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.
Chair of the Board
Jennine Ross (Class of 87) – Jennine joined the Firbank community in 1979 as a grade four student at Sandringham House. She has over 25 years in corporate and consulting roles as a Human Resources executive. She joined the Firbank Board in 2014 and has held the positions of Deputy Chair, Chair of the Health & Safety Committee and member of the Governance Committee.
Jennine is the first female Chair in Firbank’s 107-year history and is deeply honoured to accept the position. She is also a current parent, with a daughter at the Junior Campus Brighton.
Julie Laycock who has been on the Board since 2012. She moved to Australia after completing her studies in Surrey, UK. She is a Marketing executive specialising in the FMCG and retail sectors.
Julie is a current Firbank parent, with daughters in both the Senior School and the Junior Campus Brighton.
Paul was appointed to the Firbank Board in 2002 following a number of years on the School’s Planning and Building Committee which he now chairs. He is also a member of the Finance Committee and has previously served on various special purpose committees. His qualifications include BE, Grad Dip Property, MBus. He has been engaged in the property and construction industry since 1981, Paul’s diverse career span roles in design, construction and development activities with the John Holland Group, Connell Group and Baulderstone Hornibrook/Elders Finance. He joined Becton in 1991 and was a Director of the Becton Group of Companies.
Paul brings significant experience to the Board with a background in residential, hotel, office, student accommodation, retail and retirement sectors, larger master planned communities, urban renewal and the strategic growth and development of significant businesses. Paul and his wife, Judy have three daughters all of whom attend/attended Firbank since their first days of school.
Andrew was appointed to the Firbank Board in March 2011. He is the Managing Director of Imperium Capital Group Pty Ltd. Prior to establishing Imperium, Andrew has previously held roles with KPMG, HSBC Bank in New Zealand and J Boag and Son Limited. He brings a wealth of experience in business reengineering, international trade, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, financing and business management to his role as a Firbank Board member. His qualifications include B.Com in Business Administration from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch NZ.
Andrew was previously involved with the Firbank Foundation as a committee member. Andrew and his wife Sarah have two daughters currently attending Firbank.
Wayne Gordon was appointed to the School Board in 2013 and served as Chairman of the Sub-Committee for Digital Learning. He has held the position of Chief Information Officer in two top 50 ASX organisations and now provides digital and IT advisory services through his own company.
Wayne started his career in the Royal Australian Navy where he specialised in Navigation. He was posted on exchange to the US Naval Academy where he was awarded a Commendation by the Secretary of the US Navy and graduated with distinction. He transitioned into the corporate sector and spent ten years in consulting and advisory roles working with Telstra, Tabcorp and ANZ. Wayne holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (University of NSW); a Graduate Diploma of Strategic Studies, Graduate Diploma in Applied Science; and a Masters of Business (Charles Sturt University). Wayne and his wife, Rosie, have three daughters who attend Firbank.
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. 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 is in Year 2 at Turner House
Curt Leonard was appointed to the Firbank Board in 2007 and was Deputy Chairman from May 2010 to May 2016. Recently retired after 31 years with Mars Incorporated, Curt continues to be actively involved in the food and agricultural businesses of Australia as a businessman, board member and investor. He brings a wealth of experience as a Managing Director, General Manager and Marketer to his role as a Firbank Board member. His qualifications include Bachelor of Science, Marketing and Business Administration (E. Illinois University, USA). In his 10 years as President of Mars Asia Pacific, Curt developed Mars’ businesses in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Curt and his wife, Kara (a Firbank Old Grammarian) have two daughters, Louise and Gabrielle. Gabrielle was a Firbank School Captain in 2011.
Nicholas Stretch became a member of the Firbank Board in 2011. 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. Nick is currently the managing director of Nick Stretch Legal Pty Ltd where he practices as a commercial and corporate lawyer. He 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 while the younger three still attend.
Frieda S.M. Yeo was elected to the Firbank Board in 2016. 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 the Finance 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.
Denice Pitt was appointed to the School Board in October 2016. She is currently Chief Executive Officer of Online Education Services (OES), a role she has held since the company was launched in 2011. 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. She brings a wealth of experience as a CEO and business executive to her role as a Firbank Board member.
Denice holds a Masters of Business Management and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has been a Board Member for Good Shepherd Microfinance since 2012. Denice and her husband Darren have a daughter who currently attends Firbank.
Joanne is the most recent addition to the Firbank School Board, appointed in July 2017. She is the CEO, Managing Director and Board Member of an ASX listed medical company, Total Face Group and is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Jo’s background is in medical sales and marketing, she previously worked for global pharmaceutical companies both nationally and internationally before starting Total Face Group in 2014.
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 is in Year 11 at Brighton Grammar School.
Jo is particularly passionate about developing, encouraging and empowering young women through their senior school years and into the work place.