At Children First, we are incredibly grateful for the time and dedication of our Board of Directors, Patrons, Principal Ambassadors, Volunteers and the Foundation Team.
Board of Directors
Roger Langley, Chairman
Roger joined the Board in 2003 and was appointed Chairman in 2014. Roger’s background was in retail management before moving into the area of human resources and recruitment, business management and management consulting in the corporate sector.
He owned a successful recruitment company for 20 years, consulting to major corporates on business process improvement, recruitment and selection of key individuals and teams. The company had offices in Sydney and Melbourne and employed over 50 staff. Roger currently consults with small businesses on business improvement and holds voluntary positions on several boards.
He is a member of the Board Investment Committee and brings an understanding of the commercial reality of the Foundation’s needs, particularly in relation to fundraising.
Roger aspires to effect positive change in the lives of disadvantaged children. He is committed to raising awareness of the needs of the children the Foundation helps, in comparison with the good fortune we enjoy in Australia. Roger is inspired to see a child return home healthy and full of hope, and able to attend school with good health restored and being given an opportunity.
Don Maloney, Deputy Chair
Don is a solicitor and is currently Corporate Counsel at Property Exchange Australia Limited. Before that, Don worked at the global law firm Ashurst (formerly known as Blake Dawson) where he was a partner for over 22 years and held a number of leadership roles. Don specialises in corporations’ law, mergers and acquisitions, capital raisings and corporate governance.
He is also the Honorary Secretary for The Production Company (Australia) Limited.
Don is the Deputy Chair of Children First Foundation, and was appointed to the Board in 2013. Don’s association with the Foundation commenced soon after the Foundation was established, both as a supporter of the Foundation and as a lead member of the team at Ashurst that provided pro-bono legal assistance to the Foundation.
Don places a high value on the work undertaken by the Foundation, and its holistic approach to the care of disadvantaged children. He takes great pride in the English language skills, self-esteem, self-confidence and leadership abilities that they take back with them to their home country.
Peter Gilbert, Treasurer
Peter qualified as an accountant (FCPA) and later as a Financial Planner (CFP). He commenced his tertiary studies in commerce in 1966 became a partner in an accounting practice in 1974 and commenced practice as a sole practitioner in 1985.
PDG & Associates provided services including tax and accounting, superannuation planning, wealth management and estate planning to a range of small and medium enterprises. Peter sold the business at the end of 2011 to concentrate on other business activities including property developments and share investing. He now has more time for golf!
Peter has been a member of Rotary International for 40 years. He has held all possible positions at both club and district level. He was District Governor of District 9790 in 2008/09 and served as District Treasurer on five occasions. He has received a number of awards and recognitions from Rotary.
Peter first became associated with Children First Foundation from incorporation in 1999 when he agreed to act as auditor. He resigned as auditor in 2006 to join the board as Honorary Treasurer. He also chairs the Investment Committee.
He has a passion for seeing children from developing countries being brought to Australia by the foundation for life changing surgery that allows them to go home with renewed hope of a brighter future.
Sarah Fraser, Secretary
Sarah is a qualified solicitor and holds a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws. She accepted the role of company secretary in September 2015 and was appointed to the Board in November 2016.
Sarah studied at the University of Western Australia and worked for a number of firms in Perth, while studying and after graduating.
For a period of time she ran her own family law consulting business. Her practice involved taking instructions from and interacting with disadvantaged children for the purposes of Children’s Court proceedings. Within the Family law jurisdiction, Sarah was engaged in child welfare proceedings, including residence, parental responsibility and contact issues. Some of these cases involved complex child medical issues and issues of children being abducted to or from Australia, liaising with an array of child welfare experts including psychologists and psychiatrists.
As a Director, Sarah oversees the continuing implementation of and compliance with the recently introduced child safety standards and is keenly interested in this evolving area of child welfare law as it relates to the Foundation.
As part of her responsibility for issues of governance, Sarah is concerned with the ongoing evolution of the policies and procedures which regulate the Foundation generally across a wide range of areas, including the welfare of the children entrusted to the care of the Foundation and areas such as staff welfare and engagement.
Sue English MBBS (Monash) DipRANZCOG FRACGP
Sue is a practising General Practitioner in Bayside Melbourne with special interest in women’s health, adolescents and paediatrics. She is a founding member and ambassador for Days for Girls Bayside Melbourne, and has worked with communities in Timor Leste since 2014.
Since 2004 Sue has volunteered with Salesian Missions in Timor Leste, supporting young women to access education and health resources and is founder of Bayside Friends of Salesian Missions in East Timor.
She is also a founding member of International Women’s Forum Australian Chapter and a member of the Victorian State Committee.
In addition to Sue’s skills as a medical practitioner and international humanitarian in Timor Leste, she has experience in event management, fundraising, media, public-speaking, mentoring and teaching. Sue joined the Board in 2017.
Jeff Hudson retired from the financial planning industry in 2013, after a 40-year career which included managing his member firm with Genesys Wealth Advisers Ltd for 19 years. During that time, Jeff assisted in developing the strong relationship between Children First Foundation and Genesys resulting in donations of $1m over ten years. Jeff continues to use his connections within this industry to make further presentations resulting in further donations.
After family duties, Jeff is involved with Kiwanis International and is actively involved with other Australian medical providers assisting Filipino children suffering burns and cleft palates. He also volunteers with Anglicare teaching English to migrants.
Jeff is based in Sydney where he focuses on broadening Children First’s base of financial supporters and connections with hospitals and medical providers.
Jeff’s varied humanitarian work takes him to the Philippines where he visits families and children who have returned home after being in Australia with Children First and assists children with continuing education opportunities and general wellbeing. One of Jeff’s goals is to build a more comprehensive follow up program for children after they return to their home countries.
The Hon Linda Dessau AC
Governor of Victoria
- Dame Beryl Beaurepaire, AC DBE
- Mr Geoffrey W Hone
- Professor David de Kretser, AC
- Mrs Jan de Kretser
- Mr Peter Mitchell, AM
- Mrs Margaret Smith, OAM
- Lady Marigold Southey, AC
- Rebecca Gibney
- Diane (Dee Dee) Dunleavy
- Peter (Grubby) Stubbs
- Russell Osborne
The Foundation Team
Elizabeth Lodge, Chief Executive Officer
Elizabeth’s first association with Children First Foundation was when her children’s school conducted a fundraiser to help build the Miracle sMiles Retreat. Fast forward sixteen years, and she is now the Foundation’s CEO. After 20 years in education, Elizabeth joined the non-profit sector as state manager of another children’s charity. Her passion has always been to work with children, many of whom are having a rough trot. Elizabeth brings a strong background in governance, leadership, relationship management, strategic and operational development, fundraising and financial management to Children First. Meet Elizabeth
Michelle Mulligan, Finance Manager
Michelle has 26 years experience working in the accounting and taxation industry. She was financial controller for the Telstra Business Centre before starting an accounting practice with a friend running a large bookkeeping business. She has also lectured students of all ages at Swinburne TAFE in areas of accounting, taxation and software.
Marina Te Maro, Miracle sMiles Case Manager
Marina has worked in the corporate sector as a Business Development Manager and brings skills in project management, relationship management and sales to her role with Children First. She manages the medical evacuation of Miracle sMiles children to Australia.
Julie Webber, Manager Communication and Media
Before joining Children First in 2010, Julie worked at The Royal Children’s Hospital / The Royal Women’s Hospital for 17 years, managing the RCH Public Affairs Department for nine years. Julie’s expertise lies in strategic media and issues management and government and stakeholder relations in the health sector.
Anne Esposito, Volunteer Coordinator
Anne was a graphic artist with the Educational Resource Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital for 10 years before leaving in 1996. She volunteered with Children First from 1994 until 2006 when she was employed as Miracle sMiles Case Manager. During her employment, she undertook many other roles until leaving in 2015 to pursue her passion for painting. Anne has returned to the Foundation as the Volunteer Coordinator.
Debbie Pickering, Miracle sMiles Program Manager
Debbie Pickering is a Registered Division 1 nurse experienced in a variety of specialties including child and adolescent mental health and orthopaedics. She has worked with children and families from Iraq and Vietnam, in a medical care capacity and as a volunteer, and most recently she managed residential aged care facilities. Debbie is also a trained hypnotherapist. Deb has two daughters and volunteers at her younger daughter’s school. She has a passion for being the best she can be and is eager to contribute towards the best outcomes for the children we care for. Deb says she feels privileged to work with such a wonderful organization.