Board of Directors

Emeritus Professor Sharman Pretty, Chairperson

Bmus (Hons), Adelaide; Künstlerische Reifeprüfung, Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg im Breisgau. As one of Australasia’s most experienced leaders in higher education, the arts and the creative industries Sharman Pretty has served on the senior executive team as Professor and Dean at the Universities of Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne from 1994 – 2010. In 2010, she established teamsolve, providing consultancy services to the higher and professional education, government and not-for-profit sectors.

Andrew Buchanan, Vice Chairperson

Andrew is a communications and media consultant based in Sydney, with more than 25 years in broadcasting as an announcer & journalist on radio and television with the ABC, including leadership of the ABC’s 60 local radio stations around Australia. He was also General Manager of the ABC’s International Development area with training consultancies in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia & South Africa. Andrew is regarded as having special expertise in staff motivation and facilitating corporate change. Andrew has formally held Board positions as Chair of NSW Disability Council, and is currently a member on the Board of Cerebral Palsy Alliance and is the national Chair of Open Gardens Australia. Andrew was awarded a Public Service Medal in the 1995 Australian Day Honours for services to communication, regional and rural communities.

William Thorne, Treasurer 

MCom (Hons), LLB (Hons) BCom (Accounting). Experience Will currently works for American Express, managing large merchant, B2B and airline risk for the Asia Pacific region. Prior to joining American Express, Will was a Manager in KPMG’s Management Consulting division where he worked on a wide range of engagements in the areas of health, community services, education and justice. Clients include NSW Health, Ageing Disability and Home Care, Enable NSW and Ability Options. Will was also awarded the University of South Australia University Medal for his dissertation on strategic performance measurement systems in service organisations.

Kate Lidbetter, Secretary

BA (Syd Uni), Grad Dip Arts Management (UTS), Master of Policy (UNSW), Grad Cert Applied Finance (Kaplan), Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) Kate Lidbetter is Chief Executive Officer of Symphony Australia, also known as Symphony Services International. Previous positions have included Director of Music at the Australia Council for the Arts (2005-8), Artist Development Manager of Symphony Australia (1997-2005), Artistic Administrator of the Australian Youth Orchestra (1995-7) and General Manager of Sydney Children’s Choir (1994 -5). Kate represents professional orchestras as a Councillor of Music Australia. She is currently Chair of Gondwana Choirs, and until December 2014 was Chair of Ensemble Offspring. She regularly participates on panels, committees and juries for various music organisations in Australia and abroad.

Mark Walton OAM 

LTCL, LRSM, FTCL. Mark Walton is a highly respected figure in the Australian and New Zealand musical scene and widely acknowledged as a virtuoso clarinet and saxophone performer, inspiring teacher, composer and advocate for community music making. Mark was one of the pioneers in Distance Instrumental Music Education and over many years has supported and nurtured community music making in most country towns across rural NSW. For 18 years Mark was on the staff at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he held senior positions, was appointed Musical Director of the Christchurch School of Music and is currently Chair of the Christchurch School of Music Support Trust working closely with the rebuild and support of the arts in Christchurch. Mark was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2005 for his contribution to Music Education in Australia.

Alex Jones

Alex Jones is an advocate for people who are Deaf or have a hearing impairmentJones is a Co-Founder and Brand Ambassador of Access Innovation Media (Ai-Media). The company has developed Ai-Live, a realtime, word accurate speech-to-text captioning program using broadband technology which featured and won on ABC1’s The New InventorsJones was born to a Deaf family in MichiganU.S.A. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he was recruited to Australia in 1997 by the Australian Theatre of the Deaf. He was the Director of the 2005 Deaflympic Games Cultural Festival in Melbourne and toured Australia with Heads Up! – a theatre-in-education production. Jones appeared on Australian drama, All Saints, from 2001 to 2002, playing Lyle Slater. Jones has served as an ambassador for Don’t DIS my ABILITY every year since 2004 and is currently the Chairperson of the Deafness Forum of Australia; a body representing the interests of people with hearing impairments, or chronic disorders of the ear.