Meet the QDN board of directors. A passionate and dedicated group of leaders.
Sharon Boyce, Chairperson
Sharon is a part-time education academic and consultant in disability awareness across the state. She is passionate and committed to social justice – empowering people with a disability and supporting real living independence.
Sharon is the Chair for the Queensland Disability Advisory Council and Regional Chair of the South-West Regional Disability Advisory Council.
Among the awards she has received are the Queensland Regional Achiever Award in 2012 for her work in awareness raising and creating inclusive communities across Australia, a Human Rights Award in 2008 for her contribution to creating inclusion across the community, and a Disability Action Week Award in 2003 for her work writing an accessible children’s story book.
Jane Britt, Director, Deputy Chairperson
Jane has a unique blend of personal experience with disability; expertise in the disability sector; a reputation for high-quality performance; a passion for advocacy and is a human rights expert.
Jane is the National Policy Officer at Blind Citizens Australia, a disability-led organisation, where over 75% of the staff and 100% of the board have lived experience of vision impairment or blindness. Jane is a graduate of Vision Australia’s Graduate Start program in Service Innovation and Design. She has worked with the Disability Leadership Institute as an Engagement Guru and as a freelance writer for the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) and Eureka Street.
As an integral member of QDeNgage, Jane has provided advice and feedback on disability for government consultations with QDeNgage.
She has been a member of the Reference Group for Deafblind Australia and is a Founder of Achilles Brisbane, a not-for-profit organisation assisting people with disabilities to lead an active lifestyle.
Jane brings to the Board considerable experience from across the disability sector. She is an active member of Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) and a member of the Expert Advisory and Quality Review Panel for Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA). Jane has recently been awarded a 2020 Vision Australia Award for her commitment to advocacy. The awards acknowledge people and organisations who contribute time and resources to support the work of Vision Australia and the wider blind and low vision community.
Peter Tully, Director (Chair Nominations and Performance Committee)
Peter Tully brings a diverse range of skills, expertise and local, state and national networks to his role as Director on QDN’s Board. He has a strong commitment to community engagement, advocacy and the importance of empowering individuals and communities to be the leaders in their own lives. He consistently takes on a valued role mentoring emerging leaders to develop their own leadership capabilities and take action to drive community level change and inclusion.
Peter has been a member of QDN since 2006, and was awarded life membership in 2017. He has taken on a significant number of leadership roles in QDN’s work including Regional Facilitator, Ready to go peer facilitator, Housing Champion, Getting on the NDIS Grid, Peer to peer advocacy, Bright Sparks, Changing Lives Changing Communities and most recently in Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction. He regularly undertakes engagement for QDeNgage providing valuable feedback and insights on key disability issues from his lived experience. Peter has also played a key leadership role nationally with Every Australian Counts Campaign and is a member of the Intellectual Disability Reference Group – Home and Living to the Independent Advisory Council NDIA.
Peter is a small business owner, and provides IT services and support to a range of organisations. Peter is embedded in his local community of Ipswich, and was a Baton bearer for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay. He is a key community leader who works collaboratively with Local, State and Federal Governments, members of parliament and community and disability services to ensure Ipswich is an inclusive and welcoming city for all of it’s citizens including people with disability.
Nerine Williams, Director
Nerine lives in Brisbane with her husband, their two children and their dog. Nerine is a proudly Autistic, multiply disabled advocate who experiences physical, cognitive, and sensory challenges. Nerine describes herself as an assistive technology enthusiast, searching out AT that gives her a feeling of joy and collaborating with WA-Based AT Chat on several projects. Nerine also enjoys crafting, cooking, learning new things and meeting new people.
Nerine is a QDN member who actively participates in Peer Support and focus groups as well as advocating through QDeNgage.
Nerine’s professional qualifications include a Masters of Management (Human Resources), Graduate Diploma of Management and Graduate Certificate in Information Systems. Her non-linear career has been centred on education and stakeholder consultation and has spanned the fields of human resources, information systems, governance, and leadership. Nerine has lived experience of disability in metropolitan, rural and remote Australia including navigating education, employment, NDIS, and the health sector. Eighteen months ago, Nerine started the Brisbane support group for people with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) and is now working with other members to build a QLD-wide community.
Nerine is described by others as being generous in sharing knowledge and she has a particular talent for connecting people with resources and each other to get better outcomes. She is keen to learn about other people’s experiences to better understand the challenges faced by people with disability and to help make informed decisions that best represent the priorities and needs of QDN members and their families. Nerine applies her quirky thinking and problem-solving skills in combination with her lived experience to contribute to her community. She is passionate about accessibility for all Queenslanders, particularly in the areas of education, employment, and healthcare.
Dr Talitha Kingsmill, Director
Talitha has 25 years’ experience across the private and public sectors in education, educational leadership, consultancy, research, law, regulatory compliance and policy development.
With 17 years of experience working and raising a family while living with Retinitis Pigmentosa, Talitha is a passionate advocate for equitable, accessible opportunities for all. She has nominated for the QDN Board to make an authentic and informed contribution to the Board and its members.
With an extensive background in Board and organisational governance, Talitha is proficient with ethical, inclusive and accountable decision-making processes. She has a thorough knowledge applying regulatory frameworks, relevant legislation and incorporating statutory requirements concerning human rights, corporations, working with children, conflict of interest and not-for-profit organisations.
Talitha’s experience in education extends across primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. It includes significant work with students with a wide range of disabilities, and their families.
Talitha’s lived and professional experience provides rich insights to the confronting and very real challenges and obstacles for people living with impairment and disability. Her work as a Solicitor in courts and tribunals, public speaking, facilitating professional development sessions, presenting to Executive Boards and committees and keynote speaking at international and national conferences equips Talitha to be a powerful and articulate advocate for all QDN members.
Talitha believes that access in all its forms is fundamental to equitable opportunity so that individuals may live their best lives. Talitha understands that a collective voice achieved through collaboration and consultation is powerful and passionately advocates for this.
Talitha has received many awards acknowledging her excellence in research and academic achievement, including an Australian Council for Educational Leaders Research in Educational Leadership and Management Award (2017), an Australian Catholic University Higher Degree Research Award (2012) and ACU Top Graduate Award – Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary) & Graduate Certificate (RE).
Gary Matthews, Director (Chair Audit and Compliance)
Gary has several years of experience as a Director and Company Secretary. He has skills and knowledge in corporate governance and strategic planning including overseeing the development of several programs, including projects for people with disability. Gary has in-depth knowledge of housing issues and policy having held housing related jobs in both the public and private sector.
Gary is a member of the Access and Inclusion Reference Committee of the Mackay Regional Council in his capacity as a QDN Regional facilitator where he has the opportunity to advise and collaborate with Council and businesses about access issues. Gary has an Arts Degree with majors in Social Science and Media and Communications.
As a member of QDN for eight years, a regional facilitator for the Mackay Local Support Group since 2013 and a QDN peer facilitator with the “Ready to go” project Gary brings a great depth of knowledge and lived experience to the board of directors. Gary has a disability, having been born with Spina Bifida.
Des Ryan, Director
Des has a twenty-year history with not-for-profit boards in Central Queensland providing care services to people with disabilities or training. Des has been a board member of Spinal Life Australia’s since 1996, resigning in January 2018, and leading the transition from a community-based board to a mixed board with a diverse skill set from the business and corporate sector.
Des has worked across a vast range of organisations supporting people with disability, including work to increase the employment of people with disability. Des has a strong interest also in Information Technology and has his own established database business Able Disabled. Des was awarded the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award in 2000, and Companion of Central Queensland University in 2008 and is a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal in 2013 for his service to people with disability.
With 50 years personal experience with a disability, Des is working to influence change, driven by the members of this network so that we can influence the direction of the NDIS into the future. Des says the highlight of his life as a person with a disability has been employment and volunteering. These are the two areas, in my mind, that put the cream on the cake. I would like to be able to maximise that opportunity for many others now and into the future.
Stacey Miller, Appointed Director
Stacy is an appointed skill-based director of the Board. As a lawyer, with 16 years’ experience and a partner of her own firm, Stacy will bring her knowledge and expertise to the board discussions and deliberations.
She has vast experience working across a broad range of areas of law, including litigation, intellectual property, insolvency and Royal Commissions. Stacy is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland, a solicitor of the High Court of Queensland and a member of the Queensland Law Society.
She is looking forward to contributing to QDN’s work, engaging with QDN members about the needs of people with disability in Queensland, and how she can further human rights law in our community and advance the position of people with disability.
Mark McKeon, Company Secretary
Mark was appointed Company Secretary of QDN on 21 February 2023, having previously been QDN’s Finance and Administration Coordinator from early 2017 to July 2020. Mark is an accountant with early career experience as an audit manager with a large accounting firm in Australia and the UK, industry experience as financial controller and then company secretary of a listed public company in Queensland, and governance experience as secretary of two large government owned corporations in Brisbane and Gladstone. In addition to his current role at QDN, Mark is Finance Manager of Brisbane-based community legal service Basic Rights Queensland Inc and operates a finance, governance and administration consulting business, Mark McKeon Consulting. Mark welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the work of QDN and to use his experience and expertise to support the Board for the benefit of QDN members.