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Our Executive Team

A skilled and experienced group of directors leading Save the Children’s work and our six departments.

Our Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Directors 

They lead the direction of Save the Children's work and nurture the daily commitment of our employees. Each Director leads a section of the organisation and has unit managers and staff that support them in their role. Read our latest annual report for more information on the work of our Executive team.

Our Directors are responsible for managing:

  • International Programs
  • Australian Programs
  • Policy and Public Affairs
  • Supporter Engagement
  • Finance
  • People and Culture
Chief Executive Officer – Paul Ronalds

Chief Executive Officer – Paul Ronalds

Paul Ronalds is one of Australia's leading voices on poverty eradication and international development.

Paul joined Save the Children Australia as Chief Executive Officer in July 2013. He is committed to ensuring Save the Children lead the way in child rights, humanitarian response, healthcare and education – helping children everywhere fulfil their potential.

His diverse background encompasses senior executive roles in government, the private sector and domestic and international non-government organisations (NGOs). From co-founding one of Australia's first online companies to assisting tsunami-affected people in Sri Lanka, Paul's experience gives him unique insights into some of the world's most significant social, economic and political challenges. More about Paul.

Director of Policy and International Programs – Mat Tinkler

Director of Policy and International Programs – Mat Tinkler

Mat has dual responsibility for delivering our International Programs and ensuring Save the Children is a strong voice for children within government policy, the media and the Australian community.

Previously, Mat worked as Chief of Staff to a senior Cabinet Minister with the Federal Government, overseeing a diverse range of portfolios covering taxation law, superannuation and financial services regulation, consumer credit, charity and not-for-profit regulation, insurance reforms, workplace relations and disability reform. Prior to this role he was Acting Executive Director for the Public Law Clearing House, an organisation that provides legal services to the most disadvantaged Australians. Mat began his career as a corporate lawyer at Minter Ellison. Contact:

Director of Australian Programs – Heather Finlayson

Director of Australian Programs – Heather Finlayson

Heather is Director of Australian Programs and is committed to improving the lives of the hardest-to-reach and most marginalised children and young people across the country. Heather's team provides services in all Australian states, as well as the Northern Territory. These include long-term development programs that provide early childhood education, family support, youth development and child-focused emergency response during crises like bush fires and floods.

Before Save the Children, Heather was the General Manager of the Strategy Group with Goodstart Early Learning. In this role she was responsible for leading a geographically dispersed team and for developing Goodstart's five-year strategy. Heather also held a number of senior roles at Goodstart Early Learning, from State Management to Operations, and delivered strong outcomes for children and their families. She has extensive experience in program design and a deep commitment to program measurement and evaluation.

Prior to Goodstart Early Learning, Heather worked at The Smith Family, in Federal Government and in education. Contact:

Director of Supporter Engagement – Jo Watson

Director of Supporter Engagement – Jo Watson

Jo leads Save the Children's fundraising, marketing and innovation activities. She is responsible for engaging supporters including high net-worth individuals, trusts and foundations, corporates and individual supporters. She generates essential support to resource Save the Children's work in domestic and international programs.

Jo is a professional marketer with a background in commercial, not-for-profit and government organisations. Before joining Save the Children Australia, she held leadership roles with Telstra, World Vision Australia, YWCA Victoria (CEO) and the State Library Victoria where she was the Director of Community Engagement.

Jo is committed to strengthening communities and supporting children through the development of strong partnerships and delivery of great supporter experiences. Contact:

Chief Financial Officer – Alistair Brown

Chief Financial Officer – Alistair Brown

Alistair Brown leads the finance, risk and audit functions of Save the Children and our programs. He is responsible for providing quality financial and risk information, and advises the organisation and our partners.

Before joining Save the Children, Alistair held a variety of finance roles within the AXA group for 17 years. Most recently he was Regional Chief Financial Officer for Asia. Located in Hong Kong, he oversaw 500 finance staff in eight countries through a period of significant growth and change. Prior to that, he held roles in Corporate Finance in Australia, as Financial Controller in Japan and in Group Finance in Paris, among others. Alistair spent the first 10 years of his career in Chartered Accounting at Deloitte. He has a Bachelor of Commerce and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia. Contact:

Director People and Culture – Dianne Francois

Director People and Culture – Dianne Francois

Dianne leads Save the Children's People and Culture strategy, which works to attract, develop and retain outstanding talent who share our vision and purpose. The People and Culture team provide expert advice and support to staff in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Dianne has more than 20 years' experience as a senior human resource management executive in blue chip organisations. Most recently, Dianne was a consultant for the CEO of Service Stream Limited. She has also provided consulting advice and program leadership for large-scale business transformation, including 10 years with GE. Dianne has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Diploma in Education. Contact:

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