Our Board

Anthony Mitchell (Chair)

Anthony Mitchell is the co-founder and Chairman of Bendelta, an advisory firm specialising in strategic planning, leadership development and organisational design.

Anthony is also a member of the Amnesty International Australia 2020 Council, and has a special interest in Indigenous rights. From 2011-16, he was Chairman of Amnesty International Australia.

Julie Coates

Julie is the National Managing Partner of PwC Australia’s Priority Clients and Segments Practice and a member of PwC Australia’s executive board. She is also the financial Services Industry leader and a member of the global Financial Services extended leadership team. Julie has a Bachelor of Arts (Accounting) degree from the John Moores University in Liverpool, England and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and England. She is a member of the professional services taskforce at committee for Sydney and a member of Financial Executive Women.

Anna Collyer

Anna is a partner and the Head of Innovation at Allens.  She has more than 20 years' experience in the energy sector. Her practice covers a broad range of work for government, industry participants and key market institutions, and has included significant privatisations, mergers and acquisitions, and project development, particularly in renewable. Anna has also acted as an adviser to Australia's peak energy body - the COAG Energy Council - as well as State Governments and key market institutions on significant industry reform. Anna is also a member of the Allens Executive Committee.

Charles Prouse

Charles is a Nyikina man from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Charles has worked across Australia and has been involved in the delivery of various Federal programs including Environmental Management, Employment and Youth and Education Programs for Aboriginal communities. Charles has broad experience in Community Capacity Building, Business and Governance. He has recently retired as Chairman of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. He provides leadership at Lendlease in the infrastructure and construction sector to support Indigenous suppliers. In 2017, Charles was awarded a Roberta Sykes Scholarship to undertake a Masters of Public Administration at Harvard University.

Craig Ritchie

Craig Ritchie is the Chief Executive Officer of The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies’ (AIATSIS).

Craig has held senior positions at AWABAKAL Newcastle Aboriginal Co-operative, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), ACT Health, the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and the Australian Government Department of Education. Craig Ritchie is a Dhungutti/Biripi man.

Joanne Spillane

Joanne Spillane is an Executive Director and Global Head of Private Capital Markets. Jo is responsible for Macquarie Capital’s relationships with significant investors in real assets, including superannuation funds, foreign pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and specialist fund managers. In her roles she also drives cross divisional opportunities with these clients for the wider Macquarie Group.

Jo has been at Macquarie for 20 years, spending her first 12 years in Equity Capital Markets where she was responsible for the origination and execution of equity capital raisings for listed entities and Initial Public Offerings. Following this she joined Macquarie Group’s Investor Relations team, liaising with the Group’s own shareholders and banking analysts before re-joining Macquarie Capital in her current role.

Jo has a BA Communications from UTS and MBA from the Australian Scholl of Management at University of NSW.

Mark Heiss

Mark is a Wiradjuri man from south western NSW, born and raised on Gadigal land in Sydney. Mark holds a Bachelor's Degree in Human Movement and Health Education (USyd) and holds a Masters in Educational Leadership (ACU). He is passionate about physical activity and education, integrating Indigenous studies into the school day and creating quality professional learning for teachers. Mark attended the Harvard School of Education’s Project Zero course in 2017 and in 2018 was awarded a ‘New Voice Scholarship’ from the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL). He is the Chair of the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) Board. Mark has represented NSW in Masters Athletics and enjoys various sports at a recreational level.

Lilly Brown

Lilly has lectured at the University of Melbourne since 2012 and currently teaches first year Indigenous students within the University of Melbourne’s pathway program while completing her PhD in youth studies and Indigenous education. In 2012, Lilly was awarded a Charlie Perkins scholarship to attend the University of Cambridge, where she completed an MPhil with distinction in Politics, Development and Democratic Education. As an interdisciplinary researcher and educator, Lilly is motivated to attend to both the possibilities education presents, but also the role the education system has played in the subjugation of minority and Indigenous peoples. These motivations have underpinned her work with young people, community organisations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. Lilly belongs to the Gumbaynggirr people of the mid north coast of eastern Australia.

Our Leadership Team

Richard Potok | Chief Executive Officer

Richard holds a BCom LLB from UNSW and a BCL from Oxford, where he studied on a Rhodes Scholarship. In 2017, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra in recognition of his work in Indigenous education. Richard is the founder and CEO of the Aurora Project and the Aurora Education Foundation, and the executive director of both the Charlie Perkins Scholarship Trust and the Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation, all of which work to assist in transforming the lives of Indigenous Australians. Prior to his involvement in Indigenous affairs, Richard was a lawyer based in London with Potok & Co. As part of his law reform work, he made presentations in 35 countries in relation to indirectly held securities. Richard is also an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology, Sydney and a Visiting Fellow at UNSW Law School.

Leila Smith | Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Leila is a Wiradjuri woman from Cowra in NSW.  She graduated from ANU in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Sociology and Indigenous Australian Studies (First Class Honours).  Leila was a participant on the 2012 Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour. Leila received a Charlie Perkins Scholarship in 2013, and completed an MPhil in Public Policy, Politics and International Relations at St Edmund's College, Cambridge.  Leila previously held the position of Knowledge Translation Manager at the Lowitja Institute in Melbourne. In 2018, Leila was awarded a Roberta Sykes Bursary to attend the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program at Harvard Business School.

Kim Barlin | Internships Manager

Kim has managed the Aurora Internship Program since June 2006. The program benefits from her strong organisational skills, stakeholder relationships and ability to coordinate the various components of the program. Kim’s experience as a senior administrator and project manager has seen her successfully undertake roles in a range of organisations in both New York and Sydney, as well as establish and operate her own educational business.

Carol Lewis | Organisational Development Manager

With a background as a human resources practitioner and a consultant, Carol has extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector, working to help organisations deliver outcomes for their clients and communities. At Aurora, Carol’s focus is on sustaining the capacity and capability to enable strong delivery on all programs. She is responsible for leadership and career development, talent management, and organisational learning.

Carol’s qualifications include a master’s degree in Business (Employment Relations) from the University of Technology, Sydney. She holds memberships with the Australian Human Resources Institute (Certified Professional), the Career Development Association of Australia (Professional Member) and The Australian Workplace Practitioners Network.

Kirsten Campbell | Finance & Operations Manager

Kirsten has worked in the Not-for-Profit and SME sectors in Finance and Operations for over 25 years. Kirsten has a track record of bringing stability and sustainability to the entities she works with through a combination of commercial acumen and strong financial management. Kirsten’s commitment to the not-for-profit sector has seen her work across a broad range of for purpose organisations including health, children’s services, environmental and community services. Kirsten is a CPA with a Bachelor of Applied Science and Graduate Finance & Accounting qualifications from the University of Technology, Sydney. She has held Not-for-Profit Board and Association positions in Children’s Services and Financial Counselling.

Our Staff

Sharon Kumar | International Scholarships Coordinator

Sharon is originally from Fiji and of Indian descent.   She assists and administers the Charlie Perkins Trust Scholarships and the Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation Scholarships and Bursaries.  She also facilitates and coordinates the Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour and accompanies the contingent on the five-week Study Tour to the US and UK. She has an extensive background in management and operations with more than 18 years’ on-the-job experience in a variety of roles, both in Fiji and Australia, concentrating in the not-for-profit sector for the last 5 years.  She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing from Western Sydney University and has completed a Graduate Diploma in Management from Central Queensland University.  

Melanie Wright | Program Officer - Internships

Melanie is responsible for all day-to-day program activities and is a key point of contact for our interns and host organisations.   Working previously in Event Management, Melanie has experience in developing, planning and delivering fundraising and corporate events for a wide range of stakeholders.   Melanie completed a Bachelor of Business (Economics) and a Bachelor of Media and Communications at Queensland University of Technology.

Shayma Taweel | Program Officer - Scholarships

Shayma joined our team after undertaking an Aurora internship in 2016.  She supports both the International Scholarships and Internship teams, being a point of contact for our interns and scholars, as well as taking responsibility for data management and research activities.  Shayma holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History and Archaeology from the University of Sydney, and has previous experience in research, community engagement, and education outreach projects. 

Raquel Duron | Digital Scholarships Program Coordinator

Raquel is responsible for coordinating the ongoing maintenance and coordination of the Indigenous Scholarships Portal including strategic planning, program development, content coordination and engagement with stakeholders.  A former Aurora intern, she has experience working with Indigenous and other community-based organisations in Australia and Internationally. Some of her previous work experience includes working at Institute for Social and Sustainable Development (IDDES) in Mexico, Cape York Institute (CYI) in Cairns, Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) in Sydney and APY (Anangu Pitjantjara Yankunytjatjara) lands in Umuwa.  Raquel holds a Bachelor in International Business fromTEC de Monterrey, Mexico, a Master in Commerce and a Master in Development Studies & Culture Change from Macquarie University, Sydney.

Tiana Hatcher | Team Assistant – High School Program

Tiana is a descendant of the Bundjalung tribe whose family history includes one of the first Aboriginal members of the NSW Bar and an advocate for justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She completed a Certificate III in Business Administration and prior to Aurora, worked as an Administration Officer at a private Psychology Practice, Tiana has ongoing experience working with people from all walks of life and experiences.

Lara McArthur-Dowty | Academic Support Officer – High School Program

Lara provides administrative and logistical support to various teams.  As a non-Indigenous Australian living on Indigenous land and working in the Indigenous sector, Lara is driven by a desire to use education to support and make visible the narratives and histories of country Indigenous Australia to the broader Australian population. This interest has led her to various work and volunteer roles in the Indigenous sector including Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages and Right People for Country.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Indigenous Studies & Media Communications) from the University of Melbourne, a Diploma of Education from the University of Southern Queensland and is currently undertaking a Masters of Education at the University of New South Wales. 

Stacy Maxted | Program Coordinator– High School Program

Stacy is of Yawaru and Larrakia descent, born and raised in Nyoongar boodjarCountry.  As Program Coordinator for the Perth site of Aurora’s High School Program, she works with our students, parents and carers, and schools to support and increase the number of Aboriginal students entering University from high school. She has experience working in the WA Education system includingas an Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer (AIEO) and in Aboriginal child healthpromotion and policy positions – she is passionate about young people’s education and health outcomes. Stacy holds a Bachelor of Education from Murdoch University and a Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health Promotion from Sydney University.

Anne Clatworthy | Office Manager

Anne has been with Aurora team since 2011 and is responsible for the smooth running of our day-to-day operations as well as coordinating our human resources activities.  Anne’s background includes extensive experience in office management, having worked previously in recruitment, office manager and EA roles. She has a Certificate IV in Human Resources.

Emily Maker | Research Assistant

Emily is a Juris Doctor student at the University of Technology, Sydney.  Emily grew up in southern NSW and also holds a Bachelor of International and Global Studies (Anthropology) from the University of Sydney.  The diverse perspectives of law and anthropology have fostered Emily’s interest in working towards systemic change and improved outcomes for Indigenous Australians. This interest led her to Aurora, where she now assists the CEO and development manager with research, management and organisation tasks.

Lincoln Whiteley | Program Officer - High School Program

Lincoln is an Aboriginal Wiradjuri man and his family come from the Central West of NSW.  Lincoln is committed to the principle of social justice and equality especially for Indigenous Australians.   Lincoln joined Aurora as Program Officer to work with our High School Program in Western Sydney, a role which focuses on giving students the opportunity to strengthen outcomes for themselves and their families.  Lincoln’s background includes working for USyd within the Global Student Recruitment and Mobility team where he assisted in international student recruitment. Lincoln is also currently completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Indigenous studies at the University of Sydney.

Samara Hand | Indigenous Education Leader

Samara is an Awabakal woman of Worimi and Biripi descent. She graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws. Samara was a participant on the 2015 Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour. Samara received a Roberta Sykes Scholarship in 2016, and completed a Masters in Understanding and Securing Human Rights at the University of London in 2017. Samara previously worked at the Department of Education developing and managing programs to enhance early childhood education outcomes for Aboriginal children and families in NSW. Samara is also a founding member of the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition. As Indigenous Education Leader, Samara oversees the curriculum development of Aurora's High School Program.

Bianca Roberts | Program Officer - Outreach

Bianca is a proud descendant of the Gomeroi, Wiradjuri and Gumbaynggirr people and has called Gadigal land home for over fifteen years. Bianca has brought her skills in administration, communications and event management to the Aurora Outreach team where she plans and facilitates workshops to link up high performing Indigenous academic role models with high school students around Australia.  

Genevieve McKay | Executive Assistant to the Deputy CEO and National Program Manager - High School Program

Genevieve grew up in Brewarrina, North West NSW and has a strong commitment to improving the outcomes for Indigenous people in the education sector.  She has worked in various teams at Aurora but is now supporting the Deputy CEO and National Program Manager (High School Program) by providing administrative and operational support.  Prior to Aurora, she was at the Rural Clinical School at the University of New South Wales for 13 years as a Campus Manager, coordinating the Indigenous High School Winter Schools and the Indigenous Entry into Medicine program.  She has a Diploma of Management and a wide range of working experience in the Education Support sector.

Anna Bachmann | Executive Officer

Anna’s career has been driven by her belief that education provides opportunities for everyone to fulfil their potential. As Executive Officer, Anna supports policy development and strategy implementation across Aurora. Anna is a lawyer and education policy specialist whose career has spanned the private, public, international development and not for profit sectors. Anna holds a BA and LLB from the University of Sydney and an MPhil in Social and Political Science from the University of Cambridge. She completed her PhD in development and microfinance at King’s College, Cambridge, with Lord Rowan Williams and Sir Arthur Richard Jolly as the Cambridge Australia Poynton Scholar for 2010.


Natalie Foster | Western Sydney Program Coordinator - High School Program

Nat is a Bidjigal, Yuin woman with family connections to the La Perouse and the Jervis Bay areas. Growing up, Nat was surrounded by people that connected her to community, but as a child never realised that this was her culture.  Sharing of stories, participating in the school Aboriginal dance group and listening to community elders share their own personal experiences and knowledge are fond memories she hopes younger generations can enjoy. Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is her passion; and so, she decided to complete a Bachelor of Education (Primary), realising that knowledge and education is the key.Nat sees education as a way of providing choices and fantastic opportunities to Indigenous Australian youth.

Craige Sell | Bunbury Program Coordinator - High School Program

Craige is a Noongar man from the Goreng clan, with family ties to Kaniyang and Minang within Noongar Country.  Craige’s personal and professional passion is to continue to contribute towards building a better understanding with all communities in the Southwest of Western Australia about Aboriginal Culture, languages and education.  He is dedicated to improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal youth and holds the view that education is the key to opening new doors of opportunity. After many years’ education sector experience, Craige now heads up our High School Program in Bunbury, WA. 

Bronwen Andrews-Baxter | Research Assistant

Raised by two teachers on the Central Coast of NSW, Bronwen has appreciated the importance of education from an early age.  Bronwen was drawn to work at Aurora as she is passionate about social justice and reducing societal inequality. As a Research Assistant, she aids the CEO and Development Manager with writing, organisational and administrative tasks. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communications Social Inquiry) from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Michelle Bainbridge | Fundraising Coordinator

Michelle has extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector and brings with her skills in government relations, fundraising and administration.  She graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics and graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Social Work .  Michelle’s work in the fundraising team supports the management of organisational revenue to enable sustainability for Aurora’s programs.

Cristine Gamboa | Executive Assistant to the CEO

Cristine has extensive experience as an executive assistant and operational coordinator, in sectors such as IT and finance in both Sydney and New York.  She was drawn to Aurora because of its active commitment to Indigenous education.  Cristine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  She is currently working towards her Graduate Diploma of Psychology at the University of Sydney.

Glenyis Ugle | Bunbury Program Officer - High School Program

Glenyis is part of the Bibbulmum/Ballardong mob.  She is passionate about empowerment and providing people with the skills to improve their education and career goals. Based in Bunbury, her role at Aurora supports high school students from Year 8 to first year out of high school.  Glenyis has a Bachelor of Arts (Aboriginal and Intercultural Studies) from Edith Cowan University, a Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training, a Certificate I in Leadership Development and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. She has worked as an Aboriginal Programs Assistant at TAFE and an Aboriginal Islander Education Officer in primary schools and has extensive experience as a lecturer at TAFE.

Rosa Hall | Marketing and Communications Officer

Rosa has responsibility for a variety of marketing and communications activities including internal and external comms, social media, merchandise and brand strategy. She also coordinates the communications for our Indigenous Scholarships Portal and its newsletter. Rosa has great knowledge across all social media platforms and has strong written and communication skills and has a passion for humanitarian and Indigenous education issues.  She has previously worked as a Communications Coordinator at NGO Recruitment and Legacy Sydney. She holds a Bachelor of Communications and Media from the University of Wollongong and a Diploma of Communications and Media from Petersham TAFE.

Charlotte Regan | Marketing and Communications Officer

Charlotte comes to the role with marketing and communications experience within the non-profit and community-based organisations. Previous roles include Girl Guides Australia, Community Legal Centres NSW and St Vincent de Paul Society NSW. She is passionate about closing the gap and removing barriers that create inequitable participation in education, employment, boardrooms and government. She is currently completing a double degree in Bachelor of Communications (Social and Political Studies)/Bachelor of Laws at the University of Technology, Sydney.