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Our Executive Team

A skilled and experienced group of directors leading Save the Children’s work and our six departments.
 

Our Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Directors 

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 that support them in their role. Read our latest annual report for more information on the work of our Executive team.

Our Directors are responsible for managing:

  • International Programs
  • Australian Services
  • Policy and Public Affairs
  • Supporter Engagement
  • Finance
  • People and Culture
Chief Executive Officer – Mat Tinkler

Chief Executive Officer – Mat Tinkler

“I’m motivated by the sheer audacity of our mission and our power to change lives for the better, here in Australia, the Pacific, and around the world.”

Mat Tinkler is a deep policy thinker and a fierce advocate for children and our mission. He has driven change for children by transforming Save the Children Australia's approach to delivering International Programs and ensuring we have a strong public voice for vulnerable children through our media, advocacy, and campaigns work. More about Mat.


Director of Supporter Engagement – Jo Watson

Director of Supporter Engagement – Jo Watson

Jo leads Save the Children's fundraising, marketing and innovation activities. She is responsible for engaging supporters including high net-worth individuals, trusts and foundations, corporates and individual supporters. She generates essential support to resource Save the Children's work in domestic and international programs.

Jo is a professional marketer with a background in commercial, not-for-profit and government organisations. Before joining Save the Children Australia, she held leadership roles with Telstra, World Vision Australia, YWCA Victoria (CEO) and the State Library Victoria where she was the Director of Community Engagement.

Jo is committed to strengthening communities and supporting children through the development of strong partnerships and delivery of great supporter experiences.

Contact: jo.watson@savethechildren.org.au


Mel Parks - Chief Operating Officer

Mel Parks - Chief Operating Officer

Mel leads the shared services and operational teams that support Save the Children's domestic and international programs. She is a passionate advocate for the empowerment and advancement of women and girls.

Mel’s expertise is leading complex change and prior to joining Save the Children Mel was the Chief Transformation Officer at QBE Insurance. She has extensive international experience, including in the UK, Singapore, Philippines, India, Hong Kong, USA, and the Pacific. She served on a peace monitoring mission on Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea. 


Chief People Officer – Dianne Francois

Chief People Officer – Dianne Francois

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 from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Diploma in Education. 

Contact: dianne.francois@savethechildren.org.au


Executive Director Australian Services – Matt Gardiner

Executive Director Australian Services – Matt Gardiner

Matt has responsibility for services delivered across every state and territory, including violence prevention, youth services, child development, community development and child wellbeing services. 

He is on the Board of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the Chair of the Qld Council of Social Service (QCOSS) and is the Co-Chair of Anti Poverty Week in Qld. He holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Psych & Couns), Masters in Clinical Counselling and Grad. Dip. in Strategic Leadership and is completing his MBA. 

Matt is passionate about therapeutic practice, social justice and advocating for systems change. He has held senior executive roles in some of Australia’s leading not-for-profit organisations, and is a leader in innovative models of outcome measurement and contracting.

Contact: matt.gardiner@savethechildren.org.au


Director Strategy & Transformation - Nikki Lowe

Director Strategy & Transformation - Nikki Lowe

Nikki is responsible for leading our strategic intention to leverage innovation to deliver excellent service experiences for our beneficiaries, to drive operational performance and to achieve our mission.

Before joining Save the Children Australia Nikki gained broad career experience, with disruptive innovation being the common theme. This included spearheading a digital transformation of Lifeline Australia,  transforming service delivery as National Manger 1800RESPECT Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence service and working in a variety of private sector roles. Nikki holds a Masters of Commerce and Administration.


Managing Director of International programs & Policy and Advocacy  – Francis Wood

Managing Director of International programs & Policy and Advocacy – Francis Wood

Francis 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.

Francis has been with Save the Children for 8 years, previously leading the International Program Operations department for Save the Children International – the global programming division of the movement which every year delivers 1.2 billion USD of assistance in over 60 countries.

Prior to joining SCI, Francis was the Head of Global Operational Support for Merlin (a UK based health INGO that subsequently merged with SCI), and served as a Country Director for Medair in multiple contexts. Francis also worked for a UK based education start-up, Schools Plus Ltd, focusing on business model and strategy development. Francis started his career in a communications role to the UK Opposition Leader in Westminster.


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