The AGCF Board is made up of the following volunteers.
Diane Langmack OAM, Director AGCF, was born into a sporting family of high achievers. She was destined to leave her mark on the often turbulent world of sport administration.
Her success in journalism, action photography and sport publishing led Diane into the role of editor for a popular month sports magazine which boasted a circulation in excess of 150,000 per month. From there Diane was catapulted into the cut and thrust of profession sport as Community & Public Relations Manager, Panthers District Rugby League Club, one of Sydney’s most powerful National Rugby League Clubs.
In 2006 her world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, enough to sideline the toughest individual. Instead of surrendering to her illness, Diane decided that the best medicine was to work harder and she dedicated herself to supporting other people who are less fortunate than herself.
Since 2007, Diane has been in remission and has been in overdrive since then. In 2013 Diane negotiated a private donation to cancer research to the value of $400,000.
Not content with an already crowded schedule, Diane has a leading role for another worthy cause – Panthers Women In League foundation for the National Rugby League which has raised thousands of dollars over the past seven years. She is Chair – Cure The Future Foundation, Chair – Panthers Women In League, Advisory Member – Panthers on the Prowl and Advisory & Consumer Member – Marketing and Promotions Advisory Board: Weave
As fitting recognition of her considerable efforts, Diane was nominated in 2009 and 2010 for the National Rugby League Women of the Year. She was also nominated in 2010 for the New South Wales Women of the Year and 2010 Telstra Business Woman of the Year. In 2011 she was finalist in the New South Wales Volunteer of the Year. In 2012 she was given the Outstanding Community Service Award Certificate of Commendation from New South Wales Parliament. In 2013 she received an Order of Australia Medal for her work with charity groups.
Leonie Young BSc MAICD, Director and Deputy Chair of AGCF, is an independent consultant to the health and NGO sectors with 20 years experience in health reform in Australia as a successful CEO, Board director, NGO and public sector executive.
Leonie was recently inaugural Chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Health and Wellbeing, Tasmania and is a director on the boards of the Parent Infant Research Institute, Austin Hospital, Melbourne, The Hobart Clinic and Rural Alive & Well Inc Tasmania.
Leonie held the position of CEO and board director of beyondblue, the national depression initiative, between 2003 and 2010. She played a strong role in Australia’s successful mental health reforms including the improvement of community awareness, consumer and carer participation, promotion prevention and early intervention strategies, strengthening evidence based research and initiating national e-mental health strategies. Leonie has also served as State Manager, Northern Territory for the Australian Department of Health & Ageing and as a director of the same department.
Leonie has represented beyondblue and the Australian Government on health partnership programs in China, Indonesia, Japan, the UK and Hong Kong in primary health, mental health promotion and stigma reduction, rural and remote health. She is a member of the Australasian Company Directors Network and the Australian Institute of Company Directors Member Group.
Professor Neville Hacker AM MD FRANZCOG FRCOG FACOG FACS CGO, a Founder and Director of AGCF, is Professor of Gynaecological Oncology, Conjoint, at the University of NSW. Graduating from the University of Queensland with First Class Honours in 1967, Neville trained in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Brisbane, and then trained in Gynaecologic Oncology at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), where he stayed for nine years.
Neville was Director of Gynaecological Oncology at UCLA 1984-1986, before returning to Australia to establish the Gynaecological Cancer Centre at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, where he is still the Director. He is a former President of the International Gynaecological Cancer Society, former Chairman of the Oncology Committee of the RANZCOG, former President of the Society of Pelvic Surgeons, and a former Member of the FIGO Cancer Committee.
Neville has received many honours, and was a New South Wales finalist for Australian of the Year in 2008.He was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2012 for services to medicine.
Other awards include the 2007 Ernst Wertheim Prize of the Austrian Gynaecological Cancer Society for Lifetime Achievements, the 2008 International Gynaecological Cancer Society’s Award for Excellence in Gynaecological Oncology; the 2013 inaugural Jeanne Ferris Award from Cancer Australia for contributions to Gynaecological Oncology, and the inaugural 2013 Robert Sutherland AO “Making a difference” Award from the NSW Cancer Institute.
Neville has written over 200 peer reviewed articles, over 30 book chapters, and edited two textbooks, both in their 6th editions.
Loraine Peck is a consultant to the retail and property industries with 25 years experience working on multimillion dollar projects in Australia, Dubai, Macao, Korea, Manilla, Hong Kong, the UK and the USA.
Loraine helped introduce complex digital loyalty systems into national retail chains in Australia, themed shopping malls in Macau and the largest shopping centre group in the world, Simon, USA. As Marketing Director for global real estate company, Savills plc, Loraine, profitably outsourced her departments’ skills on a variety of prestigious international retail and mixed use projects for AIG, Las Vegas Sands Corp, Nakheel, ING, IFC Seoul and Australian Unity.
She has provided crisis management for Macquarie and Deutsche Banks, major new fashion and sponsorship initiatives for Westfield and delivered marketing strategies for one of the Gandel Retail Trust’s most iconic retail redevelopments.
Running sponsorships on both client and supplier sides, Loraine has supported events such as the Brisbane Goodwill Games, Smith Family Toy Soldier Appeal, Myer Centre Next Top Model, L’Oreal Million Dollar Gift with Purchase, Face That Stops a Nation and the Starlight Christmas Appeal.
Loraine was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2016 and her prognosis puts her in the lucky minority. After gaining an understanding of the high mortality rate for women diagnosed with Gynaecological Cancers, she knew she had to do what she could to help procure better funding for research and help bring the mortality rate down.
AGCF Volunteers help make a difference to the lives of women, their families and the community.
AGCF Ambassadors willingly volunteer their time and expertise to help raise funds for research into better treatments and cures of gynaecological cancers.
Michelle Bishop is an experienced sports journalist and presenter for Seven News based in Sydney.
She started her career in breakfast radio presenting news on Penrith’s 96.1 FM when she was just 19-years-old. After studying a Bachelor of Communications she quickly secured a cadetship in the newsroom at 2WS.
Her first job in television was at Seven News where she worked as a producer and junior reporter on the long running sport flag ship program Sportsworld hosted then by the legendary Bruce McAvaney.
Her passion for radio and live sport saw her become the first female on Macquarie radio network’s Continuous Call Team, covering live Rugby League updates as an around-the-grounds reporter. Macquarie radio were so impressed she secured a position as 2GB’s afternoon sport anchor and filled in as the sports reader during the Alan Jones Show.
‘Shell’ has presented Foxsports news and feature stories for the Rugby League program Super Saturday.
In 2014, Michelle returned to the Seven Network as a full time sports reporter and quickly established herself as a leading journalist.
Her career to date has seen her cover everything from grass roots Rugby League to Racing. She has covered some of the biggest sporting events in history; Sydney’s 2000 Olympic Games, 2000 Paralympic Games, The Everest, Rugby Union World Cup and the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Shell has a unique ability to connect with the audience by bringing out the best in her interviews. One such example was when Australian cricket captain Steve Smith opened up during a press conference on the very real side of the ball-tampering scandal after her open and honest question.
Michelle was also a key member of the “road to the championships” which aired on Sky Channel throughout the autumn racing carnival. She will assume her position again during the upcoming series of “Road to Everest, Australian richest race on turf”
When not at work she’s at her home on Sydney’s Central Coast with her husband Justin, three boys Jack, Lachlan and Blake and their two dogs, Gallon (as in Paul Gallon) and Charlie-Bubbles. And running the Keeper’s Watch Café at Norah Head Lighthouse.
Annabel Sullivan provides the AGCF with a unique perspective. Together with her sister, Sophie, and brother, Cormac, Annabel lost her mother, Cindy Sullivan, to cervical cancer in early 2017. Annabel decided to use her grief in a positive way and, together with the rest of her family, got behind the AGCF’s annual race day.
The Cindy Sullivan Memorial Race Day was born and was a huge success with 660 people attending at Royal Randwick. Through the generosity of the Annabel, her family and those who attended, $180,000 was raised. This will result in a research grant, another Brilliant Mind, focussed on finding better treatments and cures for gynae cancers.
Annabel is and Account Manager at Houzz Australia, the world’s largest community for home design and renovation. She is an American Citizen and would love to eventually work in New York as it is her mother’s home town and her favouite place in the world. Her passions include art, fashion and travel, event management & customer relations.
Paula Duncan has worked extensively on stage, film and television, and has been a household name throughout Australia for over half of her life, not only as an actress but as one of Australia’s most loved personalities. She has appeared in TV dramas including The Young Doctors, Prisoner, Neighbours, Richmond Hill, Home & Away and Mother & Son, lifestyle programmes, current affairs shows and commercials (most notably for Spray & Wipe, Caltrate and Jenny Craig). She has been honoured by Channel 9’s, This is Your Life, and during the five years she starred in the TV series Cop Shop, she was awarded no less than 7 Logies, including Best Actress and Most Popular Actress and Personality. Her stage work includes The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit and Bedroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn. Paula most recently co-starred in the feature film Strange Bedfellows, with Paul Hogan and Michael Caton and the ABC mini- series East Of Everything with Gia Carides. Recently, Paula made her return to Neighbours as Harold Bishop’s wife, Carolyn Johnstone. More recently Paula starred in the ABC series, The Hiding.
For her work with charity, Paula was nominated for the Australia Day Award for work with people with disability, and in 1997 was awarded the Executive Woman of the Year for Contribution to the Arts and the Community. Paula was also presented with an Australian Achievement Award for work with people with disability, and most notably was awarded an Order of Australia for Outstanding Contribution to the Entertainment Industry and the Australian Community.
Paula has sponsored and produced a wide range of Charity Events including ‘The Make A Wish Ball’, ‘Spirit Of Mission’ Awards and ‘Secret Women’s Business’ Luncheons for the Royal Hospital For Women Foundation. Paula has raised in the vicinity of $12 million for charity.
Paula has also helped raised funds for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia, Mental Illness, Miners Promise. Paula is voluntary Patron of LifeForce (Suicide Prevention Program), Bail out (For disadvantaged kids) and Cambodia Vision. She is also the proud Ambassador of Nova Employment, developing projects, events and seminars to build awareness of the ability of people with a disability. Paula helps promote and is also Ambassador for the Focus on Ability International Film Festival reaching over 165 countries focusing on the ability of people with disabilities. Paula helps in finding counseling and employment for all disabilities including; Sight and hearing impairment, intellectual, physical and psychological disabilities. Mental Illness, Bi Polar, Autism, Aspergers, Crohn’s, MS, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and Motor Neuron Disease.
She now joins the Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation as an Ambassador in honour of her sister, Carmen Duncan.
Jean Kittson was the inaugural Chair of the AGCF. After three years she has now taken on the role as Ambassador.
Jean is a performer and scriptwriter for stage, television, radio, magazines and newspapers. She is also an MC, facilitator and key note speaker.
Jean is one of Australia’s most respected voices on behalf of women diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer and served as a founding ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia for ten years.
Jean is also an Ambassador for The Macular Degeneration Foundation, Northcott Disabilities Services, Raise Foundation – Youth Mentoring, Taldumande – Youth Services, a Patron of The Junction Works – Community Services and Patron Of Palliative Care Nurses Association. Jean was a founding board member of the Australian Cord Blood Bank Foundation.
Associate Professor Caroline Ford BSc (1st Class Hons), PhD is a cancer researcher within the School of Women’s and Children’s Health at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre. After completing her PhD at UNSW on the topic of oncogenic viruses, A/Prof Ford undertook two international postdoctoral appointments in cancer research. Her first postdoctoral research appointment was at the University of Toronto, Canada and the second appointment was at Lund University, Sweden. She returned to UNSW in late 2009 funded by an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship and established her research group within the Adult Cancer Program.
A/Prof Ford leads the Gynaecological Cancer Research Group, which aims to understand why gynaecological cancers develop, how and why they spread throughout the body, and how best to treat them. Current projects include the development of an early detection test for ovarian cancer, and the identification of key targets for anti-metastatic therapies in ovarian and endometrial cancer.
The group has a particular interest in the Wnt signalling pathway, an important signalling pathway involved in metastasis. They investigate the regulation of a number of key proteins involved in this pathway, to better understand their role in the context of ovarian and endometrial cancer spread.
A/Prof Ford is also an experienced university lecturer, convening courses on medical research, cancer pathology and personalised medicine, including Australia’s first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Personalised Medicine. She has completed a Graduate Certificate in University Learning & Teaching, and is passionate about science communication and enhancing the health literacy of the wider community. In 2017 she was named as an inaugural ‘Superstar of STEM’ by Science & Technology Australia. In 2018 she received the Women’s Agenda Award for Female Leader in Science, Medicine & Health.
Phil Gould AM, has made an extraordinary difference to the welfare of children, young people and families. Most people know Phil as General Manager of Penrith Panthers, a former rugby league playing great, a league administrator, journalist, television presenter and coach of State of Origin and Premiership winners. He is also a person who truly cares about people. Be it struggling young people who need his mentoring or families going through tough times, Phil is always willing to help, to encourage and to acknowledge the contribution of others doing likewise. His dedication, generosity and determination to provide services in the fields of Rugby League, Youth and Sport has been inspiring.
Phil grew up in Western Sydney and played juniors for Wentworthville Leagues. In 1976 he was selected to represent Penrith in lower grades and by 1979 was elevated to first grade. At 20 he was the youngest NSW rugby league premiership captain since the 1930s. Overall Phil made 104 first grade appearances across four clubs.
Phil coached Canterbury to NRL Premiership victory in 1988 and Penrith to victory in 1991. He coached the NSW State of Origin team 1992, 1993,1994 and 1996. He again coached the Blues from 2002 to 2004 to wins in two series and a draw in the third. This record made Phil the most successful NSW State of Origin team coach ever.
A Penrith man through and through, Phil answered the call of adoring Penrith supporters and became their club’s General Manager in 2011, inspiring, motivating and teaching the players and fans. He helped spearhead Panthers on the Prowl, a community development foundation helping young people by diverting them from risky behaviour into education. It promotes learning, self-esteem, social skills, resilience, healthy lifestyles and functional literacy. He has passionately supported the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Penrith and the government of Papua New Guinea’s programs that use the sport of rugby league to unite and develop a Nation of some 800 different tribes and languages.
His community development and charitable activities include visiting and organising other rugby league legends to visit sick kids in the Randwick Childrens’ Hospital and, as an Ambassador for Bravehearts Child Protection and the White Ribbon Foundation, helping in the prevention of violence against women and children. He supports fundraising for homeless people, women with breast cancer autism research hearing impairment and recovery after natural disasters.
Avigail is a multi- talented performer known primarily for her wonderful music theatre and cabaret performances. She has also worked in TV, is in demand as a teacher/ vocal coach, musical director / director and has an illustrious career as a voice over artist and session singer.
On stage Avigail has performed in musicals such as Cats, Godspell and Elegies for Angels Punks & Raging Queens (World Gay Games). She has sung in concerts such as the All Star Tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Follies and Twisted Broadway.
On TV her credits include Winners and Losers, Heartbreak High and Always Greener. She was Musical Director/ Director for the prestigious Australia Day Lunch, and has directed everything from Jerry Herman’s Milk & Honey in a staged concert version to Pirates of Penzance for North Sydney Boys Centenary. She also produced, musically directed, co-directed and performed in the very successful and hilarious spoof: Musical of Musicals: The Musical!
Avigail has toured with some of the best international artists from Sammy Davis Jr to composer John Bucchino and she has also had a series of very successful one woman shows including Follow the Yellow Brick Road (A Musical Journey with Harold Arlen), Fingerprints and Hey World Here I Am – The Streisand Story which have been both critically and publicly acclaimed nationally. She is currently performing around the country in her new show Good Girl/ Bad Girl.
Avigail is also a highly respected educator. She was Head of Music at NIDA from 1993 to 1997 leaving that position to set up and develop in 1999 NIDA’s hugely successful one year Music Theatre course which she headed until the end of 2010. Avigail’s teaching is highly sought after and she is in constant demand from institutions and organisations both nationally and internationally. She currently takes workshops/ master classes in the art of Story- telling through song (music theatre), cabaret and voice overs.
Avigail has worked everywhere: from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh USA, nationally in every state at acting schools and festivals like the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Festival of Voices ( Hobart) for example, and she consults for the Talent Development Unit for the NSW Department of Education. Most recently she has been vocal coach on Love Child series 2.
As a voice over artist and session singer, Avigail has lent her vocal expertise to themes and episodes for TV shows such as Farscape and Rush, as well as innumerable award winning advertising campaigns both nationally and internationally. She has been a judge of the Sydney Cabaret Convention and more recently the Cabaret Showcase and a member of the judging panel for the Young Australian of the Year.
Marie Ficarra has served her community in elected office, corporate and philanthropic roles over more than 4 decades. Marie holds a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours. Following her graduation she became a Senior Tutor at the University in Histology and Physiology and worked in her early career as a scientist investigating children’s muscular dystrophy. She went on to have a successful corporate career including becoming NSW Manager for Hoechst Australia (Pharmaceuticals) & Behring Diagnostics.
Marie was elected to Hurstville City Council in 1979 and became Mayor serving with distinction for 16 years.
In 1995 Marie was elected to the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Assembly as the Member for Georges River and served until 1999, with promotion to Shadow Minister for the Environment.
Passionate about improving Women’s Cancer research and management, she become the General Manager of Cytyc Australia, the company that introduced the gold standard cytological screening test for Cervical Cancer.
in March 2007 Marie elected to the Legislative Council of the NSW Parliament, making her the first woman in NSW to serve in the Legislative Assembly, then the Legislative Council. She is the first woman in the Liberal Party of NSW to ever serve in both Houses. In March 2011, Marie was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier.
Marie has participated in many Parliamentary Committees and inquiries, including the demanding role of Chair, General Purpose Standing Committee Number 2. This involved overseeing expenditure, performance and effectiveness of Government Departments and portfolios including Health and Medical Research, Education, Mental Health, Ageing, Aboriginal Affairs, Disability Services, Family and Community Services, Women, Citizenship and Communities, Western NSW, and Sports and Recreation.
Over the years, Marie has also served as
- Patron, Baden Powell Scouting Association of Australia, Bambara District Scouts, 1st Hurstville Scouts
- Patron, Australian Air League, Peakhurst Girls Squadron
- Patron, Sydney All Breeds Dog Training Club, South Hurstville
- Patron, Returned Serviceman’s Leagues Youth Club,
- Patron, Peakhurst Amateur Swimming Club Inc.
- Patron, Kogarah Meals on Wheels
- Chair St George Emergency Services Committee
- President and Life Member of the Australian Local Government Women’s’ Association
- President and Life Member of Georges River Community Service
- Ambassador for Life Education NSW
- Vice-President, Georges River Penshurst Cricket Association and St Georges Umpires League
Marie has championed many human rights causes and in November 2016, was awarded the “Medal of Gratitude” by the President of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.
Marie works tirelessly with her husband Dr Alan Carless to raise money and establish sound finances and governance for AGCF. Since joining the team, her efforts in organising successful fundraising events have outshone all others.
Yvonne McKinlay R.N, Onc Cert, B.N, Grad Cert HRM, MBA, FACN, MAICD completed her nurse training in 1985 and specialised in Oncology Nursing where she worked at the Christie Hospital in Manchester and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London before emigrating to Australia. Yvonne has had over 25 years’ experience in management roles. She has held both operational and strategic management roles in the Public Health sector and in Private Practice.
In 2017 as a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing (FACN), Yvonne attended the book launch for “Mistress of her Profession – Colonial Midwives of Sydney” and met Professor Neville Hacker. As they say the rest is history… it reignited Yvonne’s desire to make a difference. Yvonne still works fulltime however is committed to helping the AGCF reach its goal of funding ten grants per year to fund a “Brilliant Mind.”
Yvonne has been touched personally and professionally by the impact that Gynaecological cancers can have on individuals and their families. Yvonne’s auntie died of Ovarian cancer, and then in 2013 within the space of three months two people Yvonne knew died from Ovarian cancer. Although Yvonne was no longer working in the Oncology field, it brought to the fore that the improvement in five-year survival rate for gynae cancers had not improved significantly since Yvonne nursed her first cancer patient in 1985.
Yvonne joined the AGCF as a volunteer in 2018 initially as the Grants Manager and has now moved to a volunteer role as Ambassador.
The Way in Network is a migrant women’s association that began in 1992 with the aim of supporting and assisting women migrating to New South Wales to integrate into Australian society. Their Executive, led by President Annie Tang, is shown here handing AGCF a significant donation raised at their 22nd Anniversary celebration.
An important aspect of the work of the Way in Network is helping women migrating from Asia, no matter their heritage or profession find a sense of belonging in Australian society.
The association primarily assists women from Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan. From Indigenous youth programs and children’s hospitals to disaster recovery appeals, such as bushfires in NSW and earthquakes in China and Haiti, the Way in Network has helped thousands of people over its 25 year history.
In 2017 AGCF formed a partnership with the Way In Network, to create a new post-doctoral fellowship grant to support a research project aligned to the AGCF priorities. The award is designed to support an outstanding science, nursing, allied health or medical graduate who has completed a PhD within the last 5 years and seeks funding to undertake further research. Way in Network will present a special Charity Ball on Saturday 4th March 2017 at the Westin Hotel Grand Ballroom to celebrate their 25th anniversary and International Women’s Day and to raise funds for this award.
The Way in Network is a proud Ambassador for AGCF. Read all about their generous Fellowship Research Funding here
If you’ve watched it. Maz Probably made it – Marion Farrelly has worked on the initial creation, development, reinvention & show running, of some of the world’s biggest brands in three territories:
The X Factor, The Celebrity Apprentice, Q&A, Big Brother AU, Big Brother UK, The AFL Recruit, The NRL Rookie, The Farmer Wants A Wife, The Big Breakfast, Light Lunch, Your Kids Are In Charge, Friends Like These, Strictly Come Dancing It Takes Two, Friday Night Live, My Favourite Book, LA Pool Party & Restoration.
She has worked in LA, made shows for most of the major networks in UK & Australia & her shows have won British BAFTAs, National Television Awards, Royal Television Society Awards, TV Quick Awards, a Bronze Rose de Montreux & an Australian Logie & ASTRA
Maz is an expert in Entertainment & Reality TV & was a regular panelist on Reality Check, ABC Australia. She’s currently Executive Producer of Megastar, starring RnB Legend Usher, an international talent show with a worldwide audience, that lives on an App.
Previous roles include Executive Editor of Format Entertainment at the BBC UK, Director of Television Content, Fremantle Media Australia & Director of The Media Tribe Australia.
Maz currently runs two international format & training companies, Absolutely Farrelly & The Mischief Sisters.
Tim Gilbert, who has two decades at the Nine Network, is a key member of the TODAY team as its Sports Presenter.
He is also a veteran on Wide World of Sports, where it all began for him in the mid-1990s, and remains an integral part of Nine’s NRL and Cricket commentary teams.
Tim has travelled the globe covering major sporting events – including cricket in India, major golf tournaments in the USA, the London Olympics, the Vancouver Winter Olympics, as well as two Commonwealth Games, in Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur.
He is also the host of the southern hemisphere’s biggest road cycling event, the Santos Tour Down Under, and the voice of Nine’s Ironman coverage. In addition, Tim works within the award-winning Nine News team as one of their seasoned sports presenters.
John Kinsella and his family are passionate about helping others and have undertaken a great deal of philanthropic work. The major charitable work of the Kinsella family is through the Hope for Cambodian Children Foundation, which John provides significant support to. The Foundation provides facilities to children and families whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS in Cambodia. John’s support of the work of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd within the Philippines and Australian charities such as AGCF and Ronald McDonald House is well-known and much admired by the community.
John’s career commenced in the agricultural and engineering sector, based in Ireland’s rural farming region. John was awarded a scholarship in 1976 to study farm management in New Zealand and in 1977 he visited Australia as part of his studies and an opportunity arose for him to emigrate to Australia.
John and his brother William founded Billbergia Pty Ltd in 1988. After successfully completing medium contracts for large civil construction companies the business expanded into a large construction company undertaking projects in Queensland, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria.
In 1993 Billbergia expanded into residential development and included projects in Annandale, Marsfield, and then a major residential development at Lane Cove. Today, the Billbergia Group under John’s astute vision has successfully became what is now an integrated Australian property group and one of the largest developers of waterfront apartments in Sydney.
As Managing Director of Billbergia, John is held in high esteem by his peers and contractors. He has gained a deserved reputation for integrity, honesty and achievement throughout the building industry and in government, union, subcontractor and client circles.
John will be integral in getting the construction industry, a male dominated one, behind women’s cancers. John has been the driving force behind AGCF’s City2Surf 2016 campaign as we seek to get the community to support women’s cancer research.
Fiona Coote became Australia’s second heart transplant recipient in 1984 at the age of 14. She underwent a second transplant in 1986 after suffering rejection of the first graft. The operations were performed by the late Dr Victor Chang and his team at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.
Fiona’s main charitable works have been for The Victor Change Cardiac Research Institute, St Vincent’s Hospital and their Heart-Lung Transplant Team and Donate Life, the national organ and tissue donation program.
She has also been involved with many other charitable organisations over the years, including the National Heart Foundation, NSW Children’s Week where she was President, Patron of Star Day for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Patron of the Junior International Wheelchair Games and as an Australia Day Ambassador.
In 2012 Fiona joined the beyondblue Board. She has had a long interest in mental health issues, particularly relating to how mental health impacts on sufferers and their families in chronic disease and of course more particularly, in transplant and cardiac medicine.
In 2014 Fiona celebrated the 30th Anniversary of her transplant and the Transplant Program at St Vincent’s Hospital.
Kate Carnell AO was appointed Australia’s first small business and family enterprise ombudsman in March 2016 by the Small Business Minister. This new, and independent office, offers a range of services to small and medium sized enterprises with employees of less than 100 people.
Kate was previously CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australia’s largest and most representative business organisation advocating for over 300,000 businesses across all industries.
Kate is well known and respected in the not-for profit and business communities having served two years as CEO of beyondblue and previously four years as CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council.
Kate began her professional life as a Pharmacist. She owned and managed pharmacies for some 20 years, was the inaugural chair of the ACT Branch of the Australian Pharmacy Guild and went on to become National Vice-President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Kate served as Chief Minister of the ACT from 1995 to 2000.
Kate was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006 for her services to community through contributions to economic development and support for the business sector, knowledge industries, the medical sector and medical technology advances.
Maria has worked for over 40 years alongside her husband in the Accountancy practice of Stillone & Associates.
As well as being an Ambassador for Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation, Maria was formerly a Dame in the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem – Knights of Malta.
Maria is a passionate supporter of many charities and has willingly dedicated much time and effort advocating for a number of causes. Over many years she has been generously involved in fundraising activities for: C.O.A.S.IT (the leading Italian Australian Language and Community Services Organsiation), Saint Antonio Da Padova Association, Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem – Knights of Malta, Associazione Cavalieri San Silvestro and others.
Mo’onia Gerrard is an Australian-Tongan netball player. Her netball career commenced at a very young age, often participating in training sessions at her mother’s senior Dee Why Beach Netball Club Team. When she was old enough to register in a team, Mo’onia commenced playing with Narrabeen Youth Club and was later selected to represent Manly Warringah Netball Associationat State Age, State Championships and State League. She was an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder.
Mo’onia is a current member of the Australian national team. She played a major role in Australia reversing its losing streak against New Zealand in mid-2006, and in November 2007 played a key role for Australia when it won the World Netball Championships. Since 2011, Mo’onia has played for the New South Wales Swifts in the ANZ Championship.
Mo’onia is greatly admired for her dedication to the community, mentoring younger people, promoting healthy lifestyles and sporting and personal excellence, particularly in disadvantaged communities and among young girls. On 14 March 2013 the New South Wales Parliament’s Legislative Council voted unanimously to commend Mo’onia on her outstanding service to the community.
Scientific Advisory Committee
The Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee has representation from all over Australia, including leading clinicians, basic researchers, an oncology nurse, a psycho-oncologist and a consumer representative. The function of the committee is to give relevant medical advice to the AGCF Board, to assess grants submitted to the foundation for research funding, and to make recommendations regarding the most appropriate grants to receive funding.
Processes for allocation of research grants are competitive, peer reviewed, transparent, coordinated and not conflicted. Results of research are published nationally and internationally.
Professor Jonathan Carter, MBBS, DipRACOG, FACS, FRANZCOG, MS, MD, CGO, is Clinical Director Women’s Health, Neonatology & Paediatrics SLHD, Director RPA Women and Babies, Conjoint Professor The University of Sydney and Clinical Executive Sponsor Sydney Institute for Women, Children and their Families.
Professor Carter trained and worked at the University of Minnesota in the United States from 1990-96 then returned to take up his current position. Professor Carter has published 142 papers, 14 book chapters, and 3 books.
He has received numerous awards including the Virginia K. Pierce Award from The Society of Memorial Gynecologic Oncologists, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre; Young Investigators Award Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG); Viertel Clinical Investigatorship Award & Grant; and Turnbull Scholarship from University of Melbourne.
Professor Carter has chaired the Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists, the RPA Medical Staff Council and the Sydney Local Health District Medical Staff Executive Council. He is currently on 5 committees including the SAC.
Professor Anna deFazio, BSC (HONS I) PHD, was appointed the Sydney West Chair in Translational Cancer Research, University of Sydney, in 2013.
She has directed the Gynaecological Oncology Research Program at Westmead since 1995 and is on the Executive of the Sydney-West Translational Cancer Research Centre.
She completed her undergraduate degree (BSc Hons) at the University of New South Wales, her PhD at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of Sydney, and post-doctoral research at the Garvan Institute in Sydney.
The research focus of her lab is on individualisation of treatment through an understanding of genetic and genomic determinants of treatment response, and on understanding the early events that lead to ovarian cancer. She has over 190 peer-reviewed publications, including 107 collaborative group papers.
Professor Adèle Green, AC MBBS (HONS1) MSC PHD FAFPHM, is a Senior Scientist and Head of the Cancer and Population Studies Group at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.
As an Epidemiologist her aim is to improve understanding of the causes and pathways to development of various cancers in order to better control and prevent them.
She has been at the frontline of melanoma research for 20 years, long enough to see students she has inspired and mentored join the campaign against the disease which is diagnosed in 9,000 Australians every year. She has also been extensively involved in research on other cancers including gynaecological cancers.
In 2004, Professor Green received a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for “Service to medical research and to public health” and in 2013 was “Queensland Australian of the Year” and winner of the “100 Women of Influence” Award.
She has published over 400 papers, reviews and book chapters and serves or has served on many national health and research committees including:
- NHMRC Australian Longitudinal Study of Women’s Health, Scientific Advisory Committee, 1999-2005
- Chair, NHMRC Health Advisory Committee, 2000-2005
- Chair, NH&MRC Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing Expert Advisory Group, 2012-2013
- Member, International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, 2008-ongoing
- Member, Australian Paediatric Cancer Registry Advisory Committee, 2008-ongoing
- Member, Specialist Medical Review Council of the Australian Government, 2011-2013
- Member, Advisory Committee, Collaborative Group on Epidemiological Studies of Ovarian Cancer, Oxford, 2004-ongoing
- Member, European Consortium on Epidemiology of Human Papillomavirus Infection and Ultraviolet Radiation In Relation To Skin Cancer 2004-ongoing
Professor Patsy Yates, BA DIPAPPSC MSOCSC PHD FACN FAAN, is Head School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology. She is jointly appointed as Professor of Nursing at Queensland University of Technology and Director for Queensland Health’s state-wide Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education. She leads a range of research and service improvement programs focused on advancing the management of cancer related symptoms and treatment side effects, and strengthening the nexus between research, policy and practice in cancer care.
She has authored 140 journal articles, 15 book chapters, 7 conference papers and 8 conference items. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her research and service, including the Tom Reeve Oration Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Care. She was lead for the Cancer Australia’s “Psychosexual Care for Women with Gynaecological Cancers” project which led to the development of an online learning resource for health professionals.
She is currently:
- President, Palliative Care Australia
- Member, Nursing and Midwifery Board, Australian Health Practitioners Registration Authority
- Member, Council Committee, Clinical Oncological Society of Australia
- Member, Research Committee, The Wesley Research Institute
- Member, Research Advisory Committee, National Breast Cancer Foundation
Professor Yee Leung, MBBS FRANZCOG CGO, was recruited in 2011 as the inaugural Professor in Gynaecologic Oncology in Western Australia. He is the Head of Department of the Western Australian Gynaecologic Cancer Service and Director of Surgical Education at King Edward Memorial Hospital. He is Professor, School of Women’s and Infants’ Health, University of Western Australia, Head of Department, Western Australian Gynaecologic Cancer Service and Director, Surgical Education, King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women.
He is actively involved in RANZCOG serving as College Councillor, on the Gynaecologic Oncology Subspecialty Committee as Chair in 2006-2008 and 2012-2014, WA Regional Committee, Examiner for Gynaecologic Oncology, Education Strategy Committee, Education and Assessment Committee, Women’s Health Committee, Honours Committee, Continuing Professional Development Committee and Program Director for the WA Gynaecologic Oncology Fellowship Training Program.
Other involvement includes: Grant Review Panel member, NHMRC; Gynaecological Cancers Advisory Group Cancer Australia; Honorary Board of Management, Women’s and Infants’ Research Foundation: Advisory Group member, WA Cervical Cancer Prevention Program 2012; Executive member, Australian Society of Gynaecologic Oncologists (Inc); Workshop Executive, Anatomy of Complications Workshop; Honorary Primate Gynaecologist for the Perth Zoo.
His research interest includes Gynaecologic Oncology clinical trials, basic and epidemiologic research. He obtained ethical approval to commence a gynaecologic cancer biospecimen bank for the Western Australian Gynaecologic Cancer Service in 2013, and successfully obtained a $1.25 million grant from the Cancer Research Trust for the Western Australian Gynaecologic Cancer Research Initiative
Professor Michael Friedlander, AM MBCHB (HONOURS) PHD MRCP FRACP, is conjoint Professor of Medicine and a medical oncologist in Department of Medical Oncology, The Prince of Wales Hospital and Gynecologic Cancer Centre, Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney. He is a past president of the International Gynaecologic Cancer Society and has been very active at both a national and international level in the fields of gynaecological oncology and breast cancer. He was the founding chair of ANZGOG and held the position from 2000-2008. He remains on the ANZGOG executive board and is a director of research and member of the Operations Committee. He has held numerous grants and has an active research program focusing on breast and ovarian cancer.
He has over 250 publications including peer reviewed papers, book chapters and invited reviews. He has received a number of awards including the Medical Oncology Group of Australia/Novartis Cancer Achievement Award in 2007, an Order of Australia (AM) in 2011 and the IGCS award for excellence in gynaecological oncology, as well as NSW Parliament Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding service to the community in the field of gynecological oncology and research into women’s cancers in 2013.
Associate Professor Margaret Davy, AM MBBS FRANZCOG CGO, is Clinical Director Surgical Specialties, Royal Adelaide Hospital.
She is a graduate of the University of Adelaide. After training in obstetrics and gynaecology in Adelaide, she went to the Norwegian Radium Hospital, in Oslo, in 1973, initially for 4 months, to gain experience in treating women with gynaecological cancer. A decade later, after she had been the Assistant Director of Gynaecological Cancer in Oslo, she returned to Adelaide to direct gynaecological cancer services at the Royal Adelaide and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals in 1983. She stepped down as Director of Gynaecological Oncology in 2009.
She was a foundation member of the two ground breaking societies with this sub specialty. The International Society of Gynaecologic Cancer commenced 1985 and Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists 1986.
Clinically for 20 years, she was responsible for the provision of medical care for women suffering from gynaecological cancer from South Australia and Northern territory, with outreach to Broken Hill and Mildura, both in the Public and Private sectors. Her research strengths have been in collaboration with basic science and leadership in clinical trials.
During this time, she has been involved in state, national and international committees promoting women’s health by leading opinion, by developing guidelines to influence government decision making. She enjoys every opportunity to educate both the profession and the public about health issues. Highlights of her career include:
- National Cervix Screening Program Executive Committee’s Guidelines for Management of Abnormal Smears, both the initial and revised guidelines.
- Chair Guidelines for Management of Ovarian Cancer.
- Executive positions in Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists and Clinical Oncological Society of Australia.
- Membership of various NHMRC committees including Strategic Research and Development Committee, Program and Project Grant Committee
- Memberships Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Oncology Committee and Examination Board
In 2000, she received the AMA’s Women’s Health Award, and in 2002, she was given the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Women’s Health.
Associate Professor Peter Grant, MBBS FRANZCOG FRCS(EDIN) CGO, has been Head of the Gynaecological Oncology Dept, Mercy Hospital for Women since 1999.
He is Associate Professor in the Dept of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of Melbourne.
He completed medical studies at the University of Melbourne in 1977 and qualified as a surgeon 10 years later.
After practicing obstetrics & gynaecology at the Mercy Hospital for Women, he obtained a Gynaecological Oncology Fellowship in Halifax, Canada. He is a Certified Gynaecological Oncologist.
He has chaired the Gynaecological Cancer Advisory Committee, Cancer Australia, since 2013. He served as:
- Secretary Treasurer of Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists1994 – 98
- Board Member 2004-07 and Chair of Board 2008-10 Victorian Cytology Service
- Chair Gynaecological Oncology committee RANZCOG, 2002-06,
- Chair, Gynaecological Cancer Committee, Cancer Council Victoria 2006 -09
- Member Research Advisory Committee, ANZGOG, 2003– 09
- Member, Medical and Scientific Committee, Cancer Council Victoria. 2004 –12
He has a strong involvement in research, has published extensively and has a particular interest in familial gynaecological cancer and palliative care.
Associate Professor Kailash Narayan, MBBS MD PHD FRANZCR, has been Head of the Gynaecology Oncology Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, and Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Royal Women’s & Mercy Hospital for Women.
After graduating in medicine he completed a MD in biophysics in India, then, in 1981, a PhD in Experimental Pathology on “Effects of Beta-irradiation on Mammalian Tissues” at John Curtin School of Medical Research Australian National University, Canberra. During this time he studied angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, inflammation, tissue remodelling, and effects of irradiation on microvasculature in –vivo using autologous thyroid grafts in rabbit ear chamber. This led to a good understanding of the functions of terminal lymphatics and its role in clearing removing cellular debris and migrating cells from the interstitial tissue.
In 1987 he obtained a Diploma of Royal Australasian College of Radiology (Radiation Oncology) and became a Senior Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Head & Neck Cancer. He also became an Associate in the Dept. of Surgery, then a Senior Associate in the Dept. of Pathology, University of Melbourne. During this time I treated H&N cancer patients, participated in clinical studies in combined modality treatment of H&N cancer and also carried out laboratory research. The clinical studies related to the use altered radiation fractionation, concurrent chemo-radiotherapy and the use of elective neck dissection in H&N cancer patients. This led to improved loco-regional cancer control in H&N cancer patients. His laboratory research involved working with mouse tumours and study of tumour vasculature, morphology of infiltrative and expansile tumours and the effects of irradiation on tumour vasculature using micro-vascular corrosion casts and scanning electron microscopy. This led to some understanding of the process of radiation response in tumours, differential radiation response in microvasculature of infiltrative and expansile tumours, disruption of irradiated tumour architecture, tumour cells removal and repopulation.
From 1995 to 2003 he was a Principal Specialist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute before commencing his current role. In 1996 he took charge of Gynaecological radiation oncology at PeterMac. Apart from treating gynaecological cancers using radiotherapy, he became especially interested in advanced cervix cancer patients. Using MRI and PET scan and knowledge gained from rabbit ear chamber and vascular casting experiments, he begun exploring the clinical biology of advanced cervix cancer.
At the same time, he started using image guided brachytherapy in the treatment of cervix cancer. In light of his earlier laboratory research experience, this clinical work led him to discover several links along the clinical biology of advanced cervix cancer. These were, the association of corpus invasive cervix tumour and lymph-node metastasis, differential radiation response in node negative and node positive tumours and possibility of tumour dissemination due to and during radiotherapy. It also led him to identify a sub-group of patients with very poor prognosis with a high risk of developing distant metastasis; a group not identified by either conventional staging or any tumour markers. This became the basis of enrichment for “High risk” patients for a NH&MRC funded international “OUTBACK” study under the auspices of ANZGOG. Presently this study “A Phase III trial of adjuvant chemotherapy following chemoradiation as primary treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer compared to chemoradiation alone: THE OUTBACK TRIAL” is successfully accruing patients.
More recently, following his interest in morphology, imaging and long term clinical observation through a prospective database he was able to show the systemic effects of hypoxemia due to low bone marrow reserve and smoking. Low bone marrow reserve reflected as a drop in haemoglobin during treatment and chronic smoking resulting in more invasive disease in cervix cancer. He has been continually involved in research and regularly author articles in peer reviewed journals.
Dr Margaret Heffernan, OAM BED BBUS ADMIN MARTS (COMM) PHD, is an Academic in the College of Business, RMIT University. Margaret is responsible for helping the Australian gynaecological sector expand its presence nationally and internationally, including extensive Government liaison that led to the 2006 Senate inquiry and development of the National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers.
An informed, innovative researcher and gynaecological consumer advocate with a solid commitment to improving multi-disciplinary outcomes, her PhD dissertation has informed public policy regarding HPV vaccination in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Margaret’s academic and civic roles include research grant reviewer with the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme, Cancer Australia since 2009; Chair: WHO HPV Educators virtual sub-community of practice since 2010; is an inaugural Executive member of the International Indigenous HPV Alliance since 2011; and previously as Board member of women’s health and Arts organisations.
The partnerships Margaret has forged with Indigenous peoples resulted in empowerment and strategic resources to help overcome their inequity and isolation. Margaret’s work has resulted in numerous awards, including in 2006 an Order of Australia Medal for her contribution to women’s health and the Arts. She brings to the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee an analytical, intellectual and empathetic understanding of women’s cancer issues.
Dr Ilona Juraskova, BA(HONS) MPSYCH PHD, is a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology at the School of Psychology, The University of Sydney. Since 2004, she has worked as a Senior Research Fellow, and since 2008 Deputy Director (Psychology), at the Centre for Medical Psychology and Evidence-based Decision-making (CeMPED) at the University of Sydney. She is also a Consultant Research Psychologist with the Sydney Gynaecologic Oncology Group and a co-chair of Clinicians’ Research Interest Group within the Psycho-oncology Cooperative Research Group (PoCoG). She is the author of over 50 peer-reviewed papers and a Chief Investigator on 15 peer-reviewed grants totalling over $6 million in funding.
Trained as a clinical psychologist and researcher, she has over 15 years’ experience conducting clinical research in the field of Psycho-Oncology, with extensive experience in behavioural, psychosocial, quality of life and supportive care research. Her PhD dissertation investigated the psychosexual adjustment of women treated for gynaecological cancer, and was published as a book called ‘Quality of Life / Quality of Sex’. Her main ongoing contribution to the field of gynaecological cancer has been the development of practical evidence-based tools to improve oncologist-patient-family communication, in the form of decision aids and communication skills training.
In 2008, Dr Juraskova was awarded a prestigious Cancer Institute NSW Research Fellowship to develop resources to address unmet treatment decision needs of women affected by ovarian cancer. More recently, she was a member of the multidisciplinary team led by Professor Patsy Yates that developed a series of interactive online training modules for health professionals to improve ‘Psychosexual Care for Women with Gynaecological Cancers’, funded by Cancer Australia.
Dr Juraskova currently leads and collaborates on several international and national psychosocial projects, including PeNTAGON (Peer & Nurse support Trial to Assist women in Gynaecological Oncology); TRIO (development of conceptual framework and clinicians’ training to optimally engage family members in cancer care); and REKINDLE (a psycho-educational online resource to improve sexual life of cancer survivors and their partners).