke and Brewarrina which led to significant recommendations to NSW Parliament.

From a policing perspective Gary has had responsibility in portfolios ranging from Operational Policing in Kings Cross through to Child Protection and Sex Crimes within the NSW State Crime Command. His career in NSW Police also enabled him to lead the Criminology and Crime Prevention Unit, which at the time was ground-breaking work in NSW. As a result of Gary’s significant contribution to child protection in NSW Police, he was a inaugural recipient of the Justice James Wood Child Protection Award.

Gary has also co-written a number of publications including Utilising Problem Orientated Policing Strategies to Reduce Street Based Prostitution in Kings Cross; and NSW and Juvenile Justice: From the Lessons of the Past to a Road Map for the Future – Australian Institute of Criminology.

Marilyn Chilvers, Executive Director, Data Analytics and Integration, NSW Data Analytics Centre, NSW Treasury & NSW Department of Family & Community Services

Marilyn Chilvers is an Executive Director in NSW Government, working in both the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) and the NSW Data Analytics Centre in Treasury. Marilyn led the development and implementation of the NSW Human Services Outcomes Framework in FACS. She is passionate about making better use of data and evidence to guide government investment and service design, and the focus of her current role is to drive data integration and analysis activities to improve outcomes for vulnerable and at risk citizens.

Marilyn’s previous roles include several senior statistical and economic roles in FACS, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, and at Macquarie University. Her qualifications include a Masters of Applied Statistics & Bachelor of Economics (Honours in Econometrics).

Marilyn Chilvers 
Sarah Hurcombe, Director Education, Family & Community Services, Commissioning and Contestability Unit, NSW Treasury

Sarah has spent the last 15 years supporting public service change programs in Australia and the UK - from within government, NGOs and big and small consultancies. She recently joined Treasury NSW as a Director in the Commissioning Unit. Immediately prior she led the Sydney studios for social innovation and design agencies the Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) and FutureGov. She is driven by a passion to improve systems and services for service users or the general public which enable them to achieve better outcomes in their lives. In her 'spare time' she helps run Two Tales Cafe with her partner in Alexandria, Sydney.

Sarah Hurcombe 
Dr Elisabeth Murphy, Senior Clinical Advisor, Child and Family Health, NSW Ministry of Health

Associate Professor Elisabeth Murphy is the Senior Clinical Advisor, Child and Family Health, NSW Ministry of Health. She has overseen the implementation of a number of early intervention programs designed to lead to improved health throughout life, including NSW-wide evidence based screening programs for hearing and vision, Aboriginal maternal and infant health programs, and promotion of health checks for improved child development and health in the NSW Personal Health Record. Concurrent with her Ministry role, Associate Professor Murphy works in Northern Sydney Local Health District as Network Director for Child, Youth and Family Services.

Dr Elisabeth Murphy 
Megan Weier, Research Fellow, Centre for Social Impact

Megan Weier is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact at the University of New South Wales. Her research is guided by a personal drive for social justice and using research as a way of giving voice to marginalised and underrepresented members of society. Her research aims are to create better decision-making processes at the policy and institutional level, which take into account the broader cultural and social contexts that influence decision. Megan is passionate about conducting research that is reflexive and rigorous, and employs mixed methods when exploring research questions. Her biggest piece of work to date at the Centre for Social Impact has extended a model known as financial resilience to Indigenous Australians. The findings of this project advocates for recognizing and integrating Indigenous understandings and approaches to money, and contextualising these approaches in a broader system of Western capitalist approaches to money.

Megan completed a Bachelor of Psychological Science (Hon) and her PhD at the University of Queensland. Her Honours project and PhD thesis examined and took a critical approach to a psychological theory of development known as Emerging Adulthood. Her research considered the social and personal implications that are associated with what makes a ‘good’ young person with a focus on the impact of the Emerging Adulthood theories on a young person’s health and wellbeing. Megan also has experience in the field of drug and alcohol policy and public health, and has experience conducting mixed-methods research across a range of groups and stakeholders, including people who are dependent on drugs, families of dependent drug users, e-cigarette users, health clinicians, and policy makers.

Megan Weier 
Annette Michaux, Director, Parenting Research Centre
Annette is a Director at the Parenting Research Centre (PRC) where she leads significant, evidence-informed practice and policy initiatives that help PRC clients achieve their intended outcomes. She directs a number of government-funded, national and multi-year initiatives – including MyTime and Emerging Minds (National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health) – and is responsible for leading a talented team of researchers and specialists in practice design,  implementation, and knowledge translation and exchange.

Annette drives a number of our implementation projects in NSW, including trials of SafeCare and the Quality Assurance Framework for children and young people in out-of-home care. Annette leads PRC’s work on influencing policy pertaining to parenting support and has directed the Reframing Parenting national partnership since its inception in 2015. She has more than 16 years of executive level experience in helping governments and organisations improve outcomes for children

Under her directorship we have completed projects for: The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; NSW Department of Family and Community Services; and, Department of Education and Training in Victoria.

She has previously served as General Manager, Social Policy and Research, and General Manager, Operations (East and Central) at The Benevolent Society; and as CEO of the NSW Child Protection Council. Annette was also a senior staff member at the NSW Commission for Children and Young People and has experience as a social worker in child welfare and community development in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Annette Michaux 
Dr Catherine Wade, Principal Research Specialist, Parenting Research Centre

Catherine leads research, evaluation and analysis activities at the Centre, with a focus on evaluating the implementation and impact of initiatives aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families across Australia and internationally. Catherine is also a Research Affiliate with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. Her experience spans leading, conceptualising, conducting and reporting research, evidence synthesis and program evaluation, including expertise in quantitative and qualitative research and analysis of large-scale data.

Catherine has over 15 years of experience conducting social policy research and has expertise in quantitative and qualitative research design, data collection and analysis, secondary analysis of large-scale longitudinal data, and the development of high level reports to government as well as targeted evidence summaries for specific audiences.

Catherine’s research interests span a range of public health priority groups including vulnerable and disadvantaged populations, especially involving parents with intellectual disability, families involved with child welfare systems, and children exposed to socioeconomic disadvantage.

Dr Catherine Wade 
Elisabeth Shaw, CEO, Relationships Australia NSW

Elisabeth joined Relationships Australia (NSW) Limited in March 2016 as the EGM Practice Quality & Innovation and commenced the role of CEO on September 28th 2017.

Elisabeth is a clinical and counselling psychologist with extensive experience in relationships services, having built her whole career around this skill set. Early in her career she worked with RANSW in practitioner, supervisor, manager and director roles. Having invested in further skill development in management and professional ethics, she spent 15 years providing supervision to clinicians in child protection, drug and alcohol, sexual assault, women’s health, disability and general counselling services, executive coaching to not for profit and public sector leaders, and consultation in relation to professional ethics to industry bodies.  She has taught in Masters programs at ACU, UNSW and Newcastle universities in areas of clinical practice, management and professional ethics, and routinely presents and publishes work in these areas. She is a senior consultant at The Ethics Centre, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and chair of the board of Settlement Services International.

Elisabeth Shaw 
Dr Jen Hamer, General  Manager – Quality, Outcomes and Research, Relationships Australia NSW

Jen has worked as a child protection social worker, counsellor, academic, and senior manager in non-government family and community support organisations for over 30 years. Her PhD was applied research studying the ontological effects of formal assessment and skills recognition, focusing on non-traditional adult learners such as refugees, Aboriginal workers in remote communities and peer-educators in HIV and Hep C services. Prior to joining RANSW in February 2018 she was the manager and lead policy writer for diversity and inclusion issues at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  In her current role Jen oversees the development and implementation of the RANSW evaluation strategy and outcomes framework and she convenes the RANSW human research ethics committee (HREC), which is registered with the NHMRC. Jen’s work is guided by social justice, inclusion and the recognition of Indigenous rights.

Dr Jen Hamer 
Lynelle Hales, CEO, Sydney North Primary Health Network

Lynelle Hales is a clinical profession qualified to Masters in Health Planning and currently completing a Doctorate of Public Health with the University of NSW.

Lynelle is the Chief Executive Officer of Sydney North Primary Health Network, which operates the Northern Sydney PHN, a nationally funded primary health care organisation. For further information, visit

Lynelle brings with over 25 years’ experience in health and social care planning, commissioning and delivery roles at local, state and national levels across two health systems (Australia and the UK).   Lynelle led strategic commissioning processes in the UK for nine years before moving to Australia in 2012, managing large Budgets of up to $1.2 billion, commissioning major acute hospitals, mental health services, social services, ambulance services, community services – nursing and allied health, primary care services and specialist and prison health services. This work has included development of a wide range of innovative approaches and models of care across the health and social care continuum, to improve access whilst reducing hospitalisation or intervention.

Lynelle Hales

Carol Markie-Dadds, Head of Strategic Policy, Triple P International & Program Director, Triple P Queensland

Carol Markie-Dadds is Head of Strategic Policy at Triple P International where she holds responsibility for supporting government and non-government agencies to close the gap between policy, research and practice in the use of evidence-based programs from the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program. Since 2015, she has led the strategic planning and implementation of the Queensland Government’s policy to deliver free, statewide access to evidence-based parenting support for all Queensland parents of children and teens.

Prior to joining Triple P International, Carol held senior positions in strategic policy, research and implementation teams with the Queensland Government in the Departments of Education and Training, and Premier and Cabinet. As an Executive Director with the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care, she was responsible for early years policy and legislation, implementation of statewide reforms, and regulation of early childhood education and care services. She led implementation of Queensland’s strategy for achieving universal access to quality early childhood education programs, which saw kindergarten participation rates in Queensland more than triple within 5 years, to be amongst the highest in the nation.

She started her career at The University of Queensland where she coordinated the first major randomised controlled trial of Triple P, was a foundation author of Triple P, Deputy Director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre, and coordinated the dissemination of brief, evidence-based parenting support programs to child health staff across Queensland. Carol holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and has previously operated her own clinical practice and consulting businesses.

Carol Markie-Dadds