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Our people

Board of Directors

Phil Cave AM - Chairman

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 thirty years’ experience 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, Dick Smith Electronics Limited and Bisalloy Steel Group and is currently Chairman of Excelsia College, GBST and on the Board of Scotts Refrigerated Logistics and Executive Chair 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 - CEO

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 is the Chair of WeFlex.

Andrew Billing

Andrew Billing has been Chief Executive of Tasmanian disability service, St.Giles since May 2019.
St.Giles has an annual turnover of close to $40million and employs 400 Tasmanians and provides allied health, assistive technology, support and independent living services to 6000 Tasmanians from modern campuses in Hobart, Launceston (head office) and Burnie

Mr Billing identified and implemented a successful restructure of the StGiles business model and organisational culture to accommodate the National Disability Insurance Scheme, while maintaining the organisation’s strong and trusted 85-year reputation.

He is passionate about social enterprise and collaboration with like-purpose organisations.

Mr Billing is a strong presence in the Tasmanian not-for-profit sector, having previously held the role of Chief Executive Officer with the Tasmanian NFP The O Group for 14 years. Prior to his role at StGiles Mr Billing was Interim General Manager – Mission and Strategy at Baptcare (aged care, housing and community services) Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Jo Jessop

Jo has been the Chief Executive Officer of Multicap since 2006, leading organisational renewal and transformational change including the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She has extensive senior management experience across a number of not-for-profit and commercial purpose-driven sectors.

She is a Director of both the Brisbane South Primary Health Network and National Disability Services. Jo is passionate about providing high-quality human services outcomes and improved opportunities for vulnerable people, especially those living with disability.

Jacquie Thomson

Jacquie joined Ability WA as Chief Executive Officer in September 2018. She has held a wide range of senior strategic leadership roles for the past two decades at Lotterywest. She is committed to the not for profit sector and developing our community as one that is inclusive, strong and socially rich.

Jacquie holds a Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) from Curtin University, a Graduate Certificate in Management from Deakin University and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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.

Geoff Lovell

Geoff Lovell has more than 25 years of experience in the corporate and for-purpose sectors, across real estate, investment management, banking, risk management, corporate governance, education and Indigenous Australia.

Geoff is currently a Director of Sydney Community Housing Ltd, a senior executive with Citta Property Group and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Previously, Geoff has held senior executive roles at Lend Lease (1997-2001) and at Macquarie Group (2001-2015), where he was Chief Executive Officer of ASX-listed Macquarie ProLogis Trust and Head of Commercial Property Lending. In addition, Geoff has had extensive voluntary involvements in for-purpose enterprises, including as: Chairman of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), Chairman of the Investment Committee of the Indigenous Real Estate Investment Trust (I-REIT), Chairman of the Council of St Paul’s College, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore), and a member of the Investment Committee of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC).

Geoff holds first class honours degrees from the University of Sydney (in Civil Engineering) and the University of Oxford (in Philosophy, Politics and Economics), where he was the inaugural Bradman Scholar.

Ability First Australia Executive Committee

Andrew Rowley – Ability First Australia
Jacquie Thomson – Ability WA
Cheryl De Zilwa – annecto
Sonya Furey (Interim CEO) – CARA
Rhys Kennedy – CPL
Matt Kinnane – Cootharinga North Queensland
Natalie Forsyth-Stock – LiveBetter
Joanne Jessop – Multicap
Kerrie Mahon – Montrose
Liz Forsyth – Northcott
Greg Ward – Novita
Michael Tait – Rocky Bay
Kate MacRae – Scope
Andrew Billing – St. Giles

Ability First Australia Team

Andrew Rowley – CEO and Managing Director
Jennifer Luff – Chief Operating Officer

Michael Bink – National Program Manager
Simone Power – Development Manager
Jessica Hempton – Government Relations and Communications Manager
Sarah Kannis – Executive Assistant to CEO
Deborah Hoffman – YPIRAC Program Director