Rosemary Derwin - Chief Commissioner

Rosemary Derwin is passionate about the opportunities Girl Guiding provides girls and young women across Australia to explore who they are enabling them to be the best they can be. Since making her Promise as a Brownie, Rosemary has had extensive Guiding experience. She was honoured to be appointed Chief Commissioner on 1 December 2018. Rosemary previously held the role of Acting Chief Commissioner from 1 January 2018 – 30 November 2018 and prior to this was the appointed director to the Girl Guides Australia Board from Girl Guides NSW & ACT. Rosemary is a former Assistant Chief Commissioner of Girl Guides Australia and has been awarded the Red Kangaroo for service to Guiding.

Rosemary brings to the Board experience in governance, strategic planning and process and a strong commitment and belief in the fundamental importance of the contribution not-for-profits make to the community as a whole.

Rosemary has been a Director of UN Women (formally The National Committee for UNIFEM in Australia) and was a member of the UN Women delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women in 2007 and 2008.

Professionally, Rosemary has a background in business and financial management.

Janet Torney - Chair of the Board

Janet is Chair of Girl Guides Australia. She is a professional non-executive director with deep experience in the financial services sector and in the member-focused sector, notably female and sport-related. Her expertise covers governance, strategy, business management, change – both cultural and operational – and investments.

Janet’s other non-executive director roles include Chairman of Club Plus Superannuation; Chairman of Whitehelm Capital, Member of the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation and Director of the Australian Cricketers’ Association. She is actively involved in mentoring both executives and young women.

In addition to this breadth and depth of experience, Janet and her family have strong Girl Guide connections. In addition to being Guide, the Torney family and friends established a fund in memory of her mother – Wilma Torney. To this day the Wilma Torney Fund provides support to assist in developing the capacity of Leaders in Australian Girl Guiding.

Sarah Neill - Director, Girl Guides NSW ACT & NT

Sarah Neill was appointed to the role of State Commissioner, Girl Guides NSW & ACT, in May 2016 and is the appointed director to the Girl Guides Australia Board from Girl Guides NSW & ACT.

Having been involved in Guiding for many years across a range of roles, prior to being Sate Commissioner, Sarah held the role of Region Manager, South Coast and Highlands Region, for three years. Sarah also represented the Region Management team on the Girl Guides NSW & ACT Membership Management Committee; has previously been a member of the Girl Guides NSW & ACT Finance Management Committee; various Region and District Committees; and previously undertook District Manager, Learning Partner and Support Group roles.

In addition to Guiding, Sarah has spent over 20 years leading Volunteers in a range of Organisations and Community Groups, as well as running her own business and maintaining a career in accountancy.

Sarah is committed to ensuring that our membership is actively engaged and supported in achieving our 2015–2020 Strategic Plan. Through her many roles and her time in Guiding, Sarah has continuously demonstrated diverse leadership skills and experience at local, regional and state levels. Sarah is absolutely dedicated to the mission of Guiding and wherever possible personally strives to develop, support and mentor young women in achieving their absolute best.

Debra Jakes - Director, Girl Guides Queensland

Debra has been a passionate and active member of Girl Guides since the age of 7 when she first joined Brownies in her hometown of Wallasey in the North West of England. Her enthusiasm and interest in Guiding grew as she became a Guide, Ranger, Junior Leader and once she turned 18 years – she was presented with her ‘warrant card’. Her involvement in the movement continued when, in 2005, Debra moved to Australia through an opportunity with her husband’s work. Since then she has held various roles including Unit Leader, District Manager and Assistant Region Manager to name a few.

Debra was first appointed to the Queensland Board in October 2018 in a casual vacancy. Debra was subsequently elected to the Board in April 2019. In July 2019 she was appointed as the Queensland Director to the Girl Guides Australia Board.

Professionally, Debra’s background has been in the banking industry where she worked in many locations throughout UK. At one point, Debra was a branch manager with responsibility for 2 branches. In Australia, Debra has continued her employment in finance and administration enjoying working in a team environment and engaging with people from all walks of life.

A familiar story for many in the Guiding movement, it has been a huge part of Debra’s life and she believes it becomes part of who you are – she was delighted and honoured to have been appointed as Queensland Director to the Girl Guides Australia Board.

Debra is highly thought of by those that she has worked with and she strives to ensure that girls continue to develop and grow. She is also very aware of how Guiding needs to adapt to survive in today’s changing and challenging world.

Kate Alcorso - Director, Girl Guides Tasmania

Kate Alcorso is the appointed director to the Girl Guides Australia Board from Tasmania and currently chairs the Board of Girl Guides Tasmania. Kate is also a leader of Guides aged between 5 and 10 in Launceston, Tasmania, known as the Rainbow Star Guides. Kate has been a Guide for about 30 years, starting as a 7 year old and keeping going ever since. In particular, Kate has always taken up the leadership opportunities available to her within the organisation and had served on the Girl Guides Tasmania board prior to her current appointment.

Professionally Kate works as a senior associate lawyer for a Launceston law firm practicising in commercial and estate law, with a particular focus on business transactions. Kate is a member of the Taxation Institute of Australia and keeps abreast of developments in corporations and taxation law. Kate has also been involved with other local boards within the community sector.

Kate is passionate about Guiding and seeing the development of the girls in her own Unit. Guiding has offered Kate personally many opportunities, including attending overseas events, and she is thrilled to contribute to the governance of Guiding in Australia as a member of the Girl Guides Australia Board.

Heather Barnes - Director, Girl Guides South Australia

Heather Barnes has held the position of Chair of the Board of Girl Guides South Australia since 2015 and in November 2018 was appointed as the South Australian director to the Girl Guides Australia Board.

Heather has been involved in Guiding since her childhood in the UK where she was a Brownie, a Guide, and a Ranger. Since moving to Australia she has held a number of different roles including Unit Leader, District Manager, and Assistant State Commissioner for South Australia. Heather also represented Australia at a WAGGGS Leadership Development Program in Bujumbura, Burundi.

As well as being a lifelong Guide, Heather has a passion for gender equity and her other volunteer roles have included being on the board of the Women’s Legal Service of South Australia and committee roles for UN Women in Adelaide.

Heather’s professional career has been largely in project and change management, with an emphasis on business improvement and IT solutions. She is also an experienced trainer and workshop facilitator with a keen interest in lifelong learning.

Heather is committed to ensuring the same (and more) opportunities that she has experienced over her years of Guiding, are provided for generations of girls and young women to come.

Michèle Stokes - Director, Girl Guides Victoria

Michèle Stokes was elected to the Board of Girl Guides Victoria in May 2018 and in September 2019 was appointed as the Victorian director to the Girl Guides Australia Board. She is also part of the Adult Experience Committee for Girl Guides Victoria.

Michèle has been involved in Guiding since her childhood in the UK where she was a youth member, Unit leader across, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, District Commissioner and led a Welsh group to an International camp in Canada. Michèle was also part of the Getting into Governance Programme, mentoring young women through Girl Guides Australia.

Developing and supporting young women through Business has always been a passion for Michèle and has Chaired the Women’s Network group in her company.

Michèle’s professional career is in Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacture, predominantly in Business Development and is just transitioning into a Chief Operating Officer Role in an Australian Biotech company. Michèle brings experience in growing businesses and is committed to supporting the growth of Girl Guiding in Australia.

Katrina Lane - Director, Girl Guides Western Australia

Alongside a professional role at the Aboriginal Legal Service, Katrina Lane volunteered as the Assistant to previous State Commissioner Linda Elezovich for over three years. She is also a current Unit Leader, a Learning Partner, and has previously held roles as the International Manager and four years as the Program Manager.

Katrina’s Guiding story is a familiar one. She tried to drop her niece off at the Morley Girl Guide Unit and never left!

Katrina has helped organise major events and even met a Prince through Guiding. She says she is trying to become a better outdoor Guide. But as much as she has given to this organisation, Katrina believes it has also given a huge amount back to her. It has allowed her to honour her parents and the commitment to volunteer work they instilled in Katrina as a young woman. And it has given her to the opportunity to stay closely connected with her nieces.

Katrina has this to say about her approach to leading Girl Guides WA: “Girl Guides WA has undergone tremendous change over the past few years and is ready to take on new and bigger challenges. I am passionate about this organisation and have seen what it has done for me personally and for my family. I want nothing more than to be here for the next young woman who needs Guides, for whatever reason. With the help of our Unit Leaders, Managers and staff I am looking forward to the future of empowering girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members.”

Katrina is looking forward to the continued growth of Guides in Western Australia.

Katherine Raskob - Director

Katherine is the Chief Executive Officer of Fundraising Institute Australia, the peak body for professional fundraising. Prior to her current role, Katherine was the Director of Communications & Customer Experience at Australia’s largest marketing association, the Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising (ADMA).

Her experience encompasses both established and start-up, commercial and not-for-profit companies including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and SBS, Australia’s national multilingual and multicultural broadcaster, where she spent more than seven years as Head of Group, responsible for all marketing communications for SBS programs and services. While at SBS she managed large internal and external agency teams to achieve award-winning, highly-effective campaigns that engaged audiences and stakeholders. Her achievements include the launch of the now-iconic SBS brand refresh ‘Six billion stories and counting…’ and the launch of SBS’s digital platform SBS ON DEMAND as well as the establishment of connected communities for SBS content areas.

Katherine was previously on the board of Synergy & TaikOz, Australia’s leading percussion ensembles, and Kim Carpenter’s Theatre of Image.

Katherine grew up in Minnesota, USA, where she was in the American Girl Scouts for many years.

Laura Hume - Director

Laura trained as a Chartered Accountant in the UK and has spent the last 8 years of her career working across a number of roles in professional services, with diverse experience in problem-solving, business planning and reporting, research, analysis, and stakeholder management. Laura emigrated to Sydney, Australia in 2015 and her most recent role at KPMG has focused on managing strategic firm-wide projects to drive growth and delivering tech-enabled solutions for national and international clients.

Laura has been involved in Guiding from a young age, joining Rainbows in the UK at the age of 5 and progressing to Brownies and Guides. Laura has personally seen the life-forming positive impact that Guiding can have, enjoying a number of wonderful experiences including camps and jamborees, taking part in gang show, being lucky enough to visit Our Chalet in Switzerland, and making friends for life.

Laura is a passionate advocate for women in leadership and for improving access and opportunities for young women to reach their full potential. Laura was thrilled to have been appointed to the board from October 2019 and is committed to helping GGA evolve through a period of rapid change to continue to empower girls by building skills in leadership, confidence, and teamwork in an environment of fun and adventure.

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