Our Board of Directors

Honourable John Watkins AM- Chairperson

LLB, MA, Dip Ed, HonDLitt 

John started his working life as a secondary school teacher, teaching at three Catholic schools in the Sydney region. In 1995 he was elected to the State Parliament as Member for Gladesville and then Ryde. John went on to serve in the positions of Minster for Finance, Police, State Development, Education and Training, Corrective Services, Fair Trading, Sport and Recreation and Transport in the NSW Labor Government. In 2005 John was elected to the position of Deputy Premier of NSW. After resigning from Parliament in 2008 John took up the position of CEO of Alzheimers NSW. Between 2013 and 2014 he served as the Chancellor of the University of New England.   He is currently also the Board Chair for the McKell Institute and the Little Company of Mary Health Care Ltd.

Kate Barnett

BA LLB (Hons) Dip.Mod.Lang (Chinese) Melb. GradDipCommM UTS

Over the past 15 years Kate has worked in various roles building enduring and effective programs and teams that contribute significant results in philanthropy, sponsorship, engagement and advocacy. She was the National Executive Director of the Australian China Business Council  from 2005-2009  a role which included influencing and informing the national debate on Australia-China relations, and building a strong, and mutually beneficial bilateral relationships. She then worked with the University of Melbourne in various roles leading philanthropic engagement including major gifts fundraising, bequests and donor stewardship events. Kate currently serves as the Chief Executive, of St Vincent’s Institute (SVI) Foundation at SVI of Medical Research in Melbourne.

Anthony Abraham – Chairperson of the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee


Anthony has a background in funds management, corporate finance, tax, accounting and finance including 21 years at Macquarie Bank where he was an Executive Director in Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management.  Anthony currently works as an investment manager for a private equity firm as well as providing consulting services and acting as a non executive director on a number of boards including the listed Australian Agricultural Company.  Anthony has been involved in boards and finance committees for parish and schools for a number of years in the past.

Sr Sheila McCreanor

Dip T, Grad Dip Ed Admin, M Ed, PhD, GAICD, JP 

Sheila was a teacher and school principal for close to 25 years at various schools across South Australia. In 2000 Sheila completed her Doctor of Philosophy through the University of South Australia where her thesis explored Sainthood in Australia: Mary MacKillop and the Print Media. Between 2002 and 2014 she acted as the Secretary General for Sisters of St Joseph and during those years Sheila visited the works of Sisters of St Joseph in Peru, Brazil and Timor- Leste. She has held various Director roles during the last two decades including with Mary MacKillop Care South Australia and the Mary MacKillop Foundation. Sheila is currently working as a consultant, researcher, associate archivist and is a student of Canon Law.

Grahame Petersen – Member of the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee


Grahame worked for 35 years in the financial services industry, with executive experience in banking, strategy, risk management, investment, technology and cultural change. He has been a director of a variety of financial services companies since 1999 and was a director of a substantial foundation focused on education and financial literacy from 2008 – 2015. Grahame retired from executive life in 2015 and is now a non-executive director of not-for-profit and financial service entities.

John Collins – Member of the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee

BCom (Hons), CA, CFP

Throughout a twenty year financial services career John worked for Arthur Andersen (Ernst & Young), Macquarie Bank and Deutsche Bank. Through those roles John has developed a unique skillset that enables him to deliver innovative and commercial solutions to the complex issues faced by Australia’s largest corporates and wealthiest private families. In 2010, John founded Black Pearl Private Clients, a boutique advisory firm that structures merger, acquisition and value realisation solutions for private business owners, together with succession planning and estate planning strategies