Our Team

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    Kristen Lark

    Kristen has been involved with TFN Australia since its inception, first working with co-founder Lisa Cotton on the initial pilot events in 2013 and later serving on the Sydney Leadership Council before becoming CEO in July 2022. Previously Kristen was TFN's General Manager and has been responsible for driving day-to-day operations, developing TFN’s technology roadmap, enhancing TFN’s event delivery model and building strong relationships with clients, partners and supporters. Kristen has extensive experience across marketing, stakeholder engagement and communications in the US and Australia and held leadership positions in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. Kristen is a former Senior Vice President & Partner with Fleishman Hillard in San Francisco, where her clients included Visa, Netflix and Dell, and has held senior marketing and communications roles at Compass Group Australia and Good Guys Inc. She is also a certified leadership coach.

    Get in touch: kristen.lark@thefundingnetwork.com.au

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    Director, Purpose & Impact
    Andrea Heffernan

    Andrea has over 15 years experience in the philanthropy and not-for-profit sector. Most recently, she was General Manager of Australian Communities Foundation for 13 years. Andrea is passionate about the social outcomes achieved by connecting donors with community needs. An energetic team player with extensive management and operations experience, Andrea is dedicated to organisational excellence. She is currently also a Board Member of Focus Individualised Support Services on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

    Get in touch: andrea.heffernan@thefundingnetwork.com.au

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    Director, Philanthropy & Engagement
    Berta Youakim

    Berta has been working in the for-purpose sector since 2000. Throughout her career she built and executed strategies for development and growth, working for organisations in Australia and overseas. She has worked in the international development sector and in the medical research. Berta is a keen advocate for the rights of children and people with all abilities and driving inclusion through philanthropy since 2011. Berta's forte is in relationship fundraising, communication, project management and stakeholder engagement. Berta is a firm believer in the power of storytelling and has a passion for languages and speaks fluently Arabic, French and Italian.

    Get in touch: berta.youakim@thefundingnetwork.com.au

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    National Partnerships & Events Manager
    Seb Bown

    Seb is a dynamic and leading events specialist, with a BA in Events Management and over 15 years' experience across industries both in the UK and Australia. Having recently worked for a not-for-profit research institute, Seb is now focused on applying his skills and experience to deliver exceptional long-term results for TFN. With a passion for attending events in his personal life, Seb is always looking at emerging trends in the industry and how they can benefit his clients.

    Get in touch: seb.bown@thefundingnetwork.com.au

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    Marketing & Communications Manager
    Rabia Lockwood

    Rabia is an experienced communications specialist with a rich history of bringing marketing and creative campaigns to life. Over the years, Rabia has produced campaigns for a number of diverse non-profit clients including Bob Brown Foundation, Cambodian Children's Trust and Diversity Arts Australia. Rabia firmly believes in creating a brighter, more inclusive future for all humans and sees the for-purpose sector as possessing the best capacity for genuine change. 

    Get in touch: rabia.lockwood@thefundingnetwork.com.au 

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    Purpose & Impact Coordinator
    Maddi Alderuccio

    Maddi has a deep passion for driving positive change and making a meaningful impact. Maddi cares about many social causes and approaches the issues with an intersectional lens. She champions initiatives that are local, and community led and recognises the powerful impact lived experience can have on program development. Maddi loves to expand her knowledge and to keep learning and enjoys researching new trends and attending industry events and workshops.

    Get in touch: madeline.alderuccio@thefundingnetwork.com.au 

    For Non-Profits: Book a meeting

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    Communications & Events Coordinator
    Isabel-Marie Valencia

    With a background in media, communication, and international relations, Isabel is a staunch advocate of the power of collective action in generating systemic change within the local and global community. She is dedicated to bringing her experience in the performing arts space to create impactful events that inspire.

    Get in touch: isabelmarie.valencia@thefundingnetwork.com.au

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    Office Coordinator (volunteer)
    Sue Stewart

    Sue is a retired owner of three small businesses in manufacturing and retail, two of which began as start up companies.  She has a keen interest in the practical workings of philanthropy and has volunteered in a variety of organisations, including Social Ventures Australia.

  9. Rob Irving
    Head Pitch Coach (consultant)
    Rob Irving

    Rob has been lead pitch coach for TFN since its inception and has helped over 140 non-profits pitch their stories and hit their funding targets. Rob is Founder of the Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific, also Founding Partner of Forté Communications working with corporates to lift executive performance, communication and leadership. Rob's prior experience includes 20 years at multi-national ad agency, 
J. Walter Thompson, where he held CEO positions in Johannesburg, Cape Town, London and Sydney. 

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    MC and Pledging Facilitator (consultant)
    James Valentine

    James is a broadcaster, writer, MC and musician. Each morning from 5.30am – 8am, he presents the breakfast show on ABC Sydney. He writes regularly for all the major newspapers and feature magazines as well as a weekly column for the Northshore Times. He is currently the presenter of The Mix, an arts and culture television program, broadcast weekly on ABC News 24 and ABC TV.

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    MC and Pledging Facilitator (consultant)
    Patrick Lindsay AM

    Patrick is one of Australia’s leading non-fiction authors. He’s also one of the country’s most experienced TV all-rounders.  After more than 25 years on network TV with the Nine & Seven Networks presenting on programs like Today, Sunday, Wide World of Sports, Money, Today Tonight and Sportsworld, Patrick started writing full time in 2002. He has written 20 best-selling books, including The Spirit of Kokoda, The Spirit of The Digger, Fromelles, Cosgrove, The Coast Watchers and the It’s Never Too Late series of inspirational books. He was Chairman of the Kokoda Track Foundation for ten years up to 2017.

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    Pitch Coach (consultant)
    Barbara Kamler

    Barbara is Emeritus Professor at Deakin University with over thirty years experience researching and teaching writing. She currently mentors early career researchers on academic writing and publishing and is passionate about helping young leaders in the not-for-profit sector argue a compelling case for the work of their organisations. Barbara has written eight academic books, over sixty journal articles and more recently has begun publishing poetry. Leaving New Jersey (2016) is a poetic memoir about leaving the US, where Barbara was born, and arriving in Australia, where she did not plan to stay.

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    Pitch Coach (consultant)
    Fae Robinson

    Fae is an accredited coach, leadership and organisational development consultant with experience in strategy development, strategic planning and evaluation. Prior to consultancy, Fae spent 17 years in the public sector across strategic development, policy, planning and performance, and marketing; and worked in the private sector as a journalist and editor. Fae holds a Master of Science.

  14. Lisa Cotton
    Co-Founder & Pitch Coach (consultant)
    Lisa Cotton

    Lisa co-founded The Funding Network in 2012 with the late Steve Lawrence AO, and stepped down as CEO in 2018. In 2017, she was named Third Sector CEO of the Year and was included in Pro-Bono Australia’s Impact 25 list that features people who have made a significant contribution to the non-profit sector. Prior to TFN, Lisa was CEO of Funding Edge and Director Social Investment at Social Ventures Australia. She is currently Executive Director of the Ideology Group, an advisory business in social enterprise and impact investment, and serves as Non-Executive Director on the boards of Campbell Page and Good Return. 

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    Pitch Coach, MC & Pledging Facilitator (consultant)
    John Loebmann

    John has spent the last decade coaching individuals and teams to deliver compelling and persuasive pitches. He understands what is required to evoke emotion and connect with the audience. He has worked with numerous people and organisations, from small and medium-sized businesses to multinationals. 

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    Pitch Coach (consultant)
    Richard Duncan

    Richard is a consultant in image and change management with 30 years’ experience in helping corporations and charities overcome their business challenges and problems. He has worked for over 20 charities internationally across a multitude of categories, including Red Cross, Born Free Foundation, Wesley Mission, Lifeline, Wayside Chapel, Stand Tall and the Raise Foundation. Richard is also a motivational speaker and presentation skills coaching and pitching specialist.

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    MC & Pledging Facilitator (consultant)
    Jacinta Parsons

    Jacinta is a radio broadcaster and the co-host of the afternoon show on ABC Radio Melbourne. Beginning her radio life at community radio over a decade ago, Jacinta joined ABC in 2015, working with the Double J team and as Music Director for Local Radio. As well as presenting on ABC Radio, she has produced and presented a number of national broadcast events. Jacinta is also a published author with her memoir released in September 2020, entitled Unseen. It explores living with Crohn's Disease and chronic illness for over 20 years and has most recently released a non-fiction book in 2022, entitled A Question of Age. It is an examination of women and ageing.

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    Pitch Coach (Consultant)
    Emily Carr

    Emily is the founder and Managing Director of Parkour Consulting, a full service strategy and people consultancy. Prior to launching Parkour Consulting, Emily led the global Strategy and People Enablement function for Macquarie Group’s Financial Management Group (FMG), a division of 2,000 people located across 28 offices globally.

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    MC & Pledging Facilitator (consultant)
    Matt Wicking

    Matt is an experienced facilitator, host, speaker and musician. A long-time advocate for environmental and social justice causes, Matt brings authenticity, creativity and humour to his work supporting those who want to create a better world.

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    MC & Pledging Facilitator (consultant)
    Rebecca De Unamuno

    Rebecca is an award-winning improviser, stand-up comedian, radio host, and voice-over artist. She has appeared on popular TV shows including Just For Laughs Australia and Kath and Kim, and is also a regular guest on ABC Radio Sydney.

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    MC & Pledging Facilitator (consultant)
    Veronica Milsom

    Veronica is a radio host, actress, writer and comedian. Beginning her media career at ABC, Veronica was a co-host on Triple j’s Drive show Veronica & Lewis, and a cast member in the sketch comedy series Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell.