Children’s Ground has a two-tiered governance structure
Cultural and corporate governance are equally important.
- Aboriginal Governance Committees are specific and vary in each community we work in. They provide local leadership and ensure cultural integrity is upheld.
- The Board of Directors oversee quality and standards. They provide guidance and oversight, in line with Western principles and practices.
Aboriginal Governance systems are more complex than Western structures. They are collective. They are land-based. They are underpinned by people’s connection to culture, Country and each other. We support these systems as they are key to community control and agency.
As such, Children’s Ground has several layers of governance in each region where we work. It ensures decision-making and delivery are community led. Each Governance Committee oversees the design, implementation and evaluation of operations.
Children’s Ground’s Board of Directors is comprised of highly skilled professionals with extensive experience in organisational strategy, financial management and law.- Close
William was born in Alice Springs and is an Arrernte man. A member of the stolen generations, William was taken to Croker Island where he lived and attended school with many other children sent there as a result of Government policy of that era. In 1967 he was moved off the mission to Darwin, and in 1969, he returned to Alice Springs. He attended the Aboriginal Community College in Adelaide in 1974 and worked in many jobs in South Australia. He returned to Alice Springs in 1980.
William has worked in various Government and Aboriginal organisations and was elected the Central Australian ATSIC Regional Chair in the 1980s. From 1988 to 2010 he was the Executive Director of Tangentyere Council. William believes that Aboriginal children, families and communities should have every opportunity to be empowered, and to own and control the decisions that affect them.
Dr Jordan Cory
Dr Jordan Cory is a proud Kamilaroi woman and junior surgical doctor in Naarm (Melbourne) on Wurundjeri country. She joined the Children’s Ground board in 2019 and is a past board member of the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association. She is passionate about disrupting the status quo and breaking cycles of social disadvantage. Jordan has an interest in governance, research and policy, with a focus on community leadership and self-determination, the social determinants of health, and ensuring social services, including healthcare and education, are culturally safe and responsive. In 2021, Jordan is commencing a Master of Public Health at Harvard University in Boston, USA, as a Fulbright Future scholar and Roberta Sykes scholar.
Amunda is an Arrernte woman living in Alice Springs with her three children. Her traditional connection to lands are Irpmangkere (south/west of Alice Springs) & Irlmpe (north of Alice Springs).
She is an artist, experienced community health researcher and a specialist in facilitating First Nations/Western relationships. Amunda has worked on a number of research projects, working with First Nations communities across the Northern Territory, undertaking and supporting research. She has undertaken many formal research training sessions and courses and has applied her learning to community researcher roles and other work. Amunda brings important practical experience and theoretical knowledge in research and evaluation with First Nations communities.
In all her roles, Amunda has worked as a liaison between Western and First Nations organisations, ensuring community voices are upheld and respected. Additionally, Amunda is an accomplished artist, with work commissioned by various not-for-profits and organisations.
Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM
Kon is CEO and Founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Kon is a lawyer, social worker and teacher. He was named a Finalist for Australian of the Year (Victoria) in 2007, invited to participate in the 2020 Summit in 2008, voted one of Australia’s 20 Unsung Heroes as part of the launch in 2008 of the new Portrait Gallery in Canberra, and voted one of Melbourne’s 100 most influential people in The Age magazine (Melbourne). Kon was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2010 and an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2011.
John Lochowiak is a Pitjantjatjara man. He was born and grew up in Coober Pedy graduating through both customary law and Western education.
John has a Bachelor of Arts (education) and has worked in the mining industry and the education industry. He has worked as a cross cultural consultant for over 15 years.
John has held a range of executive positions including, Vice President: St Vincent de Paul Society South Australia; Current Chair: Aboriginal Catholic Ministry; Deputy Chair: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Commission; Board Member: Australian Catholic Prisoner Pastoral Care Commission.
Amy Poynton is an experienced Corporate Executive, Senior Partner and Non-Executive Director of major companies in the professional services, technology and banking industries. Amy has over 30 years of combined experience in both business management and providing expert consulting & professional services. She has international experience in business management, customer relationship management and advisory services across ASX and Global top 10 companies and partnerships.
She is a director of Jaen Corp Pty Ltd, a family business, and serves as a Non-Executive Director for Children’s Ground and Project Respect. Currently, she provides independent consulting, mentoring and business management to a balance of individual executives, international and not-for-profit organisations. Amy’s success has led to her being sought after across opportunities to work with top team and board levels to improve the decision-making and ultimately the results of the business. Amy is a dual citizen of Australia and USA. She currently resides in Melbourne with her husband James.
Clive Ringler is a Portfolio Manager and Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley. He has over 25 years’ experience in the financial markets and covers both global and Australian investments across all asset classes including fixed interest and currencies. Clive started his finance career with the CBA in Corporate Finance before moving onto the National Bank where he worked in both Corporate Lending and Debt Capital Markets. Clive holds a degree in Economics from the University of New England, Armidale and a Masters of Commerce (with a Major in Accounting & Treasury) from the University of NSW. He is also an ASX Accredited Derivatives Adviser. Having grown up in the Kimberley region of WA, he has a keen focus on youth and Indigenous issues. To this extent he has representation on a school bursary committee and is involved in Indigenous affairs as a youth mentor. He is also active in Youth Off the Streets, with their “Walk the Streets” Program and the Food Van.
Josie is a chartered accountant with extensive experience in accounting and strategic financial management. She has worked with Arthur Andersen as a specialist in corporate and international taxation, with Clayton Utz providing advice to the Royal Commission on the collapse of the Tricontinental Bank, and with Rio Tinto as a taxation specialist in international corporate tax planning. Josie has a strong background in corporate governance and experience in the non-profit and health sectors. She is currently a Director on several boards, chairing the Finance and/or Audit Committees, and is an external member of a number of advisory committees.
Annalee Stearne is a Nyungar woman, from Perth, with connections to Western Australia’s Pilbara and Kimberley. In addition to being a qualified high school teacher, Annalee has been a public health researcher since 2001. Her research focus is on First Nations Australian alcohol and other drug prevention efforts in Central Australia, Western Australia, and South Australia. Her main research interests include ensuring First Nations Australians have a leading role in throughout research. Annalee is also a PhD candidate at Curtin University, with a focus on ensuring First Nations Australians are included in the development of alcohol policy in the Northern Territory.
Currently she sits on the board of National Centre for Clinical Research into Emerging Drugs, and a number of national advisory committees. In 2006, she was a member of the research team that won the National Drug and Alcohol Award for Excellence in Research, and a Curtin University Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence She was awarded the 2012 First People’s Award for Excellence in Science and Research, by the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD).
At present Annalee resides in Perth, however has also lived and worked in Jabiru and Alice Springs.
MK Turner OAM
MK Turner OAM is a respected North Eastern Arrernte (ayerrere ikngerre) Elder, cultural adviser, translator, teacher, social justice champion, artist and author. In 1997, she received the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of her service to the Aboriginal community of Central Australia, through preserving language and culture, and interpreting. MK has fought for the rights of Aboriginal people for over four decades. She is dedicated to keeping Arrernte culture, life and language rich and strong.
Jane Vadiveloo is the founding CEO of Children’s Ground and has a 20-year history leading reform and services provision with communities experiencing extreme disadvantage and trauma. She has lived in the Northern Territory for 19 years and has over 30 years of connection to the Arrernte people in Central Australia. Jane has worked with children, families and communities at high risk, establishing strength and justice-based approaches to achieve long term change. Children’s Ground was created as a 25-year approach to ensure that future generations of children are afforded equity, access and justice to determine their futures – to have quality education, health, social and economic opportunities that privilege their first culture within a global context. In 2014 Jane was listed among the Westpac Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence.
Joanne Willmott OAM
Joanne Willmott is a Wakka Wakka woman born and raised in Cherbourg Aboriginal Mission. Joanne is recognised for her commitment and long history in promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights. Jo has worked for many years with State, Commonwealth Government, Aboriginal and non-Government agencies. She lived in Mutitjulu for many years where she was the Chair of the Joint Board of Manager for Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park from 1996-2001. Since 2006 she has been the Aboriginal Programs Manager for Relationships Australia in South Australia. She was Elder of the Year for South Australia in 2016. In 2020, Joanne Willmott was awarded the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia for her service to the Indigenous Communities of South Australia.
Our Governance Committees
Wurdurd Garriyigarrmerren – Children’s Ground
Top End Co-director
“We want to share who we are; we are here standing up and doing the right thing for our wurdurd (children). We Bininj (Aboriginal people) are not here for Balanda (non-Aboriginal people) going around in circles. We are Bininj and Balanda walking together on one path.”
Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe (Children’s Ground) Central Australia Governance
Ingkerrekele Arntarnte-areme Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe
(Children’s Ground Governance Committee – Everyone Being Responsible)
“Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe is directed by us – the community, the families, the people. Our Governance structure is determined by Arrernte kinship. We follow the leadership and guidance of our Elders while supporting the younger generation to come up behind us and find their voices. Our way of governance is based on a collective. We talk about the opportunities as well as the risks. We have community agency through our governance committee.“
Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe is held and led by a group of strong, passionate First Nations people – young and old. We all want to make a change in our lives to create a better future for our children and families.
We come together weekly for Ingkerrekele Arntarnte-areme Governance meetings. We are the decision makers at Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe, so it’s important to listen to each other and our community. It’s a powerful message that we’re voicing. It’s healthy for all of us to get that strong message out there. We are trying to inspire the younger generation to be leaders like us.
Ingkerrekele Arntarnte-areme is governing, designing, delivering and evaluating our work at Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe.
We work closely with the Children’s Ground Board which oversees the financial viability, corporate governance and strategy. We govern from the local level and make recommendations to them. As First Nations people we are the ones that have the solutions for our families and communities. The Board listens to our voices and solutions and help us make decisions too. The Children’s Ground Board recognises our Arrernte governance. We bring cultural and Western governance together and make sure there is no conflict of interest. The Children’s Ground Board administers funding and keeps the organisation strong to support our work and to make sure we are strong into the future. The Children’s Ground Board makes sure Children’s Ground can have a national story to benefit all First Nations people. We are all connected, across Nations through Children’s Ground.+ Learn More
We are the governors and directors of Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe (Children’s Ground) Central Australia.
Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe works across four sites in Central Australia: Irrkerlantye (Whitegate Town Camp East of Mparntwe), Yarrenyty Arltere (Larapinta Valley Town Camp in Mparntwe), Mpweringke Anapipe (North of Mparntwe) and Uyenpere Atwatye (Hidden Valley Town Camp in Mparntwe).
Local governance for each site sits within the families who are responsible for that country through our cultural structures. Each country is represented on Ingkerrekele Arntarnte-areme Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe (Everyone Being Responsible – Children’s Ground Central Australia Governance Committee).- Close
MK Turner OAM
“The Land, the people, the story – that’s our Governance.” – MK Turner OAM, Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe Director