Staff and Board Staff and Board

CARE Australia’s ability to deliver lifesaving assistance and bring lasting change to communities living in poverty is largely due to our talented, passionate and committed team.

In Australia and overseas we have 768 staff, of whom ninety-seven per cent are nationals of the countries in which we operate, dedicated to our mission to work around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice.

We have a corporate governance system, which ensures that management is fulfilling our mission and complying with legal and ethical requirements. This is detailed in CARE Australia Governance. The Executive Team and Board of CARE Australia are listed below.

Executive Team

Peter Walton, Chief Executive Officer

Peter was appointed Chief Executive of CARE Australia in 2020 and can’t imagine a job that is better suited to his experience and ambitions. He is thrilled to be leading an organisation that shares his belief that we cannot defeat poverty and injustice without overcoming inequality.

Peter is excited to share his 28 years of international experience seeking better outcomes in international development and humanitarian activities. He has worked in over 50 countries, including seven years in Vietnam where he was awarded the Vietnam Government’s Medal for Peace and Friendship, the highest award offered to foreigners for services towards social development and poverty alleviation.

Peter’s leadership style is based on the values of courage and ambition. He questions existing ways of working to constantly ensure we are using our limited resources to maximise our impact. He is determined that CARE’s ambition will not be capped by self-imposed constraints. While respecting and building on the old, he is committed to asking difficult questions to ensure that we remain relevant, impactful and accountable to the people and communities we seek to support.

Peter was previously the Director International at Red Cross, Chief Executive of Infoxchange, Director of International Programs at Save the Children, and Regional Representative (Mekong) at ChildFund.

Sue Cunningham, Director of Strategy and Enabling Services

Sue is responsible for making CARE Australia a sustainable, impactful and future-focussed organisation. Commencing in 2022, she leads our strategy, finance, human resources, IT, governance, compliance and business support and country office support functions. She loves navigating uncertainty and working collaboratively in challenging environments to find innovative and sustainable ways to help vulnerable people lead a better life.

Sue has over 20 years’ leadership experience spanning the humanitarian, emergency services, migrant support, aged care, community services and health sectors. She came to CARE from the Australian Red Cross, where as Victorian Director she led the provision of emergency assistance to people affected by the COVID crisis and Black Summer Bushfires. Sue has also held senior roles with Baptcare and Ambulance Victoria, and is Chair of the social enterprise The Community Grocer.

Sue has a Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Arts, and a Graduate Diploma in Business Management. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, is certified in Agile Program Management and is a certified Coach.

CARE Australia - Director of International Programs and Operations

David Sims, Director of International Programs and Operations

David is responsible for delivering CARE Australia’s humanitarian and development programs around the world. He is driven by a deep respect for the people we seek to support, our donors and CARE’s staff across the globe. He understands the trust that these groups place in CARE Australia, and bases every decision he makes on how to respect these relationships.
David joined CARE in 2020 because he shares our focus on gender justice. He supports CARE to tackle these issues through our programming and advocacy work, but also by constantly challenging the way we work. He is passionate about being the change we want to see in the world and strives to be that change.

David has worked in the international development sector for 15 years, across Africa, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East. He has led local and international teams to develop innovative solutions in humanitarian crises and development projects.

David was previously Head of Program Development and Effectiveness at Oxfam, Deputy Country Director at Save the Children and Humanitarian Manager at Save the Children.

Cath Hoban, Director of Fundraising and Marketing

Cath leads CARE Australia’s fundraising and marketing efforts, ensuring that we reach our ambitious income targets and maintain strong relationships with our stakeholders. Since she joined us in 2019, she has been driving our ethical, innovative and impactful campaigns.

Cath admired CARE’s work throughout her 25-year career in fundraising, and is proud to be part of a team that is empowering women to overcome poverty. Her first experience in the international aid sector was with her sister, who started a charity in Cambodia to stop the trafficking of women. She helped build the organisation and it has been a lifetime high to see the impact it has had on the lives of women and girls.

During her career, Cath has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for not-for-profits and developed award winning campaigns to advocate for the environment and human rights. Her experience and knowledge of the fundraising sector was acknowledged by Fundraising and Philanthropy Magazine Australia and New Zealand when she was awarded 2009 Fundraiser of the Year.

Cath was previously the Director of Fundraising and Marketing at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, National Director of Membership and Fundraising at The Wilderness Society and Joint Chief Executive Officer at The Wilderness Society.

We also have a range of experts who are available to discuss our work, in areas such as emergencies, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, climate change, food, education, health and human rights. Visit our media section for more information.


The Board of Directors is responsible for directing CARE Australia’s activities towards the achievement of our vision and fulfilment of our mission, while living our core values.

It is responsible for approving strategic direction, monitoring implementation and fulfilling stakeholders’ expectations, along with overall performance, compliance with relevant laws, codes of conduct and ethical standards and for the oversight of risk management.



Marcus Laithwaite – Chair

Marcus has been the Chair of CARE Australia’s Board since March 2020 and brings significant experience in financial reporting, audit and risk management.

Marcus’ first connection with humanitarian work came when he was living with his family in Indonesia from 2003-06. During the 2004 tsunami, he was devastated at the loss of life and ongoing suffering in Banda Aceh and assisted The Red Crescent’s relief efforts. He has been involved with international aid organisations both in Australia and overseas ever since.

Marcus was drawn to CARE Australia’s focus on women and girls because he believes everyone deserves respect. His passion for equality is evident in his professional life where he was PwC Australia’s first Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.

Marcus is currently a Partner at PwC Australia. He is also a member of CARE International’s Governance Board. His previous volunteer roles have included Chair of ChildFund Australia, Director of the PwC Foundation, Board member and Treasurer of the European Australian Business Council and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee of Sydney Living Museums.


Joseph Tesvic – Treasurer

Joseph joined the Board of CARE Australia in 2016 and has been Treasurer since 2020. We are fortunate to benefit from his experience leading large-scale organisational transformations in the public and private sectors.
Joseph ‘s passion for equality led him to CARE Australia, and he is particularly inspired by our commitment to providing humanitarian and development assistance regardless of a person’s religion, gender or location.

Joseph works and travels frequently throughout Asia and has seen the need for CARE’s work firsthand. He also has experience leading social impact initiatives including corporate social responsibility efforts, pro bono contributions, and workplace giving.

Joseph is currently a Senior Partner in McKinsey & Company’s Sydney office and leads McKinsey’s Operations Improvement Practice for Asia-Pacific, and McKinsey’s Consumer Practice for Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Phoebe Wynn-Pope

Phoebe has worked in the humanitarian sector for 25 years, including in complex humanitarian emergencies and conflict zones around the world. Her academic work focuses on the role of the international community when confronting war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

When Phoebe joined our Board in 2018, we were delighted to welcome her back to CARE Australia, where she worked as our Emergency Response Manager in the 1990s. During this time, she led responses to major emergencies in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. She has incredibly well-rounded experience at CARE, also working as Assistant Country Director in South Africa and Principal Executive of Fundraising and Communications in Canberra.

Phoebe believes that courage is one of CARE’s most admirable values, because it takes courage to be ambitious and you have to be ambitious to build a world that is equal.

Phoebe is currently Head of Business and Human Rights and Head of Pro Bono at Corrs Chambers Westgarth. She is also a member of the Australian Human Rights Institute Advisory Committee, an Ambassador of the Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative, and a member of Monash University’s Masters of International Relations Advisory Board.

Phoebe is the Chair of the CARE Australia International Programs and Operations Committee and a member of the Finance and Risk Committee.

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Peter N Varghese AO

Peter brought his extensive experience in government and international relations to the Board when he joined in 2019. Like CARE, Peter is guided by the values of respect and equality, which capture what he strives for and how he behaves. He is inspired by CARE’s focus on women and girls, and believes that sustainable development is not possible without a focus on gender equality. 

Peter led the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade when it merged with AusAid, and  developed a strong understanding of the challenges of delivering humanitarian and development programs and the importance of in-country partnerships. He has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to public administration. 

Peter is currently the Chancellor of The University of Queensland. He is also a Director of North Queensland Airports, an advisor to Tata Consultancy Services, Chair of Asialink Advisory Council, Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board for the DFAT Historical Documents Series and Member of the International Governing Board of the Rajaratnum School of International Studies in Singapore.

Diana Nicholson pic

Diana Patricia Nicholson

We welcomed Diana to the Board in 2019 and are thrilled to benefit from her extensive experience in governance and her strong support for gender diversity. Diana has worked with some of the leading corporate and not-for-profit organisations in Australia in the areas of governance, acquisitions and takeovers, securities industry law, fundraising and commercial law.

Her approach to work and life is based on her belief that society is strongest when its members care for one another. She is excited to be contributing to long-term opportunities for women and girls, and highly values CARE’s focus on equality, which she sees as the driving force in all of CARE’s work.

Diana is currently a Senior Partner in the Mergers and Acquisitions practice at King & Wood Mallesons. She is also a member of the King & Wood Mallesons Community Impact Board, a member and Acting President of the Australian Takeovers Panel and a Trustee of Melbourne & Olympic Parks.

Morgana Ryan

Morgana is passionate about sharing her knowledge of business and technology to help improve the international development community. As a successful author who has written about international not-for-profit organisations, she enjoys sharing her insights and experience to benefit others.

Morgana strives to help humanitarian and development organisations to work more effectively, be more local and achieve even greater impact. She sees her appointment to our Board in 2021 as an opportunity to team with inspiring people, leverage her business, international development and governance experiences, and help to achieve our ambition of a world of hope, inclusion and social justice.

Morgana is driven by the positive impact greater diversity delivers to organisations and believes that every individual should have an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives.

Morgana is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jo Thomson

Jo has dedicated her career to designing, managing and evaluating international development programs throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific.

She shares CARE Australia’s commitment to gender equality, diversity, inclusion and women’s economic empowerment, and advises several NGOs, government and multilateral programs on these topics. She also has expertise in preventing sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment; child protection; public health; and the design, monitoring and evaluation of complex programs.

Jo was welcomed to our Board in 2021 and offers expertise in regulation and best practice, having co-authored the Australian NGO Accreditation Standards and the ACFID Code of Conduct.

Jo is currently the Director of Learning4Development. She is also a Board Director for Accountable Now and a member of the GAVI Independent Review Panel.

Natalie Kyriacou OAM

Natalie has joined our Fundraising and Marketing Board Committee. Natalie is an award winning social entrepreneur and Director (Climate and Nature) at Pollination Group. She is CEO of My Green World, a Melbourne-based social enterprise dedicated to addressing global wildlife and environmental challenges through inclusive, youth-focused education.

Natalie has advised world leaders on environmental and social policy, and driven the expansion, growth and impact of a range of social enterprises and nonprofits around the world. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to wildlife and environmental conservation and is a Forbes 30 Under 30 honouree. We are excited to benefit from Natalie’s expertise as CARE Australia continues to raise awareness and funds to support the world’s most marginalised people to prepare for and recover from climate shocks. 

Hong Pham

Hong is a self-driven leader with a decade of experience in the finance industry. As a Chartered Accountant, she thrives on building relationships and collaborating towards shared goals.

Her unique perspective is shaped by her upbringing as a refugee in a camp in the Philippines for 11 years, followed by her migration to Australia on a refugee and humanitarian visa. Having personally experienced hardships, Hong understands the profound impact that for-purpose organisations can have on people’s lives.

It is this personal experience that fuels Hong’s determination to utilise her skills and expertise to make a meaningful and positive social impact in today’s world.

Country Directors

CARE Australia supports operations in seven countries in South East Asia and the Pacific. Read more about CARE’s Directors in each country below.

Cambodia – Sovattha Neou

Sovattha has worked in the development sector in Cambodia for almost two decades. She is a former Executive Director of WaterSHED, where she led the organisation’s strategic exit from Cambodia — a move that reflected great progress in the self-sufficiency of local sanitation providers and government. Sovattha has an educational background in agriculture and has experience in youth empowerment, good governance, gender transformation programming, and organisational development. She holds a Master’s degree in Production Chain Management from Van Hall Larenstein University in the Netherlands.

Laos – Keoamphone Souvannaphoum

With 20 years’ experience, Keo has been working in the development sector in Laos and the wider Mekong region with a focus on gender equality, community development and strengthening civil society. Her involvement in the sector arises from her strong passion for advocating for positive changes in her communities, and a desire to bring about more equal rights and opportunities for women and girls. Keo was previously the Country Director of ChildFund Laos. She graduated from the Duke International School of Public Policy, North Carolina and holds a Graduate Certificate in Childhood and Youth Studies from Southern Cross University, Australia.

Myanmar – Nate Rabe

Nate’s initial experience with CARE was a six-month stint in Rwandan refugee camps in Tanzania in the mid-1990s. He began his career in Pakistan and Iraq with UNHCR and has worked in a variety of leadership and senior management roles for a number of international organisations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Oxfam, Australian Red Cross, Save the Children and Mercy Corps, as well as General Manager of IDSS, a commercial aid
firm, between 2007 and 2011.

He joined CARE Australia in 2018 as Director, Partnerships and Program Development. Since July 2019 he has been serving as Director Country Office Support based in CARE’s Melbourne office.

Nate has a BA (South Asian Languages and Literature) and MA (Modern Asian History) from the University of Minnesota.

Timor-Leste – Peter Goodfellow 

Before commencing as CARE’s Country Director for Timor-Leste in 2019, Peter held senior management and technical advisory roles with CARE and Save the Children. This included leading Save the Children’s programs in Vanuatu, and leading the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) response to crises including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the Ebola crisis in Liberia. Prior to this, Peter established water and sanitation infrastructure and programs for refugees and internally displaced people in Uganda, Ethiopia and Haiti. As a Chartered Engineer with the Engineering Council (UK), Peter is a Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and holds a Masters of Engineering from Edinburgh University.

Vanuatu – Bridgette Thorold 

Bridgette has more than 20 years’ experience working in the development sector in Southern Africa, Asia, Australia and the Pacific. Her expertise spans both development and humanitarian programming as well as advocacy and campaigns. Before commencing as CARE’s Country Director in Vanuatu, Bridgette led ChildFund’s operations in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Sri Lanka and held several senior roles with Oxfam. She has a Bachelor of Social Science from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa, and a strong practical background in health promotion and mental health.

Vietnam – Le Kim Dung 

Dung has more than 25 years’ experience in the development sector, with expertise spanning the areas of women’s empowerment, ethnic minority issues, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, civil society development, and private sector engagement. She is driven by the urge to get to the bottom of challenges to justice and equality, and how different stakeholders can contribute to the process. Before joining CARE in 2016, Dung held senior roles with Oxfam in Vietnam. She studied languages and literature in Vietnam and the former Soviet Union, and holds a Masters in Development Studies from the London School of Economics, UK.

Advisory Council

Membership of the Advisory Council is by invitation from the Board to individuals who have given exceptional service to CARE Australia. Its objectives are to support and endorse the organisation’s vision, mission and core values, and to assist and provide counsel to the Board and the executive through the experience, corporate knowledge and community influence of its members.

Colin Galbraith, AM
Sir William Deane, AC, KBE
Philip Flood, AO
The Hon Barry Jones, AO, AC
Harold Mitchell, AC
Jocelyn Mitchell
Robert Yallop

Founding Chair

Rt Hon. Malcolm Fraser, AC CH

Board Subcommittees

The Board appoints Committees, which regularly report to the Board, to assist in the discharge of its obligations, consider issues referred and delegated by the Board, and make recommendations to the Board. The Executive Committee exercises all the powers of the Board between meetings of the Board. It is not empowered to take action in contravention of a Board decision and utilises all practical means of consulting the full membership of the Board on significant matters.

The Finance and Risk Committee assists the Board in discharging its responsibilities concerning the integrity of financial management, and reporting its compliance with regulations and principles of best practice to achieve operational, financial and compliance risk management. It also oversees the effectiveness of audit functions.

The Fundraising and Communications Committee reviews and assesses marketing and communications strategies and fundraising investment proposals, and oversees relevant budgets. It facilitates the engagement of stakeholders, and identifies and supports fundraising and profile-building opportunities.

The International Program and Operations Committee assesses the strategic direction, performance and risk monitoring of program strategies developed by CARE Australia; projects where CARE Australia is contractually responsible; and the status of Country Offices for which CARE Australia is designated as Lead or Coordinating Member of CARE International. It has a particular responsibility to monitor safety and security conditions for staff in the field.

The People Committee assists the Board in its governance role of ensuring the organisation operates effectively, efficiently, ethically and legally in the context of industrial relations and health and safety requirements.  The People Committee reviews and assists in the development and execution of CARE Australia’s human resource strategies, policies and practices.

Subject to the direction of the Board, the Governance and Nominations Committee oversees the selection of appointees to the Board to ensure the right mix of skills, experience and expertise.