Directors and Leadership Team
Board of Directors
Barry Irvin AM
Barry Irvin has extensive experience in the dairy industry and has been Chairman of Bega Cheese since 2000.
Barry’s leadership has seen Bega Cheese grow from a small regionally based dairy company to one of the largest dairy companies in Australia, supplying a large range of dairy products in Australia and around the world.
His in-depth knowledge of the industry includes a significant understanding of the issues affecting Australian dairy farmers, the key investments required to meet changing consumer needs, and the management of long term customer relationships.
Barry was awarded the NAB Agribusiness Leader of the Year in 2009. Barry is very aware of the importance of social responsibility. He has been Chairman of Giant Steps, an organisation providing services to children and young adults with autism since 2002. In 2008 Barry was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for contributions to children with disability and the Australian dairy industry and in 2010 Barry was named Rabo Bank Agribusiness leader of the year.
His other roles include Director at Gardiner Foundation and a Director at Capitol Chilled Foods Australia (CCFA).
Geoff is a partner of Brown Wright Stein Lawyers in Sydney, specialising in commercial and tax law.
Geoff has been a lawyer in Sydney for over 20 years. He is one of only a few New South Wales Law Society Accredited Specialists in taxation law and he works extensively with a number of leading accounting firms to assist their clients and gains great satisfaction knowing he is also helping them build their practices.
Geoff advises clients on tax, commercial, trust, estate planning, wealth management and ancillary legal issues. He has developed an in-depth understanding of the legal challenges faced by business owners. This means he is able to take a whole of business approach that goes beyond the obvious legal process, to provide clients with advice that benefits their entire business.
Geoff believes that in supporting business owners it’s vital to understand the interaction between a client’s business interests, their aspirations and their family wealth management – and this is his first priority.
Geoff’s daughter transitioned from the Giant Steps K to 6 program to mainstream education in 2007.
Amanda currently works at Commonwealth Bank, leading the Commonwealth Private Bank for Victoria and Tasmania.
Amanda has lived in London, Sydney and her home town, Melbourne, working primarily as a leader of teams in Financial Markets. Now based in Melbourne, Amanda enjoys leading teams, guiding families around philanthropic strategies and advising start-up companies as an Angel Investor.
Amanda holds a BA from Monash University, Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance, an MBA from Melbourne Business School and a Diploma in Financial Planning. She completed the Company Director’s Course at the AICD during 2017.
Amanda is a Founding Patron of the Red Cross Society of Women Leaders, coming to the organisation as a passionate advocate for Australian women in need. She also has a keen interest in assisting people with disabilities to access high quality education, work and maintain a strong sense of purpose in their day to day lives.
Amanda lives in Melbourne and has two boys aged 11 and 14. Amanda enjoys her association with Scale Angel Investors, is a Director of Giant Steps Melbourne and Pancake Parlour.
Brett is a Chartered Accountant who has worked in the accounting profession for over 33 years.
Brett worked in a global Chartered Accounting firm for over 10 years where he was involved in Audit and Business Advisory, working with a wide range of organisations including government, non-profit, unlisted and listed companies.
For the past 22 years Brett has worked for Bega Cheese Ltd where he is the Company Secretary. Brett is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Brett likes to support community groups in his spare time which include Landcare and the local football club. He has been involved with Giant Steps since 2003 where he provides financial advice.
Daniel Fink is a Founding Director of Calypsi, a technology company dedicated to improving workplace efficiency and productivity through business strategy and managed services.
Daniel also works in his family office, focused on property and finance. With a background in technology and project management, Daniel originally founded a business in Switzerland providing outsourced services to the finance sector.
Glenn is a Founder and Partner of Centennial Asset Management, an independent Australian asset management business. Previously, Glenn was a Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Ellerston Capital Ltd, an alternative asset management business established to manage the Packer family’s wealth and external investors capital.
Prior to Ellerston Capital, Glenn was Deutsche Banks’ Asia Pacific Head – Absolute Return Strategies Group, an Advisory Board member for the Adam Scott Foundation (a charity that aims to support disadvantaged and underprivileged youth), on the Advisory Board for RF Capital (Roberts Family, founders of Multiplex) and a Board Member of Giant Steps School.
Glenn holds a Bachelor of Arts and Commerce from Monash University, Melbourne.
Jessica Stimson has over 20 years of experience in the strategic marketing and events space.
She now balances family life in Melbourne with consulting to various brands, not-for-profits and organisations on how best to communicate and connect with their markets.
Since her son was diagnosed with Autism in 2009, Jessica has focused a lot of her energy toward supporting various disability causes, hoping that, over time, the opportunities and options these kids and growing teens have in our community will be a vast improvement on where they are today.
Jessica’s son was part of the original cohort of students that started at Giant Steps Melbourne in 2016.
Jonathan Wenig is a Partner of Australian commercial law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler.
Jonathan specialises in commercial and corporate law. His practice includes mergers and acquisitions, corporate work, technology and financing.
He is a trusted advisor to numerous active and innovative public companies, bringing his intellect and experience to bear not only in their corporate matters and acquisition activities, but across their legal affairs and strategic challenges and opportunities. He has experience across a range of industry sectors, including internet, manufacturing, agriculture, retail, health and banking.
Jonathan was invited to join the Board of Giant Steps Melbourne in 2016. He is also on the Board of Allplay Sports, a venture established between the Australian Football League and Deakin University’s Child Study Centre to promote the inclusion of children with special needs in sport.
Rachel is General Counsel and Company Secretary at Nine Entertainment Co, an ASX-listed media company.
Rachel was formerly a partner of Gilbert + Tobin, one of the law firms which assists Giant Steps, where she specialised in corporate and commercial transactions and advisory work, acting for a wide range of clients, including a number of not-for-profit bodies. Rachel has been a board member of Giant Steps since 2001 and Company Secretary since 2003.
Steve is an executive coach with a background in teaching and finance.
Steve’s son Patrick, was one of the original students at Giant Steps in 1995 and is now attending Giant Steps Community College.
Kerrie holds a Bachelor of Education, Master of Education and a Master of Special Education. She has 40 years’ experience in the disability sector and has spent more than 15 years specialising in autism spectrum disorders. She has been the Principal of three schools and has worked across age groups from early learning, through school-aged children to adult education.
Kerrie’s interest areas are in Educational Management and Leadership with a focus on developing organisational structures that allow the organisation to be flexible and responsive to the needs of students with complex and highly challenging profiles.
Telephone:+61 2 9879 4971
Claire holds a Bachelor of Economics and has worked for 35 years across a range of industries including finance, publishing and education.
Claire has worked for Giant Steps for the past 20 years and is responsible for all compliance and accountability issues pertaining to the organisation.
Telephone:+61 2 9879 4971
Trish Karedis leads the Melbourne School by drawing on her many years of teaching children with autism at Giant Steps Sydney.
Her experience includes supporting primary and secondary students in both specialised and mainstream education settings. Based on the success of the Giant Steps Sydney model, her vision is to create a school of excellence, catering for the complex needs of students with autism. She draws on her extensive leadership experience at both organisational and instructional levels to establish and expand the school to support more students and families.
Trish is committed to guiding and strengthening the professional collaboration between teachers, therapists and educators within the school. She is passionate about this creative process and its positive impact on student outcomes. She is a strong advocate for students with special needs and is committed to building partnerships to foster inclusion within the wider community. Trish holds a Master of Communication Management, a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Economics (Social Sciences).
Telephone:+61 3 9853 9578
BMus Studies & MAMT
Catherine Haining is a Registered Music Therapist who has over 10 years’ experience working with children and their families.
She has deep understanding of how therapy provision within an educational setting is pivotal to best support students’ development and wellbeing.
Catherine is also passionate to support inclusion of students with Autism and their families within the community. In 2012 Catherine was instrumental in working with the Sydney Opera House to establish the first Autism Friendly performance and looks forward to forging similar relationships within the arts sector here in Melbourne.
Telephone:+61 3 9853 9578
Michelle Jocum has been at Giant Steps for over 12 years. She has a Master’s degree in International Relations, specialising in community development.
As an integral member of the school’s fundraising and administration team, Michelle manages all matters pertaining to fundraising and events. Michelle’s ability to create and form strong relationships with the parent body has enabled her to grow the donor base and deliver strong and increased funding results. Michelle has a deep passion for Giant Steps, evident in her contribution to the financial growth and expansion of the school.
Telephone:+61 2 9879 4971