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Gondwana Board

  • Lyn Williams AM

    Artistic Director & Founder

  • Kate Lidbetter, Chair

    CEO, Symphony Services International

  • Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, Deputy Chair

    CEO, Health Justice Australia

  • Hugh Dixson

    Founder & CEO, Switchboard

  • Nicholas James

    Board Director

  • Karen Mundine

    CEO, Reconciliation Australia

  • Alison Deitz

    Chief Executive Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright Australia

  • Mathisha Panagoda

    Special Counsel, Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers

Lyn Williams AM

Artistic Director & Founder

Lyn Williams is widely regarded as one of the finest conductors of choirs around the world. For over 30 years, Lyn has harnessed the incredible power of young voices through her world-renowned ensembles: the Sydney Children’s Choir, Gondwana Voices, the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir and Marliya. Her choirs have appeared with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors and at festivals including the BBC Proms and Polyfollia.  

Lyn has commissioned over 200 works from composers across Australia and around the world and her ability to forge innovative and meaningful collaborations is widely recognised. She continues to foster strong relationships with First Nations artists across Australia, bringing together cultural custodians and composers to create new works which preserve and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island languages and cultures. Lyn enjoys a long-standing collaboration with singer-songwriter Felix Riebl of the Cat Empire and the singers of Marliya, presenting the critically-acclaimed show Spinifex Gum, which has featured at almost every Australian arts festival since its premiere at the Adelaide Festival in 2018.  

In 2017, Lyn received the Australia Council for the Arts’ Don Banks Music Award for outstanding and sustained contribution to music in Australia, in recognition of her lifework as founder and director of Gondwana Choirs. 

Kate Lidbetter, Chair

CEO, Symphony Services International

Kate Lidbetter is Chief Executive Officer of Symphony Services International, which provides a range of services and products to Australian and international orchestras. Her previous roles have included Director of Music at the Australian Council for the Arts, Artist Development Manager of Symphony Australia, Artistic Administrator of the Australian Youth Orchestra and General Manager of Sydney Children’s Choir.

In addition to her role on the board of Gondwana Choirs, Kate is a Councillor on the Music Council of Australia and a director of Accessible Arts NSW. From 2012-2014 she was chair of contemporary music group Ensemble Offspring. She regularly participates on panels, committees and juries for various music organisations in Australia and abroad.

Kate’s passion for Gondwana Choirs began in 1994 when she joined the company as General Manager and was subsequently on the Board for a period of time. Her son Vincent became a chorister in 2008 and until 2014 sang in the Young Men’s Choir for boys with changing voices. Kate has observed the many positive outcomes Vincent achieved and wants as many children as possible to have these experiences.

Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, Deputy Chair

CEO, Health Justice Australia

In 1989 Tessa Boyd-Caine joined a small children’s choir under the musical direction of Lyn Williams. Months later, that choir became Sydney Children’s Choir, where Tessa was one of its founding choristers.

Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine is the CEO of Health Justice Australia. A criminologist by training, Tessa has previously worked in the areas of human rights, mental health law and criminal justice, both domestically and internationally. She has a PhD from the London School of Economics and her book on the decision-making about mentally disordered offenders was published by Routledge in 2010.

In 2013 Tessa was awarded the inaugural Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership, which took her to work with non-profit and philanthropic organisations in the US. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has a keen interest in good governance of, and public trust and confidence in, charities and non-profits.

Tessa has lived in Beijing, London, New Delhi and New York.

These days her singing is reserved for road trips and Gondwana alumnai events.

Hugh Dixson

Founder & CEO, Switchboard

Hugh is the Founder & CEO of Switchboard, a software company that integrates supply chains across Australia and the region. Prior to founding Switchboard, Hugh worked as the Head of Operations and then Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at Sydney-based tech start up, Ofload. Before that, Hugh held senior roles at Uber, and was a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. Hugh brings commercial experience and expertise (along with his long-held passion for Gondwana) to the Board.

Hugh’s interest in Gondwana began as an SCC chorister in the 90’s and continued through many of the SCC and Gondwana choirs over the years. He is passionate about the positive impact that music and organisations like Gondwana can have on young Australians.

Nicholas James

Board Director

Nicholas James is a Director of Campus Living Funds Management, a position he has held since 2006. Nicholas has 30 years of global financial experience in investment banking, investment management and finance. He was Chief Executive Officer and prior to the Chief Financial Officer of Transfield Holdings from 2005 to 2015, during which time he was a member of the Transfield Holdings Advisory Board. He was with Deutsche Bank in London from 2004 to 2005 and with Macquarie Bank from 1993 to 2004 in Sydney, London and New York and prior to that with Westpac in Sydney.

Nicholas’ interest in Gondwana Choirs came about through his son, who is an ex-chorister. Nicholas takes great pleasure in providing his financial and management skills to the organisation, helping to facilitate the opportunities for the sensational young singers who journey through Gondwana.

Karen Mundine

CEO, Reconciliation Australia

Karen Mundine is a proud Bundjalung woman from Northern NSW. She is CEO of Reconciliation Australia and has a background of over 20 years’ experience in public advocacy, communications and social marketing.

Ceremony is at the heart of Aboriginal culture and Karen has always had a strong belief in the power of song and music to transform lives, break down barriers and unite people. Joining the Gondwana Choirs Board has given her the opportunity to apply her professional skills to her passions and to be a part of an inspiring arts organisation that nurtures the musical talent of today to become the artistic leaders of tomorrow.

Karen is particularly excited by the growth of the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir and the opportunity for them to proudly share their stories and language with each other, their fellow choristers, other Australians, and the world. For Karen, this is reconciliation in action.

Alison Deitz

Chief Executive Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright Australia

Alison Deitz is the Chief Executive Partner of Norton Rose Fulbright Australia, a global law firm with over 50 offices throughout the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, North America and Asia-Pacific, a position she has held since 2020.  Alison has had a long and distinguished legal career as a regulatory and compliance lawyer, servicing the Banking and Financial Services sectors for over 30 years. She is the co-author of the Anti-Money Laundering Handbook and is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Alison’s interest in Gondwana Choirs arose through her daughter, who is an ex-chorister. Having witnessed the musical development opportunities provided to her daughter from her early childhood to early adulthood and the joy and fulfilment that she obtained from her membership of Gondwana Choirs, Alison is proud to be able to assist the organisation to continue to provide these opportunities and experiences to the next generation of choristers by deploying the professional skills and experience Alison has gained throughout her legal career.

Mathisha Panagoda

Special Counsel, Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers

Mathisha was a chorister in the Sydney Children’s Choir and Gondwana Voices from 1998 until the choir’s performance at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and describes his time with the choir as life-changing.

Mathisha completed Associate and Licentiate Diplomas in cello performance followed by a Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He was a cellist with the Australian Youth Orchestra and worked professionally with symphony orchestras in Australia and overseas.

He later graduated from the University of Sydney with a Juris Doctor and Master of Laws and is now a Special Counsel at Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers where his practice focuses on child safety, insurance and litigation. Mathisha is admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW and High Court of Australia.

Mathisha is a passionate advocate for the arts and diversity having provided pro bono assistance and volunteered on a number of boards and committees for many organisations including The Song Company, Law Society of NSW and Arts Law Centre of Australia.

Mathisha joined the board of Gondwana Choirs in 2022 with the hope that he can help to facilitate opportunities and a love of music for a new generation of children.

Gondwana Team

Artistic Director & Founder
Lyn Williams AM

Executive Director
Louisa O’Toole

Associate Artistic Director
Sam Allchurch

Head of Training Choirs
Amandine Petit

Principal Pianist
Sally Whitwell

Head of Training Choirs (Acting)
Lachlan Massey

Finance Manager
Susan Hart

Director of Chorister Operations
Heather Kelley

GICC Manager & Spinifex Gum Producer
Alice Neldner

Development Manager
Lachlan Cameron

SCC Coordinator
Ariel Bonnell

Marketing Coordinator
Lachlan Massey

Operations Coordinator
Earl Marrows

GICC Coordinator
Bronwyn Osborne

Accounts Administrator
Wendy Cundy

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