Our Board

Our Board are responsible for the governance and stewardship of the organisation in Australia. Each Board member brings a diverse range of skills, expertise and experience to their role, and meet regularly throughout the year.

Meet our Board

Sally Bateman was appointed CEO of Make-A-Wish Australia in 2018. She brings to this role more than 20 years’ experience in multinational publishing companies, online retail and the not for profit sector where she’s held both Senior Executive and Non-Executive Director positions.

Prior to joining Make-A-Wish, Sally was the Asia Pacific Director of Digital & Marketing at global publisher Penguin Random House, leading their digital transition and award-winning marketing initiatives.

Sally is Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors course, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in (Public Relations).

Stephen has a long history with Make-A-Wish Australia, having originally joined the Board in 1997 and acting as Chairman from 2009 to 2014, before being re-appointed to Chair in May 2016.

Stephen is a senior Banking and Finance and Property and Development Partner with Arnold Bloch Leibler, and has consistently been ranked a leader in his field in a prominent international guides such as The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Chambers Global and IFLR 1000.

Russell is company director and has previously held senior executive roles at Wolters Kluwer, IBM, Hyperion Solutions and Veda Advantage.

He brings his significant experience in the digital, enterprise software and business information industries to Make-A-Wish.

Hitesh joined the Make-A-Wish Board in 2017 and has been Treasurer since 2018. An American-turned-Aussie citizen, he brings considerable global experience having worked with Johnson & Johnson since 1989 across senior roles in marketing, finance and compliance.

Hitesh also has former board experience, volunteering on the Board of Trustees for Anderson House in the United States.

Hitesh is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and also holds an MBA (Prof. Accounting).

Amanda French joined the Hobart branch of Make-A-Wish in 2014 and has held a several office bearer roles in that time including Secretary, Public Relations Officer, Vice President and President.

Amanda has a career in the not-for-profit sector, with experience in business development, project management, fundraising and stakeholder relations. She is the Chair of a start-up charity in Tasmania called Dress for Success and has held a number of other board positions in the not for profit sector.

Amanda is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Fundraising Institute of Australia and has a Masters degree in Criminology and Corrections.

Russell first volunteered for Make-A-Wish in 2007 and has held a number of office bearer roles, including President, in our Sydney South Branch. He is widely known and respected, also serving on our national President's Representative Committee (PRC).

Russell has also been a standout volunteer, helping to introduce the Wish Journey using his real-life experiences to train, coach and mentor other volunteers.

Russell’s professional career brings more than 35 years’ experience spanning roles in sales, marketing and management, which he draws on to bring great insight and wisdom to Board and Finance Committee discussions. Russell is also Area Chair for the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal.

Melinda is CEO of Leo Burnett, one of the most successful and awarded agencies in Australia. She was also one of the first women appointed to The Communications Council where she advocates for diversity and professional development.

Melinda has served on various industry bodies, advisory councils and not-for-profit boards, and in addition to her current roles with Leo Burnett and Make-A-Wish, she is a director of Wesley College.

John joined our Board in 2018, bringing more than 30 years’ experience in various financial and commercial roles. His most recent executive appointment was as Chief Financial Officer at SEEK Limited, where he focused on SEEK’s Asian operations and investments, and prior to this he held management roles at Carlton & United Breweries and Ernst & Young.

In addition to his Make-A-Wish commitments, John is currently a Non-Executive Director of Blackmores and Lovisa Holdings, and sits on a number of private company advisory boards.

Make-A-Wish was thrilled to welcome Margaret to the Board in 2018. An experienced medical practitioner, Margaret brings a wealth of medical expertise from her work with critically ill children around Australia and the UK.

Even before officially joining the team, Margaret was a passionate advocate for Make-A-Wish after experiencing firsthand the impact wishes have on patients and families in her practice. She is currently a Paediatric Oncologist based at Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane.

David has been a volunteer at Make a Wish since 2011 having served on the board from 2011 to 2017, including two years at chair. He is currently on the Finance and Audit Committee.

David has extensive experience in retail, finance and investment as a Director of a number of renowned Australian fashion brands over 20 years. David was Chief Executive Officer and shareholder in the iconic luxury fashion brand sass & bide from 2008 to 2014 before selling the business to Myer.

Prior to that, he was Managing Director and shareholder in leading accessories retailer Mimco from 1999 until its sale to Gresham Private Equity in 2007. In February 2014, David became a shareholder in and Director of M.J. Bale, one of Australia’s leading designer menswear brands. In 2014 David founded Briskin Investments and Advisory which provides strategic advice to a number of domestic and international brands.

David is Chairman at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival and has been a member of the board since 2012.

I’ve always had an affinity with Make-A-Wish… being a father has only increased this connection. While we can't change the diagnosis, we can make a difference, helping wish children face immense challenges with greater positivity. My only wish is that we could help more children in a time of real need.

John Armstrong, Board Member

My favourite wish to date is Andrea's - she wanted to have her art exhibited, and became the youngest artist to ever exhibit at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art in the process. From where her wish started to where it ended was an amazing, joyful journey...

Russell Smith, Volunteer Representative

Wish children whose images feature on this page:

Archie, 6, congenital heart disease - I wish to be captain of the Australian Cricket Team.