Paul Zahra Chair
Paul Zahra is a board and company advisor and one of Australia’s most influential diversity advocates. A leading force in the Australian Retail Industry for over 35 years, Paul’s corporate roles have included CEO and Managing Director of David Jones Limited as well as senior leadership roles at Target Australia and Officeworks Superstores.
Paul currently works as an independent Global Retail Advisor where he is focused on helping Australian brands achieve omni-channel transformation and global expansion as well as assisting international retail brands entering the Australian marketplace.
Paul is also the Chair of PwC’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, providing leadership on the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy.
A powerful champion for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Paul has also led numerous high profile LGBT+ campaigns and initiatives.
Paul is also a Non-Executive Director of Nexba Beverages P/L and Aesthetics Australia P/L.
Paul is an alumni of Stanford University, CA.
Sean Linkson Co-Founder & Non-Executive Director
Sean is one of the three Co-founders of Pinnacle along with Philip Comans, his partner of 20+ years, and their long-term friend Paul Clark. Inspired by the Point Foundation in the US, Sean, Philip and Paul set up Pinnacle with pro bono help from Herbert Smith Freehills Lawyers and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Sydney-based, Sean is now a Non-Executive Board member of Pinnacle, after leading the management committee and volunteer team as CEO until July 2017 when he handed over the role to Janine Middleton.
Until July 2017, Sean was Managing Director at a large international Executive Search firm, Allegis Partners. Prior to joining the firm, he was Managing Director of A.T. Kearney Executive Search, spending nine years at the firm growing their Australian and New Zealand business. He commenced his search career with Australia’s largest human capital consulting company Morgan and Banks. In preceding years he worked for the Australian subsidiaries of international banks JP Morgan, Chase Manhattan and Lloyds. Prior to this, he spent nine years in project management with a leading Australian construction and engineering company.
Sean has a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Master of Commerce majoring in finance. Every day Sean sees the advantage of a good education. His passion is putting people into careers they love. Seeing people achieve their full potential is what inspires him and this was the inspiration for The Pinnacle Foundation. He wants to see every young LGBT+ person achieve their full potential and make a mark in the world.
Pippa Downes Non-Executive Director
Pippa is a respected Executive and Non-Executive director with over 25 years of distinguished career achievements in the international business and finance sector.
Her experience includes her recent roles as a Non-Executive Director of Infotrack Group Ltd. and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority. She is a Non-Executive Director of the ALE Property Group and the ASX Clearing and Settlement Companies. Previously, she was Managing Director and Partner of Goldman Sachs in Australia. She is a Non-Executive Director of the Pinnacle Foundation.
Before her most recent role as Managing Director & Equity Partner at Goldman Sachs in Australia, she was Director and Head of Equity Derivatives Trading at Deutsche Bank, Sydney. Prior to this, she was Executive Director and Head of Proprietary & Derivatives Trading at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong and Sydney. She has also been a Director of UBS, Sydney and began her career at O’Connor & Associates in San Francisco and Philadelphia.
She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Women Corporate Directors. She
was a member of the Goldman Sachs Diversity Council. In 2016, she was named as one of the AFR’s 100 Women Of In uence for her work in diversity.
Pippa graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a major in Finance and Accounting. She received her Masters of Applied Finance from Macquarie University in 1998. She has completed the AICD Directors and Board-Ready courses. Pippa has a passion for life
and her community. She was an dual international athlete having been a member Australian Swimming Team and represented Hong Kong at the International Rugby Sevens. She is a volunteer lifesaver for the Bronte Surf Life Saving Club and enjoys an active life with her two children, Matthew and Sophie.
Geoff Selig Non-Executive Director
Geoff is the Executive Chairman of ASX listed diversified marketing and print communications business IVE Group Ltd. He is a Director of the Selig family investment company Caxton Group and also sits on the board of The National Heart Foundation of Australia (NSW), The Lysicrates Foundation and The Pinnacle Foundation.
He was the State President of the NSW Liberal Party from 2005-8 and remains actively involved in the Party today.
As both a cornerstone and board member of The Pinnacle Foundation, Geoff is highly motivated to make a meaningful contribution as part of the team to providing disenfranchised youth in the LGBTI+ community with tangible support and encouragement at what is most often a seminal point in their lives. Seeing young people unlock their academic potential and the opportunity this presents is genuinely uplifting and rewarding.
Geoff holds a Bachelor of Economics majoring in accounting from Macquarie University. He lives in Sydney and has 3 daughters- Steph, Sarah and Amy.
Fran Kelly Non-Executive Director
Fran Kelly – the presenter of ABC’s Radio National Breakfast program — is one of Australia’s leading political interviewers and commentators and a key contributor to the nation’s political and social debates for the past 15 years.
In that time she’s been the ABC’s Europe Correspondent based in London, the political editor for The 7.30 Report and the political correspondent for the prestigious AM program.
Radio National Breakfast is Australia’s leading national morning current affairs radio show. Its daily agenda is a mix of national and international politics, current affairs and social issues – and it draws on the world’s leading commentators, players and thinkers. Its influence makes it required listening for opinion leaders across the country.
Claire Spencer Non-Executive Director
Claire was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Arts Centre Melbourne in November 2014. Since that time she has steered the organisation through a major restructure to ensure their role as a leader in Melbourne’s cultural precinct and a major contributor to Victoria’s creative economy.
Claire is a Member of Chief Executive Women – the pre-eminent organisation representing Australia’s most senior women leaders from the corporate, public service, academic and not-for-profit sectors – and is on the Executive Council of Live Performance Australia, the national peak body formed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Australian live performance industry.
Claire has worked in the not for profit sector for 14 years and has a particular passion for inclusion and the democratising of creative experience, regardless of background, geography or financial means. The transformative power of education is something that is of ongoing interest and the opportunity to open these opportunities up to young people in the LGBT+ community is what attracted Claire to the Pinnacle Foundation.
Claire lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children.
Tanya Matthewson Non-Executive Director
Tanya has been advising large corporate clients in Australia, Europe and the U.S.A over the past twelve years. She specialises in customer-centric strategy and translating strategy into successful implementation and effective change. Tanya was responsible for leading the Australian integration of Strategy& (formerly Booz&Co) which was successfully achieved within six months from commencement of planning. She is currently the Chief of Staff for PwC’s Consulting Business in Australia.
Prior to consulting, Tanya held senior management roles for British Telecom in the U.K. She played a significant role in the company’s global expansion plans by setting up new subsidiary businesses and international Joint Ventures in Europe, Asia and the U.S.
Tanya is passionate about values-led strategy and diversity and inclusion. She is the Victorian State Leader of GLEE (Gays, Lesbians and Everybody else), PwC’s employee-led LGBT+ network. Tanya has led a myriad of initiatives in this role, including playing an instrumental role supporting the Victorian Government to commence the Pride Centre initiative in Melbourne. She is regularly asked to speak on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion, has published a report on ‘LGBT+ Inclusion in the Workplace’ (May 2016) and personally delivering ‘Sticks & Stones’ LGBT+ inclusive language training to over 350 people within PwC.
Tanya is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and is also a Board Member for Melbourne based community radio station, JOY 94.9. Tanya joined the Pinnacle Board as a Non-Executive Director in September 2016.
Andrew Staite Non-Executive Director
Andrew is Chairman of executive search and outplacement firm, SHK. Andrew founded and led SHK as its Managing Director for almost ten years. Andrew remains actively involved at SHK, and conducts searches for senior executives.
Before founding SHK in 2007 Andrew was Managing Director of Hudson, then a $440 million revenue executive recruitment, human resource consulting and outsourcing firm employing 1,400 staff. Andrew was employed at Hudson (formerly Morgan & Banks and TMP Worldwide) for almost ten years.
Andrew has commentated widely in the areas of skills shortages, the ageing population and engaging high performers to remain with businesses. He has managed national recruitment businesses spanning all professional disciplines and led outplacement and human resources consulting teams and assignments.
Andrew brings a strong personal commitment to diversity and inclusion. He was a board member of Midsumma until February 2016. He was a National Judge of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards for many years.
Andrew holds Arts and Law degrees from the University of Melbourne. He lives with his partner in Melbourne.
Madeline Richardson Non-Executive Director
Madeline is a senior executive in the South Australian public service. She holds a Masters of Public Administration and Bachelor of Laws and is a leader in policy design, engagement and delivery.
As Chief Executive of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Consultation and Response Agency, Madeline and her team delivered the largest engagement program in South Australia’s history. Over 50,000 people had their say during the consultation with 17,000 face to face conversations and 135 events held. The Aboriginal engagement program was awarded the 2017 Project of the Year by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).
She now heads up the Delivery and Engagement Division in the Department of State Development where she provides pathways for industry and business to grow and thrive. This includes overseeing a pipeline of industry projects, best practice engagement and economic analysis.
Madeline has also held a wide range of senior leadership positions across the public sector, with experience in portfolios such as health, industrial relations and within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.
Madeline is passionate about delivering change and public value. When not at work, Madeline loves to tackle the hills of Adelaide on her road bike and spend time with her partner and their dogs.
Dr Craig White Non-Executive Director
Craig personally experienced the uplifting experience of education. As a teenager, growing up in a small country town, he was sure ‘there must be more to the world’. A scholarship was the beginning of the journey leading, many years later, to his involvement with the Pinnacle Foundation.
Going on to gain qualifications in medicine from The University of Melbourne and business management, specialising in leadership and organisational dynamics, from Swinburne University, Craig has had 30 years of senior roles in public hospital and health system leadership and management. He also participates on the boards of Family Planning Tasmania and OAK Possability,
Tasmania’s largest disability services provider.
Past roles have included Council membership of the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), membership of the inaugural Victorian Ministerial Advisory Council on LGBTI Health and leading the development of Australia’s first policy and decision-making framework for bloodspot screening of newborns.
The rest of time you will find Craig enjoying travel as well as life in Tasmania with his partner and various dogs, chooks, ducks, geese and miniature goats.
Brenda Appleton Non-Executive Director
Brenda retired in 2009 after 35 years working in the corporate sector and is now heavily involved volunteering with a wide range of community groups, including the LGBTI communities in Melbourne (for nearly 20 years).
She is the Chair of Transgender Victoria and is co-chair of LGBTI Taskforce set up by the Victorian Government. Brenda is also a member of the Victorian Elder Abuse Roundtable and was a member of the last Victorian Mental Health Expert Taskforce.
Brenda is passionate about using her lived experience in an effort to improve the health and wellbeing of trans and gender diverse people across Victoria. She was inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2017 and received a COTA Senior Achiever Award as part of the 2018 Victoria Seniors of the Year Awards.
Brenda was a graduate of the company directors course of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 2018.
“The opportunities provided by The Pinnacle Foundation can be significant for the future success of many young disadvantaged LGBTI people, and I look forward to being involved in this important work.”