Board & Executive Team / About

We are directed by some of the country’s most talented creatives, lawyers, accountants, business leaders, fundraisers, educators and not-for-profit administrators.

What draws them together is the vision that they can be an instrument of change and help brighten the future of Australia’s most disadvantage children, through the work of The Song Room.

Alice Gerlach – Chief Executive Officer

Since joining The Song Room in 2015, Alice Gerlach has been committed to furthering The Song Room’s opportunities, drawing on her extensive experience in the social purpose and arts sectors to lead revenue raising and growth of The Song Room’s profile. She has played a critical role in developing the organisation’s current strategic approach to Arts Learning. Alice has demonstrated impact in organisational change and in the strategic development of innovative approaches to sustainable, impactful educational change through the Arts.

Over 20 years Alice has led development and marketing programs for some of Australia’s leading arts organisations including the Australian Ballet, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, and Back to Back Theatre. Alice holds a Bachelor of Marketing and Communications and a Bachelor of Design (Ceramics) from the University of South Australia, and was formerly a Non-Executive Director at Express Media.


Anthony Mackay AM – Chair

Anthony Mackay AM is the CEO / President of the Washington DC based National Center on Education and the Economy. He recently completed his time as CEO of the Centre for Strategic Education (CSE), Melbourne, Australia at the end of 2018 and remains Consultant Advisor for CSE.

Anthony is Chair of the Australian Council for Educational Research, Deputy Chancellor Swinburne University (Melbourne), Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education, and Deputy Chair of New Zealand’s Education Council.

He is an expert consultant to OECD and Senior Fellow IBE UNESCO, Council Member of the Center for Global Education, Consultant Advisor to Asia Society’s Global Cities Education Network, Co-Chair Global Education Leaders Partnership, Board Director of the Innovation Unit UK, International Advisor to Learning Forward (USA), Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK), International Advisor to Learning Forward (USA) and Advisory Board Member New York Academy of Sciences.

Anthony is moderator of the annual International Summit on the Teaching Profession and the Annual Global Education Industry Summit and debates at the World Innovation Summit for Education. He was Inaugural Deputy Chair of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. Anthony is also a Past President of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement.


Kerry Willcock – Deputy Chair

Kerry Willcock is the former Executive General Manager, Corporate, Legal and Regulatory, and Company Secretary of Tabcorp Holdings Limited, a top 100 ASX-listed company and a world leader in responsible gambling practices. Kerry was responsible for all legal and regulatory matters for Tabcorp, as well as government and shareholder relations, external and employee communications and responsible gambling.

Kerry was also formerly General Counsel of Australia Post, and spent many years in private practice with national law firms Clayton Utz and Arthur Robinson Hedderwicks. She is Vice President of the French Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Member of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board, Harness Racing Victoria, and a founding member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Association of Corporate Counsel General Counsel 100.


Katherine Payne – Treasurer

Katherine is a Partner at the national law firm Hall & Wilcox.  She is a commercial litigation specialist, with a focus on directors’ duties, corporate insolvency, the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA) and contractual disputes.  She has provided expert commentary and regularly publishes articles and presents to organisations and industry bodies.

Katherine has been recognised in the editorial of leading legal directory The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016 in dispute resolution, has been listed in The Best Lawyers in Australia annually since 2016 (currently listed for Alternative Dispute Resolution, Insolvency and Reorganisation Law and Insolvency).  In 2019 she was a finalist for Special Counsel of the Year in the Women in Law Awards.  Her clients include many well-known insolvency practitioners, national and international corporates, suppliers and manufacturers of a variety of goods, building companies and logistics suppliers.

Katherine is a member of the Australian Reconstruction Insolvency and Turnaround Association. She is actively involved in the community and previously helped fundraise and profile-raise for organisations such as KidsHelpline.


Michael Nettlefold – Secretary

Michael Nettlefold was most recently CEO and a Director of the AFL club St Kilda for a period of 5 years commencing in April 2009. Currently the Chairman and shareholder of emerging AFL player management business Vivid Sport Management. Vivid has an extensive portfolio of current AFL players and AFL coaches.

Michael conceptualised and delivered the first AFL premiership match in a country outside of Australia through the annual Anzac Day fixture played in Wellington, New Zealand. Through this project Michael maintains an active interest in the development of AFL football in New Zealand through his role as Deputy Chairman of AFLNZ.

As founder and co-owner of out of home advertising company Eye Corp, Michael built Eye Corp into a media business that had operating activities in many markets throughout the APAC region including Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar. Michael was also founder and co-owner of Nextt Health before divesting his interests in 2013. Michael is now founder and principal of his private investment company Nettlefold Group.


Jane Power – Director

Jane Power became Bupa’s Marketing Director for Australia and New Zealand in January 2017. She previously served as Director of Brand and Health & Care Marketing where she guided Bupa’s brand strategy and helped reposition the company from an insurer to a broad health and care company. She is also Bupa’s key global brand lead, helping all of the company’s markets expand their brand presence.

Jane joined Bupa in 2013 from Suncorp Group where she held roles including Executive Manager of Direct Life and Executive Manager of Wealth Management and Direct Risk. She was Head of Product and Marketing at Asteron, prior to its merger with Suncorp. Jane also spent five years at MLC working across a range of roles including platform distribution. She has an MBA from Queensland University of Technology.


Julie Sonnemann – Director

Julie is the School Education Fellow at the Grattan Institute, a leading independent think tank in Australia. She has over ten years of experience in school education in senior research and policy advisory roles.

She has co-authored several high profile reports on effective teaching, equity, funding and time management in schools. She has studied high performing systems in East Asia and North America and consulted internationally to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the US.

Julie began her career at the Prime Minister’s Department. She is an economist by training, with a B.Com (Hons.) and Master of Public Policy from The University of Melbourne.


Ali McGregor – Director

Ali McGregor is a Melbourne based singer & producer. She started her career as a principal soprano with Opera Australia later diversifying onto the cabaret stage. She is now an award winning artist who has performed everywhere from Glastonbury to Carnegie Hall and is one of the most in demand performers on the international festival circuit. Her ‘Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night’ has been running at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival for the past 14 years.

She created her popular children’s jazz show ‘JAZZAMATAZZ!’  and in 2012 she recorded an album and DVD with ABC Music which was nominated for an ARIA award in 2014. In 2015 Ali was awarded a Green Room Award for her contribution to cabaret and in 2019 she won a coveted Helpmann Award for her cabaret show ‘Yma Sumac – The Peruvian Songbird.’ After two critically acclaimed seasons as Co-Artistic Director for Adelaide Cabaret Festival alongside Eddie Perfect in 2016 and 2017, Ali returned as sole Artistic Director in 2018.

She conceived and creatively produced the new Australian opera ‘Lorelei’ that debuted at Victorian Opera in November 2018. She is a part of Opera Queensland and Victorian Opera’s 2021 season, and has recently performed with both Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras. During 2020 she worked closely with Arts Centre Melbourne to create highly innovative digital performances.


Hayley McQuire – Director

Hayley McQuire is a proud Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman from Rockhampton Central Queensland and a passionate advocate for Indigenous social justice and First Nations lead education. Her roots are in Indigenous community media which provided valuable skills needed to go into Indigenous vocational training and national Indigenous policy roles.

Hayley has a background in youth advocacy and international education development, having served as a member of the Youth Advocacy Group for the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative to support young people around the world to advocate for their rights to education, and has worked with national education coalitions to advocate for education rights and policy in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Wanting to support young mob advocate for a self-determined education, she facilitated the first national meeting that established the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition, where she serves currently as National Coordinator and Director. She is also the current Co-Chair of Learning Creates Australia, a growing alliance of people and organisations committed to education change in Australia.

 

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