Our Board

Ross Low

Ross Low

Chair

Ross has recently retired as CEO of BaptistCare where he held the role since September 2010 after previously serving in leadership and management roles, including that of CFO, within the organization for six years.

Prior to his full-time employment with BaptistCare, Ross served as a Board member for four years. His professional background is in commerce, with postgraduate qualifications in finance.

Ross’ career included various roles at senior management level with two multinational corporations, Unilever and Schering-Plough, both in Australia and two overseas.

Bryan Mason

Bryan Mason

Deputy Chair & Treasurer

Bryan served as the Executive Director of Services responsible for all aged care  provided by Churches of Christ in Queensland until Feb 2020. This included community care services throughout Queensland, 18 retirement villages and 28 residential aged care services across Queensland and Victoria. In 2018 he also assumed additional responsibility for Children Youth and Family services and Social and Affordable Housing portfolio.

He has over 20 years experience in health and aged care including roles such as Finance Manager, Regional Manager and Managing Director. Prior to joining Churches of Christ Care, Bryan was RSL Care’s Regional Operations Manager of Residential Aged Care, Retirement Villages and Community Aged Care Services.

Bryan has a number of qualifications including a Master of Arts from the Multnomah Graduate School and a Bachelor of Economics, Accounting/Economics from Monash University.

Sonya Smart

Sonya Smart

Board member

Sonya is Chief Executive Officer of Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) in Victoria. Prior to joining VMCH in February 2017, Sonya was Chief Executive of Catholic Homes Incorporated in WA, a position she held for over six years.  She has also held leadership roles in residential and community care at Southern Cross Care WA.

A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (2016), Sonya holds a Master of Business Administration from Curtin University of Technology (2010) and a post graduate qualification in Clinical Psychology from Edith Cowan University (2002).  Sonya’s entrepreneurship and business acumen was recognized in 2008 when she received a ‘40under40’ award: an honour which recognizes excellence and innovation amongst WA’s young leaders.

With a passion for residential aged care, disability and community services, and a strong commitment to high quality pastoral and spiritual care, Sonya has been a long-time advocate for delivering exceptional care to marginalised people in the community.

John Ireland

John Ireland

Board member

John has four decades of experience and active involvement in aged care leadership roles ranging from chairman of the UPA Board for ten years to CEO Southern Cross Care NSW/ACT for 23 years.

John has been actively involved in sector leadership as NSW President of ACS for ten years, national president of ACSA for three years and on the Board of the International Association of Housing and Services for the Ageing for six years.

John has a passion for quality accommodation care and support for those in our society who are vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged. John has an enduring passion for pastoral and spiritual care.

John has also been a member of the task group that led to the establishment of Meaningful Ageing Australia and has continued as a Board member since its formation as an association in 2013.

John continues to be actively involved in aged care by mentoring leaders in the sector and regularly visiting residents in three aged care facilities.

 

 

Kellie Whelan

Kellie Whelan

Board Member

With almost 20 years’ experience within the aged care industry, Kellie has broad and deep experience from the ‘ground-up’ to an executive management level. She has served in senior leadership and management positions for over 15 years, including concurrently working with the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency for over 11 years as a Quality Assessor. Kellie’s current role requires a high acuity of governance to monitor and deliver care and service quality outcomes for the consumer that are evidenced based, compliant with aged care standards and aligned with the individual consumers goals. She has recently developed and implemented a philosophy of care for RSL Care SA which values the individual consumer’s life experience and identifies the life they wish to live while they are in care. Kellie joined the board of Meaningful Ageing in November 2018.

Kellie has a Bachelor of Nursing (University of SA), Graduate Certificate Health Administration (Flinders University), Certificate IV – Training and Assessment and has completed Prince 2 – Foundational Certification (Project Management).

Odette Waanders

Odette Waanders

Board Member

Odette joined the Meaningful Ageing Board as an independent director in April 2016 recognising the importance of its work to enable older people to feel valued and to enjoy meaning, purpose and connection in their lives.

Her career has focused on empowering and improving the quality of life of people with a particular focus on older people, people with a life limiting illness, people with disabilities and people from diverse cultural and spiritual backgrounds. She has held leadership roles in policy, advocacy and service management roles in Australia and NZ, mostly with peak bodies and community organisations.

In November 2019 she concluded almost 10 years as the CEO of Palliative Care Victoria. Other community organisations she has worked for include Aged Concern NZ, Aged & Community Services Australia, Jewish Care Victoria and Catholic Homes.

Odette has a Bachelor of Social Science, BA (Hons) 1st Class, Masters of Business Administration and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She joined the Melbourne Women’s Fund when it was established in 2014 as a giving circle to support initiatives that improve the wellbeing of women and children and served on its Grants Committee since 2016.

Nick Ryan

Nick Ryan

Board Member

Nick Ryan is an experienced CEO, Board Member and senior executive with 30 years’ experience in a range of human services industries including aged care, government, youth services and education.

He has led and advised a variety of organisations from government departments, industry representative bodies, not for profit service providers and charities.

In May 2019 Mr Ryan joined Lutheran Services from an interim position of CEO at Southern Cross Care Queensland.  Prior to this he was CEO of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and CEO of Aged Care Queensland (now a part of Leading Age Services Australia).  He has also served on the Boards of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority and the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland.

Mr Ryan is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand School of Government and a graduate of the Yarra Theological Union and the University of Canberra.

Jennifer O'Connell

Jennifer O'Connell

Board Member

Jennifer offers a rare combination of hands on clinical experience combined with high level business acumen. As the Director of Quality and Education with Hall & Prior Health & Aged Care Group NSW, Jennifer’s focus is on the wellbeing and expert clinical care of people through systems and staff development.

As a Registered Nurse, Jennifer worked in regional and metropolitan NSW in clinical, educational and management roles within the public hospital system, before dedicating her professional life to the care of the older Australians in residential environments.

Throughout her working life, Jennifer has enhanced her experience with corporate roles in private aged care whilst continuing to achieve educational milestones adding to her Bachelor of Education (Nursing) with a Master of Health Administration and Grad. Cert. in Business Excellence.

With a passion for integrating governance with operational activities, Jennifer has a personal mission to deliver improvements in care delivery and advocacy for Australia’s Elderly.

Through working as a manager in residential aged care, Jennifer has witnessed first-hand the experiences of older people no longer being able to be independent. She has seen many times that for the person, their family and friends, this can be an isolating event that requires skilled knowledgeable staff to support them. The first works of Meaningful Ageing Australia came along at the right time –  the resources have given Jennifer the structure to convert these experiences into meaningful actions for the comprehensive care of  a broad range of older people.

Raad Richards

Raad Richards

Board Member

Raad has had over 39 years experience in health and aged care services in New South Wales. Prior to joining Carrington in February 2004, Raad occupied a number of senior executive positions in the NSW Health System.

Raad has extensive involvement at Board level in various professional and community organisations, including:

  1. Past President and life member of the Australasian College of Health Service Management, (NSW Branch);
  2. Chairman of the Bankstown Credit Union;
  3. Chairman, Creating Links Community Services;
  4. Board Member of Aged and Community Services (NSW/ACT);
  5. Chair of the ACS Residential Advisory Committee; and
  6. Winner in the Business Leader category of the 2014 South Western Sydney Business Awards.