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CHOICE Board

The Board has nine Directors elected by the voting membership. These Directors are elected to three-year terms, with three of the seats open for contest each year. In addition to these elected Directors, the Board can co-opt up to three additional Directors.

CHOICE is committed to ensuring that the Board has the right mix of skills to guide the organisation on behalf of voting members. Each year, the Board identifies the skills it believes are required, so that these can be used as a guide for voting members in the election of Directors.

As well as meeting the skills identified by the Board, Directors must be free from conflicts of interest, to ensure the organisation's continued independence from industry, business or government interests.

The Board Charter explains how the Board goes about its role as defined in the constitution.

  • Anita Tang

    Anita Tang Chair

    Anita has a strong background in public policy reform and community organising, having spent 12 years with the Cancer Council where she led the transformation of its advocacy work. She now holds the position of Community Organising Director at Centre for Australian Progress, building capacity of civil society, following five years running her own advocacy and campaigning consultancy working with a range of NGOs to bring about social change. Anita has also held senior roles in policy and advocacy at the Community Services Commissions and the Social Issues Committee of the NSW Legislative Council. She has completed the Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change program through Harvard University, as well as the Stanford Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders. Anita has served on the Boards of the Council for Intellectual Disability NSW, the Intellectual Disability Rights Service and the Centre for Australian Progress. She is currently Chair of the Board of Democracy in Colour, a racial justice campaigning organisation.

    She is a long-standing member of CHOICE and while at the Cancer Council led a number of collaborative projects with CHOICE, including campaigns against junk food advertising to children and the regulation and eventual ban of commercial solariums.

    Anita joined the Board in March 2017 and was appointed Chair in Nov 2020. She is a member of the Commercial Sustainability Committee and Impact and Engagement Committee.

  • Robert Southerton

    Robert Southerton Deputy Chair

    Robert is an experienced professional in marketing, digital, analytics and statistics. He has a broad range of experience across IT, telecommunications, finance and biotechnology industries, having worked for companies including BT Financial Group, ING Direct and Unwired. He has a strong interest in data-driven decision making, and holds qualifications in statistics and operations research. He also holds a Foundations of Directorship qualification from the AICD, gained in 2015. 

    Robert is currently the Managing Director and co-founder of Gondwana Genomics, an Australian biotechnology start-up exporting genetic technology developed in Eucalyptus.

    He joined the CHOICE Board in September 2014, and was elected Deputy Chair in 2020. He is Chair of the Governance and Culture Committee and is a member of the Finance, Risk & Audit Committee.

  • Samantha Challinor

    Samantha Challinor

    Samantha is a non-executive director, and has more than 20 years' experience in senior accounting, leadership and management roles. Samantha is adept at bringing financial, information technology and risk management oversight and governance to organisations through expertise gained in government, non-government, and multi-national corporate sectors.

    Samantha is a non-executive director and transformation committee chair with RSL LifeCare, a non-executive director and finance audit and risk committee chair with Sydney North Health Network, and an independent finance audit and risk committee member with the Australian Dental Council.

    Samantha's executive career included interim CEO at Arthritis NSW, director corporate services at Agency for Clinical Innovation (NSW Health), deputy CEO at Sydney North Shore and Beaches Medicare Local, and chief accountant at Lexmark International (Australia).

    Samantha's areas of interest are in primary health, ageing and consumer advocacy. Samantha joined the CHOICE Board in November 2020.

  • Nic Cola

    Nic Cola

    Nic Cola is currently a director at Satinay Partners, a consulting and advisory firm focused on advising media, market places, education and digital businesses. He also acts as Advisory Chair at Ford Peterson, a recruitment company focused on accounting and professional services, and Advisory Chair of Picaluna, a disruptor in the funeral industry.

    Nic has over 22 years of general management and CEO experience in high growth, sales and marketing-led organisations, with expertise in delivering revenue and share growth across a diverse range of business models in traditional and digital media, education, and e-commerce. His key strengths are strategy, mergers and acquisitions, operations, digital transformation and change management. His roles have included CEO of Open Colleges and CEO of Marketplaces at Fairfax Media where he was one of the founding executives of Fairfax Digital.

    He was active in building the digital industry in Australia having been on the board of the Australian Interactive Multimedia Industry association (AIMIA) for several years as well as serving as Chairman of the Australian Internet Advertising Bureau.

    Nic has a Bachelor of Business from UTS and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors course. He joined the CHOICE Board in November 2019 and is a member of the Commercial Sustainability Committee.

  • Kat George

    Kat George

    Kat has extensive experience in consumer policy and human rights, and is currently project lead on vulnerability policy and research at the Essential Services Commission. Kat is interested in systems-thinking to drive economic and social inclusion, and the intersection between consumer wellbeing, human rights, and emerging technology.

    Currently, Kat is a director on the Board of Hope Street Youth and Family Services, a specialist youth homelessness service operating in the northern and western regions of Melbourne, and the chair of Hope Street's Millennial Advisory Group. Kat is also a member of Liberty Victoria's Policy Committee. Kat's previous experience includes more than seven years as a consultant in global media and communications. She has also managed humanitarian aid projects and fundraising through field work in Greece at the height of the Syrian refugee crisis.

    Kat holds a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Arts (Media & Communications) and Master of Laws. Through her Masters research, Kat explored human-rights-based approaches to regulation of essential services, data, competition and new technology, including artificial intelligence and the implications of the Consumer Data Right.

    Kat was elected to the CHOICE Board in November 2020.

  • Fiona Guthrie AM

    Fiona Guthrie AM

    Fiona has over 30 years' experience in consumer advocacy, including a number of years on the executive of the Consumers Federation of Australia. Her main interest has been in advocating for people on low incomes or in vulnerable circumstances to get a fair go, particularly in the financial services marketplace.

    Fiona has been the CEO of Financial Counselling Australia, the peak body for financial counsellors, for more than a decade. She has held directorships on Energex Retail Pty Ltd, the Insurance Ombudsman Service and the Financial Ombudsman Service, and was previously chair of ASIC's Consumer Advisory Panel. Fiona is currently a member of the ACCC’s Consumer Consultative Committee and a member of the boards of Way Forward Debt Solutions and the Queensland Competition Authority. Fiona holds a BA, LLB and MBA and was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2017 for her work in social welfare and financial counselling.

    She joined the Board in November 2015 and is a member of the Finance, Risk & Audit Committee and the Investment Committee.

  • Fiona Jolly

    Fiona Jolly

    Fiona is a seasoned non-executive director and experienced chief executive officer.

    Fiona's career spans significant work on regulation reform with both the government and private sector. Spending nearly 10 years with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), she worked on legal issues and regulation changes around food labelling, food composition and food hygiene, and worked closely with consumer and industry organisations and with state and territory Governments. 

    Most recently, Fiona has been CEO of Ad Standards, the Australian advertising self-regulation body. As CEO of more than 14 years, Fiona worked to improve advertising standards and was instrumental in the setting up of the International Council for Advertising Standards. Fiona implemented significant reforms to the self-regulation system and to various industry codes regulating advertising content. 

    Fiona has been a member of CHOICE for nearly 30 years, and is a qualified legal practitioner and a graduate of the AICD. Fiona is a member of the Cricket ACT and Daramalan College Boards in the ACT. She is a community member of the ACT Radiation Council and an elected councillor of HCF. Fiona has previously served as president of the YWCA of Australia and the chair of Australian Business Volunteers.

    Fiona was elected to the CHOICE Board in November 2020.

  • Alexandra Kelly

    Alexandra Kelly

    Alexandra is Director of Casework at the Financial Rights Legal Centre, which operates the National Debt Helpline in NSW, Mob Strong Debt Help and the Insurance Law Service. She is a member of the Law Council's Australian Consumer Law Committee and is the consumer representative on the Life Insurance Code Compliance Committee. She served on the Board of the Financial Counsellors of NSW from 2009 to 2012.

    Alexandra has considerable experience developing consumer rights in the financial services sector through lobbying, working with regulators and government, and raising public awareness of issues in the media and through online financial literacy campaigns. She brings to the CHOICE Board high-level legal expertise, extensive sectoral knowledge, and understanding of social enterprises.

    Alexandra holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) / Bachelor of Psychology and Master of Laws. She was appointed to the Board in 2017 and is a member of the Governance and Culture Committee and Impact and Engagement Committee.

  • Ben Naparstek

    Ben Naparstek

    Ben has almost a decade's experience managing cross-functional teams across content, marketing and emerging technologies.

    He's headed up online services at SBS and served as the digital director of communications marketing firm Edelman, leading the Australian office's team of videographers, designers, UX experts, social curators, paid media specialists, programmers and producers.

    Ben has served as editor-in-chief of Fairfax Media's Good Weekend magazine and national current affairs magazine The Monthly

    Currently, Ben is Head of Content for Audible Australia, overseeing all content for the local arm of the world's largest seller and producer of spoken word entertainment.

    Ben was formerly a non-executive director of Yourtown, provider of services to disadvantaged young people including Kids Helpline. Ben was appointed to the CHOICE Board in October 2018 and is a member of the Governance and Culture Committee and Impact and Engagement Committee.

Members and the Board

Join the Board

Each year, voting members are invited to nominate as a Director of the Board. The Board sets the nomination requirements, which usually include:

  • a nomination form that sets out the candidate's suitability for the role, signed by two other voting members
  • a 200-word candidate statement
  • a declaration of interests.

Candidates are considered by a Nominations Committee, which makes recommendations to the Board about information to be provided to voting members as part of the election process.

All voting members receive information on candidates and are able to vote online or request a paper ballot. The results are declared at the AGM in November of each year.

Become a voting member

Voting members are the custodians of the organisation whose role is similar to shareholders in a for-profit company. Voting members are consulted about any major changes to governance or strategy. They can vote in Board elections and on any changes to the organisation's constitution.

All voting members are invited to the Annual General Meeting in November, and can attend in person or via webcast. This includes and opportunity to put questions to the Chair, Directors and CEO.

Voting members also receive a short email briefing from the Chair after each Board meeting.

Eligibility

Anyone who is a member of CHOICE can apply to become a voting member.

There is no fee for voting membership but you must keep your CHOICE membership up to date.

Corporate or organisational CHOICE subscribers are not eligible to become voting members.

Applications for voting membership are reviewed by the CHOICE Board, which considers a range of factors including potential conflicts of interest. Applicants are informed of the Board's decision by email.

Download a voting member application form.