Our Board

Julianne Petersen – Chair

Julianne was appointed Chair of the Board in December 2020 after founding Director, Michael Kennedy stepped down. She has almost 40 years of executive management experience running major retail operations in a number of settings and brings a wealth of business expertise to the organisation. She has also served on a number of nonprofit boards gaining governance expertise that she brings to the HSI Board.

Matthew Hilton – Vice Chair

Matthew is a media and communications specialist, passionate about social and environmental change in Australia. He is currently the key representative of the Global Strategic Communications Council which provides strategic media and communications support to clients working on climate related issues.

Gregory Tolhurst – Secretary

Greg has a long established career in the legal profession having both practised and taught law at senior levels. He is PhD qualified, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and currently the CEO of the Australian Bar Association and a Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Sydney in the School of Law.

Verna Simpson – Treasurer

Verna was a Founding Director of Humane Society International in Australia in 1994 with significant expertise in the area of publications and marketing. With a focus on environmentally sound products, she built Mailex International into one of the largest direct marketing operations in Australia resulting in the nomination as Direct Marketer of the Year. As Director for Fund for Animals, Verna achieved a sound financial base and continued funds growth for the organisation. Verna has also achieved success in publishing with Simply Living magazine receiving two United Nations Peace Prizes for contribution to environmental journalism whilst she was Managing Publisher/Editor. Verna has maintained her interest in marketing and advises national conservation organisations on fundraising and marketing matters.

Leslie Barcus – Director

Leslie is the Executive Director for VegFund and has extensive governance and senior management experience in Not for Profit and private enterprises around the world, having worked with organisations from start-up through transition and growth phases. With a Masters Degree in International Economic Development, her professional exposure spans more than 40 countries and includes work in many areas such as animal rights and welfare, biodiversity conservation, higher learning and adult education, micro finance, financial education, behaviour change and organisational capacity building.

Kitty Block – Director

Kitty is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of HSI Global. With her legal background, she has worked as a legal investigator uncovering cruelties and achieving major policy reforms including European Union and US bans on imports of dog and cat fur and bans on slaughtering horses for human consumption. As CEO of HSI Global, she oversees all international campaigns and programs and continues to expand them in both impact and scope.

Beverley Lange – Director

Beverley has held a variety of executive and director positions in the nonprofit and education sector including CEO of the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. She has key capabilities in coaching, organisational review, tender and funding writing, project management, change management and business and systems design.

Clive Phillips – Director

Clive was Australia’s first professor of animal welfare at the University of Queensland veterinary school from 2003-2017. Prior to that he lectured in animal production at the Universities of Cambridge and Wales. His main research interest is the welfare of livestock, particularly during ship transport.

Wendy Williams – Director

Wendy has managed complex budgets and financial reporting for more than 25 years. Wendy successfully managed financial controls both at store and national level for some of Australia’s largest retailers including Coles Myer, David Jones and Woolworths Holdings. She is now involved in supporting the growth of a small business assisting the owners in establishing financial accounting systems and business processes. Wendy is passionate about animal welfare and conservation and is committed to giving back to the community by bringing her expertise to HSI—with accountability to donors one of her key drivers.

Policies and Governance