Our Executive – managing the team

Our Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Directors make up the Save the Children Executive team.

They lead the direction of Save the Children's work and nurture the daily commitment of our employees. Each Director leads a section of the organisation and has unit managers and staff - across Australia and internationally - that support them in their role. Read our latest annual report for more information.

Our Directors are responsible for managing these sections:

  • International Programs
  • Australian Programs
  • Policy and Public Affairs
  • Supporter Engagement
  • Finance
  • People and Culture

Meet our Executive team

PaulChief Executive Officer – Paul Ronalds

Paul Ronalds is one of Australia's leading voices on poverty eradication and international development.

He joined Save the Children Australia as Chief Executive Officer in July 2013 and is responsible for leading the organisation to increase its impact for vulnerable children and their families. 

Paul is committed to ensuring Save the Children is a world leader in saving children's lives, standing up for their rights as well as helping children everywhere fulfil their potential.

His diverse background encompasses senior executive roles in government, the private sector and domestic and international non-government organisations (NGOs). From co-founding one of Australia's first online companies to assisting tsunami-affected people in Sri Lanka, Paul's experience gives him unique insights into some of the world's most significant social, economic and political challenges. Read more about our CEO.

Mat Tinkler

Director Policy and International Programs – Mat Tinkler

Mat has dual responsibility for delivering our International Programs, along with ensuring that Save the Children is a strong voice for vulnerable children with government policy makers, in the media and the Australian community.

Save the Children Australia's international programs work is focused mainly in the Pacific and South East Asia. We directly program and manage offices in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands where our work focuses on child protection, health and early childhood education. We also maintain a team of humanitarian experts who are deployed to emergencies and protracted crises around the world. This is underpinned by a team of technical experts who ensure our work is evidence based and delivering impact to children in need.

The work of the Policy and Public Affairs team is informed by the experiences and expertise gained through Save the Children's program work. In the region, priority areas include education, health and nutrition, child protection and humanitarian response. Domestically, key areas are juvenile justice, early childhood education – particularly in indigenous communities – and asylum seekers and refugees. Our Public Affairs department includes advocacy and campaigns, media and government relations. 

Previously, Mat has worked as a Chief of Staff to a senior Cabinet Minister with the Federal Government, overseeing a diverse range of portfolios covering taxation law; superannuation and financial services regulation; consumer credit; charity and not-for-profit regulation; insurance reforms; workplace relations and disability reform. Prior to this role he was acting executive director for the Public Law Clearing House, an organisation that focuses on providing legal services to the most disadvantaged Australians. Mat began his career as a corporate lawyer at Minter Ellison.

Contact: mat.tinkler@savethechildren.org.au

Heather Finlayson

Director of Australia​n Programs – Heather Finlayson

Heather is Director of Australian Programs and leads the delivery of our Australian programs. Heather is committed to improving the lives of the hardest-to-reach and most marginalised children and young people. Heather's team provides services in all Australian states, as well as the Northern Territory. These include long-term development programs providing early childhood, education, family support and youth development, as well as child-focused emergency responses when the need arises.

Before Save the Children, Heather was the General Manager, Strategy Group with Goodstart Early Learning. In this role she was responsible for leading a geographically dispersed team and for developing Goodstart's five-year strategy. Heather also held a number of senior roles at Goodstart Early Learning – from State Management to Operations – making her mark on the organisation with her ability to drive outcomes for children and their families. She has extensive experience in program design and a deep commitment to program measurement and evaluation.

Prior to Goodstart Early Learning, Heather worked at The Smith Family, in the Federal Government and in education.

Contact: heather.finlayson@savethechildren.org.au

JoDirector of Supporter Engagement – Jo Watson

Jo leads Save the Children's fundraising, marketing and innovation activities and is responsible for engaging supporters ranging from high net worth individuals to trusts and foundations, corporates to individual supporters including customers of our retail stores, generating essential support to resource our work with vulnerable children in both our domestic and international programs.

Jo is a professional marketer with a background across commercial, not for profit and government organisations. Before joining Save the Children Australia Jo held leadership roles with Telstra, World Vision Australia, YWCA Victoria (CEO) and the State Library Victoria (Director of Community Engagement). Jo is committed to strengthening communities and supporting vulnerable and marginalised children through the development of strong partnerships and delivery of great supporter experiences.

Contact: jo.watson@savethechildren.org.au

Alistair BrownChief Financial Officer – Alistair Brown

Alistair Brown leads the finance, risk and audit functions of Save the Children and our programs. He is responsible for providing quality financial and risk information, and advises the organisation and our partners.

Before joining Save the Children, Alistair held a variety of finance roles within the AXA group over 17 years. Most recently he was Regional Chief Financial Officer for Asia. Located in Hong Kong, he oversaw 500 finance staff in eight countries through a period of significant growth and change.  Prior to that, he held roles in Corporate Finance in Australia, as Financial Controller in Japan and in Group Finance in Paris amongst others. Alistair spent the first 10 years of his career in Chartered Accounting at Deloitte, has a Bachelor of Commerce and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.

Contact: alistair.brown@savethechildren.org.au

Dianne FrancoisDirector People and Culture - Dianne Francois

​Dianne leads Save the Children's People and Culture strategy - working to attract, develop and retain outstanding talent who share our vision and purpose.  The People and Culture team provide expert advice and support to staff in our programs and offices, including Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. 

Dianne has more than 20 years' experience as a senior human resource management executive in blue chip organisations. Most recently, Dianne was a consultant for the CEO of Service Stream Limited. She has also provided consulting advice and program leadership for large-scale business transformation, including 10 years with GE. Dianne has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Diploma in Education.

Contact: dianne.francois@savethechildren.org.au

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