Australian Volunteers International

Our People

Our leadership team focuses on achieving quality outcomes in development, managing risks effectively, and delivering value to AVI’s partners and stakeholders.




Offices globally


Countries of operation

Executive Team

Melanie Gow

Chief Executive Officer

Having held senior leadership roles across international development and the Australian health sector, Melanie’s portfolio accountabilities have included research, policy and advocacy, international programs, corporate affairs, marketing, sales, strategy and governance.

Melanie’s roles with World Vision International in Geneva, Switzerland, included Deputy Director for International Policy and Advocacy  and President of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child – working closely with UN agencies and international NGOs.

Board positions include Hagar Australia, Intrepid Foundation, Business for Development, the Australian Council for International Development, Campaign for Australian Aid and the Coalition to the Stop the Use of Child Soldiers. Melanie was also on the Advisory Board of the Researchers for Asylum Seekers at the University of Melbourne and was Co-Chair of the United Nations Special Experts Panel on Violence against Children. Melanie has a Master of Arts in International Development and a Master of Public and International Law.

Raine Dixon

Program Director – Australian Volunteers Program

With over twenty years’ experience in international development, Raine joins AVI bringing considerable experience in international development spanning AusAid/DFAT, INGOs, Consulting Services and Executive Leadership. Her most recent role at CBM saw Raine lead the organisation’s advisory consultancy which played a critical role in mainstreaming disability inclusion across the Australian aid program. Raine also has deep experience in monitoring and evaluation, contract management and team leadership.
Raine holds a Masters in Program Evaluation, and is a skilled strategic leader with a passion for mentoring and development.

Jonathan Hunter

Jonathan Hunter

Regional Director – Australian Volunteers Program Asia Archipelago

Jon has worked with International Volunteer Sending Organisations for over 20 years, initially spending four years as a Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) volunteer in Indonesia teaching electrical installation at a technical college and developing renewable energy technologies at a local civil society organisation.
After completing his volunteer assignment Jon went on to manage VSO’s sustainable livelihoods program in Eastern Indonesia and then spent two years with the Canadian volunteer organisation CUSO as the Asia Pacific program manager supporting programming across a wide range of countries from Laos and Thailand to Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. Since 2007, Jon has been working with AVI managing the Australian Volunteers program in Indonesia before taking on the Regional Directors role in 2017.

Jon has a BA in Criminology and Law and is a qualified electrician.

Matt Coleman

Executive Manager, Corporate Operations

Matt Coleman leads the Information Technology, People & Culture and Communications & Campaigns functions teams.

Matt is an organisational development and business effectiveness professional with extensive experience across multiple industries and contexts, having held leadership roles in the telecommunications, insurance and mutual banking industries.

Matt holds a Bachelor of Business and a Masters of Strategic Organisational Development.

Melanie Wilson

Public Diplomacy Manager, Australian Volunteers Program

Melanie is a skilled communicator, with more than 20 years’ experience across the not-for-profit and private sectors. Melanie strives to engage stakeholders through honest and authentic communications.

Melanie is experienced in crisis communications, stakeholder engagement, media management, alumni engagement, and external and internal communications. She has previously worked as a researcher, librarian and business analyst.

Melanie has been with AVI for seven years, and is passionate about supporting locally-led change.

Emma Hess

Partnerships and Innovation Manager, Australian Volunteers Program

Emma is currently responsible for developing and maintaining strong, diverse and sustainable partnerships for the program across government, non – government and private sectors. She also designs innovative solutions to maximise the engagement, development and diplomacy outcomes of the program.

Emma has more than 30 years’ experience in the international development sector with a Master of International Development and Environmental Analysis and an MBA with a research focus on strategic alliances of NGOs with Corporates and Universities. She is an accredited partnership broker with the Partnership Brokers Association and has a Bachelor of Education.

Emma has worked with AVI for the last 20 years in various capacities including Manager Overseas Operations for the AusAID AVID, Manager PACTAM (The Pacific Technical Assistance Mechanism), Manager of Remote Recruitment – Darwin, where she worked with Indigenous communities. She has also lived and worked internationally including Spain, Kenya and Fiji.

Emma has worked in the not for profit and volunteering space for over 25 years and understands the value of working in partnerships and supporting meaningful change. Committed to the power of volunteering and the contribution it can make to a better world. Emma was a volunteer in Kenya for 3 years.

Bruce Morrison

Chief Financial Officer

Bruce has strong experience in both the not for profit and commercial sectors and is passionate about organisational purpose and values. Previous roles include Audit Manager at Ernst & Young, CFO at Yooralla (disability services) and CFO at Urbis (multi disciplinary consulting firm)

Bruce holds a Bachelor and Economics and Bachelor of Law and is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.


Sam Mostyn


Sam Mostyn is a businesswoman and sustainability adviser, with a long history of executive and governance roles across business, sport, climate change, the arts, policy, and NFP sectors. She is Chair of Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, FYA, AIIW, ANROWS and Aware Super, serves on boards of Mirvac, Climate Change Authority and Beyond Blue; alongside a broad portfolio of other roles including chairing Ausfilm and the Centre for Policy Development; past President of Chief Executive Women, Chair of Citi Australia and Climate Council board member. Sam was awarded the Order of Australia in 2021 for distinguished service to business and sustainability, and to the community, through seminal contributions to a range of organisations, and to women.

Board of Directors

Julie Hamblin


Julie Hamblin’s work has spanned health law, governance, disability and international development. A former partner of HWL Ebsworth, she has expertise in health regulation, clinical risk, privacy and bioethics. She also has a particular interest in global health and human rights having worked with the United Nations Development Programme and other organisations on projects relating to public health and HIV/AIDS in more than 20 countries in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Eastern Europe. Julie has served on numerous government and other advisory bodies, including the Australian Research Integrity Committee, the NSW Health Ethics Advisory Panel, and the Attorney-General’s International Pro Bono Advisory Group.

Julie is an experienced Non-Executive Director. Other roles have included Chair of Autism Spectrum Australia, Deputy Chair of Plan International Australia, and board member of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Dean Tillotson

Dean Tillotson

Second Deputy

Dean Tillotson is the Executive director of Registration and Licensing for the State of Victoria. He has held senior roles Senior Management roles across Health and Financial Services including Executive Director Public Transport Victoria (PTV), Principal of Acumulus consulting and Executive General Manager/CEO Australian Health Management (AHM).

AVI Board sub-committee: Chair, Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Leanne Close APM


Leanne is the Chief Executive Government and Strategic Engagement at Risk 2 Solution. Leanne is a former police officer with 33 years policing, law enforcement and training experience in the Australian Federal Police, culminating as Deputy Commissioner from 2014-2019. During this time, as Deputy Commissioner National Security, Leanne was the AFP representative at the Australia /New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee.

From 2015 – 2019, Leanne co-chaired the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing. She was a member of the AFP Audit Committee and the Australian Electoral Commission Audit and Risk Committee. In 2016, she undertook a 12-month secondment to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department leading their Criminal Justice Group.

Martine Letts

Martine Letts


Martine Letts is the Group CEO of Asialink at the University of Melbourne. She is an experienced executive within the government, non-profit and international policy sectors with expertise in public policy development, formulation and promotion in Australia and internationally. She is the former CEO of the Committee for Melbourne, the Australia China Business Council, Deputy Director of Lowy Institute for International Policy and CEO of Red Cross.

Martine has also had a long diplomatic career, including a posting as Australian Ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, and Adviser to former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans.

AVI Board sub-committee: Chair – Governance and Quality Committee

Brendon McNiven

Brendon McNiven


Brendon is an Enterprise Professor at The University of Melbourne overseeing the Master of Architectural Engineering degree in the Melbourne School of Design.  Originally trained as an engineer, Brendon brings over thirty years of industry experience to his role the majority of which was spent working with the global multidisciplinary design firm Arup. His career has included time practising in Hong Kong, London, Singapore, and Australia.

Brendon is a passionate believer in integrated sustainable design in the interests of helping achieve the UN 2030 sustainable development goals. Brendon is currently also undertaking PhD study in the field of architectural engineering examining the different thinking natures of architects and engineers in the context of improving collaboration.

AVI board sub-committee: Australian Volunteers Program Consortium Group.

Jon Macard

Jon Marcard


Jon Marcard is the Chief Financial Officer at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne with responsibility for the overall Finance function. Jon also has responsibility for Payroll, Procurement & Supply, Support Services and Information and Communication Technology.

Jon has more than 25 years’ financial experience across a diverse range of sectors including financial services, insurance and consulting. Jon has a Bachelor of Economics and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

AVI Board sub-committee: Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Liza Coffey


Liza Coffey is an Operational Advisor for Associated British Foods (Twinings). Over 15 years, Liza has held senior management roles in driving Supply Chain efficiencies and operational strategy within multinational consumer environments, retail businesses, and social enterprises. Having served as a volunteer on an AVI assignment within the Pacific Region and research associate for UNDP (Sri Lanka) | Monash University, Liza also has practical development expertise in gender advocacy with sustainable livelihood programs, business development (SME), and resource management addressing key climate factors. Liza holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) and a Masters in International Development Practice (Sustainable Resources)

AVI Board sub-committees: Governance & Quality Committee and the People & Culture Committee.

Michael Batchelor


Michael’s career spans 30 years including as a volunteer, director, operational executive and engineer. Recently, he provided volunteer support to the Independent Research Institute of Mongolia through the Australian Volunteers Program managed by AVI. Previously, he wa director and joint founder of Nimbus Advisory Pty Ltd, a boutique management consultancy providing services to the infrastructure sector. Michael also had positions of increasing responsibility with AECOM/Maunsell over 25 years culminating in leadership of the Australian and New Zealand Geography as Chief Executive and Chair of the Australian and New Zealand boards.

Serena Lillywhite

Serena Lillywhite


Serena has had a 25-year career in international development with a strong focus on business and human rights, tackling corruption, and working locally with communities, and civil society organisations to support their efforts to secure their rights.

Until recently Serena was the CEO of Transparency International Australia, a position she held for more than five years. She also spent many years working at Oxfam as the Mining Advocacy Lead, and worked closely with partners across the Asia Pacific region and countries of Africa.

Serena brings strong skills in governance and strategic planning, and has experience with private sector, government and civil society Boards.

Serena holds a Masters in International Business from The University of Melbourne, and has authored several corporate accountability publications from a rights based perspective. She has lived and worked in China and Cambodia, among other countries, and has also had an extensive career in the education sector.