Our Board of Directors
From left: John MacPherson, Nigel Webb, Hayley Webro, Sharon Boyce, Colleen Popadopulos, Peter Gurr, Gary Matthews, (Insert) Des Ryan
Nigel believes QDN, being an organisation of, by and for people with disability plays a vital role in influencing change to improve the lives and community participation of people with disability.
As a man with cerebral palsy, Nigel has dedicated himself to infiltrating the ‘system’ to make changes. Nigel’s experiences in institutionalised settings led to a fundamental belief that everybody has the right to participate within his or her community, including social and economic participation.
Nigel has been on the QDN Board of Directors since June 2009 and Chairperson of the Board since February 2010. During this time, Nigel has lead the collective work of QDN members in regard to key government reforms such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Nigel also has experience on the boards of a number of Queensland-based advocacy and support organisations for people with disabilities over the past 20 years. These include President of Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, Community Member of the Disability Council of Queensland providing advice to the Minister for Disability Services Queensland and advocate for the needs of Queenslanders with disability and their families.
Nigel currently works for the Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland and I Can Direct, Caboolture. Nigel and his wife Nenita have been married since 2009 and have two beautiful daughters Keisha and Hannah.
Deputy Chair, Brisbane
John is a founding member of QDN and is a strong believer that the network enhances its members’ lives and empowers them through information and representation.
John has a highly developed skill set around technical areas. He has represented QDN on many committees and forums including technical advisor during the drafting of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, one of the authors of the Premises Standard, author of the Accessible Rail Code of Practice, and authored or commented on numerous QDN responses to DDA related draft technical documents and DDA related legislation.
John currently represents QDN on:
• Queensland Rail DDA Advisory Group;
• Transport and Main Roads Access Committee;
• Australian Network for Universal Housing Design;
• Queensland Action for Universal Housing Design.
Board Director, Rockhampton
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 established a business which continues to offer employment to people and a vast range of experience with organisations supporting people with disabilities. Des was an awarded Rotary and Companion of Central Queensland University recipient and in 2013 was a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal in 2013 for service to people with disabilities.
With 50 years personal experience with a disability, Des is hoping he can 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.
Board Director, Toowoomba
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.
Board Director, Townsville
Peter was born in Cairns and has grown up in Townsville. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago. A boilermaker by trade and a licensed building contractor, Peter operated his own business in the building industry until three years ago when his son took over.
He has a Diploma in Community Service with electives in disability.
Peter brings to the Board his extensive business knowledge, and a passion for helping other people with disabilities and learning more about himself. He is finding the disability sector interesting and challenging.
He is an active QDN member taking on roles including Regional Facilitator, Convener of the Townsville Local Support Group, and Peer Facilitator for QDN’s Ready to go Project.
Peter has been married to Joy for close to 30 years, and they have two great kids, Emma and Lachlan.
Board Director, Mackay
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.
Board Director, Ipswich
Hayley is new to QDN though has worked in the community services sector for 15 years, in various roles with a range of people demographic. This has included youth, families, corrections, homeless, training, assessor and disability. Hayley has worked within many areas of the NDS and NDIA which has given her experience across all elements of the Disability sector. Hayley is the founder of a small business which offer services to Aboriginal people with disability. Hayley herself has a disability, and feels strongly that her personal experience with her own challenges will help her add value to the QDN board.
Hayley has previously supported the board of directors for NATSIC (National ATSI Corporation) Community transport network.
Hayley says that as a QDN board director she will work to represent all people with disability to help to strengthen QDN’s collective voice.
Company Secretary, Brisbane
Colleen is a practicing Chartered (Corporate) Secretary and Independent Director with board/committee experience in a number of capacities, including Chair, Deputy Chair, Executive Director and Independent/Non-executive Director.
Her professional qualifications include a Master of Public Health, and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance.
She has credentials as a Performance Auditor, Strategic Analyst, Risk and Project Manager, with (honours/cum laude) undergraduate degrees in Writing (Humanities: technical, business, creative writing), and Society and Culture (Behavioural Sciences: anthropology, socio-biology and environmental psychology).
She is a mediator and facilitator, with experience teaching independent living skills and in assisting people with disability and disadvantage.
Colleen’s service to the Board is informed by over 25 years’ experience in governance and public administration, largely devoted to understanding and addressing complex social and organisational issues in the health and community services sector (both US and Australia).
She has a passion for assisting community boards to build governance capacity and improved performance, and has a record of successfully leading companies through audit and compliance improvement, incorporation, transition, restructuring and culture change.
Colleen is a Fellow Member of Governance Institute Australia and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (UK), and Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors.
About our Board
Please click here to contact the office for individual contact details.
From time to time Board vacancies arise. Please let us know if you wish to register an interest in Board vacancies. Otherwise, the Board is elected at the Annual General Meeting each year, between September and November.