QCF Patron and Board of Governors

QCF Patron and Board of Governors 2017-12-13T10:24:30+00:00

PATRON – The Honourable Mike Ahern AO

The Honourable Mike Ahern AO is a former Queensland Premier and over time held the Ministries of Primary Industries, Industry and Technology, and Health and Environment.

Since retiring from politics, Mike has undertaken consulting work with technology companies. He is Chairman of the Australian Liver Foundation and Chairman of the consultative Committee of the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies.

Mike is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.  He is also a Fellow of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.


John Aitken

John Aitken is Managing Director of Inspiring Cities, specialising in economic development of globally competitive cities; inspiring precincts, destinations, tourism and major events. Since 1980 John founded many of Queensland’s major event traditions before overseeing the Sydney Royal Easter Show. During his tenure as CEO of Brisbane’s economic development organisation Brisbane Marketing (2008 – 2017), his team’s achievements included establishing ‘Brisbane Australia’s new world city’ positioning globally, delivering $4billion economic outcomes, creating Brisbane’s Digital Strategy including The Capital innovation hub and responsible for Brisbane’s G20 leveraging strategy. John is currently a board member of Tourism Transport Forum (TTF), Brisbane Urban Futures Board, Global Games Brisbane 2019 (for people with intellectual disabilities) and Redlands Economic Development Board.


Helen Besly

Helen Besly oversees the company-wide management of Rowland’s strategic offering, including the growth and management of the full breadth of their communication services. With more than 30 years’ experience in providing strategic council in communication, issues management and organisational change Helen is widely regarded as one of the leading minds in Australia’s communication industry. Noted by clients and associates for having an insightful and candid approach to business and communication challenges, Helen continues to be nvolved in client business and is a corporate coach to many of Australia’s senior business and community leaders. Her extensive experience spans the public, Government and private sectors including the utilities, energy and resources and education sectors, as well as pharmaceutical, healthcare and technology. An active member of the Queensland business community, among her many accolades Helen has won a Telstra Business Women’s Award, a Centenary Medal for her services to Australian society in business leadership and is also an Executive Advisor to QUT’s Executive MBA Program and is Queensland Chair and Council representative of Chief Executive Women. Helen joined Rowland in 1996, having previously been Vice President and Deputy Managing Director of Burson-Marsteller, Hong Kong.

Professor Peter Coaldrake AO

Professor Peter Coaldrake AO is completing his almost fifteen-year term as Vice-Chancellor and CEO of QUT at the end of December 2017. Peter is a dual Fulbright Scholar, and author or editor of a number of books and monographs, including most recently as co-author (with Dr Lawrence Stedman), of Raising the Stakes:  Gambling with the Future of Universities (UQP, April 2013; second edition 2016). Peter Coaldrake was recently appointed as Chair of the Board of the Queensland Performing Arts Trust. He is also Chair of the National Fulbright Selection Committee and of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. He served a two year term as Chair of the Board of Universities Australia until May 2011 and completed a further three year term as a member of that Board in May 2017. Peter Coaldrake was named this year as a recipient of a 2017 Queensland Great Award by the Premier, and was also awarded the 2016 Asia Pacific Leadership Award by the Council for Advancement of Support of Education (CASE).

The Honourable Leneen Forde AC

LLB Qld DipMed Tech Ottawa DUniv Griff DUniv QUT DLitt Qld DUniv ACU DUniv USC

Leneen Forde served as the first female Governor of the State of Queensland. She was world President of Zonta International and was the Founding President of Queensland Women Lawyers’ Association and Queensland Representative of the Australian Women Lawyers’ Forum. She also served as President of Scouts Australia and was awarded Queenslander of the Year in 1991.

She is Patron of Rosies, Karuna Hospice Service, National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame (Alice Springs), Alzheimer’s Association of Australia (Darling Downs and South West Inc) the Duchesne College Foundation and the Forde Foundation. She recently retired as Chancellor of Griffith University.

Damien Frawley

Damien was appointed Chief Executive Officer of QIC in 2012. With over 26 years’ experience in the financial services sector, Damien has a strong focus on developing and executing strategy, particularly around growth and sales. Before joining QIC, Damien was the country head of BlackRock Australia, responsible for managing $45 billion of assets on behalf of clients. Prior to this, Damien was BlackRock’s Head of Account Management, overseeing sales, marketing and product efforts across institutional and retail channels. Damien’s career has also included roles at Merrill Lynch Investment Management, Barclays Global Investors and Citibank. Damien is a Queenslander and prior to his career in financial services he represented Australia in rugby union.

Dr John de Groot


Dr John de Groot is a leading specialist in Wills and Estate Law and author of a number of definitive publications on the subject. These include Wills Probate & Administration Practice (Queensland) and Family Provision in Australia (an estate litigation text), of which he is co-author with Mr Bruce Nickel.

John is Chairman of the Queensland Law Society’s Succession Law Committee and of its Advisory Committee on Specialist Accreditation (Succession Law), Adjunct Professor at the T. C. Beirne School of Law at the University of Queensland and a regular presenter at seminars dealing with Succession Law issues.

The Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC (Chair)

Margaret McMurdo was President, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Queensland from 1998 until her resignation on 26 March 2017, an Assistant Public Defender from 1977 to 1989 and she practised at the Bar from 1989 until 1991 when she became the first woman and the youngest person to be appointed to the District Court of Queensland.

Margaret was awarded an honorary doctorate from Griffith University in 2001 and the Centenary Medal in 2003 and in 2006 she received the Agnes McWhinney award from the Queensland Law Society for outstanding professional contribution by a woman lawyer.  She was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2007 for service to the law and judicial administration in Queensland, particularly in areas of legal education and women’s issues.

In 2009, she received an honorary degree from the Queensland University of Technology and in 2012 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Queensland. Margaret was a founding committee member of the Women Lawyers’ Association of Queensland and its president in 1980-81.

She is a founding Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, a member of the American Law Institute, an adjunct professor at the T C Beirne school of law, University of Queensland, and the inaugural judge in residence at the law school of Southern Cross University.

Margaret is currently chair of the board of Legal Aid Queensland and patron of Women’s Legal Service, Caxton Legal Service, and LawRight’s Civil Justice Fund.

Dr Margaret Steinberg AM

PhD (Child Health and Education), MPhty (Research), BPhty (Hons), Dip Phty, University of Queensland

Dr Margaret Steinberg AM sits on a number of professional Tribunals and Boards.

A former Commissioner of the Criminal Justice (CJC) and Crime and Misconduct (CMC) Commissions and a Police Services Review Commissioner in Queensland, Margaret chaired the Audit Committees and Governance areas of both and took a strategic role in research and prevention activities.

She was formerly Assistant Commissioner (Community) of the Health Quality and Complaints Commission and Chair of its Consumer Advisory Committee; Deputy-President of the Guardianship and Administration Tribunal; and Research Professor in population health.

Margaret holds a PhD in Health and Education and has undertaken innovative work in complex contemporary matters including decision-making integrity, disability, HIV, telecommunications and population ageing at international and national levels, as a clinician, academic, public servant and community advocate.

Margaret Sugden


Margaret’s experience includes executive and senior management positions including Managing Director, General Manager and Senior Manager in the Funds Management, Print media, and both public and private companies. She has extensive experience in strategic and tactical planning, relationship and change management, advocacy and support, and direction of operations and marketing strategies and execution.

Margaret has a Masters of Applied Finance in addition to being an Associate Fellow with the Australian Institute of Management, Member of the Finance & Treasury Association, and Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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