The WFAV board is an Australian-based group of skilled volunteers. Many are located in Tasmania, the country’s southernmost state, as this is also where the WFAV executive is based, when not in Ehtiopia. The remainder of the board are located across New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.

Mark Abela | President

Mark is a proud Tasmanian and has held technical and senior roles in water utilities spanning 30 years, passionate about communities and mentoring to deliver sustainable health outcomes with effective water, sanitation and hygiene interventions.

He has extensive trade, engineering, project, business and leadership skills. Held committee positions with the Australian Water Association and the Water Industry Operators Association. An Associate Fellow Australian Institute of Management and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

International experience with communities in Indonesia (Rotary/EWB), Thailand (UQ), PNG (WaterAid) and Samoa (Australian Volunteers).

Holds a Master of Integrated Water Management, Dip. Project Management, GradCert Business Administration and a United Nations GradCert in Disaster Risk Reduction.

Mark is passionate about cooperative leadership, strong governance and capacity building and how it positively impacts people and organisations in sustainable and ethical ways.

Vanessa Ratard | Vice President

Vanessa has had the privilege of working across the globe such as in the Sahara, the Andes and the Pacific Islands. She brings to the Water for a Village Board, her 20 plus years experience as a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Environmentalist.

Vanessa excels in understanding the complexities of remote areas and believes benefactor input is an imperative measure of success.

She has a keen interest on the impact that access to potable water and sanitation infrastructure have on menstrual hygiene management in remote communities.

Vanessa is currently a Senior Project Manager with Ekistica Pty Ltd in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

Louise Bain | Treasurer

Louise is a member of both the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Institute of Chartered Accountants. After leaving KPMG, she manages the Internal Audit function in the company she is now based.  Alongside paid employment, for the past 20 years she has volunteered with two local organisations with a focus on accounting and finance, project management, community support, compliance and risk management.

Louise believes we all have a responsibility to work towards greater equity, ensuring all people, regardless of locality, have access to safe water, food and medical resources.  She has followed Catherine and her work with Water For A Village for a number of years and was quick to volunteer for the role of Treasurer when it became vacant.  On a different front, she is married with two active boys, 1 seemingly untrainable chocolate Labrador and 2 kittens.

Jen Grech | Secretary

Jennifer’s career has spanned several industries (education, travel and pharmaceutical) and across continents. She has held both local [ANZ] and regional[APAC & EU] executive roles during that time. Her key skills include strategy development, program leadership, change management, training program design and delivery, and the use of innovation as a lever of transformation.

Jennifer is a graduate of the Australian Graduate School of Management, achieving an Executive MBA in 2008, as well as a recent graduate of the AICD Company Director Course.

Jennifer has a growing passion for local sustainable solutions and changing the way we live.

Emily Hopwood | Public Officer

Emily is a Tasmanian board member and joined the W4AV board in November 2020 with a passion to improve the lives of others through simple, sustainable and manageable change. Emily brings experience in digital, brand and partnership marketing as well as prior fundraising experience from other charity organisations. Emily is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has also held senior management roles across various tourism and hotel operations in the private sector, as well as local and state government. Her skills include innovative and creative thinking, change management and building strong relationships.

Mike Brough

Mike has extensive experience in government administration with a special emphasis on vocational education and training (VET). Following a decade working in general government, he worked as a TAFE teacher, TAFE college director, General Manager of Skills Tasmania and TasTAFE Board director. In the latter role he served as chair of TasTAFE’s audit and risk management committee.

Following his retirement, Mike established a consultancy specialising in VET policy and strategy.

Mike has represented Tasmania in many state and national forums and has been an active participant in the establishment and evolution of the national VET system. He also held positions as state and national president of TAFE teacher unions.

He has expertise in accounting and finance, economics, governance, risk management, legislation, strategy and policy.

Mike has a Bachelor of Business degree and teaching qualifications and is a Fellow of CPA Australia.

George Nelson

Experienced Chief Executive Officer and Board Member with a demonstrated history of working in the education, design, public service and consulting industries. Skilled in Governance, Innovation, Disruption, Strategy, Emergent Enterprise, Agile/Digital Transformation, Negotiation/Diplomacy, Coaching,Government, Ideation, Strategic Design and Design Thinking. Strong business development professional with a Masters in International Business Law, Graduate Certificate in Digital Design.

Greg O'Meara

Greg O’Meara has degrees in Commerce, Law and Economics. Greg is a practising solicitor who specialises in Commercial and Property Law and has been a Partner practising in Queensland for 28 years. Greg has a strong interest in charitable pursuits including being a board member of St. Johns College Foundation, within the University of Queensland and involvement as a mentor in the Smith Family Tertiary Mentoring Programme for 15 years. He is a keen golfer and although recently retired from ultra-marathon events, continues to run and exercise. Greg is married with 3 adult children.

Joanne Stubbs

Joanne Stubbs has worked in Information Technology for over 25 years with experience in a variety of industry sectors including that of retail, disability, public utilities, international government, financial services and the airline industry. Previous executive experience includes that of CIO – Asia Pacific for GMAC, CIO for The Good Guys and was recruited as CIO for Retail Corp (part of Dubaiworld). Having worked overseas for 2 years Joanne returned to Australia to take up the role of CIO for Bakers Delight Holdings. Most recently Joanne has held an IT strategy role with Energy Australia and worked with the International Office for Migration within the United Nations as a volunteer.

Her strengths include expertise in project management along with the establishment of robust governance to support objectives within the business. With a Bachelor of Education, a Graduate Diploma in Computer Science, a Masters in Technology Management and as a graduate of the AICD Joanne brings substantial skills in structuring teams with a delivery mindset, managing change, implementing project management techniques and delivering business value.