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.

Nici Andronicus | Head of Development


Nici has a background in the not-for profit sector, leading innovative fundraising, marketing, partnerships and events teams and having previously served in media and marketing roles in financial services, international sport, and hospitality. Commencing her role as Aurora’s Head of Development in 2019, Nici’s primary focus will be to meet Aurora’s fundraising, marketing and communications objectives as the organisation scales-up the five national Indigenous education programs.

Nici’s qualifications include a Master of Business Administration from Australian Institute of Business and a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management from University of Canberra.

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 | Internships Program Officer

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 Tawee | Scholarships Program Officer

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.

Lynette Bolt | Aurora Outreach Coordinator

Lynette is a Bundjalung woman who has lived in Sydney for 20 years. Lynette’s role at Aurora is focused on a nationwide program, Aurora Outreach, that connects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Years 10 through to 12 with Indigenous higher education experts, university graduates and workplaces to raise their academic and career aspirations.  She has a Bachelor of Global Studies degree and has worked in the education, financial, non-profit, commercial and health sectors in varied roles from executive assistant, health researcher, accounts manager, office manager, to business systems coordinator. 

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.

Melanie Howard | Project Officer – High School Program

Melanie is of multi-cultural heritage, with her Aboriginality tied to the Yawuru people of Broome, in Western Australia’s north-west. [LS1] As Project Officer for the Perth site of Aurora’s High School Program, Melanie provides logical support for our Perth program, is a key point of contact for our students, their families and schools.  Melanie is passionate about social justice, and has extensive experience in the Indigenous sector in program management, community development initiatives, health education and remote service delivery, amongst other roles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Curtin University, Diploma of Community Services, and Certificate IV in Business Governance.

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.

James Goodman | Management Accountant

James has been the Foundation’s the management accountant since August 2013. James is responsible for our internal and external financial reporting and specialises in for-purpose organisations. Holding a master’s degree from the University of London in Strategic Management Accounting, James qualified as an accountant in 2002 and is a member of both CIMA and CPA (Australia). 

Shuo Li | Accounts Assistant

Shuo is our Finance Officer is responsible for all day-to-day finance functions. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Australian National University and has worked in the NFP sector since graduating.

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.