Board of Directors
Francois Witbooi, Deputy Chair
Francois Witbooi has worked as a senior executive in a range of industries across 4 continents. A classically trained concert pianist and winner of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship in 2002, Francois graduated from Columbia University in the City of New York with a Master’s in Arts management before taking up positions at the Arts Council England and the National Foundation for Youth Music UK. More recently he worked in micro enterprise development in a number of communities across regional and remote Western Australia. He is a co-founder of Redspear Safety and was most recently included as a winner of the 40under40, an award which celebrates Western Australia’s leading entrepreneurs under the age of 40. Francois also serves on the board of directors for Aboriginal Choice, a charity aimed at supporting and giving emotional strength to elders in their communities.
Felicity Gooding, Treasurer
Ms Gooding is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Minderoo, encompassing the philanthropic and private business holdings of Andrew and Nicola Forrest.
Ms Gooding is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants with over fifteen years’ experience specialising in due diligence, mergers and acquisitions and equity and debt financing across various sectors in Washington DC, Singapore and London. Ms Gooding has held senior positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Diageo Plc and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd where she was instrumental in the raising of over $5bn expansion financing. Prior to joining Minderoo, Ms Gooding was an executive at potash development company Sirius Minerals Plc. Exploration Companies Inc.
Anna Casellas, Company Secretary
Anna is a partner at national law firm Clayton Utz and holds undergraduate degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Western Australia and a Master of Laws from the University of Melbourne. Anna is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
With almost 20 years' legal experience Anna advises a broad range of clients on all aspects of employment, industrial relations and safety law. Anna also practices in regulatory litigation and compliance with a focus on large financial services.
Anna leads a number of diversity initiatives at Clayton Utz in Perth and sits on the firm's national diversity and inclusion committee, Momentum, as well as the National Graduate Recruitment Committee.
In 2020 Anna was voted by peers as WA's Lawyer of the Year (WA) - Employment and Labour Law 2020. Anna also sits on the Council at St Hilda's Anglican School for Girls and is a member of the Law Council of Australia Industrial Relations Committee.
Zoë Atkinson has worked as a theatre designer nationally and internationally for over twenty-five years. Her experience spans a diverse range of art forms including opera, puppetry, dance, theatre, community arts, museum exhibition and the visual arts. Over the years she has served as a member and chair on many arts advisory boards, committees and funding panels; and has taught design at a variety of institutions, including WAAPA, where she was Head of Design from 2000 – 2002. Zoë has been the recipient of several awards for her work, including a Helpmann Award, several Green Room Awards, and the Young Australian of the Year Award for the Arts. Her relationship with Black Swan began in 2000; and she has since designed thirteen productions with the company.
Dr Clint Bracknell
Clint Bracknell is a musician and researcher from the south coast Noongar region of Western Australia and Associate Professor at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and Kurongkurl Katitjin, Edith Cowan University.
He writes, performs and produces music for stage and screen and worked on the first ever Shakespearean production presented entirely in an Aboriginal language. He leads an Australian Research Council funded program of research on restoring connections between song, language, culture and nature.
An awarded secondary and tertiary teacher, Clint developed the major in contemporary music at Sydney Conservatorium of Music (2014-2018). He serves on the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Council and is chair of the AIATSIS Foundation. His PhD study of the aesthetics and sustainability of Noongar song (2013-2015) was awarded the 2016 Robert Street Prize at UWA for most outstanding thesis.
Mimi Packer graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is an accountant and mother of four children. She is on the Board of The Fathering Project and the Australian Bridge Federation Foundation. Mimi is a former director of the PLC Foundation and has been involved with numerous charities including Clontarf Foundation, The Smith Family and Brightwater Care Group. Mimi has been keen supporter of the Black Swan State Theatre Company for many years.
Linda has a BA (Hons) in Politics (UWA) and a Law degree from Cambridge University. She is a former Director of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Member of the Legislative Council of the West Australian State Parliament. In 2016 she was appointed Inaugural Convenor of the Valuing Children Initiative. In 1997 Linda was awarded the Law Society of Western Australia’s annual award for Outstanding Service to the Community. In 2010 she was named Woman Lawyer of the Year. Linda is on the board of the National Drug Research Institute and the State Emergency Management Committee. In October 2018 she was appointed an Ambassador for Children and Young People in Western Australia.
Professor David Shirley
David is the Executive Director of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
A professional actor with extensive experience in theatre, film, television and radio, David trained at the Arts Educational Schools and at RADA.. The founding Chair of the Conference of Drama Schools Research Forum and a former Co-convenor of the 20th/21st Century Performer Training Group at TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Research Association), David is actively engaged in promoting research initiatives across the HE performer training sector. His own research includes published articles/book chapters related to Stanislavsky and Russian Naturalism, British Actor and Director training, the American Method, the work of Samuel Beckett and Postdramatic Theatre.
David was formerly the Chair of the Federation of Drama Schools (FDS) in the UK and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).
David is an Associate Editor of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT) published by Routledge.
He is also on the Advisory Board to the Stanislavsky Research Centre.
Alison is the Director, Sustainability and Corporate Affairs and Joint Company Secretary at Fortescue Metals Group.
With significant experience in corporate affairs, legal, company secretarial and general management, Alison has previously held senior executive and Board roles across a number of sectors including automotive, telecommunications and superannuation. She holds a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Graduate Diploma of Business (Accounting), and is a member of Chief Executive Women and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Previous roles before joining Fortescue include General Counsel & Company Secretary and Executive Director, Corporate Affairs at GM Holden, Head of Corporate Affairs at innovative electric car network company, Better Place Australia, and Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of leading not-for-profit, The Foundation for Young Australians. She has also held a number of Non-Executive positions including on the Board of Directors of industry superannuation fund AustralianSuper and NBN Tasmania Limited.
Ivan Vella is the managing director Supply Chain and Services for the iron ore business at Rio Tinto. He has accountability for the end to end supply chain moving iron ore from 16 mines across the Pilbara through the rail network and on to customers via four ports terminals at Dampier and Cape Lambert.
Ivan is also responsible for the Core Services function which provides the support infrastructure, utilities and associated services across the iron ore operations. Prior to this role, Ivan was chief operating officer — Coal, with accountability for Rio Tinto’s five coal operations in New South Wales, Queensland and South Africa. Before this, Ivan worked at the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia – a $6bn start-up copper and gold operation and one of the top three copper mines in the world.
Since joining Rio in 2003 Ivan has led a number of large business improvement and transformation projects across various areas of the business. He previously worked with Deloitte Consulting.
Ivan holds a Bachelor of Business, a Master of Business in Operations and Quality Management from Queensland University of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from University of Edinburgh.