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Our Board

Trust for Nature’s Board of Trustees bring a wealth of expertise to the strategic direction of our organisation, from business and scientific strategy to communications and marketing.

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Geoff Driver

Chair

BEc, Grad Dip Finance (from 16 April 2013)

Geoff has been involved in the banking and funds management industry for more than 30 years. He is currently General Manager Business Development and Investor Relations for ASX-listed Australian Foundation Investment Company (AFIC) and for other listed investment companies Djerriwarrh Investments, Mirrabooka Investments and AMCIL Limited. He is a Director of AISC, the company that services these investment companies. Before joining AFIC, Geoff was with National Australia Bank in various executive roles and spent three years in the UK. His experience covers strategy development and planning, capital management, new business implementation and distribution and marketing. Geoff is a strong believer in the advantages of community-based participation in the conservation of Australia’s natural environment. His family has a property in the Victorian High Country that benefits from such an approach.

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Amanda Noble

Deputy Chair

MBA, BA, Dip Law (SAB) (from 8 December 2015)

Amanda's experience extends across risk management, investment management, strategy and operational areas including business integration. She has worked in the public and private sectors, mainly in finance, and she has much trust management experience. She has held executive and management positions at Equity Trustees, ANZ and Westpac, and she is currently the Managing Director of Data Governance Australia. She is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, is a Senior Associate of FINSIA, and she also graduated from the Chief Executive Women’s Leaders Program in 2013. Amanda is particularly interested in providing opportunities for people to help solve global and local problems. Having attended an agricultural high school, she has long been passionate about sustainable land management balanced with active conservation of habitat and wildlife. Amanda currently chairs the Trust’s Finance and Investment and Executive Remuneration committees.

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Gayle Austen

Trustee

BA (Media & Communications), Adv Cert App Language (Mandarin), Graduate AICD (from 8 December 2015)

Gayle is a communications specialist with extensive experience in strategic communications and community engagement. She has held senior executive positions at ANZ, Channel Seven, International CEO Forum and Foster’s. Her senior roles in journalism have been in Australia, China and the UK including at The Economist’s Intelligence Unit and The Age. She is currently Principal of Gayle Austen Communications and President of Camcare. As a former journalist with specialties in environment and rural affairs, and from a farming family, Gayle has a particular interest in the way agribusiness can help conserve the environment. She believes there are opportunities to energise and involve farmers in safeguarding our natural heritage for future generations. Gayle currently chairs the Trust’s Fundraising Committee.

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Cas Bennetto

Trustee

MA (Organisational Communication), NFP Leadership (from 8 December 2015)

Cas has extensive experience with the corporate and professional services, not-for-profit, government, arts and tertiary sectors. She has worked in executive management positions at the Australian British Chamber of Commerce, Charles Darwin University, Australia Council for the Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art and The Smith Family and is a recognised fundraiser and promoter. Cas is Chief Executive Officer of the Kimberley Foundation Australia, an organisation dedicated to the research, protection and promotion of Kimberley rock art and culture. An advocate for protecting Victoria’s native plants and wildlife, Cas believes protecting plants and animals on private land is paramount. She loves being involved with the Trust and to finding new ways to help us promote and protect private land forever through conservation covenants.

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James Bentley

Trustee

BSc (Ecology), BCom (Economics) (from 23 August 2017

Since 2015, James has been Associate Director, Natural Value at National Australia Bank where he leads the implementation of the bank’s commitment to embed the value of natural capital in business decisions. Previously, he worked as Environmental Markets Manager with The Water and Carbon Group to develop and market the business case for biodiverse carbon sequestration and constructed wetland technology. He also has experience as an environmental economist consultant working for an international management services consultancy in London.

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Dr Sandra Brizga

Trustee

BA (Hons) (Geography, Psychology), Master of Environmental Law, Master of Applied Finance, PhD (Geomorphology), AFin, MAICD (from 23 August 2017)

Sandra has extensive experience in environmental and natural resource management. She has been an independent consultant in river, catchment and coastal management since 1995 and is also a sessional member of Planning Panels Victoria. She previously pursued a career in academia and has published a book on river management. Current and previous board and committee memberships include the Australian World Heritage Advisory Committee, Fraser Island World Heritage Area Scientific Advisory Committee, Central Coastal Board, Fisheries Co-management Council’s Inland Fishery Committee, Game Management Authority, Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority and Victorian Catchment Management Council. She is a Fellow of the Peter Cullen Trust, an Honorary Life Member of the River Basin Management Society and has been Vice-President of the Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group.

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Katherine Cary

Trustee

BCom, BA, MBA, GAICD (from 23 August 2017, on leave of absence since 28 March 2018)

Katherine has more than 15 years’ experience in strategy consulting at Seek, Westpac and National Australia Bank. Her experience has been in the formulation and development of corporate and business strategy and financial planning and analysis. Katherine has given her professional services on a volunteer basis to the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre, to a charity for homeless women and to her local school council.

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Dr Georgia Garrard

Trustee

PhD, BA (Hons)/BSc (from 23 August 2017)

Georgia is an ecologist and senior research fellow in RMIT's Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group. Her research draws on the fields of conservation science, urban planning, decision science and conservation psychology to develop tools to understand, plan for and manage biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes. She currently works as part of the National Environmental Science Programme's Threatened Species Recovery Hub, investigating ways to increase community support for biodiversity conservation. Georgia is passionate about conserving Australia's biodiversity, and she has a particular soft spot for Victoria's threatened native grasslands, which have been the focus of much of her research. She has previously served on the Technical Advisory Group for the implementation of Melbourne's Western Grassland Reserves.

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Binda Gokhale

Trustee

MBA, BEc, Grad Dip (Applied Finance and Investments), GAICD (from 23 August 2017)

Binda is Chief Financial Officer with Wyndham City Council, having previously held senior finance, planning and treasury positions at Telstra. A certified public accountant, Binda currently chairs the Trust’s Audit and Risk Committee after serving on this committee as an external member since 2008. She is also a member of the board of the Satellite Foundation.

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Dr Charles Meredith

Trustee

BSc (Botany, Genetics), PhD (Zoology/Earth Sciences) (from 8 December 2015)

Charles is an ecologist and consultant with extensive experience in natural systems and conservation planning. After an early career in wildlife research, he founded Biosis Research, Australia’s largest ecological and heritage consulting firm. He was Chief Executive Officer there from 1984 until he retired in 2011. Charles is an inaugural Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand. He is Chair of the Melbourne Strategic Assessment Land Protection Advisory Group, a member of the Course Advisory Committee for Wildlife and Conservation Biology Degree at La Trobe University and a board member of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council. He says Trust for Nature’s significant role in contributing to the conservation of privately held vegetation and habitat is critical to the long-term conservation of Victoria’s biodiversity. Charles currently chairs the Trust’s Conservation Committee.

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