Our Team

The Song Room team is committed to creating change through the power of music and arts learning.

Our passionate team, including arts education experts, share a single goal to help young people realise their potential by empowering them to participate in a thriving and connected community.

Our Board and Executive Team

  • Anthony Mackay AM
    Chair

    Anthony Mackay AM is President & CEO of the Washington DC based National Center on Education and the Economy. He is also the moderator of the annual International Summit on the Teaching Profession and the Annual Global Education Industry Summit.

    Anthony is Co-Chair of Learning Creates Australia, Deputy Chancellor at Swinburne University (Melbourne), and Senior Fellow at The University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education.

    He is the immediate past Chair of the Australian Council for Educational Research, and immediate past Deputy Chair of New Zealand’s Education Council. He was the Inaugural Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and the Inaugural Deputy Chair of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

    Anthony is an expert consultant to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Senior Fellow IBE UNESCO, and Council Member of Asia Society’s Center for Global Education.

    Anthony Mackay AM
    Chair

    Anthony Mackay AM is President & CEO of the Washington DC based National Center on Education and the Economy. He is also the moderator of the annual International Summit on the Teaching Profession and the Annual Global Education Industry Summit.

    Anthony is Co-Chair of Learning Creates Australia, Deputy Chancellor at Swinburne University (Melbourne), and Senior Fellow at The University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education.

    He is the immediate past Chair of the Australian Council for Educational Research, and immediate past Deputy Chair of New Zealand’s Education Council. He was the Inaugural Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and the Inaugural Deputy Chair of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

    Anthony is an expert consultant to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Senior Fellow IBE UNESCO, and Council Member of Asia Society’s Center for Global Education.

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  • Kerry Willcock
    Deputy Chair

    After many years in legal practice with Clayton Utz and Arthur Robinson Hedderwicks, Kerry Willcox became General Counsel of Australia Post, then Head of Corporate, Legal and Regulatory, and Company Secretary, of Tabcorp Holdings Ltd.

    Kerry is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a former Vice President of the French Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a former Member of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board, HRV.

    Kerry has trained and now volunteers as an ‘independent person’ with the Victorian Youth Referral and Independent Person Program that supports minors who are arrested.

    Kerry Willcock
    Deputy Chair

    After many years in legal practice with Clayton Utz and Arthur Robinson Hedderwicks, Kerry Willcox became General Counsel of Australia Post, then Head of Corporate, Legal and Regulatory, and Company Secretary, of Tabcorp Holdings Ltd.

    Kerry is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a former Vice President of the French Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a former Member of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board, HRV.

    Kerry has trained and now volunteers as an ‘independent person’ with the Victorian Youth Referral and Independent Person Program that supports minors who are arrested.

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  • Michael Nettlefold
    Secretary

    Michael Nettlefold has spent much of his 40-year career developing several iconic outdoor advertising media companies, both in Australia and overseas.

    Michael is currently Executive Director of Nettlefold. Prior to this, he was Founder and Chief Executive of EYE Corp Media and Development Director of MetroMedia Technologies (USA).

    Between 2009 and 2014, Michael was also CEO and Director of AFL club, St Kilda.

    Michael Nettlefold
    Secretary

    Michael Nettlefold has spent much of his 40-year career developing several iconic outdoor advertising media companies, both in Australia and overseas.

    Michael is currently Executive Director of Nettlefold. Prior to this, he was Founder and Chief Executive of EYE Corp Media and Development Director of MetroMedia Technologies (USA).

    Between 2009 and 2014, Michael was also CEO and Director of AFL club, St Kilda.

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  • Ali McGregor
    Director

    Ali McGregor is a Melbourne based singer and producer. She started her career as a Principal Soprano with Opera Australia, later diversifying onto the cabaret stage and was Artistic Director of Adelaide Cabaret Festival from 2016 to 2018.

    She has won multiple Green Room Awards, a Helpmann Award, and has been nominated for an ARIA Award for Best Children’s Album. She has performed with Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras and is Creative Director of FLUXUS bringing new Australian work to the operatic stage, most notably the award winning Lorelei for Victorian Opera.

    Ali McGregor
    Director

    Ali McGregor is a Melbourne based singer and producer. She started her career as a Principal Soprano with Opera Australia, later diversifying onto the cabaret stage and was Artistic Director of Adelaide Cabaret Festival from 2016 to 2018.

    She has won multiple Green Room Awards, a Helpmann Award, and has been nominated for an ARIA Award for Best Children’s Album. She has performed with Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras and is Creative Director of FLUXUS bringing new Australian work to the operatic stage, most notably the award winning Lorelei for Victorian Opera.

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  • 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-led education.

    Hayley is co-founder and National Coordinator of the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition and current Co-Chair of Learning Creates Australia. She is an inaugural Asia Pacific Obama Foundation Leader and board director of a number of non-profit organisations.

    Hayley started her career in Indigenous community media, before moving into vocational training and national Indigenous affairs policy. While working and studying domestically, Hayley developed relationships globally as a member of the Youth Advocacy Group for the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative. She has experience bringing diverse groups of people together to improve education which she credits largely to her previous role with Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) working with national education coalitions in the Asia Pacific.

    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-led education.

    Hayley is co-founder and National Coordinator of the National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition and current Co-Chair of Learning Creates Australia. She is an inaugural Asia Pacific Obama Foundation Leader and board director of a number of non-profit organisations.

    Hayley started her career in Indigenous community media, before moving into vocational training and national Indigenous affairs policy. While working and studying domestically, Hayley developed relationships globally as a member of the Youth Advocacy Group for the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative. She has experience bringing diverse groups of people together to improve education which she credits largely to her previous role with Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) working with national education coalitions in the Asia Pacific.

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  • Katherine Payne
    Director

    Katherine Payne 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.

    Katherine sits on the VIC/TAS Committee of the industry body, the Australian Reconstruction Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA).  She has been recognised in the editorial of leading legal directory, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, in dispute resolution, and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in Australia annually since 2016.

    Katherine Payne
    Director

    Katherine Payne 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.

    Katherine sits on the VIC/TAS Committee of the industry body, the Australian Reconstruction Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA).  She has been recognised in the editorial of leading legal directory, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, in dispute resolution, and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in Australia annually since 2016.

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  • Jane Power
    Director

    In May 2021, Jane Power became the Global Marketing and Digital Transformation Director for GenesisCare, a global leader in oncology services across US, Europe and Australia. Jane has more than 20 years’ experience in marketing, digital, loyalty and data analytics with a passion for building digital marketing capability and technical infrastructure to support growth.

    Prior to her current role she was the Chief Customer Officer for Bupa’s Australian and New Zealand business, along with the Global Lead for Bupa’s brand.

    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.

    Jane Power
    Director

    In May 2021, Jane Power became the Global Marketing and Digital Transformation Director for GenesisCare, a global leader in oncology services across US, Europe and Australia. Jane has more than 20 years’ experience in marketing, digital, loyalty and data analytics with a passion for building digital marketing capability and technical infrastructure to support growth.

    Prior to her current role she was the Chief Customer Officer for Bupa’s Australian and New Zealand business, along with the Global Lead for Bupa’s brand.

    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.

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  • Julie Sonnemann
    Director

    Julie Sonnemann is the previous School Education Fellow at the Grattan Institute, a leading independent think tank in Australia. She has worked in senior research and policy advisory roles and has co-authored several high-profile reports on effective teaching and professional learning in schools.

    Julie has studied high performing education systems in East Asia and consulted internationally to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Julie is an economist by training, with a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) and Master of Public Policy from The University of Melbourne.

    Julie Sonnemann
    Director

    Julie Sonnemann is the previous School Education Fellow at the Grattan Institute, a leading independent think tank in Australia. She has worked in senior research and policy advisory roles and has co-authored several high-profile reports on effective teaching and professional learning in schools.

    Julie has studied high performing education systems in East Asia and consulted internationally to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Julie is an economist by training, with a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) and Master of Public Policy from The University of Melbourne.

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  • Alice Gerlach
    Chief Executive Officer

    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 the 2022 Ibsen Award winning, Back to Back Theatre for over 15 years.

    Since 2015, Alice has been committed to increasing The Song Room’s revenue base and profile. She was appointed Chief Executive Officer in September, 2019. Alice has played a critical role in developing the organisation’s strategic approach to Arts Learning, leading the organisation successfully through the COVID-19 Pandemic, and building The Song Room’s capacity and growth agenda in order to meet its mission to provide educational equity for young Australians through the arts in schools.

    She holds a Bachelor of Design (Cer. and Gl.) and a Bachelor of Communications. Alice is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and is a Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership alumni. She was previously a board member at Express Media, providing opportunities for young Australian writers.

    Alice Gerlach
    Chief Executive Officer

    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 the 2022 Ibsen Award winning, Back to Back Theatre for over 15 years.

    Since 2015, Alice has been committed to increasing The Song Room’s revenue base and profile. She was appointed Chief Executive Officer in September, 2019. Alice has played a critical role in developing the organisation’s strategic approach to Arts Learning, leading the organisation successfully through the COVID-19 Pandemic, and building The Song Room’s capacity and growth agenda in order to meet its mission to provide educational equity for young Australians through the arts in schools.

    She holds a Bachelor of Design (Cer. and Gl.) and a Bachelor of Communications. Alice is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and is a Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership alumni. She was previously a board member at Express Media, providing opportunities for young Australian writers.

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  • Mary Brown
    Director, Business Performance & Operations

    An experienced management, finance and operations professional, Mary Brown brings more than 20 years of experience in the corporate and not-for-profit sector to her role at The Song Room. She is focused on the efficient and effective use of resources to achieve The Song Room’s strategic objectives, ensuring the successful operation and future sustainability of the organisation.

    Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce, is a member of CPA Australia, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and a Cranlana alumni. Mary holds current and past experience as a non-executive director of NFP and community organisations.

    Mary Brown
    Director, Business Performance & Operations

    An experienced management, finance and operations professional, Mary Brown brings more than 20 years of experience in the corporate and not-for-profit sector to her role at The Song Room. She is focused on the efficient and effective use of resources to achieve The Song Room’s strategic objectives, ensuring the successful operation and future sustainability of the organisation.

    Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce, is a member of CPA Australia, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and a Cranlana alumni. Mary holds current and past experience as a non-executive director of NFP and community organisations.

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  • Elise Hopkins
    Director, Arts Learning

    Elise Hopkins is an arts educator with both Australian and international experience leading the teaching and development of arts learning programs across early learning, primary and secondary school settings and community development projects.

    Elise has enjoyed an illustrious pianistic career as a soloist, accompanist and ensemble musician in both Australia and South East Asia, performing regularly with the Blue Mountains Symphony Orchestra and various other bands and ensembles.

    Before joining The Song Room, Elise was Head of Music/Specialist Leading Teacher at Geelong Grammar School (Toorak Campus), Primary School Performing Arts Specialist/Round Square Coordinator at Billanook College, and Music Coordinator (K-12) at the Australian International School, Jakarta.

    Elise Hopkins
    Director, Arts Learning

    Elise Hopkins is an arts educator with both Australian and international experience leading the teaching and development of arts learning programs across early learning, primary and secondary school settings and community development projects.

    Elise has enjoyed an illustrious pianistic career as a soloist, accompanist and ensemble musician in both Australia and South East Asia, performing regularly with the Blue Mountains Symphony Orchestra and various other bands and ensembles.

    Before joining The Song Room, Elise was Head of Music/Specialist Leading Teacher at Geelong Grammar School (Toorak Campus), Primary School Performing Arts Specialist/Round Square Coordinator at Billanook College, and Music Coordinator (K-12) at the Australian International School, Jakarta.

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Our Teaching Artists

The Song Room’s Teaching Artists are experienced arts education specialists who inspire, illuminate and educate students, teachers and their communities.

These practitioners utilise evidence-based teaching practices to lead in-class programs across Australia. They model, guide and facilitate arts learning experiences that are purposeful, inclusive, engaging, sequenced, curriculum-aligned and tailored to the needs of participants.

Join Our Team

The Song Room helps young people to realise their potential and empowers them to participate positively in society.

Find out more
happy primary school students with xylophones