Our Staff

Matt Linnegar

Chief Executive

Matt Linnegar joined the Foundation in 2014, becoming the first program alumnus to lead the organisation. He is responsible for ensuring the Foundation achieves its aims for capacity-building in rural, regional and remote Australia. He knows first-hand the power of collaboration and connection to achieve great things and empower leaders to achieve their goal. Matt has worked for over 25 years in for-purpose, representative and commercial roles focused on leadership, agriculture, water, natural resource management, trade and marketing. He is passionate about building capacity in rural, regional and remote Australia. Before joining the Foundation, Matt was CEO of the National Farmers’ Federation, working on some of the most complex challenges facing the rural sector. Past leadership roles include working as general manager, corporate and customer operations at Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited; executive director at Ricegrower’s Association of Australia; and marketing coordinator, South-East Asia, for the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation (now MLA). Matt is a director of the Telstra Foundation, Agribusiness Australia, and The Leadership Network. He is also president of the Carwoola Community Association and serves on the Charles Sturt University Strategic Advisory Committee, Bush Summit Advisory Panel, and Investing in Rural Communities Reference Panel. Matt is a graduate of Course 7 of the ARLP and a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Andrea Hogg

Director, Learning

Andrea Hogg first came to work with the Foundation in 2012, and leads the body of work related to the curriculum and educative frameworks used by the organisation. Her combined experiences growing up and working in regional Queensland, as well as internationally, mean she has considerable insight into the factors that consistently drive successful collaboration, across differing contexts. Andrea has a background in adult education and community development, and has honed her skills around the globe, including in the Pacific and the United Kingdom. She has considerable experience in the management, design and facilitation of place-based programs and learning. She applies these to develop the collaborative capacity of leadership in rural, regional and remote Australia. Andrea has developed the current curriculum for the Foundation, based on evidence of the power of network leadership to impact awareness of self and systems. She has worked on community-led capacity building programs in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, as well as disaster response programs internationally. She designed and delivered the Leadership for Our Regions Program; a regional collaboration developed to strengthen the economic, environment and social prosperity of regional Australia through leadership networks.

Philippa Woodhill

Director, Partnerships

Philippa Woodhill joined the Foundation in 2006, and has a deep understanding of its ethos and the diverse people it serves and develops. In her current role, she is developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to grow and enhance the organisation’s relationship with its partners and stakeholders. She oversees the fundraising and communication strategy, and supports business development.

Philippa excels at connecting individuals and organisations with productive natural synergies, and has prior experience working as an Australian Volunteer in the Pacific. She is a Nationally Accredited Mediator and specialises in supporting people from diverse sectors to contribute to social change. Most recently, responding to and leading collaborations with Government, industry, philanthropists, indigenous and community organisations in the design and delivery of capacity-building initiatives. Philippa’s family history is strongly connected with rural Queensland, and her working life has been committed to supporting rural and regional communities to thrive through education, health and her work with the Foundation.

Philippa is an alumna of Cranlana and the Commonwealth Study Conference, of which she is also a Board Director.

David Brouwer

Director, Finance & Operations

David Brouwer joined the Foundation in 2019 , and is responsible for financial administration and strategic business guidance. He is a Chartered Accountant with over 15 years’ experience in the accounting industry. He combines a keen analytical eye with an affinity for the people and values that lie behind specific industries and businesses. David grew up in Canberra, and recently returned to the nation’s capital after working for five years in a small accounting practice in rural New South Wales. During this time, he experienced first-hand the impact environmental change has had on rural communities, as well as the leadership required to plan for the future. David has worked with a wide variety of clients including multinational companies, private family groups, small business, individuals and not-for-profits. He is passionate about football (the World Game) which he continues to play, as well as volunteering his time coaching his children’s sporting teams.

Lockie McDonald

Director, Strategic Projects

Lockie has over 25 years experience delivering training and providing facilitation services to a diverse range of audiences and industries. These include, construction and mining crews, railway workers, tertiary education staff and students, Aboriginal health workers, disability professionals and firefighters. Lockie has a warm and generous interest in people and has the ability to engage with audiences. Originally completing his nursing training he combines his experience in health, business and the arts with a commitment to develop leadership capacity in Australia and across the Indo-pacific region. Lockie has a BA in English majoring in Journalism and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program course 17. He is a popular key note speaker and has contributed to many boards, funding bodies and advisory councils across Australia. Lockie is based in our Perth office.

Karen Freer

Manager, Communications 

Karen Freer has worked with the Foundation since February 2020, and is responsible for promoting and communicating the work and achievements of the organisation, as well as keeping stakeholders informed and engaged. She is a marketing and communications professional with over 20 years’ experience developing strategic plans, campaigns and events for brands including Canberra Milk, Questacon, Westfield, Mirvac, Capital Chemist and Master Builders. Karen has strong rural roots, having grown up at “Watervale”, Walla Walla, located in the Greater Hume Shire, where three generations of her family have farmed for over 100 years. She is passionate about telling the stories of the energy, vitality and determination that characterise so many rural and regional communities and industries. Karen is active in her local community as a volunteer with various sporting clubs and the school fundraising committee.

Vivienne Johnson

Manager, Philanthropy

Vivienne’s role is to help the Foundation realise its mission by asking people who share her commitment and passion for its work to invest in its programs and services. In seeking philanthropic support from alumni and the wider community, she draws upon her 10 years’ experience as a fundraiser. Based in Brisbane, Vivienne’s interest in rural and regional Australia was sparked by her involvement with the Vision Splendid Outback Festival held annually in Winton, Queensland. Her focus is on building the Foundation’s community of supporters and strengthening relationships with current donors. Vivienne is a member of the Fundraising Institute of Australia and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is a non-executive director with MS Queensland.

Grant Cameron

Manager, Leadership Programs

Grant Cameron joined the Foundation team in 2020, and is a graduate of the organisation’s Milparanga leadership development program. His role involves managing leadership programs, working closely with participants to challenge and develop their communication and advocacy skills. Grant is a proud Kamilaroi man, with family ties to Tamworth, New South Wales, and is currently based in southern Sydney. Grant previously managed the Indigenous Digital Excellence national Flint technology program at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern, NSW. He has extensive experience in network and relationship-building with a diverse range of corporates, stakeholders and indigenous and non-indigenous communities. He has personal and deep knowledge and understanding of working with indigenous youth, adults and elders. Grant has extensive facilitation experience working within 30 remote, rural and regional indigenous communities across the country over the past five years. He values and nurtures strength in cultural traditions. Grant has established meaningful connections with a wide range of stakeholders, including schools, land councils, ranger groups, libraries, media organisations, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and youth services. He has developed and facilitated workshops to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, adults and elders, through a unique cultural lens—designed to inspire positive change within community. Grant is passionate about working people and seeing transformative personal growth and positive behavioural changes.

Gemma Gordon

Manager, Networks

Gemma has recently returned to the ARLF after a year living in the UK. Originally from an irrigated mixed farming enterprise in Southern NSW, she has a background in Agricultural Science and Business. Gemma is passionate about working for and with rural communities. She has spent the last 13 years in Canberra working in the fields of chemical regulation and water policy and advocacy prior to joining the ARLF in 2016 as Manager, Networks.

Monique Brouwer

Manager, Networks

Communicating, connecting, and community are what drive Monique Brouwer. She has recently returned to the ARLF and was previously employed as the Manager, Marketing and Communications from 2016 to 2019. For over 18 years, Monique has worked as a communicator, stakeholder engagement manager, marketing guru, projects specialist, business writer and storyteller with a passion for the land and regional Australia. Having grown up and lived in rural NSW, Monique draws on her extensive experience and knowledge in the agricultural and environmental sectors within her professional life. Monique’s passion for community development saw her become one of the driving forces in establishing a local community council, engaging with and advocating for her community. She volunteers her expertise in grant writing, networking and advocacy to local sporting and community associations.

Tristan Richmond

Manager, Business Development

As Manager, Business Development, Tristan draws upon his passion for education and collaboration to create and strengthen partnerships with industry, government and other key stakeholders to deliver on-the-ground impact and build leadership capacity in regional, rural and remote communities. With a decade of business development experience in the education and group training sectors, Tristan brings with him a wealth of knowledge and a desire to enhance the unique vibrancy of regional Australia. In addition, years spent living and working in country NSW have equipped Tristan with a strong understanding of the issues impacting our regions. As a result, he brings an appreciation for the challenges facing these communities and has seen first-hand the powerful impact of effective leadership. In Tristan’s downtime, he indulges in his enthusiasm for everything automotive and whiling away the hours tinkering on his project car.

Penny Gladwin

Manager, Learning

Penny joined the Foundation in 2021 and is responsible for managing the Foundations flagship program, the ARLP. Growing up in Sydney, Penny moved to London after completing a Bachelor of Business Admin at the University of Technology Sydney. She spent two years working at the London Business School with their MBA program. Returning from London, Penny spent six years working in the Outdoor Advertising industry in Sydney. In 2013, she left the corporate sector and has spent the last eight years working for Not-For-Profits around the globe, with much of that time in Cambodia. Penny moved to Canberra in 2019. She is deeply passionate about the NFP sector and the development of individuals to help them reach their professional and personal goals. Outside work Penny enjoys running, camping, and spending time outdoors.

Annette McCarthy

Manager, Governance and Alumni Engagement

Annette joined the Foundation in September 2019 initially as the Coordinator, Business Support and has since been promoted to Manager, Governance, she is a graduate of the Milparanga program and Milparanga Mentoring program.

Annette comes to the ARLF with diverse experience from working in government, research and Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and loves the challenges and knowledge gained at the ARLF while working with a highly skilled board and reputable organisation with a focus on rural, regional and remote Australia.

Annette is of Warumungu descent from the Barkley region of the Northern Territory and grew up in Alice Springs. She continues to maintain her connection with her home in the NT and wishes to take her knowledge back and pursue work with remote Aboriginal community groups and corporations.

Kristy Frahm

Manager, Program Operations

Kristy joined ARLF in 2021 to manage the Mentoring program, forming part of the Drought Resilience Leadership Program. Based in the diverse Wide Bay Burnett region of Queensland, Kristy grew up and raised her own children in the small rural community of Proston. Having worked in local government, owned a small business and family farming operation, Kristy has a first-hand understanding of rural business and community. She has most recently spent several years at the helm of the Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation (BIEDO) supporting both town and farm-based business and industry to strengthen and grow. Kristy’s commitment to regional development continues and she is currently enhancing her knowledge base of this area by studying a Masters of Sustainability.

A passionate believer in the value of self and leadership development, Kristy is fortunate to have participated in ARLF’s pilot ‘Leadership for our Regions’ Program held in Wide Bay Burnett and is also an alumni of Red Earth Community Foundation’s annual leadership program.

Kristy is honoured to be a member of the ARLF team and for the opportunity to support positive outcomes in regional Australia with people, places and programs!

Simone Carroll-Germech

Manager Learning, Drought Resilience Leaders Program

Simone joined the Foundation in July 2021 and is responsible for managing the Drought Resilience Leaders Development Program. Simone is based in her hometown of Bathurst in Central West NSW.  She has over 25 years of experience working as a Guide, Mentor, Coordinator and Teacher in the Outdoor Education Industry both in Australia and overseas. She is passionate about facilitation, growing people and using the great outdoors as an experiential classroom.  Simone loves to travel and spent 5 years as a young adult working and travelling abroad, going to what she calls the “University of Life”. When not at work, you can find Simone walking in the bush, in a canoe or on the ski slopes immersing herself in nature with family, friends and dogs.

Julia Strang

Manager, Alumni Engagement

Julia joined the Foundation in 2021 to work with the Drought Resilience Leadership team in a stakeholder engagement role. In February 2022, Julia moved into a newly created Manager Alumni Engagement role.

She has a Communications/Marketing background and has spent much of her career working in the non-profit sector for organisations she believes make a positive difference! This now includes the Foundation and she is thrilled to be part of the team.

She lives on a rural block, just south of Bathurst, in a completely off-grid home with her family, two dogs, one rabbit and abundant native wildlife (including koalas!).

She has travelled extensively and is also a professional photographer. When she’s not working or looking after her kids, she can be found with a camera in her hand chasing the right light!

Kas Al-Shehari

Manager, Finance and HR

Kas moved to Australia in December 2021 and joined the ARLF in March 2022 as the Manager of Finance and HR. Kas is originally from Yemen, spent his childhood in Egypt, and studied and worked in Malaysia for ten years where he worked in IT, Financial Services & Investment. This combination of work history and cultural background has formed his personality, passion, and creativity, including the desire to work in the not-for-profit sector which Kas has found to be an amazing experience so far, particularly knowing that he can contribute to regional, rural & remote Australia.

Having recently moved to Australia, Kas understands the challenges that people go through when it comes to settling in a new place and can empathise with others that have similar experiences. Being a part of the ARLF has helped him to feel that he is not a stranger in a new country and felt welcomed from the first day at the ARLF.

If he’s not busy with numbers and human issues, Kas is out for a long walk or hiking in the beautiful country around Canberra.

Catherine McGufficke

Project Lead, Drought Resilience Leaders Program

Catherine joined the Foundation in 2021 and is responsible for managing the Drought Resilience Leaders Training Course. She has experience in the areas of change management, organisation development and facilitation, and has done this work with teams across Australia, the UK and Europe. She has worked in a broad range of industries: from public sector, financial services, telecommunication, professional services and not for profit organisations, and loves the opportunity this has provided to develop relationships and facilitate meaningful conversations with senior executives through to blue collar teams. Catherine is passionate about using facilitation as a tool to help leaders and teams develop collaborative and transparent plans, communicate openly and honestly, and work through ambiguous change.

Catherine grew up in northern NSW and travels back regularly to spend time on the family farm. She is passionate about the importance of helping people at all levels and in all parts of a community develop a leadership mindset so that they can each make an impact in their own way.

Catherine has been a follower of the ARLF and its work for a number of years and is excited to be part of the team and working with leaders across rural, regional and remote Australia.

Lesley Vick

Coordinator Project Support, Drought Resilience Leadership Program

Lesley Vick joined us as the Coordinator Project Support on the Drought Resilience Leaders Program in February 2022. 

A former change management consultant, Lesley brings an impressive background in systems integrations and organisational design in various industries, including mining, steel and retail.  

After pivoting to the environmental sector, Lesley combined her extensive experience with a Natural Resource Management Certificate and a Masters in International Business to become a volunteer in Australia and abroad. Whether through the Australian Volunteer Corps or Olympic Games, Lesley has spent years sharing her knowledge with organisations and communities in need. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Lesley was a member of the Health Security Corps working with a social enterprise specialising in non-chemical mosquito control in Indonesia.  

With the pandemic putting a stop to her international service, Lesley returned to Australia, settling at the Sunshine Coast. When not at work, Lesley can be found exploring Queensland’s coastline in her outrigger canoe, in her permaculture garden or volunteering with her local koala care centre. 

Rebecca Wilde

Coordinator, Drought Resilience Leaders Program

Bec has recently joined the Foundation to work with the Drought Resilience Leadership team. She brings to the table a background in design, coordination and implementation of events and leadership programs in the national agricultural sector as well as experience in the not-for-profit and financial industries.

Hailing from Central West NSW, Bec is passionate about building the capability of individuals in rural, regional and remote communities and following the journey of the leaders ARLF supports.

When Bec isn’t supporting individuals in rural, regional and remote communities on their leadership journey, you will find her on the AFL field or netball court or, supporting from the sideline somewhere.

Kerren Britton

Coordinator, Drought Resilience Leaders Program

Kerren joined the ARLF in March 2022 to work with the Drought Resilience Leadership team. Kerren has 21 years’ experience working in the not-for-profit sector including Livestock and Business Centre and most recently as the Executive Officer with the Pony Club Association of NSW where Kerren facilitated face to face and online governance and administration workshops. Kerren also has a background in financial and retail customer service and is passionate about providing support to individuals in rural, regional, and remote communities.

When Kerren isn’t supporting ARFL participants on their leadership journey, you will find her with her family or travelling with her husband around Australia.

Erin Burrows

Coordinator, Leadership Programs

Erin Burrows joined the Foundation team in 2020 and is leading the co-ordination of the ARLP programs,  for the last 20 years, Erin’s journey has crossed both the sporting and educational sectors through event management, administration, project management, coaching, and business development. Erin holds a Diploma of Information Technology. Erin is passionate about paying forward the professional and personal opportunities the High-Performance sport environment has provided to her and be a role model to future female professionals. She is fascinated with the process of high quality, efficient workflow and the policies and procedures required to support work areas. Outside of work, Erin has a love of photography, cooking, & fitness and is energetically involved in her local sporting and school communities.

Naomi Jeffs

Coordinator, Leadership Programs

Naomi joined the Foundation in 2020 primarily to support the delivery of the Milparanga leadership program. Since completing a Master’s in Business Administration Naomi has worked in the higher education sector in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Naomi has a background in project coordination and business research and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, paddle boarding and swimming.

Suanne Sands

Coordinator, Leadership Programs

Suanne joined the Foundation in August 2021. She is a graduate of the Milparanga leadership program and now supports the Foundation in delivering the program.

Currently based in Inner West Sydney, Suanne is from Yarrabah in Far North Queensland and has experience in administration, community engagement and event coordination.

Outside of work, she enjoys sightseeing, cooking, baking and outdoor activities.

Emily Pillow

Coordinator, Digital Projects

Emily joined the ARLF at the end of 2019 and is responsible for project coordination in various areas of the Foundation’s business, including programs, IT and partnerships. She has a background in Event Management after recently completing a Bachelor of Management with distinction at the University of Technology Sydney in 2018. After growing up on a farm outside of Wagga Wagga, Emily’s genuine interest in regional Australia began while working at the Regional Australia Institute. Now, being part of the team at the ARLF, Emily aims to establish a career in boosting the position of rural, regional and remote Australia in a national context.

Alexandra Sanchez

Coordinator, Business Support

Alexandra Sanchez joined the Foundation in 2021 and is responsible for providing administrative and project support to the executive team and to ensure the efficient and effective day-to-day operations of the Foundation. She is a communications professional with a background in Public Relations, Management and Diplomacy. Having grown in Caracas, Venezuela, Alexandra understands the key to survival and sustainability for Australian regional and rural areas lies in each community’s ability to lead its own destiny. She is passionate about multiculturalism and loves the diversity that characterise the Australian spirit.

Fiona Humphris

Coordinator, Data Services

Fiona joined the Foundation in 2018 in a part time capacity and is responsible for the ARLF CRM database and other IT platforms. In addition to this, Fiona is program coordinator for the annual ARLF Agribusiness Leadership program. She has a background in financial services, project administration and reporting and holds qualifications in mathematics, finance and software development.

Jorunn Lorenzen

Coordinator, Digital Communications

Jorunn joined the Foundation in 2021 to help share its impact through storytelling across digital media channels. With a geography degree, postgraduate studies in journalism and a background in local government, Jorunn is passionate about people’s contributions in a local context and seeing challenges turned into opportunities. Her connection to rural and regional Australia is shaped by experiencing its people and places through the eyes of a working holiday visa holder, international student and finally member of its multicultural society. Travelling across the country, she has lived and worked in various industries in the most remote and largest metropolitan areas. Now based on a Central Queensland cattle property, Jorunn’s favourite places are her backyard and trails yet to be explored with her four-legged running buddy.

Stacey Pyke


Stacey joined the Foundation in February 2018 in a part time capacity and is part of the finance team. She is responsible for payment and recording of financial transactions and supporting the Finance Manager. After growing up in South East Queensland on a dairy farm outside of Boonah and living in both Canberra and Darwin for a number of years, Stacey is now settled in Brisbane. She has a background in both horticulture and business administration/finance.

Dr Werner Vogels

Manager, Learning (Mentoring)

Dr Werner Vogels is a Neuropsychologist by trade. From Dutch descent, Werner identifies as a man from the flat country, surrounded by canals, cows and meadows growing up. Before arriving in Australia in 2009, he worked as a research fellow at various universities and hospitals in Finland and UK. He combines experience in Neuroscience, mental health and wellbeing and complex trauma with teaching and research, intrigued by resilience in the broadest sense. Werner has held senior management positions in community mental health and primary health in Victoria, and brings a variety of skills to the team, including evaluation, program design, project management, strategic planning, and data analysis. Living in a small regional community in North East Victoria, he has a keen interest and determination to invest in sustainability and place-based innovation, centred on connection. His curiosity and determination to empower others and inspire emerging leaders, has led him to join ARLF. Werner has taken part in the Drought Resilience Leadership Program and is also a mentor of the program.
For his own mental wellbeing and to stay fit, Werner does Crossfit and goes hiking. Spending time with family and exploring the beautiful National Parks around him and during holidays are his favourite pastime events.