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 trained 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.

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

Annette joined the Foundation in September 2019 initially as the Coordinator, Business Support and has since been promoted to the Manager, Governance/Company Secretary where she is responsible for governance and corporation compliance. 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.

Jessica Sargent

Coordinator Logistics, Drought Resilience Leadership Program

Jess Sargent joined the foundation in 2021.  She grew up in the small rural community of Harden- Murrumburrah and draws on her leadership’s skills and passion for rural communities in her role at ARLF. Jess has experience engaging with businesses across metro and rural areas having spent several years working in the Building and Construction Material industry. She has also had exposure with not for profits having previously led a youth advisory board. Jess has a background in Business Management and is currently completing a Master of Supply Chain and Logistics Management. Jess was drawn to ARLF because of the team’s focus on delivering strong and impactful outcomes across regional rural and remote communities.

Marzanne Els

Coordinator, Drought Resilience Leadership Program

Marzanne Els joined the foundation in 2021 primarily to support the delivery of the Drought Resilience Leadership program.  She is qualified and experienced in coordinating the design, development, implementation and maintenance of learning programs and the supporting procedures. Marzanne is passionate about all aspects of adult education; with a focus on the importance of providing support and keeping the learner at the core of all experiences. Outside work, she enjoys spending time with her kids outdoors in always-sunny Brisbane.

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.

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.

Gagandeep Singh

Assistant, Accountant

Gagan joined the Foundation in 2021 and is part of the finance team. He is responsible for daily finance functions and assisting Finance Manager in contracts management. He holds a dual degree in Master of Professional Accounting and Business Administration. Having studied and worked in Melbourne for six years, Gagan has now permanently moved to Canberra. He has a background in finance, administration and hospitality. Outside work, he loves his food, Australian footy and UFC.

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.

Jasmine Millard

Assistant, Administration

Jasmine grew up in Queanbeyan just outside of Canberra. Whilst completing college in June 2020 she successfully completed a Certificate III in Business Services and joined the ARLF in March 2021 as the Administration Assistant. She brings a great range of administration and interpersonal skills from her previous work in construction and administration. Jasmine loves working in different roles and doing something different every day. Jasmine has a genuine interest in rural Australia and while growing up spent most weekends on the family farm just outside of Gundaroo, NSW. She still enjoys time with family on the farm while also enjoying her personal interests pampering her horse and horse riding.