12 February 2022

Mind Australia announces Allan Fels as Board Chair, welcomes new Directors Mind Australia recently announced significant changes to its Board including appointing Professor Allan Fels AO as Chair.

Professor Fels brings a wealth of experience to the role as the former Chair, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, National Mental Health Commission and Patron Mental Health Australia; Patron, Mental Health Victoria. He was also a Commissioner of the Victorian Royal Commission on Mental Health.

Professor Fels, the former Chair of the Haven Foundation Board, joined the Mind Board when the two organisations merged in 2018, and was appointed as Mind Chair late last year. Professor Fels continues to serve on the Haven Foundation Board as a Director.

“I am honoured to have recently been elected to Chair the Mind Board and with great enthusiasm I look forward to leading the Board into 2022,” Professor Fels said.

“I wish to thank Melissa Field, outgoing Board Chair, for her exceptional leadership, experience and guidance.

“The Board and all of Mind are privileged to have received her expert guidance as a director and particularly during her time over the previous three years as the Chair of the Board.

“We recognise the great contribution and the commitment to our organisation Melissa has made.

“Melissa will be greatly missed by the Board and all of Mind and we wish her all the very best as she retires from the Mind Board.”

The Mind Board also recently elected two new Directors, Leilani Darwin and Ruth Picker to the Board and farewelled Directors, Chris Gibbs (Deputy Board Chair) and Amanda Ford (Finance, Audit and Risk Committee Chair).

“I acknowledge the retiring, Chris Gibbs and Amanda Ford for their collective years of service, the excellent, dedicated and very productive contributions they have made over a long period of time to the Board, and to the Program, Practice and Quality Committee and the Finance, Audit and Risk Committees respectively,” Professor Fels said.

“Chris is also acknowledged for his guidance and support as the Deputy Board Chair. Both of these retiring directors will be greatly missed.”

Mind welcomes its new Board Directors:

Leilani Darwin - Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy at the Black Dog Institute, driving their program to be a trusted partner to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to address suicide prevention and mental health. Ms Darwin is a proud Quandamooka woman, whose ancestral home is Stradbroke Island.

Ms Darwin is well known within the sector for her work and leadership in suicide prevention and mental health, and is a powerful advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led culturally informed practices within mainstream services.

This work derives from losing many loved ones to suicide and Leilani’s own lived experience of mental ill-health.

Ruth Picker - an experienced finance, accounting, audit and risk management specialist with many years of international senior executive leadership experience as a Lead Partner in the corporate finance sector.

Ms Picker has had a long corporate relationship with the firm Ernst & Young (EY), where she was the Asia-Pacific Risk Management Leader and a member of EY's Asia-Pacific Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Ms Picker is a strong advocate for women’s leadership, and diversity and inclusion more broadly, a member of the Australian Accounting Hall of Fame, and a published author.

View the Mind Board here