Firbank School Board

Our Board is the Firbank Grammar School governing body and is made up of a group of committed professionals who donate their energy, time and professional expertise to guiding the School. The prime responsibility of the Board is to ensure that policy, as well as careful financial and strategic planning, is in place. Many of our School Board members are parents of students and are leaders in their respective fields, investing much of their personal time in the welfare of the School.

Directors

Chair of the Board Jennine Ross

Jennine Ross

Chair of the Board

Jennine was appointed to the Firbank Grammar Board on 15th September 2014 and was elected Deputy Chair in 2016 and Chair of the Board in September 2016.  Jennine is a former student of Firbank, having attended Sandringham House and Senior School where she completed her HSC in 1987.  She has a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources from Swinburne University of Technology, and is a graduate of the AICD.

Jennine has worked in Human Resources for over 25 years specialising in change management for transformational change, acquisition and integrations, organisational development, and generalist HR leadership.  She has held executive HR roles at Telstra, KAZ Group and Tenix Solutions. Jennine runs a boutique HR Consulting company and is currently a board member/interim Chairman of Strikeforce Pty Ltd.

Jennine is currently subjecting herself to learning golf, and also enjoys traveling and gardening.

Jennine and her husband Paul, who attended Brighton Grammar, have two children Matthew (BGS) and Georgia who attends Firbank.

Deputy Chair Denice Pitt

Denice Pitt

Deputy Chair

Denice was appointed to the Firbank Grammar Board on 12th October 2016 and was elected Deputy Chair in 2020.  She is currently Chief Executive Officer of Online Education Services (OES), a role she has held since the company was launched in July 2011. OES is an innovative partnership between Swinburne University of Technology and SEEK, established with a mandate to enable universities grow their businesses by increasing access to high quality tertiary education through online programs.  In 2015 OES was named BRW Fastest Growing Company and has been recognised as an AON Hewitt best employer on multiple occasions.

Prior to her role in the education sector at OES Denice’s experience was predominantly in the telecommunications and outsourcing industries.  She has spent time as President of Aegis Australia and nearly 10 years at UCMS Group Ltd where she undertook several roles including Managing Director of Outsourcing, Group Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer.

Denice was also working at Optus during the exciting launch days in Australia and held several roles there including National Customer Service Manager.  She brings a wealth of experience as a CEO and business executive to her role as a Firbank Board member.

Denice holds a Master of Business Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  She is currently a Board Member for the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria Ltd (RACV) and previously served on the Board of Good Shepherd Microfinance.

Denice and her husband Darren have a daughter who has recently completed her schooling at Firbank.

Director Jo Hannah

Jo Hannah

Director

Joanne joined the Firbank School Board in July 2017.  Jo commenced her professional career in the pharmaceutical industry and extended her experience into regenerative medicines, both biological and surgical which saw her at the forefront of the non-invasive cosmetic industry.  In 2014 Jo founded Total Face Group and as Managing Director and Board Member took the company to be the first medical aesthetic company globally to list on a stock exchange.  Jo now owns a medical aesthetic clinic in Mornington, Hannah Aesthetics and is a Consulting Partner with ‘nem’, Australia’s leading mid-market consultancy firm.  She is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jo sings with the 40 Choral Scholars from Firbank Grammar School and Brighton Grammar School as part of St Andrews Choir and has been a key member of this group for the past 6 years providing support to the students who are part of the school choral scholarship program.  Jo’s daughter Georgina was Music Captain at Firbank in 2016 and she also has a Son, Charlie who attended Brighton Grammar School.

Jo is particularly passionate about developing, encouraging and empowering young women through their senior school years and into the workplace.

Director John Harris

John Harris

Director

John Harris was appointed to the Firbank Board in December 2016 and is a member of the Finance Committee.  John is the Chief Financial Officer of IRESS Limited.  IRESS is an innovative, high growth company that delivers software solutions to the financial services industry.  An Australian start up 23 years ago, IRESS is listed on the ASX and operates internationally with businesses in Australia, UK, Asia, South Africa and Canada.

Before joining IRESS, John spent 10 years at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in a range of finance and strategy roles including CFO and Head of Strategy and Business Development for CBA’s high growth Asian business which operates banks and life insurance companies in China, Indonesia, Vietnam and India.  John has also spent 10 years as a consultant to the financial services industry including 7 years working in London.

John is a chartered accountant and holds Commerce and Law degrees from the Australian National University.  He has a post graduate diploma in business administration from Warwick Business School in the UK.

John’s daughter Emily currently attends Firbank Grammar School.

Director Nicholas (Nick) Stretch

Nicholas (Nick) Stretch

Director

Nick became a member of the Firbank Board in 2011 and is Deputy Chair of the Foundation Trust Company.  After graduating from Melbourne University in 1983 with degrees in Law and Commerce, Nick worked with Gadens Lawyers (and its predecessor firm, J M Smith & Emmerton) for 25 years.  During that time, Nick acted in a number of leadership roles including Managing Partner, Melbourne 1986 – 2001.  Chairman of Melbourne partnership – 2001 – 2006.  National board member – 1996 – 2006, National Chairman – 1998-9 and 2005-6 and National Head of Banking & Finance Practice – 2000 – 2006.  During Nick’s over 30 years of legal practice he was involved in several major finance transactions, both on the lending and recovery sides.  Nick has also acted in several mergers and acquisitions including acquisitions by private equity investors and listed acquisitions via schemes of arrangement.  After a three-year stint as a director of a boutique merchant bank, Nick is a partner at Dentons where he practices as a commercial and corporate lawyer.  Nick is the chairman of the MA & VL Perry Foundation Limited, a charitable trust which invests its capital for the benefit of various health-related charities.

Nick is married to Felicity and has five children – all boys.  His two eldest have graduated from Brighton Grammar School with the younger three attending, one following his two elder brothers in the St Andrew’s Church Choir.  Nick’s interests include golf, classical music, Rugby and AFL.  He is a member of The Australian Club, Peninsula Country Golf Club, The National Golf Club, The Australian Football League and is also a long-suffering member of the St. Kilda Football Club.

Owen Smith Director

Owen Smith

Director

Owen joined the Firbank School Board in October 2020.  Owen is a qualified Land Economist with almost 30 years experience including commercial and industrial agency, site identification, acquisitions, property development and investment banking.

His communication, negotiation and marketing skills, combined with a demonstrated ability to create new and foster existing relationships, has seen him succeed across a number of roles.

Highly motivated, Owen is dependable, positive, calm under pressure and excels in a team environment as leader or team player in both work and his non work interests.

Owen’s daughter was the 2022 School Captain and a Year 12 student at Firbank.

Treasurer Frieda Yeo

Frieda Yeo

Treasurer

Frieda was elected to the Firbank Board in 2016 and is the current chair of the Finance Committee and Honorary Treasurer of the Foundation Trust Company.  Frieda is a Chartered Accountant and graduate of Monash University where she completed a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) / Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) in 1997.

Frieda has worked in both private and publicly listed companies over the last 18 years specialising in accounting, corporate tax and external financial reporting.  She has held the role of External Reporting Manager at IRESS Limited and more recently, Group Financial Controller at Adslot Limited. She is currently an Executive Director in her family business, which has Australian and international investments in the agricultural, seafood and property industries.

Frieda and her husband Nick, who attended Brighton Grammar, have a daughter who attends Firbank.

Helen Quiney

Director

Helen joined the Firbank School Board on 25 July 2022.  Since September 2019 Helen has been an Executive Director in the Department of Education and Training, in the Employee Safety, Wellbeing and Inclusion Division where she played a key leadership role in the Department’s response to COVID-19, influencing response measures in schools and ensuring consistent and supported approaches to infection prevention and control, and support for education workforce. While in the role, Helen has led high-performing teams to deliver physical and mental health supports, services and reforms for the state’s public sector education workforce and the department’s central and regionally based corporate staff. As part of this role, she has also developed budget proposals and managed high-value contracts and has a strong working knowledge and relationships with education sector stakeholders. Helen was named as one of Victoria’s Top 50 Public Sector Women in 2022 in the ‘Established Leader’ category by the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

Helen has completed a Master of Employment and Labour Relations Law (University of Melbourne), a Postgraduate Diploma of Professional Legal Practice (College of Law) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), Bachelor of Arts (Monash University).

Helen has worked as a public sector lawyer and Director of the Department’s Legal Division and also worked at Corrs Chambers Westgarth where she advised on a wide range of public sector and private sector clients on OHS matters, employment, and industrial relations and was involved in defending several complex and significant general protections matters in the Federal Court.  She has worked as Legal Counsel at BP Australia (2014), Homeless Law Justice Connect, Australian Red Cross and as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Cara Inc, a not-for-profit specialist care and accommodation support service.

As Firbank Alumni, Helen has a great sense of connection and pride with the School, and admiration for the achievements and growth in recent years and would like to contribute to future endeavours. She has a passion for education and a deep knowledge of school operations, education policy and improvement.  Helen and her husband Bobby have three children, including a daughter in Year 5 at Sandringham Junior School.

Chris Sheppard

Director

Director since August 2018.

Chris joined SEEK in 2016 and is a member of the SEEK Investments team. In his role, he is responsible for Corporate Development including mergers and acquisitions and management of the investment portfolio. Chris brings to this role extensive experience in this area having worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and Citi Group.  Chris also previously worked at Accenture and ExxonMobil prior to his MBA.

Chris holds a Masters’s in Chemical Engineering with First Class Honours from the University of Manchester and a Master of Business Administration from London Business School.

Other current directorships include GO1, FutureLearn and SideKicker.

Committee Membership

Finance

Frieda Yeo – Chair & Honorary Treasurer
Jennine Ross – Chair of the Board
Chris Sheppard – Board Member
Wayne Gordon – Board Member
John Harris – Board Member
Jenny Williams – Principal
Scott Feehan – Chief Commercial Officer

Planning and Building

Owen Smith – Chair
Jenny Williams – Principal
Scott Feehan – Chief Commercial Officer

Governance, Compliance, Nominations and Risk Management

Nick Stretch – Chair
Jennine Ross – Chair of the Board
John Harris – Director

Health & Safety

Jennine Ross – Chair & Chair of the Board
Jo Hannah – Board Member
Helen Quiney – Board Member
Jenny Williams – Principal
Jen Shakespeare – Risk & Compliance Analyst

 

Standing Special Purpose Committees

Firbank / BGS Liaison

Jennine Ross – Chair of the Board
Jenny Williams – Principal

Remuneration

Jennine Ross – Chair of the Board
Denice Pitt – Deputy Chair
Frieda Yeo – Treasurer

Foundation Trust Company

Chris Sheppard – Chair
Nick Stretch – Deputy Chair
Frieda Yeo as Treasurer, Director
Scott Feehan (Chief Commercial Officer – as Company Secretary)