Executive Team

Meet the talented, dedicated team who make sure we’re always working towards YWCA’s vision and strategic plan. Our Executive Team uses their shared knowledge to manage our day-to-day operations and support our CEO, Michelle Phillips.  

Click the below links to jump to individual profiles.

Michelle Phillips

Michelle Phillips

Chief Executive Officer

Bachelor of Business, Chartered Accountant

Location: Brisbane

Michelle has almost 20 years’ senior executive leadership in I/NGO and commercial organisations with the advancement of women as the common thread. She has extensive international and local business experience in national strategy, change management, community engagement, funding and commercial partnerships.  

From Country Director delivering and advocating for lifesaving women’s health services in Asia and Africa, to establishing the highly successful national Westfield W-League and CEO roles with the Hyundai A-League football clubs, Michelle is a true social business leader driven by improving social impact and financial performance.


Jan Berriman

Jan Berriman

Director, National Housing and Property Development

GAICD, Grad Dip Social Science (Housing Management and Policy)

Location: Melbourne

Jan Berriman has a passion for feminism and women’s rights (her feminist hero is the notorious RBG) – as well as good company, good wine and great food!

Jan has over twenty years’ experience at executive level within not for profit organisations, including the establishment and development of two new, highly successful organisations.

She has worked in the housing and homelessness sector in remote, rural and inner urban contexts delivering housing and support programs. Jan is an accomplished property development manager and innovative thinker in organisational development and growth and has a strong commitment to transparency and accountability.


Shannon Wright

Shannon Wright

Director, Service Development and Delivery

Advanced Diploma Community Sector Management

Location: Sydney

Shannon has held senior leadership roles in both the government and non government sectors for over 30 years and has a strong commitment to social justice and a passionate interest in regional service delivery and linking teams across distance.

She has a background in policy and advocacy with a focus on women’s health, domestic and family violence, homelessness and alcohol and other drugs. As well as supporting teams across the organisation she also manages multiple local, state and federal grants with varying funding agreements, acquittal processes and evaluation methodologies.


Faisal Mukhtar

Faisal Mukhtar

Chief Financial Officer

B.Sc. (Hons) Applied Accounting, CA, ACCA, Grad Cert in Management, Grad Dip Applied Corporate Governance, MBA (Final)

Location: Sydney

Faisal brings significant leadership and strategic experience in business transformation and consolidation, merger and integration, designing and implementing growth strategies, and business expansion.

He has previously worked for some iconic businesses within the not for profit, education, hospitality, private equity investee entities and professional services sectors including Marriott International Inc, University of London, Deloitte, RSM and Australian Institute of Management (a Scientia Education Group business owned by CHAMP Ventures).

Faisal is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Governance Institute of Australia, and Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. He is a managing director of C-Kandar Pty Ltd., founding trustee of Sedum School of Special Children and a former director of Asian Association of Management Organisation secretariat.


Jess Watkinson

Jess Watkinson

Director, Development (on parental leave)

GradCert Social Planning

Location: Brisbane

Jess has had over 20 years experience in not-for profit and government roles, focusing on community, capacity and strategy development, housing, youth and family services predominantly in the Northern Territory.

She has extensive executive level experience in strategic policy, national partnerships, NGO Management and evaluation. Jess has been passionately involved in many Boards and is committed to ensuring effective engagement and consultation, while ensuring clear strategy and objectives.

Jess’ proudest girl-power moment was watching one of her girls get into a locksmith apprenticeship – the only girl to do so in the Northern Territory. And she outshines them all – just ask Jess!


Joanna Mallon

Joanna Mallon

Director, People and Culture

Bachelor Social Science Member of AHRI (Australian Human Resources Institute)

Location: Sydney

The three words Joanna would use to describe YWCA? Passionate, inclusive and feminist. They’re values she brings to work everyday for her role as Director, People and Culture.

Joanna has more than 15 years human resource leadership experience across the manufacturing, retail, financial services and not-for-profit sectors. She’s also managed sales and service teams as Regional Manager with HCF.

She has particular expertise in developing and implementing programs and advising leaders in organisations on leadership, culture, change management, employment relations, remuneration strategy and WHS. Joanna is passionate about the support and development of people in an organisation and how people initiatives can contribute to an organisation’s strategic outcomes and success.


Renee Hancock

Renee Hancock

Director, Communications

BA Arts (Journalism and Public Relations), MA Marketing

Location: Melbourne

Renee’s son calls her a ‘good looker’ – because she’s good at finding things!

Aside from finding her son’s missing shoes, Renee’s a senior communications leader with 20 years of extensive experience in brand, marketing, public relations, advocacy and corporate social responsibility. She has held executive and senior management roles across the not-for-profit and corporate sectors. Renee has worked with Good Shepherd Microfinance, where she established the innovation lab and led the co-design and development of a new microenterprise program for women.

Renee is passionate about gender equality and women’s economic wellbeing. As the Director of Communications at YWCA, Renee is responsible for communications, marketing, media, advocacy, memberships and fundraising.


Kate O’Donohue

Kate O’Donohue

Company Secretary

MSc Corp. Gov, BA, FGIA, FCSA

Location: Brisbane

Kate is a firm believer in the power of YWCA Australia. The three words she’d use to describe the organisation? Force of Reckoning.

Kate has over 15 years’ experience in corporate governance and as a Company Secretary in not for profit, corporate and listed entities.

She was previously a contracted Company Secretary and Governance Professional and she provided secretarial and governance services to a range of entities, including a dual listed bank, listed mining company, unlisted public financial services company and various not for profit companies.  Kate has also been Company Secretary of an ASX listed Financial Services company and, in the UK, worked for the Financial Services Authority and LogicaCMG a global IT company dual listed on the FTSE and Euronext.

Kate holds a Masters of Corporate Governance and a Bachelor of Arts, and is a fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia and of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (UK)


Jon Ackary

Jon Ackary

General Manager, Song Businesses

Management – Hilton

Location: Sydney

When he’s not the ski slopes, Jon is manager of YWCA Australia’s Song Businesses. His description of YWCA is simple: inclusive, kind and ambitious.

Jon has over 30 years’ experience including 20 years’ at General Manager level operating Hotels, Restaurants and Events for major Hotel and Event operators including Hilton Hotels and Event Hospitality.

He made the move to Profit For Purpose as he could see that a charity with a vibrant commercial division puts the organisation in a strong position to maintain independence and grow funding for programs and advocacy work.