Ian Yates is Chief Executive of COTA Australia, the national peak body for COTAs (Councils on the Ageing) in each State and Territory of Australia. Ian was appointed CE of COTA SA in June 1989
and has played national leadership roles in COTA since 2002. COTAs are the peak aged consumer organisation in each state and territory and nationally, with
thousands of organisational members representing over 500,000 seniors, plus 30,000 individual members.
Ian serves on a wide variety of federal government and aged care sector national bodies. He is a member of the Federal Government’s Aged Care Financing Authority; the Aged Care Sector Committee and the Aged Care Quality Advisory Council of the Aged Care Quality Agency and the Department of Health’s ACFI Monitoring Group. Ian is the COTA representative on the National Aged Care Alliance and its Sponsors Group. He is a Board member of the Aged Rights Advocacy Service (ARAS) in SA. Beyond aged care Ian is a member of the Consumer Advisory Panel to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), a Director of Livable Housing Australia, and a member of the Advisory Board of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR).
Ian is Chair of the Management Committee of the Australasian Journal on Ageing (AJA) and serves as a Director of COTA’s Insurance and Membership Services Ltd (IMS). Ian has previously been a Director of the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency and has served on the Consumer Consultative Committee to the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), the National Forum on Mature Age Participation, and the former Ageing Consultative Committee to the Federal Minister for
Over the last decade Ian has been Deputy Chancellor of Flinders University and Chair of its Strategic Resources Committee and various other Committees; Chair of the Cancer Council SA and a Director of the Cancer Council Australia; Deputy Chair of the Repatriation General Hospital in SA; Deputy Chair of the SA Council of Social Service; Board Member of the Southern Adelaide Health Service; Board Member of the Flinders Medical Centre; and a member of the SA Government’s Health Performance Council.
Ian holds a BA from Flinders University; is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; is an Honorary Doctor and Emeritus Deputy Chancellor of Flinders University; and was awarded Membership in the Order of Australia (AM) in June 2005.
Aged & Community Services Australia (ASCA)
Pat Sparrow is a social policy leader and innovator with expertise in stakeholder engagement and management. She has specific and detailed expertise in ageing policy and aged care, having worked as, and with, a diverse range of stakeholders including consumers, service providers, workforce, health professionals, corporate organisations and Government. This unique ‘360 degree’ perspective ensures that Pat’s leadership approach is strategic and nuanced, inclusive and collaborative.
Pat is currently leading Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) toward a new era, as a recently-transitioned national organisation and with the challenges it faces in an increasingly competitive, consumer-driven environment. She is focused on ensuring the organisation has genuine respect and influence among key stakeholders through the
establishment of a strong national voice. Pat’s breadth of knowledge, depth of experience and constructive approach enable her to achieve results that benefit ACSA members and contribute to the best possible outcomes for older Australians.
Wendy Zernike is the Executive General Manager for Care Innovation and Quality at Bolton Clarke, driving innovation and creativity in the aged and community sector. Wendy has
executive managerial experience, including decades of working in both public and private hospitals in Brisbane. Wendy has post graduate qualifications in leadership and management, an MBA from Griffith University and more recently placed in a Global Business Challenge, a business case competition to design sustainable solutions to global problems.
A newcomer to the aged care sector, Wendy brings with her extensive clinical governance experience and contributes to health system innovation through involvement and collaboration
with national organisations and internationally with China and the USA. A passionate nurse at heart, Wendy mentors the next generation of undergraduate and postgraduate nursing students through the Australian College of Nursing Mentoring Program.
Aged Care Workforce Taskforce
John Pollaers has a proven track record in leading major Australian and international companies including Pacific Brands and Foster’s Group, and in his current roles is working across Government to bring about major reforms to vocational education and training and aged care. This is a realisation of his vision of building a strong future for Australia by creating opportunities for people and businesses to flourish and succeed. He is a passionate advocate for education and training, the care of senior Australians and including more people with disability in work and training. John is Chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, and the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council. He is the Chancellor of Swinburne University and is Executive Chairman of Leef Independent Living Solutions, an innovative functional health and assistive technology business with 14 Independent Living Centres nationally.
Australian Unity & Aged Care Workforce Council
Kevin McCoy was appointed CEO of Australian Unity’s Independent and Assisted Living division in 2017 and has the great fortune to represent almost 65,000 customers across the company’s aged care, disability and Indigenous services.
Kevin spends as much time as possible on the road visiting Australian Unity’s customers and its 7000 employees. He believes it’s in his customers’ homes, retirement communities, aged care homes and the remote communities of the company’s indigenous customers that he gets to truly understand how to make a difference in lives of those people who trust Australian Unity with their wellbeing.
In two years, Kevin has visited more than 50 homes and met more than 2,000 customers. Through these travels he has met some amazing people, heard some confronting stories, seen the loneliness and laughed a lot. This experience has given Kevin an incredible insight into customers and older, vulnerable Australians while also developing a respect, appreciation and admiration for the aged care workforce.
Susan is responsible for the Human Resources Department, staff recruitment and retention, and the development and implementation of strategies to support a strong organisational culture to deliver on the mecwacare values – Caring, Accountable, Respectful and Ethical. She commenced in her role in April 2016.
Susan has 20 years of HR management experience across manufacturing, retail and more recently, eight years in disability services in the not-for-profit sector. Her roles have included leading best-practice initiatives, acquisitions and mergers, industrial relations and organisational change management.
Aged Services Industry Reference Committee & Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (SA)
Rob Bonner is the Director, Operations & Strategy for the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch). He led a national research team that established an Evidence-Based Methodology for Staffing and Skills Mix in Resident Aged Care. He is Deputy Chair of the (National) Aged Care Industry Reference Committee established following the report of the Aged Care Workforce Taskforce and is a member of the South Australian Health, Aged care and Disability Industry Skills Council. He is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Rosemary Bryant AO Research Centre, in collaboration between ANMF (SA Branch) and the University of South Australia, and a member of the Board of the Rosemary Bryant AO Foundation.
With over 20 years of experience Catherine is a passionate Organisational Development Specialist with a passion for enabling organisations and leaders to maximise their potential. Catherine specialises in Strategic HR Development, Coaching, Leadership Development, Team Building and Culture Change.
Catherine works at The Bethanie Group, a not for profit Aged Care provider as the General Manager of Organisational Capability. Her team consists of Organisational Development Consultants, a Learning and Development Team with generalist L & D Consultants and Clinical Nurse and Allied Health Educators, and Quality Assurance.
- Catherine has held key leadership roles in the private, not-for-profit and government organisations including insurance, utilities, mining and health care.
- She holds a board position for an Independent College
- She has recently completed a Masters in Business (Human Resource Management)
- Is accredited in the suite of Human Synergistic tools and Barrett’s Culture Transformation Tools
- Is a mum of three young children, a boy aged 11 and twin girls aged 8, plus a three year old Rhodesian Ridgeback dog
- Catherine has a passion for learning
- And having fun is a key priority in everything she does
Presbyterian Aged Care
Julie has worked as the Director People, Culture and Engagement for Presbyterian Aged Care (PAC) for nearly three years. Moving to the New Standards had refocused Business Strategy and PC&E team efforts to workforce, risk, quality and care.
Julie comes from a cross-sector HR Director background, holds a Masters in Organisational Development with specialisations in Workforce Development and Change and has focused her career in working with values-based organisations undergoing significant shifts in culture, capability, technology and change.
United Workers Union
Melissa Coad has worked for United Voice for seven years. In that time she has worked in a number of roles. She is currently coordinating the national United Voice Care Sector Project. A project
looking at industry and workforce issues in aged care and disability with the aim to ensure sustainable quality jobs that enable the provision of quality care and support.
Ana Lopez is an experienced HR Manager who has worked in the in-home care sector for over 2 years and has over 7 years of HR Management experience working across different industries.
As a practicing lawyer in her home country of Colombia, Ana has undertaken work across many challenging social issues and after relocating to Australia 10 years ago, she has completed a Masters Degree in Commerce Majoring in Management and currently adding to her portfolio studies in Life and Business Coaching, and small business management.
Ana is highly skilled in leadership, coaching, project management, all aspects of the HR function and her passion lies on integrating different approaches and techniques to find leadership styles that evolve with employment markets, assisting organisational growth and meeting the demands of a changing employment landscape.
Ana is a facilitator, a mentor for young Australians, a Certified NLP Practitioner and an advocate for embracing flexibility and technology in the workplace.
Margot Strachan is a human resource professional who has a passion for leadership development to improve outcomes for individuals, organisations and the people they serve. For the last 12 years, she has worked in the Aged Care sector, experiencing the significant change the industry is exposed to.With a further 15 years’ experience managing not-for profit community organisations, she draws on her experience of the sector, leadership, communication and change management to support individuals to improve their communication skills, increase their strategic focus, lead more effectively and better manage the organisational change process.
A graduate of Deakin University, Graduate Diploma of Human Resources, Margot also has a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Margot is an experienced facilitator of learning programs with a clear presentation style and an ability to engage with people at all levels.
Garth Quinn is a MBA qualified recruitment leader with demonstrated success in creating, delivering and managing talent acquisition and resourcing functions that provide tangible value to stakeholders. Garth is passionate about current and emerging recruitment best practice and technology, Garth has delivered sustainable and cost-effective solutions across a variety of industries and role types often in tight labour market conditions.
Department of Health
Charles Wann is the First Assistant Secretary, Aged Care Reform and Compliance Division, after having led the Department of Health’s Financial Management Division.
Prior to this, Charles worked in the Treasury, Social Services and Home Affairs portfolios in a variety of policy, program management and client service roles, in Australia and overseas. He led teams responsible for introducing risk‑based approaches to visa compliance and status resolution, and providing health, income and employment support to asylum seekers living in the community.
Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA)
Katie has worked in the aged care sector for the last eight years in senior management roles in both workforce development and service management (primarily home care services). In 2018 she managed three residential care services, a rehabilitation clinic and home care service and led submissions to the Royal Commission for several aged care services before joining ACSA. Katie became passionate about palliative care whilst nursing her father through the end of his life and has been a staunch advocate for her 98-year-old Nanna who lives with her mum on the Sunshine Coast and receives home care services. Katie’s experiences as both a service manager and a consumer of services drive a passion to support services to focus on the customer experience through an amazing workforce. Katie’s first career and love were teaching and prior to working solely in the aged care sector, she spent eighteen years in the classroom including eleven years in the Vocational Education and Training sector focussed on health and community services working for TAFE Queensland and then Aged Care Queensland, based in Brisbane.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation
Natalie Francis, National Client Solutions Manager at Vivir Healthcare, is a registered physiotherapist and MBA graduate who has a passion for quality care. She has extensive experience in leadership and organisational change. Her most recent role was State Operations Manager covering VIC, SA, TAS and recently the addition of WA and QLD, responsible for over 400 clinicians. Prior to joining Vivir Healthcare Natalie worked in leadership and recruitment with an aged care provider from 2011, following seven years in the hospital sector. Customer Experience is a focus in her current role but she realises that this can only be achieved through Employee Experience.
Physicist, computer scientist and entrepreneur, Anwar disrupted the job advertising industry in 2003 when he launched the pioneering job multi-posting platform Adlogic.
In 2010, Anwar lead an awesome team who took adlogic to yet another level and launched MyRecruitment+ as an end-to-end recruitment software. MyRecruitment+ spans the entire recruitment process from an electronic request-to-hire approval workflow, all the way to on-boarding.
With over 12 years in the employment industry, James works with government, healthcare and social assistance industries by providing them valuable insights on Australian employment market so that they can make smart workforce decisions that can help improve their service delivery and succeed in a challenging environment.