Our Leadership Team

Page: Our Leadership Team

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Girls Academy employs approximately 150 staff in WA, NT, QLD and NSW. Our head office is located in Perth with 43 Academies around the country. We are proud to say that nearly 70 percent of our program staff – staff that work directly with girls in our program – are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Empowering girls and women at every level of our organisation is key to achieving our vision, “Courageous girls inspiring, leading and shaping Australia’s future”.

In addition to program staff, we have a diverse and talented team at our head office supporting the program. Our leadership team is provided below.

Leadership Team

Ricky has always believed in the power of education. Following a successful career as an Olympian and champion basketballer, he founded Girls Academy to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls graduate from school and move into meaningful pathways. Ricky holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science (Political Science) from the University of Oklahoma, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Notre Dame University in Western Australia. Ricky’s passion and dedication to the continued success of Girls Academy is felt at all levels of the organisation. He was nominated for Western Australian of the Year and awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2019 for significant services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Terry joined Girls Academy in 2009 and has played a substantial role in building the program to what it is today. Over the past 10 years he has led the program expansion from two Academies and 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls to 43 Academies and more than 3000 girls.  Terry manages program development, delivery and operations, and leads more than 150 staff across Australia. He has 40 years’ experience in education leadership roles, including principal, deputy principal and program coordinator in WA government schools. He also works as an educational consultant for Edith Cowan University, Department of Education WA and Catholic Education Western Australia.

Tracey is an experienced and commercially astute CPA qualified accountant with a strong focus on corporate and sustainable growth management. She has worked predominately in the not-for-profit sector holding management positions for more than 20 years. Tracey successfully graduated the AICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors) course and held chairperson and treasurer positions on the board of a not-for-profit health provider, Tracey has an excellent understanding of both the financial and non-financial requirements in making informed strategic decisions.

Warren has held leadership roles in local and national charities over a 20-year period. He  also worked with numerous organisations as a consultant before joining Girls Academy in 2018. As chief business officer, Warren oversees the private funding as well as the marketing and communications team.  He works closely with the executive team and board on Girls Academy’s strategy and organisational development. Warren is passionate about Girls Academy’s vision and purpose and is grateful for the opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Narelle is a proud Noongar woman from Perth and has a long professional association with Girls Academy. A former professional basketballer and coach, her journey with the organisation began in 2008 as a development officer. Today she is general manager of operations for Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Narelle has extensive experience in education, coaching, mentoring and leadership. As a teacher she has worked at Perth College and Clontarf Aboriginal College. Narelle is a great community role model and has been a motivational speaker and coach in First Nations youth programs for more than 25 years.

Renee, a Wulli Wulli woman with strong Wakka Wakka connections, has 20 years’ experience and a stellar reputation in education. She worked as a teacher at Urangan State High School in Hervey Bay before guiding Girls Academy’s successful Queensland expansion as regional manager. She has held diverse roles, including acting state manager for embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in schools (EATSIPS) and principal project officer of EATSIPS in Central and North Coast Queensland. In these roles Renee has been a strong advocate for improved educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. She is a fantastic asset to Girls Academy as general manager of operations for Queensland and New South Wales.

Pat brings more than 40 years’ education experience to the Girls Academy post school transition team. Before joining the organisation she worked in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions as a government school teacher and vocational education and training (VET) consultant specialising in career pathways and education. Pat has worked at school, district office and regional levels in Western Australia, and has extensive knowledge of post school operations, VET in schools, as well as university and employment opportunities. Pat leads a team of 12 and oversees the pathways component of our program to prepare Girls Academy graduates for post school success.

Aya Enjo has almost 20 years’ experience in human resources management, mostly in the not-for-profit sector. Her strengths include strategic planning, performance management, federal and state legislation compliance, industrial relations, work, health and safety, and organisational development. Aya joined Girls Academy in 2018 with her responsibilities later expanding to oversee information and communication technology, and administration as well. Aya balances big picture thinking with hands-on execution, combined with decisiveness and leadership to achieve business goals.

Liz James has over 20 years’ experience in finance and human resources roles with publicly listed companies, private groups and the not-for-profit sector. She joined Girls Academy in 2018 as financial controller and oversees the internal, external and statutory reporting requirements for the organisation. Her industry experience is primarily in the professional services, information technology and hospitality sectors. With daughters of her own, Liz believes that all girls should have access to a good education and be supported to realise their potential.

Tess Palmyre is a senior brand specialist with extensive experience and knowledge of the education sector. Her strengths lie in leadership, strategy, content, public speaking and digital marketing. She has 20 years’ experience in education and marketing, leaving an established teaching career to move into marketing. Tess has worked in the education, arts, health and not-for-profit sectors, on the agency and client side. Born in Seychelles and schooled in Australia, she is multilingual and has mixed Afro-Eurasian ethnicity. She joined Girls Academy in 2019 to support a cause that she fiercely believes in – empowering girls through education.

Michelle is a Banjima-Noongar woman and a recognised traditional owner in the Pilbara region. She mentors and leads 19 staff across seven Academies in Perth, and the South West and Goldfields regions of WA in her role as regional manager. Michelle has 25 years’ experience working in the Aboriginal government sector and believes connecting to culture has been integral to Girls Academy’s success. She has played a vital role in six years at Girls Academy, including securing initial funding for a holiday program following a speech at Parliament House. Michelle was vice captain of WA’s first Indigenous women’s cricket team to represent the state at Imparja Cup in Alice Springs.

Lateesha is a proud Woolwonga and Kukatj woman who is passionate about education and empowering future leaders. Lateesha joined Girls Academy in 2011 and has worked in most Northern Territory (NT) Academies with experience in all program roles from development officer to her current role as regional manager for the NT and Kimberley regions. Lateesha has a Bachelor of Education Studies and played a key role in the successful implementation of Taminmin Girls Academy. She is a natural and confident leader, who has gone from inspiring students to succeed, to now empowering Girls Academy staff within her region and beyond. Lateesha is a mother who comes from a large family. She has a Bachelor of Education Studies and has captained AFL teams at a local and a State/Territory level. She spends her weekends at her daughter’s ballet class, playing footy and fishing or camping.

Steph brings a wealth of experience in finance, business administration, coaching and professional sports to her role. She manages a team of 20 in seven WA Academies, overseeing operations, budgets and building relationships with families, schools and the wider community. Originally from the United States, Steph was a professional basketball player for more than 12 years and played all over the world. She holds a masters and two bachelor degrees, specialising in finance, business administration and entrepreneurship. Steph is highly motivated and driven to help change the world by empowering young women through education. She is part founder and coach of one of the most multicultural basketball clubs in Perth with more than 100 10 to 18-year-old athletes. She prefers her coffee strong and enjoys long walks on the beach with her dog Sniper.

Leica joined Girls Academy in 2017 as a development officer and has worked in various roles within the organisation. She is the acting regional manager for the Hunter New England, North Coast and Western Sydney regions in NSW. Leica is passionate about supporting and developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls to achieve their potential and become strong women who advocate for our communities in the future. She has a passion for team sports and is an active and respected member of the Tamworth community, having lived there for most of her life.

Jody is a proud Wiradjuri woman with strong family connections across Western NSW. Jody is the regional manager for Central West NSW and oversees academies in Dubbo, Orange, Narromine and Coonamble. She has worked across these locations for more than 20 years in a number of roles. Jody has a professional background in the community services sector and more recently in federal government, as senior advisor for National Indigenous Australians Agency. Jody is a strong and knowledgeable leader who is well-connected and respected in her community.

Angela has 35 years’ experience in primary and secondary state schools. She joined Girls Academy in 2017 as a program manager and is now responsible for nine Academies. Angela was recognised with an Australia Day award in 2011 for her contribution to Indigenous education. She is a mother of four, grandmother of 12 and an active member of her community. Angela has seen firsthand the struggles experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children as they navigate the education system. She has made it her life’s work to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families to have a voice and reinforce the message that education is the key to a brighter future.

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