The Canberra Chapter board consists of 16 peer-selected members.
AMANDA DENNETT SCMP, PAST PRESIDENT
Amanda is an experienced strategic communication professional, specialising in digital communication, crisis communication, and media issues management. She is currently Head of Digital Experience at the Australian War Memorial. Amanda is completing a Master of Research at Swinburne University of Technology, researching Australian Government use of social media to engage with citizens. She has previously worked as a media adviser, lead a government video production team, and implemented social media customer service at the Department of Human Services. Amanda is passionate about the ethics of technology, GLAM, gender equality and sport.
JUSTINE O’BRIEN SCMP, PRESIDENT
Justine has worked in the communication field for over 25 years within the not-for-profit and public sectors in Australia and the United Kingdom. She began her career in event management in Brisbane and after completing a Bachelor of Business in Communication and Public Relations, embarked on a career journey encompassing events, media, public affairs, internal and change communication, and strategic issues management.
Justine is passionate about researching and developing communication strategies to help organisations communicate better internally and externally.
Connect on LinkedIn: Justine O’Brien
ROMANY RZECHOWICZ CMP, TREASURER
Romany brings extensive experience working in government and private sectors in Australia and Canada.
She blends digital and traditional approaches to corporate, internal and change communications in government, professional services and small business in Canada and Australia to solve complex communication problems.
Connect on LinkedIn: Romany Rzechowicz
MELANIE GIBBONS, SECRETARY
Melanie has over eighteen years’ experience in communications across government, not-for-profit and the private sector in Australia and the United Kingdom. Melanie worked in the Australian Public Service for over a decade, before starting her own consultancy her own consultancy Elm Communications. She now works across the Commonwealth Government and other local organisations helping them to communicate more effectively.
Melanie holds a Masters’ of Strategic Communications, a Graduate Certificate in Social Media and Public Engagement, and a Bachelor of Communications. She is a passionate communications professional who believes quality communications can provide immeasurable value to any organisation, and she wants to support every communicator to prove it.
MICHAEL LIU, DIRECTOR OF EVENTS
Michael is the Senior Adviser to ACT Minister Tara Cheyne MLA and is responsible for ministerial portfolios covering arts, events and multicultural affairs. Before his sidestep into policy and politics he was Communications Lead with Dionysus – a cultural development and placemaking consultancy based in Canberra – and managed project-based communications and marketing for clients such as Molonglo Group, City Renewal Authority (ACT Government) and Australian National University. Michael revels in communicating to stakeholders with audacity and authenticity; creativity is key to his professional practice. He has had a diverse career so far including work in the Federal Press Gallery as a sub-editor for a news monitoring service, a stint working with former Senator Gary Humphries, and marketing manager for a suite of hospitality venues. Michael is also a professional musician and performs throughout the Canberra region, regularly collaborating with the city’s many national institutions.
LISA RANSON, DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP
Lisa is an experienced writer and communicator who relishes opportunities to work with interesting and complex content. She has explored how language impacts the well-being of veterans and first responders, tackled the impact of automation on employment in the resources sector, and is now designing strategic communication to build trust in government data practices on behalf of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Lisa’s roles have spanned professional research, communication and marketing advisory, content design, media, and events and activations. With a penchant for connecting ideas, the great love of her career is creating unexpected campaigns that achieve real change.
Connect on LinkedIn: Lisa Ranson
EMILY DAVIS, DIRECTOR OF MEMBER COMMUNICATIONS
Emily is an experienced communications professional with a substantial background in media production, content writing, digital community management and web publishing. She is currently a Consultant and Content Designer at Cordelta Digital, where she helps organisations to communicate clearly to the people who rely on their online services. With a Bachelor of Media andCommunications, a Bachelor of Business (Advertising) and as a current post-graduate (Masters) student, Emily is a self-professed ‘perpetual learner’.She loves exploring the opportunities that digital media presents to business, while reciprocally applying evolving technology and novel ‘best-practices’ to solve communication challenges. Emily is excited to work in conjunction withIABC Canberra’s team of like-minded board members, as they support theTerritory’s ever-growing communications industry in continuing to bloom!
Connect on LinkedIn: Emily Davis
SOPHIE CRIDLAND, DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS
Sophie is a graduate in the communications team at the Department of Parliamentary Services. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Communication in Public Relations from the University of Canberra in 2019, she’s been passionately working in digital communications. Interested in further developing a strong skillset, Sophie is eager to explore the opportunities that digital communication holds for the future.
Connect on LinkedIn: Sophie Cridland
KIRSTEN DAVEY, DIRECTOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Kirsten is a highly organised and uniquely experienced stakeholder engagement professional who knows how to get your story told and keep your audience engaged. She is confident and self-aware, with the ability to interact with people from all backgrounds and walks of life with sensitivity and discretion. Kirsten knows how to find the right words and images to engage and influence an audience, underpinned by varying research methodologies and governance requirements.
With experience working within the highest levels of Federal Government communications for more than 14 years, she has an established network of experts, consultants, bureaucrats and influencers to call upon.
Connect on LinkedIn: Kirsten Davey
ALISON SENTI SCMP, BOARD MEMBER
Alison has over 20 years advising in public and private sector roles on strategic communication, change management, marketing and stakeholder engagement. Alison leads the Corporate Communication & Strategy team at Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Alison loves to keep across ‘who’s doing it best’ when it comes to communication and bring these insights into her work. She joined the Board in 2016 to connect with like-minded communication ‘busybodies’ to share, grow and change the communication profession. In February 2018 Alison was accredited as a Strategic Communication Management Professional by the Global Communication Certification Council. Currently Alison drives IABC Canberra’s Certification program which saw three Canberra members attain global communications certification in 2020.
DAMIAN TUNNEY, BOARD ADVISOR
Damian is a highly skilled senior communication and digital professional with over 17 years’ experience across the private and public sectors in strategic communication, marketing, brand and sponsorship. He started his career working in brand and event agencies with clients such as Optus, Sony and McDonald’s (to name a few) before landing a dream role with Sony Ericsson as Brand Manager across Oceania. Shortly after starting a family he moved back to his home town of Canberra where he has worked in a number of senior communication roles across Federal Government including with the Australian Sports Commission, Department of Employment and most recently as Head of Communication for the National Australia Day Council. He currently works for Cordelta, a local management consulting firm, as an Engagement Lead/Delivery Manager overseeing the delivery of major digital projects. Beyond his experience and skills, Damian is an immensely proud Canberran—and has a strong interest and desire to contribute to the growth of our city and to the communication profession.
KATHARINE PIERCE, BOARD MEMBER
Katharine is an award-winning strategic communicator and project manager with more than 10 years’ experience in digital communications, events, public relations and media.
In addition to working in the government and education sectors, she spent many years volunteering for TEDx Canberra, pursuing her interest in supporting people to bring their passion and ideas to life on stage.
She is a pop culture trivia buff, amateur acrobat and has a lifelong ambition of learning how to make the perfect croissant.
Connect on LinkedIn: Katharine Pierce
HAYDEN THOMSON, BOARD MEMBER
Hayden is a communications, journalism, stakeholder management and social media specialist who is passionate about delivering outcomes for any audience.
Currently, Hayden’s role with KPMG sees him working with clients across a number of different service areas. His focus is on behavioural change management, strategic communications, workforce intelligence, corporate affairs, human resources transformation, learning and development, organisation culture and design.
Hayden is currently studying a Master of International Relations at ANU.
Connect on LinkedIn: Hayden Thomson
SARAH TOALDO, BOARD MEMBER
Sarah Toaldo, CMP, is a creative communication professional and has a broad range of communication experience from broadcast television production through to secretariat and corporate communication. Sarah is currently Director, Defence Science Communication, within the Department of Defence.
Over her extensive career, Sarah has worked in a wide variety of roles from camera operator to producer, administration to secretariat. Sarah’s interests are in change management, leadership, behavioural insights, strategic communication, and progressive organisational methods.
SHEY DIMON, BOARD MEMBER
Shey is an accomplished communications professional, with over 15 years’ experience in both Australia and the USA.
Shey developed a love for communicating for engineering firms when she worked at global firm, Arup in her 20s. Shey has carved out the role, implementing her strategic plans and creative processes while the company has grown rapidly.
Shey advocates for diversity in the technology and security industries and is a finalist in the Australian Women in Security Network awards as Champion forWomen in Security.
Connect on LinkedIn: Shey Dimon