Janine Middleton Chief Executive Officer

Janine has in excess of 25 years’ experience in the Financial Services industry, working in both Australia and the United Kingdom. Janine spent 13 years with J.P. Morgan in London, the last five as Managing Director in the Investment Bank.

On returning to Australia, Janine moved to Private Equity and was a founding partner of a mid market private equity firm, Tasman Capital Partners, she is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has a Masters in Applied Finance from Macquarie University.

Since returning to Australia in 2012, Janine has become heavily involved in the not-for-profit sector. Janine joined Australian Marriage Equality in 2014 and was appointed Co-Chair in January 2015, a position she still holds. She was named as one of Australia’s Top 100 Women of Influence in 2016.

A sound education and a good mentor are fundamental to helping young people achieve their full potential and I feel privileged to be part of the team at The Pinnacle Foundation and their work with LGBT+ youth.

Susan Brooks Risk and Compliance Advisor

Susan is our compliance guru and has extensive experience in managing regulatory risks and consumer issues from within executive government, statutory administrative bodies (Australian Broadcasting Tribunal and Australian Securities Commission) and the financial services sector (Chief Compliance Officer, Westpac and has been the Australian Banking Industry Ombudsman). She is currently a member of the ABC’s Independent Complaints Review Panel and several Managed Investment Compliance Committees. She holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Masters of Law.

“Being a member of the Management Committee, I am able to apply the wealth of experience I gained through corporate life. It also allows me to give back to our community. Back in the Seventies, I was a beneficiary of the Labor Government’s new approach to university entrance, so I understand the benefits of education and how it can change your life. In semi-retirement I can now devote significant time to the Foundation and at the same time enjoy travel and quality time with my partner Janis.”

My role with the Foundation is best described as a ‘Jill of all trades’, since as well as chairing a small team responsible for scholarship selection, I provide governance and general policy advice and design processes for us to use. All to ensure compliance with our policies and Constitution since our reputation is very important to us. In the next couple of years I will also be implementing a program to boost the number of registered mentors.”

Dr. Jim Sait Mentor Manager

Dr Jim Sait worked in the higher education sector for 35 years. He has taught at universities in the UK, Canada and Australia before crossing to the ‘dark side’ in university administration at the University of Sydney where he ran the International Office.  In 2005 he moved into Executive Search where he used his HR skills and experience assisting Australian and New Zealand universities and health care providers to recruit the best professionals from all over the world.

Jim is passionate about the transformative power of education to improve both individual lives and the life and culture of the nation.  He has been an active member of the LGBT+ community since the early 70’s, and in the early 80’s set up an AIDS patients’ assistance program in regional NSW.  A member of the Pinnacle Foundation family since 2011, he sees his current role as Mentor Manager as a logical extension of a lifetime of networking.

Jim has a PhD from UCL; and an MA and a BA (Hons) from UBC.  He also has a DipEd from UNE.

Warren Perumal Chair of the Scholarships Selection Committee

Warren joined the Pinnacle Foundation in September 2016 as the Chair of the Scholarships Selection Committee. He is a long term employee of the Commonwealth Bank and currently is the Executive Manager Process Architecture.

As a founding member of the Commonwealth Bank’s LGBT+ & Allies Diversity & action group ‘Unity’ in 2012, Warren led the Events, Community & Sponsorship streams. He is no stranger to the Pinnacle Foundation, as one of his first objectives in Unity was to build partnerships with key organisations within the LGBT+ community – particularly with those aligned with education. This led to the landmark agreement between the Commonwealth Bank and the Pinnacle Foundation, whereby the Bank, as Principal Sponsors, provides for a number of annual scholarships with mentoring support provided by its staff.

“I am proud to have the opportunity to be part of an amazingly gifted and dedicated team that strives towards the betterment of the community as a whole, and help our LGBT+ youth achieve their potential.”

Joe Sbarro Chief Financial Officer

Joe joined the Pinnacle Foundation in December 2013 as the Chief Financial Officer. Currently he is the Chief Risk Officer at OFX and is based in Sydney. Prior to joining OFX,  Joe had a 10 year career at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia serving as the Head of the Risk Management Program Management Office and as the Executive Advisor to the Group Chief Risk Officer. He is also a US Certified Public Accountant.

Joe has had an international career, having held senior leadership positions in Hong Kong, London, New York, Tokyo, and for the past eleven years, Sydney. He has worked within Financial Services (Deutsche Bank) and at one of the top international Accounting Firms in Strategic Planning, Finance and Administration and Program Management.

Given his multi-cultural background and career, Joe sees the opportunity to work with the Pinnacle Foundation as a way to utilise and apply both his technical and soft skills to further enhance the Pinnacle Foundation and its scholars.

Andrew Cleary Public Affairs Officer

Andrew is a senior executive at Qantas Airways in Sydney, and has had a diverse career spanning law, media, financial markets and now aviation. Passionate about education and equal opportunity, Andrew brings media relations and issues management expertise to the Pinnacle Foundation. Before joining Qantas, Andrew was a senior reporter at the Australian Financial Review, with prior roles including at Bloomberg News and CNBC Europe.

Andrew Hoppe Chief Marketing Officer

Andrew has worked in Broadcast and Digital Media Strategy for the past 25 years, and has worked with some of the biggest brands including Viacom, MTV, Sony Music Entertainment, Austereo and Microsoft. Starting in television production, programming and audience strategy, he moved overseas to live in Hong Kong and New York, and has led the creative and programming teams in the launch of MTV Networks across the Asia Pacific Region.

Back in Australia, he took his international experience and drove the international marketing of Australian Artists overseas, including Tina Arena’s career in France, and Silverchair’s “Neon Ballroom” release globally. He was the Managing Director of Soundbuzz, a digital music company which built and provided music download, streaming and content services for Telstra, Optus, ninemsn, Yahoo and Nokia.

Returning overseas Andrew built and led Microsoft’s Online Publishing Division across the Asia Pacific Region, living in Singapore and Tokyo, and was part of the International Leadership team that managed the MSN service as well as content applications across all Microsoft devices.

He now consults and mentors media and technology companies, is an active lifesaver at Bondi Beach, a member of the Lifesavers With Pride committee, and is honoured to be able to contribute his expertise to help the Pinnacle Foundation grow and positively improve the lives of young LGBT+ in our society.

Timothy Stutt Company Secretary

Tim is a senior associate in Herbert Smith Freehills’ head office advisory team (HOAT), where he advises publicly listed companies on corporations law, governance, executive remuneration and shareholder engagement/activism matters.

Tim holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from Monash University in Melbourne. Tim has previously worked as a financial analyst at an investment manager based in the San Francisco Bay Area and, in 2010, was one of two Australians to receive a Young Leaders’ Program scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education. Tim is based in Sydney and lives on the lower north shore with his husband, Scott, and their poorly behaved frenchie.

Nicholas Steepe Scholar Advocate

Nicholas, 23, has grown up in regional Australia and currently lives in Bathurst. After coming to terms with his sexuality at a young age, Nic faced the difficulty of family, peer and societal rejection which took a significant toll on his mental health. Whilst studying a Bachelor of Social Work at Charles Sturt University in Dubbo, Nic secured a job with headspace Dubbo, and contributed significantly to the conversation around youth mental health, marriage equality, and inclusion for LGBTIQA+ individuals within the Central West. Nic was also the first in his immediate family to graduate University.

Nic is one of the key individuals responsible for the Central West Pride March, and is heavily involved in the Central West Rainbow Alliance, promoting inclusion and support for regional LGBTIQA+ individuals. After receiving a scholarship from the Pinnacle Foundation in 2015, Nic wanted to give back and agreed to take on the position of Scholar Advocate within the Pinnacle team during 2016.

After completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Project Management, Nic began working as a Project Manager, Equity & Diversity for Charles Sturt University at the start of 2018. In addition, Nic is currently enrolled in his Masters of Social Work (Advanced Practice, Research/Dissertation strand) which he is aiming to complete in 2019.

Martin Comans Chief Information Officer

Martin joined the Pinnacle team in 2012 after hearing about the wonderful progress of the foundation and offered some much needed technical oversight of our website and IT systems. We’re big on diversity so Martin is the first straight member of the Management Team!

An executive in the Federal Public Service Martin has a strong history with all things IT and has worked in both Australia and the developing countries of Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands delivering a range of ICT services professionally while volunteering in his spare time. Since returning to Australia Martin has established an IT consultancy www.Comans.com.au tailored specifically to not for profits and small businesses and was more than happy to become involved in supporting the foundation’s technical needs.

Martin has also had a long love affair in the community sector where he has 15 years experience in Disability support, is a regular volunteer for the Salvos and is also the CIO of Sailability ACT. “I can really see how one person can make such a difference to those who just need a little help”.

Martin is currently based in Canberra.