CATHY FREEMAN OAM | Founder and Director
From the youngest age, Cathy Freeman knew that the rights and prosperity of young people was something she was passionate about. Throughout her athletics career, Cathy was humbled by her interactions with children and understood that by sharing her life story, passions and determination she could have a positive influence on their lives. "The school environment is where it starts" Cathy says. "The expectations should be the same for everyone inside a classroom. When kids walk into that room each day, they need to know that their dreams are as important, real and achievable as the person sitting next to them."
From the very beginning, Cathy wanted the Cathy Freeman Foundation to be a driving force in supporting Indigenous children discover their potential through structured school classroom pathways.
PROFESSOR GREGORY PHILLIPS | Chair
Gregory Phillips is from the Waanyi and Jaru Aboriginal Australian peoples, and comes from Cloncurry and Mount Isa.
He is a medical anthropologist, with twenty-five years’ experience in leading change.
He developed an accredited Indigenous health curriculum for all medical schools in Australia and New Zealand, founded the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) Network, and co-wrote a national Indigenous health workforce strategy. He established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation Ltd in the wake of the federal apology to Indigenous Australians, has advised federal ministers on Indigenous health inequality, and was honoured in 2011 with an ADC Australian Leadership Forum Award.
Gregory has a PhD in psychology (‘Dancing With Power: Aboriginal Health, Cultural Safety and Medical Education’), a research master’s degree in medical science (‘Addictions and Healing in Aboriginal Country’; published as a book in 2003), and a bachelor degree in arts (Aboriginal Studies and Government majors).
Gregory is Chief Executive Officer of ABSTARR Consulting, is an Associate Professor of Aboriginal Health, and serves on several boards and committees, including Bangarra Dance Theatre and chairing AHPRA and the Australian Medical Council’s Indigenous health strategy groups.
DR ODETTE BEST
Odette Best is a Wakgun clan member of the Gurreng Gurreng Nation (maternal grandmother), Boonthamurra Nation (maternal grandfather) and holds adoption ties to the Koomumberri Yugambeh peoples (father). Odette has deep family connections to both Woorabinda and the Gold Coast areas.
As a hospital trained registered nurse for over 30 years she further holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences, Master of Philosophy and a PhD. Odette has worked extensively in Women's Prisons and Aboriginal Medical Services within Queensland. She is passionate about Indigenous Australians accessing and excelling at education. Currently Odette is Professor of Nursing at the University of Southern Queensland, Ipswich Campus.
Don worked with Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton for 35 years and spent the majority of this time in overseas postings including the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, India and the UK. During his career Don sought to combine business objectives with sustainable programs for local Indigenous people.
Campbell was, until December 31, 2018, Managing Director of Credit Suisse, and Vice Chairman of Investment Banking in Australia, based in Sydney.
Campbell commenced his career in investment banking at a New Zealand investment bank acquired by Credit Suisse. Campbell has been working in investment banking for over 30 years and has significant experience in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and capital markets in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Campbell is currently a Senior Advisor at Credit Suisse in the Private Bank.
Campbell is also a Board member of the Weona School Foundation. Campbell is a chartered accountant and has a BCA Degree (with First Class Honours in Accounting) from Victoria University in Wellington. He is a member of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Accountants and was formerly a member of the New Zealand Stock Exchange.
Richard is a Partner at Melbourne based Jeffrey Thomas & Partners, Chartered Accountants and is actively involved with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. Richard has been Treasurer of the Cathy Freeman Foundation since inception. Richard is inspired by the success of the Foundation to date and is determined, now more than ever, to ensure sustainable funding models for long term delivery of the Foundation’s programs and organisational growth.
Nazareth Youngblutt is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman and teacher who has worked in the education system on Palm Island for over 35 years. Nazi completed her Bachelor of Education with the Australian Catholic University in 2015 and her experience with the Cathy Freeman Foundation started as a volunteer ten years ago when the Foundation was first established on the island. Nazi understands the challenges faced by families living in remote communities. She has been involved in all sides of the education system, was one of the Foundation’s first full time employees and over the years has worked in various roles including Community Liaison Officer and Early Learning Program Coordinator. Nazi says, “Working with the families in the community really opened my eyes to see the other side. There are parents and kids struggling and I want those kids to experience the same as what every other child in Australia experiences."