Stephen Brand (Chair)
Stephen is a professional social worker who worked for many years in the NSW mental health services in Sydney and rural NSW. Although a manager, his clinical work with people who have mental illness, and their families is where his focus remained. More recently, Stephen was Senior Manager for Policy and Advocacy for the Australian Association of Social Workers. He was on the board of Neami National for 12 years (four years as Chair). Neami is a large national NGO providing mental health services in five states. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Ilea Buffier (Deputy Chair)
Ilea Buffier has over a decade of experience as a managing director and owner of Ninetwofive Interiors and Ninetwofive Sustainability—two Canberra-based businesses that specialise in commercial furniture and environmental consulting. Ilea’s achievements were recognised through the Telstra Australian Business Awards where she received the Telstra ACT Young Business Women of the Year award in 2004. As a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Director’s Course (GAICD), Ilea brings strong business acumen and strategic thinking to the Northside team. She joined the board in 2013.
Paula is a lawyer with almost 20 years’ experience in the public sector in regulatory, compliance and policy development roles. She brings her expertise in dispute resolution, governance, risk and organisational change to the Board. She is passionate about developing leadership, especially for women working in the not-for-profit and community sectors. She is strong believer in the power of community to combat social isolation and build a sense of belonging. Paula joined the Board in 2016 to contribute to Northside’s mission of building better and more connected communities. A keen dragon-boater, when she is not at work she paddles on Lake Burley Griffin, and spends time binge-watching TV shows with her teenage daughters.
Matt is an experienced client-focused and dedicated health professional with over 30 years’ experience in the aged care industry. Matt has a wealth of experience in community, retirement communities and care centres and has developed his clinical and business management expertise in providing effective executive leadership for a number of aged care organisations. Matt is currently CEO of a not for profit aged care organisation and delivers quality operational leadership on aged care issues affecting the industry. Matt is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Jeff has held many different roles with various not-for-profit organisations and has been a company director since 1988. The majority of experience in not-for-profit sector over the last 20 years has been in the aged care sector. Jeff moved to the ACT region in February 2017 for employment in Quality and Governance with the ACT Government. His current role is in Governance, Compliance and Risk. During his career he has operated a small to medium size enterprise for nearly 20 years and sold this venture in 2007. Other highlights include managing large operate and maintenance contracts and various regional operations management roles in Central West NSW.
Cristina Giusti is an experienced policy professional having worked in national roles in policy directorship for aged care and disability advocacy organisations. Cristina has worked on various aged care and disability Federal Government policy committees advising on the formation of policy reform agendas in regards to Australians from diverse backgrounds, including the Aged Care Sector Committee’s Diversity Sub Group. She has also held a number of directorships within multicultural organisations.
Ram joined the Board in early 2020 and brings a wealth of financial management and accounting experience to Northside. He has almost 20 years experience in the accounting and finance field including leadership and management roles. His experience comes from national and international companies, government departments and not-for-profit organisations. He currently serves as Director of Finance and ICT at Directions Health Services in Canberra.
Dr Sandie Wong
Dr Sandie Wong is an Associate Professor in Early Childhood at the Macquarie School of Education, Macquarie University and currently holds a four-and- half-year Senior Research Fellowship with Goodstart Early Learning. Sandie has worked as an academic, manager, researcher, evaluator, educator, consultant and nurse, within a range of early childhood, academic and health organisations. She is committed to working in collaborative, strengths-based ways, with academics from a range of disciplines, early childhood organisations and practitioners, and governments, to lead and support high quality research, evaluation and practitioner enquiry, that contributes to best practice in early childhood.