Our People (Board Members)
The work of Hands Across Canberra is overseen by a volunteer board. The Board of Hands Across Canberra is representative of the broad community of the ACT including representatives of the community sector, government and business.
The Board Members are:
Diane Kargas AM, Chair
Diane has been a tireless contributor to the Canberra community and mentor for people in the charitable and not for profit sector. In her former role as Public Trustee for the ACT, Diane founded the Capital Region Community Foundation known as GreaterGood for the perpetual benefit of Canberra and the region. Diane was the ACT Local Hero in 2004, and in 2007 was recognised by the International Women's Day Award for services to the ACT Community. In 2009 she was awarded Member of the Order of Australia for her services to philanthropy, aged care, people with disabilities and juvenile diabetes research. In 2011 she was listed on the Honour Roll of 100 inspiring women in the ACT.
Amelda (Mel) Keys, Deputy Chair
Chair, The Aspen Foundation
Mel began her career as a Mothercraft Nurse then studied and graduated from Social Work in 1985. She has extensive experience in the health, disability and child & family sectors and has undertaken further qualifications in Pastoral Care and Business. For several years now, Mel has been involved with and supported Not for Profit organisations in Canberra, in particular in the areas of disability and food rescue. Mel is the Chair of The Aspen Foundation, a member of The Funding Network and is a former board member of No Sweat Fashions. She is passionate about encouraging philanthropy and supporting social entrepreneurship. Mel and her husband Glenn have lived in Canberra for 21 years and they have three adult children.
Charley Cramer is the Head of Industry Banking for St.George Bank in the ACT. Charley has over 18 years’ experience in corporate, wholesale and commercial banking, which includes diverse financing, capital markets, advisory, and strategic leadership experience. Charley’s career has spanned corporate, private and commercial banking and, before joining St.George and the Westpac Group, Charley held senior roles at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and NAB group of companies. An engaged advocate for Canberra, Charley is an active ACT Business Leader holding positions on the ACT Business Chamber’s Innovation, and International Trade Task forces. He is a committed mentor to high potential young people and maintains an active involvement in The Hunger Project – a not-for-profit organisation whose goal is to alleviate hunger and domestic violence through the empowerment and education of women.
Director-General, Community Services Directorate
Michael is the Director-General of the ACT Government Community Services Directorate. The Directorate is responsible for developing, delivering and funding programs, policies and services across a wide range of human services including child and youth protection services, public and community housing and homelessness, disability and therapy policy, early intervention, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, multicultural affairs, older people, veterans, women, community engagement, community services and disaster recovery. Its vision is better lives for everyone with better services. The Directorate administers a total budget of $273.7m and employs 1047 people.
Michael was previously the Deputy Secretary of Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services South Division. Michael was responsible for the key business functions of the South Division; area based service delivery, service improvement and client outcomes, divisional corporate services, child protection, and health branches. Through planning, monitoring and best practice, Michael drove a client centred high performance culture to achieve positive client outcomes and the delivery of quality services to vulnerable Victorians.
Diana is a highly skilled, awarded and respected communication professional with over 30 years’ experience. Diana merged her first consultancy with one of Australia’s largest agencies, PPR, and spent the next 16 years leading national and international strategy and campaigns. Today, Diana is director and owner of three businesses including OPF Consulting, a successful digital marketing and PR agency based in Canberra. Diana was awarded a PRIA Fellowship in 2004, received a Centenary of Federation Medal in 2003, and was the 2001 ACT Telstra Business Woman of the Year in the government and corporate sector category. Diana is passionate about helping smaller organisations succeed in their work within the community. She also serves as the Chair of ACT Region Crime Stoppers and is a Director of Crime Stoppers Australia.
John Hindmarsh AM
John Hindmarsh has over 40 years' experience in property, construction and business investment in Australia and overseas. He attended Sydney Grammar School before graduating from the University of NSW in 1965 with an Honours Degree in Building. John is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2013 for his service to the construction industry and business in general in the ACT.
John Hindmarsh is a long-time supporter of the arts and is a Member of the National Gallery of Australia governing council, as well as Chairman of the National Gallery of Australia Foundation. He is also Chairman of the ACT Government Cultural Facilities Corporation which manages significant cultural venues such as the Canberra Theatre, Museum and Gallery and historic places.
Ed Le Quesne
Ed is a Director at EY Canberra, with experience in the provision of accounting, tax and governance advice to not-for-profit, commercial and Government clients. Ed has experience working with Hands Across Canberra, having been involved in the initial setup of HAC and with ongoing involvement to date. Ed has 15 years commercial experience in Canberra which he will bring enthusiastically to the board of Hands Across Canberra
Partner, Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers
Alice heads Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers, Corporate and Commercial practice. With more than 25 years’ experience, Alice leads her team in developing business frameworks for her clients, ensuring that intellectual property and other legal requirements are met.
Alice’s philosophy is that creating relationships and strong lines of communication is key to providing tailored advice. Her ability to forge close and collaborative relationships with clients and other advisers ensures that the right solutions are always delivered.
Alice's main area of practice is in corporate advisory and governance. Alice is the Deputy Chair of the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission and a director of The Fly Program. She chairs the risk and audit committee of the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission and is a member of the risk and audit committee of Project Independence.
Peter Vardos PSM
Peter has had a distinguished 38-year career in the Australian Public Service. Peter commenced as a graduate with the former Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) where his experience included serving in Australia’s diplomatic missions in the Solomon Islands, Kenya and Zimbabwe as well as on the staff of two federal ministers. Peter joined the Department of Immigration in 1995 and was promoted to Deputy Secretary in 2011, with responsibility for global visa and citizenship services. In the eight months leading up to his retirement in May 2016, Peter led the establishment of the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Taskforce with responsibility for coordinating the government’s commitment to re-settle 12,000 persons affected by the Syrian conflict. Peter received a Public Service Medal in the 2002 Australia Day Honours List.