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The Board of Directors is the formally constituted governing body, which includes independent members, exercising competent governance oversight of the Institute. The Board is accountable for all the Institute’s operations in or from Australia, including accountability for the award of higher education qualifications, for continuing to meet the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (HESF 2021), and for the Institute’s representation of itself.  

The role of the Board of Directors is to govern the entity, set the Institute’s strategic direction, approve its financial plan and organisational policies, and ensure the Institute complies with the law and meets its obligations.


The Board of Directors (‘the Board’) is the principal governance body of the Institute. The governance model includes two standing committees of the Board:  

  1. The Risk Committee (RC) supports the Board by providing an objective non-executive review of the effectiveness of the Institute’s financial reporting and risk management framework, and oversight of the implementation and operation of the Institute’s risk management framework;  

  2. The Academic Board supports the Board’s academic governance responsibilities to ensure the Institute fulfils its academic responsibilities as an Institute of Higher Education.  




Mr Paul O'Connor is an experienced senior executive and non-executive director. He is an Australian qualified lawyer, holding a Bachelor of Laws from QUT and a Master of Laws from the University of Sydney.  He also holds the CEO Certificate from the Singapore Institute of Management. Mr O'Connor is currently finalising a Master's degree in corporate governance from the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship within Swinburne University. He has extensive governance experience, having served on more than 20 boards and committees including across the higher education sector. He has also served in chief executive and governance roles for a Commonwealth Government authority (Comcare).  Mr O'Connor is currently an independent non-executive director and chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of AIBI Higher Education; an independent member of the Higher Education Committee of the Australian Guild of Music; and an independent member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Municipal Association of Victoria.




Mr Ali is a dynamic entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in New Zealand, Canada and most recently Australia. He is an outgoing individual who has a proven track record for establishing new businesses, mergers, and acquisitions. He is an experienced director, board member, and advisor, with governance and advisory roles in both private and government-owned entities.




Mr Edward Slade is the Managing Director and founder of Schoolhouse Solutions, a consultancy and corporate finance firm focused on the education sector. He was previously a Managing Director of CLSA Ltd, a leading investment bank headquartered in Hong Kong, and has a career of over 30 years in Finance with groups such as Flemings, BZW, Credit Suisse and ABN Amro Rothschild. He has a BA and an MA in Modern Languages and Philosophy from Oxford University. Mr Slade began advising education groups in 2005 when he raised equity for Raffles Education, a leading Singapore-based higher education provider. Since 2013 he has focused primarily on advising education groups, and has advised China Maple Leaf Educational Systems, Crimson Education, News Corp, Brookes Education, Matrix Education, Australian Homestay Network, Australian Institute of Business, IU University of Applied Sciences.




Ms Janene Barrett has 25+ years experience at the helm of a dynamic and results-oriented education and training environment, driving innovation, revenue growth, and academic excellence as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Executive Director, and member of the Board of Directors. Janene is passionate about inspiring teams and spearheading projects in both vocational education and training (VET) and higher education sectors. Her strengths lie in building relationships and delivering tangible results. Connecting with individuals across all levels, from teams and directors to industry representatives and delivering exceptional experiences for students and stakeholders alike, ultimately driving positive outcomes.






Dr Fiona Martin is an Associate Professor at The University of Sydney, Department of Media and Communication. Dr Martin researches digital journalism and dialogic technologies, as well as the uses, politics and regulation of online media (internet, web, mobile and social media) and the implications of these technologies for media industry change. She is the co-author of Sharing News Online (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and has contributed to Internet Research Ethics for the Social Media Age (Peter Lang, 2017) and Ethics for Digital Journalists: Emerging Best Practices (Routledge, 2014). She also has a particular interest in public service media online and is co-author and editor of The Value of Public Service Media (Nordicom, 2013) with Gregory F. Lowe. Her current ARC funded projects are Sharing News Online (LP140100148), a Linkage Project with Assoc. Professor Tim Dwyer, Share Wars and Mi9 to explore the nature of news sharing across social media platforms and Mediating the Conversation (DE130101267), analysing the politics and cultures of public commenting on news and opinion websites internationally. She is a member of the Digital Rights and Governance in Australia and Asia research group and a co-convenor of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences Everyday Social Media research group. Fiona is a former community and ABC radio broadcaster and a cross-media journalist, with fifteen years’ experience as a journalism educator.

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Dr Adrian Payne is Emeritus Professor, School of Marketing at the University of New South Wales. Adrian has a special interest in the use of executive education to help boards and senior Management implement their strategy and their strategic initiatives. Adrian has practical experience in marketing, strategic planning and general management. His previous appointments include positions as Chief Executive for a manufacturing company and senior company appointments in strategic planning and marketing in Australia and the UK. He has worked widely in the professional services, financial services, telecoms, motor vehicle, utilities and government sectors.  Former Chairman of the Advisory Board of Vectia Limited (now Talent Vectia) a leading European consultancy firm and a Director of CRM Strategies Limited. He is a frequent keynote speaker at in-company seminars and conferences around the world. He is an author of fourteen books including the first text to be published on Relationship Marketing. His books include: Strategic Customer Management, Cambridge University Press; The Handbook of CRM, Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann; Marketing Planning for Service Businesses;  Butterworth Heinemann; CRM: Perspectives from the Market Place; Relationship Marketing: Creating Stakeholder Value, Butterworth-Heinemann; and The Essence of Services Marketing, Prentice Hall. 




Dr Manny Aston is the Academic Dean of ICAT. Manny has worked for over 30 years as a teacher in schools, private colleges, TAFE, and University in the areas of psychology, marketing, advertising, and consumer behaviour. He has been a Senior Lecturer at Macleay College (now ICAT) for 15 years and has taught at Macquarie University, University of Western Sydney, Charles Sturt University, and TAFE NSW. As an academic mentor to students, Manny was instrumental in developing Macleay College’s Student Success Program. He was also involved in curriculum development and creation of learning resources. 

Manny has had 15 plays professionally produced, and three published. His play, Fossils has been in print for over 25 years, was included as part of the Drama Syllabus for the Higher School Certificate from 1997 to 2001, and continues to be used in the general High School Drama Curriculum throughout Australia. His book, Study Right (2006) has sold more than 30,000 copies Australia-wide. 




Abbey Danson is an accomplished professional in the field of education, currently serving as the Director of Education at ICAT (Institute of Creative and Applied Technology). With a strong background in both Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Higher Education, Abbey has spent the past 10 years contributing to the advancement of education in various academic leadership roles and is a dynamic and passionate education professional who has dedicated her career to revolutionising traditional educational practices. Through her roles in academic leadership, course development, and her focus on industry relevance, she strives to create impactful and inspiring educational programs that empower students and bridge the gap between academia and the professional world.




Poppy Whateley is a seasoned professional in the realm of education, currently holding the position of Director of Operations and Compliance at ICAT. Boasting a decade of experience in both Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training (VET), Poppy has made significant contributions to the field in various capacities. With a background in crisis and change management, coupled with expertise in mergers and acquisitions, she has navigated complex transitions in the educational landscape. Poppy has a profound passion for the creative arts, fashion, and media with a commitment to fostering innovation and adapting to evolving educational landscapes. Poppy's focus extends beyond conventional boundaries, aiming to revolutionise established practices, contributing significantly to the enhancement of quality assurance and compliance standards within her professional domain.

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