Our People

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

Noel Baker

Noel has been a member of the Rotary District 9790 for 21 years and twice past President of Southern Mitchell Club.

Noel is a member of the Kilmore Country Fire Authority and is on numerous community committees. He is a farmer, a classic car specialist and mechanical design engineer.

Peter Gilbert, Honorary Secretary and Treasurer

Peter was the founding director of the accounting firm PDG & Assoc in 1974. He has been a Rotarian for 34 years and is past District Governor of Rotary District 9790.

Jeff Hudson

Jeff retired in 2013 after a 40 year career in the life insurance industry, which included actively managing a member firm for Genesys Wealth Advisers Ltd for 19 years. During that time, Jeff assisted in developing the strong relationship Children First has with Genesys.  He has been a member of the  Kiwanis Club Sydney Inc since 1985 and is active in humanitarian work in the Philippines.

Father Peter Hudson

Father Peter is a Roman Catholic Priest and qualified counselor. He has 40 years experience in leadership and administration.

Roger Langley, Chairman

Roger is the former owner/managing director of Network Recruitment Services Pty Ltd. He is currently managing director of Patinack Farm, a horse racing and breeding operation.

Don Maloney

Don is a Partner with national law firm Ashurst and was appointed to the Board in 2013.

Gerard Smith

Gerard is Director of Mission for the St Vincent’s Private Hospital Division where many of our children are cared for. He was appointed to the Board in 2014.


The Hon Linda Dessau
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
  • Peter (Grubby) Stubbs
  • Diane (Dee Dee) Dunleavy
  • Melissa Hetherington
  • Jaimie Lee
  • Lisa Cetinic
  • Russell Osborne

The Foundation Team

Irene Kourtis, PhD, GDipIPLaw, GAICD, Chief Executive Officer

Irene has over 15 years experience in research and development. Having progressed into several leadership and management roles, Irene successfully owned and led a small business and then joined the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in 2009 as Business Operations Manager for Forensic Scientific Services.  She joined the Foundation in August 2015

Michelle Lyons, Assistant Farm Manager

Michelle’s skills are many and varied. Before accepting the position as Assistant Farm Manager in 2012 she had volunteered at the Farm for three years. She is a qualified gymnastics coach, an alpaca hobby farmer and she works part time as a carer with a support agency in her local community.

Neil Sizeland, Development Manager

Neil has qualifications in marketing and sales and has undertaken business development roles within the health care and allied health fields for 16 years.  His expertise lies in building lasting relationships.  As Development Manager, Neil works to develop and foster partnerships between donors and supporters, and Children First.

Outside work, Neil plays and coaches basketball and spends his weekends running his two boys toe their basketball and football matches.  He loves watching most sport, supports North Melbourne Football Club and enjoys going to the movies.

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

Julie’s expertise lies in strategic media and issues management and government and stakeholder relations in the health sector. Before joining Children First in 2010, Julie worked at The Royal Children’s Hospital / The Royal Women’s Hospital for 17 years, managing RCH public affairs for nine years

Pat Weldon, Senior Farm Manager

Pat met Moira Kelly in 1991 when they were on a humanitarian mission in Romania. Later, when Children First was established he began volunteering from time to time. Pat is a qualified school teacher and brings 25 years of experience working with children. He has managed a youth telephone counselling service and has worked with teenagers at risk. In 2012 he left his native Ireland to take on the role as Farm Manager.