Micah Projects Board

Debora Jackson

Chairperson

Debora has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry, as CEO of two industry superannuation funds, and through several other senior executive, and non-executive roles.

As a practiced non-executive director, with a demonstrated history of working in the 'Profit for Purpose' sector, Debora is a strong outcomes and governance driven professional, with proven ability to work across a range of industry sectors. She has skills in leadership, business development and transformation, superannuation, and corporate governance, and is passionate about ensuring effective organisational governance practices lead to good decisions and outcomes for all stakeholders.

Debora is currently: Vice-Chair of a NFP aged-care organisation and chairs its Governance Committee; Governance Consultant through Community Business Australia; and facilitates various governance related training modules for the Governance Institute of Australia.

Debora holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Melbourne; a Certificate of Organisational Leadership, London Business School (2010); and recently successfully completed ‘The Effective Director’ course, at the Governance Institute of Australia.

Damien Atkinson QC

Damien has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Queensland, as well as a Master of Law with first class honours from the University of Cambridge. He has been practising at the private bar in Brisbane since 1995 and he was appointed silk in 2018. He specialises in commercial and medicolegal litigation, and he is engaged as both an advocate and a mediator.

Damien has a special passion for Youth Justice. For over 20 years, he has been the Chair of the Youth Advocacy Centre which provides front-line services and agitates for law reform, and he cycles regularly with Chain Reaction, raising money for young people in need. He is the Chair of the Bar Association’s Human Rights Committee and a board member of the Medico-Legal Society of Queensland.

Damien was educated at Villanova College in Coorparoo, and he lives in West End with his wife, Marilyn Trad, and their children.

Jenny Ryan

MEducation Dip. Project Management

Jenny currently holds the position of Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Relationships Australia Qld (RAQ). She leads and coordinates RAQ's Diversity and Inclusion strategic objectives and drives key initiatives that build capability and further diversity and inclusion across the organisation. Her role also influences and creates change that promotes an understanding and appreciation of individual difference but equally ensures high levels of access to RAQ's services.

She is skilled in facilitation of cultural awareness and unconscious bias education and community engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse communities. She has strong management and leadership skills with an ability to make cultural change in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

Jenny is passionate about social justice and for the past 30 years has always worked in a role that is contributing to more equitable outcomes for people from a migrant or refugee background.

Mark Thomson

A.D.B.E.T. B.Arch. Greenstar and Earthcheck Accredited Professional

Queensland Registered Architect, Mark Thomson has 32 years professional experience, specialising in Ecological Sustainable Development. He has 26 years experience as a company director with organisations which have won awards, including an Australian Quality Award, a Telstra Small Business Award, multiple A.I.A. (Architects Institute of Australia) Awards and UDIA (Urban Development Institute of Australia) property development Awards.

Since 2009 Mark has been an active participant in mentoring design students, via the QUT (Queensland University of Technology) Work in Learning program. He has also supported The Exchange Community Centre at Kelvin Grove Urban Village by mentoring immigrants studying at local universities. Mark is immediate Past President of the Australian Green Development Forum, a past QUT Adjunct Professor and a regular judge in local, national and international Award programs.

Cherie van Wensveen

Cherie has over eight years experience in the areas of innovation and commercialisation management and stakeholder engagement. She currently works with a global mining company in the role of Principal of Innovation Partnerships. This involves the acceleration of research and development (R&D) program outcomes through collaborative stakeholder engagement, provision of advice and services to support the Company’s investments in innovation and the identification of opportunities for competitive advantage and social value.

Cherie’s strengths lie in establishing strong relationships with industry, research and government partners, implementing commercialisation and innovation management strategy and plans. This includes developing sound intellectual property strategy, R&D portfolio optimisation and internal resource allocation.

She is strongly motivated by interpersonal connections and community engagement.

Cherie currently holds a national trustee role with the Licensing Executives’ Society of Australia and New Zealand (LESANZ) and is a registered Australian Patent and Trade Marks Attorney. Her qualifications include a Masters of Intellectual Property Law, PhD (Hydrometallurgy) and a BSc. Chemistry (Hons).

Jemma Venables

PhD; B. Social Work (Hons 1); BA (Psychology and Sociology)

Jemma is a social worker with experience in frontline practice, research and teaching. She currently holds a teaching and research position within the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at The University of Queensland.

Jemma’s program of research seeks to enhance service responses to children, young people and their families, with the intention of bringing about more equitable and just policies and practices. Underpinned by a commitment to social justice and participatory practice, her work is focused on capturing the experiences of people as they navigate service systems, particularly in relation to child protection and domestic and family violence.

Prior to her roles in academia, Jemma worked in a variety of practice contexts including homelessness, disability and policing, as well as providing counselling for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Reflected across all of her roles has been a commitment to the values of social justice, partnership and respect.

Ria Wong

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice, cross majoring in Human Services

Ria’s career to date has predominately been within Queensland Corrective Services leading Probation and Parole teams across Queensland in practice, policy development, framework implementation and innovation projects. Ria remains actively engaged as a Griffith University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice Alumni and Industry Advisory Board member.

Ria has since worked in leadership roles specialising in Domestic and Family Violence, in the non-government organisation Domestic Violence Prevention Centre, Gold Coast Inc, and across government agencies establishing and developing integrated responses, and implementing key related reforms.

Ria’s strengths are in her leadership, change management and project delivery skills. Ria is passionate about delivering innovative, creative and sustainable outcomes for social change and justice in our community.