Meet the Board

Queensland is a step closer to having a mental health consumer representative peak body

Black and white sketch of people sitting around a board table

Seven directors with a diverse wealth of lived experiences, learned experiences and knowledge have been appointed to the Board of the soon to be realised mental health consumer representative peak organisation for Queensland.

The directors' appointment follows a rigorous and competitive recruitment process, with nearly 200 people from across Queensland applying for the seven positions.

The new peak organisation will provide policy advice and system advocacy for, and with, consumers based on the principles of equity, access, cultural-safety, recovery, and human rights.

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic said the board's recruitment was an important step in the journey to establish a new consumer organisation.

"This is a celebratory milestone for everyone who has contributed to the establishment project," Mr Frkovic said.

"Mental health consumer-representative peak organisations in other states and territories provide lived-experience expertise and input into mental health policies and services, as well as helping to reduce discrimination and stigma around mental health."

The new peak organisation, which is expected to be operational later this year, will represent the collective interests of mental health consumers of all ages across Queensland.

The project to establish the new peak has been funded by Queensland Government and managed by a lived experience project team employed by the Queensland Mental Health Commission.

A project steering committee made up of key stakeholders, including six lived experience representatives, has overseen implementation of the establishment phase of the project, and has made vital decisions about how the new peak organisation will be structured and governed.

The work has been guided by a set of common values and principles - recovery oriented, trauma informed, culturally safe, and lived-experience-led – and these have been woven through the governance documents which have been developed for the new organisation.

The process to recruit an interim chief executive officer for the new organisation is in its final stages and the successful candidate will be announced soon.

The board and the CEO of the new peak body will continue to cultivate a culture of active lived-experience engagement and leadership which has guided this work to date.

The Commission will auspice and support the new organisation to ensure it has the best opportunity to become a strong, respected, and sustainable mental health consumer representative peak for Queensland.

Peter Forday is appointed as Board chair.

Peter’s career began in 1985 and has been shaped by his passion for human rights, social justice and community cohesion. He has held roles in direct service delivery, program and policy development, middle and senior management through to executive leadership at CEO and board level.

He has worked within and alongside community, government and private industry on a range of issues including systems advocacy and reform, inclusion and diversity, refugee settlement, Indigenous education, child protection, youth justice, disability, child development, health, housing and employment.

Peter contributes a significant amount his time and skills to vibrant, diverse, caring and compassionate communities. He has a personal and professional commitment to full social and economic inclusion and participation of all, and in particular the frequently marginalised.

Until recently, Peter co-chaired the Cohesive Communities Coalition in collaboration with the Queensland Human Rights Commission, which advocated vigorously for stronger vilification and hate crime laws in Queensland, sparking Parliamentary and legislative reviews.

He has extensive experience in representing organisations to high level decision makers, at community events and in the media.

He is particularly interested in supporting a consumer-driven systems advocacy organisation as he believes consumers should be the principal source of direction for change, including as key drivers of policies and programs that have a direct and significant impact on their wellbeing.

David Wenitong will fill the identified Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander director position.

David's mob is Kabi Kabi from the Southeast Queensland area. He is also a proud Australian South Sea Islander who lives and works in Rockhampton and has strong family ties to Gladstone, Cairns, and the Central Queensland region.

David studied law at Central Queensland University and has worked as a restorative justice conference convener at Youth Justice (department), and as a Court Support Officer and Solicitor with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (Atsils). He is currently employed as an Independent Patient Rights Adviser (IPRA) with Queensland Health.

He has a passion for social justice and advocating for our First Nations people’s rights and became involved in mental health through representing consumers in Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) matters while working at Atsils.

In his role as an IPRA David says he has the unique and privileged opportunity to walk alongside our most vulnerable people in society, The IPRA program empowers and supports consumers and their families to understand their rights and gain confidence in presenting their views, wishes and preferences for their own treatment and care.

 "I am always looking for ways to support and empower our consumers and an appointment to this Board is an exciting opportunity to advocate for our First Nations people’s rights and provide a First Nations perspective to mental health treatment and care in Queensland," he said.  

David has previously been a board member for Darumbal Community Youth Services and Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service, and is currently serving as a community member of the Parole Board Queensland.

Michelle Tuahine

Michelle's background is in journalism, working in the 1990s at ABC Television, and in the mid-2000s at National Indigenous Television and SBS and for the last ten years she has served as a member of the Indigenous Advisory Group for the Brisbane Festival - Queensland’s largest arts and culture event.

She is currently serving on the national NAIDOC Committee.

Michelle is committed to helping shape a vibrant and robust arts industry that values cultural integrity, truth-telling, and the importance of First Nations stewardship.

Michelle's lived experience of mental health is leading her to create a First Nations arts and disability framework to give voice and visibility to this unseen part of our community.

"The intersection of First Nations arts, disability and mental health is an area that has largely gone ignored and I am hoping that I can contribute to a strong national narrative for our voices to be heard.

Michelle will bring her considerable skills and lived experience perspective to the new peak consumer body.

"I thrive in a collegiate environment working with people who are excited about the future. I like working with people who are kind and funny and who like to get things done."

Fiona Evans

Fiona is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds qualifications in finance and marketing. She has a strong belief in contributing to the planning and delivery of positive social outcomes as demonstrated by:

  • acting as a Breast Cancer Network Association consumer representative with The University of Queensland-Living Well After Breast Cancer Study
  • conducting a pro-bono strategic review for Spinal Injuries Australia
  • volunteering as a Lifeline counsellor, support leader and mentor for young adults and with Story Dogs (a children’s literacy program).

Fiona has previously served on the board of Act for Kids, LifeTec Queensland and Mclean Care Ltd. She is currently a non-executive director of Nortec Employment and Training Ltd, Neurosensory Ltd and Lifestyle Solutions (Aust) Ltd.

Fiona is a commercially and strategically focused non-executive director. She brings risk assessment, analysis and operational accountability to all phases of board governance and strategy.  Through appropriate peer consultation and questioning of senior management, she concisely and effectively articulates her viewpoint and contributes an independent and fresh perspective to collaborative decision making.

"Through my own lived experience, I understand the importance of ensuring people with mental health issues achieve tailored support that encompasses all aspects of their life," she said.

Rob Jerrom

Rob brings an extensive background in governance, risk and environmental science across the corporate, not-for-profit and public sectors, including for mental health, domestic family violence and peak bodies in the mental health and psychology sectors.

He is currently Vice Chair for the Special Olympics Australia (Queensland), on the Governance Committee of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia and on the Climate Change Committee of the United Nations Association of Australia. Rob has previously been the Deputy Chair and Company Secretary of Good Samaritans Housing, a Brisbane-based supported housing program for vulnerable women and their children; and a former Chair at Brisbane Youth Radio.

His career focus over the past 8-10 years has been working with boards, sub-committees and governance professionals in a variety of governance, risk, compliance and company secretarial activities.

Leesa Addison

Leesa is a business transformation and digital product development consultant, former Chief Information Officer and senior executive with 25 years’ experience working in technology and innovation.

Professionally she has worked within the health sector for the past eight years specifically helping providers of mental health and disability services to transform their business models and operating environments - with a strong focus on efficiency, product development and enterprise risk.

Leesa has a Humanities degree majoring in Film and Media and Gender Studies, reflecting her core interests in the arts, technology and social justice.

Leesa identifies her lived experience as a primary driver of her career choice of helping organisations in crisis.

In addition to her career, Leesa has had involvement and contact with mental health systems throughout her lifetime as a carer for immediate family members, having family members as professionals in the field and lived experience of mental ill-health.

Leesa has advocated for inclusion of lived experience knowledge in mental health practice and changes to legislation to better support highly vulnerable mental health consumers.

William Smith-Stubbs

William is co-founder and director of award winning mental non-profit spur:org (creator of mental health programs including Soften the Fck Up, #OLDMATE, and How is the World Feeling?) and strategy and design firm spur: which works to solve complex social issues with private, public, and non-profit organisations.

William experienced clinical depression and suicidality as a twelve-year old – an experience that led him to establish a non-profit focused on suicide prevention for young men. Since then, the non-profit has expanded to include other focus areas, including Elders and LGBTIQ+ groups.

He has worked on mental health co-design projects around the world, and regularly speaks at events, radio, and on television on the subject of improving mental wellbeing outcomes for society.

William is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and Davos Annual Meeting panellist, a Gates Foundation Goalkeeper, G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit Australian Delegate and the Digital Brisbane Ambassador to Berlin. He was also a founding Global Talent for the UNLEASH Innovation Lab in Denmark 2017 and a Talent Facilitator in Singapore, 2018 and Shenzhen, 2019.

William’s skillset lies in strategy, community development and involvement, human centred design (including co-design/participatory design), stakeholder engagement, and leadership.

Congratulations to all!

More information about the project to establish a new
mental health consumer representative peak for Queensland
is available at: