The Board

Phil Cave AM - Chairman

Phil Cave

Phillip is a merchant banker, beginning his career as an Executive Director of Macquarie Bank Limited. He is an accomplished Chief Executive Officer, Director, Chairman, and Board Member and has over twenty five years with a proven track record in major corporate turnaround projects, structured finance and corporate advisory services within Australasia. Companies that Phillip has been a major shareholder in and either a Director or Chairman of include: Parbury Limited, Wormald, Sunbeam-Victa and Hygienic Lily.  He was formerly Chairman of Golden Circle and Dick Smith Electronics Limited and is currently Chairman of The Wesley Institute, Leading the Way and Chairman and Founding Partner of Anchorage Capital Partners.

He has been involved in Disability Services for over 30 years and was Chairman of Northcott Disability Services for seven years. He has participated in 25 Variety ‘bashes’ and in 2006 was admitted into the Hall of Fame of Variety, for the Children’s Charity. In 2007 Phillip was awarded by the Australian Government, a Member of the Order of Australia (A.M.) for service to the community, particularly through the provision of support services to Children and Young Adults with Disabilities and to business as a Company Director.


Andrew Rowley – Managing Director & CEO

Andrew Rowley

Andrew joined Ability first Australia as Managing Director in 2012. Andrew comes with over 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit, education and commercial sector. He has extensive experience in strategy and establishing and securing revenue streams. While being passionate about helping those less fortunate, he is focused on ensuring accountability and outcomes whilst maintaining core values and mission. Under Andrew’s leadership, Ability First Australia (AFA) has established itself as the only strategic alliance in the disability industry.  AFA is playing a critical role in supporting 14 large service providers transition into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), one of Australia’s largest social reforms since the introduction of Medicare in the 1980s.  Andrew is a fellow of ADAPE Australia, a member of the CEO Circle and serves on the Board of Rowing Australia.




Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald

Jenny Fitzgerald

Jennifer became the Chief Executive Officer of Scope in January 2012. Jennifer’s value-driven approach has led her to work in the disability, health, aged care and community sectors for more than 30 years.  Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Sciences (Physiotherapy), Graduate Diploma of Physiotherapy (Neurology), a Masters in Business Administration and a Doctor of Physiotherapy.  She is a Director of National Disability Services, Ability First Australia and Ability Roundtable.  Jennifer is also a member of the Victorian Ministerial National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Implementation Taskforce.  In 2016, she was named Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year.




Kerry Stubbs

Kerry Stubbs

Kerry is the Managing Director and CEO of Northcott. She is a Director of The SpineCare Foundation Ltd, the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, Northcott Innovation Ltd and AsOne Therapy Ltd. Kerry is also the Chair of the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd and a Member of the Finance and Investment Committee for the University of Western Sydney Board of Trustees and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In 2007, Kerry was named NSW IBM Community and Government Award winner in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.




Prof. Ron McCallum - AO

 Web _Prof _Ron _Mc Callum _0192

Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum AO taught at Monash University for eighteen years before moving to Sydney in 1993 where he was appointed to a full professorship at the University of Sydney. Blind since his birth, this appointment made Ron the first totally blind person to be appointed to a full professorship at any Australian or New Zealand university.

In 2008, Professor McCallum was nominated by the Australian government to stand as an independent expert for the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He served as an inaugural member, then Chair and concluded his mandate as Vice-Chair of the Committee at the end of 2014.

Professor McCallum was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2006 and in January 2011, Prime Minister Julia Gillard designated him as the Senior Australian of the Year for 2011.

Professor McCallum is currently a director of the Board of Vision Australia and continues to hold various board positions and government appointments.


Michael Tait

Michael TaitMichael has spent over 28 years in senior management positions within the health, hospitality, property development and disability sectors. During this time he has operated in Polynesia, Indonesia, Australia, UK and Europe for both national and internationally based organisations.

Michael is Chief Executive Officer of Rocky Bay, a leading disability services provider in Western Australia with a proud 80 year history. Employing 700 staff and volunteers, Rocky Bay provides a range of services and support to over 3000 children and adults (and their families) living with disability. Services are offered to individuals and families within the home and in the community, focusing on individual needs and supporting families and primary carers and include accommodation, respite, employment, therapy services and a range of assistive technology options.

Since joining Rocky Bay in 2006, Michael has been actively involved in the sector with representation on several Boards, committees and project groups. Michael was Deputy-Chair for the WA branch of National Disability Services (NDS), the Peak Body for Disability Services in WA for seven years; a member of the NDS governance and workforce planning subcommittees; Chairing the WA Children and Youth committee whilst sitting on the national committee for children and youth; a member of the DSC CEO Round Table; a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) health forum; and involved in the Premier’s Community Sector Reform.

Michael is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Directors and the Australian Institute of Management; holds tertiary qualifications in business and a Masters in Business Administration.


Guy Cowan

Guy Cowan has been a non-executive Director for the past 9 years. He is currently Chairman of Queensland Sugar Limited and a Director of Santos Ltd. He is also a Director of two private companies. Previously he was a Director of Coffey International and Ludowici Limited. He was a Shell appointed alternative director of Woodside between 1992 and 1995. Guy had a 23 year career with Shell International in various senior Commercial and Financial roles. His last two roles were as CFO and Director of Shell Oil US and CFO of Shell Nigeria.Guy was CFO of Fonterra Co-operative Ltd between 2005 and 2009. He holds a BSc ( Hons ) Engineering from the University of Sussex and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.


Julie White

Julie White has over 35years experience in both not-for-profit and corporate sectors. She is currently Chair of Reach Out; Chair of Hamlin Fistula (Ethiopia) Australia; Founding board member of Women’s Community Shelters; Founding member the advisory board of HealthIndustries SA; Member of the Centre for Social Impact Advisory Council and a member of Chief Executive Women and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  Alongside her non-executive roles Julie is a strategic adviser on social investment and staff community engagement to business and to not-for-profits in strategic planning, corporate governance and corporate and community engagement.  She also provides professional mentoring to CEO’s and leadership teams of not for profits.

From September 2012 through to April 2014, Julie was inaugural CEO of Chief Executive Women.

Prior to this role, Julie was global head of the Macquarie Group Foundation for just under 12years, where she oversaw the growth of the Foundation to become one of Australia’s leading corporate foundations, whilst building its international presence.

Julie was named as one of the Australian Financial Review BOSS Magazine’s True Leaders in 2008 and was named in January 2009, by ABC Limelight magazine, as one of the top smart arts 09 executives.  Julie was also named as a finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards for 2009.

Previously, Julie has worked as a community social worker in local government in Australia and overseas, established state-wide community legal education programs for the NSW Government, and has worked in educational development and fundraising.



Ability First Australia Executive Committee

    • Andrew Rowley – Ability First Australia
    • Jacquie Thomson – Ability Centre
    • Estelle Fyfe – annecto 
    • Liz Cohen - CARA
    • Rhys Kennedy – CPL
    • Mandy MacDonald (Acting CEO) – Cootharinga North Queensland
    • Joanne Jessop - Multicap
    • Peter Stewart - Montrose
    • Kerry Stubbs – Northcott
    • Greg Ward – Novita
    • Michael Tait – Rocky Bay
    • Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald – Scope 
    • Ian Wright – St Giles

Ability First Australia Team

  • Andrew Rowley - CEO and Managing Director
  • Michael Bink - National Program Manager
  • Jessica Hempton - Communications Manager
  • Sarah Kannis  - Personal Assistant to CEO