Dialog Box

Our Board

The KIDS Foundation is grateful for and thanks our Board Directors for providing sound advice, support and guidance.

Dr Susie O'Neill OAM

KIDS Foundation Founder and CEO

Susie is a Doctor of Philosophy of Education, qualified preschool and primary teacher who specialises in working with children at risk. Her interest in empowering children to protect themselves began in 1988 whilst studying teaching at the Ballarat College of Advanced Education and working alongside the Children’s Protection Society. Susie has dedicated her studies and career to the children at risk focusing on educating them to prevent and recover from injuries and trauma. In 1993 Susie founded the KIDS Foundation and now has a position as the CEO and is a member of the Board. She was awarded an OAM in 2023 for her service to children.

Jo Stuckey

Board Chairman, Jo Stuckey Consulting

Jo Stuckey has had over 25 years’ experience managing all aspects of commercial sponsorships, major events and entertainment and is one of Australia’s best known and accomplished Event and Entertainments executives. As a long serving employee and executive at Crown, as the Group GM of Events Sponsorship & Entertainment (1995-2018), with extensive leadership experience she has managed the production of some of Australia’s major events. Jo possesses exceptional stakeholder management and communication skills and has an extensive network in the Sports and Entertainment corporate community in Australia, especially in Melbourne.

Jo’s career in event management includes Special Events Manager with The Carlton Football Club and has held the role of an official Club Ambassador for the past five years. Jo is passionate about building, developing and nurturing high performance diverse teams and has a deep understanding of stakeholder and employee engagement.

Dr Rimas Liubinas

Board Director, General Practitioner - Ballarat Group Practice

Rimas is a medical practitioner who specialises in preventative health, acupuncture, education and sports medicine. He completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery and Melbourne University in 1986 and gained a Fellowship with the Royal Australian College of General Practice. He has been a Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice at Melbourne University for ten years and a member of the Australian Medical Acupuncture College for nineteen years.

Matthew Ricker

Board Director, Chief Executive Officer – Australian Unity Bank

Matthew Ricker is an experienced financial services executive. In 2018 after 28 years at NAB, Matthew joined the customer owned banking sector, initially with Bank First and now with Australian Unity. He feels privileged to be working in this part of the sector and for an organisation whose core purpose is the real wellbeing of Australians. A senior executive with broad leadership experience across large scale operations, sales/distribution, finance, strategy and risk management spanning the consumer, business and institutional customer segments.

Hamish McLachlan

Board Director, Australian Sports Presenter

Hamish grew up wanting to play sport for a living, but now just talks about it. He is an Australian Sports Broadcaster who feels very fortunate to work for Channel 7. He hosts and calls football, tennis and horse racing, and has hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. 

He also writes for the Herald Sun, works in radio and is involved in various business interests. A dad of three, Hamish has a vested interest in ensuring children are educated to reduce the risk of injury through day-to-day activities. After being involved in a fundraising event for KIDS Hamish joined the Board in early 2019.

Charles Kovess

Board Director, CEO Kovess International

Charles is an experienced businessman, team leader, professional speaker and executive coach. Charles graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours in 1973 and gained his Master of Laws from Monash University in 1980. He established his own law firm which subsequently merged with Barker Gosling, a national law firm. Charles was Head of the Commercial Law Department. He is a professional speaker and facilitator, and executive coach who helps organisations build world-class teams based on integrity, trust, and insightful strategy. Clients include an extensive range of organisations from many industries. Charles is also the CEO of a company that makes the world’s best processing machinery for industrial hemp, an exciting global growth industry. Charles is President of the Australia-Hungary Chamber of Commerce (since 1992), Chairman of the Australian Institute of Comedy, and a trustee of the Global Energy Network Institute.

Margie Amarfio

Board Director

With more than twenty years working in the marketing, PR and sponsorship fields, Margie brings a wealth of experience across corporate, consulting and not-for-profit areas, including sport, sponsorship, media, banking, retail, entertainment and community relations.

Margie worked in the AFL industry for more than 16 years (2001-2017) and was a member of the Executive team at Australia’s biggest sporting club - Collingwood Football Club - for ten years, joining the club in 2008 initially to lead the sponsorship team and then becoming the General Manager of Marketing in 2012. Margie holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing), Monash University and has also worked with a charity focused on children’s cancer.

Margie has two adult sons and is currently a part-time nanny to her young godson, so is acutely aware of the need to teach Australia’s children how to identify, assess and respond to risks in their environment.

Kate Emerson (Hocking) 

Board Director

Kate has experience across the real estate, charity, financial and rural sectors.  She was most recently the Senior Manager of Kay & Burton Real Estate’s Concierge business where she could utilise her passions for customer service, building relationships and harnessing the power of a diverse team.  She has also worked with Marshall White Real Estate, the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation and spent early years of her career at the National Australia Bank.

Kate’s varied experience includes building new business units from the ground up, leading teams, working with charity ambassadors, fundraising, event and project management, bringing marketing campaigns to life, human resources, sales, training, banking and finance, agricultural practice and business, and key executive support roles.  She loves bringing energy to any situation and her life motto is “give more than you get!”.

Kate holds a number of qualifications, with a Bachelor of Science majoring in both Genetics and Zoology and a Diploma in Education both from the University of Melbourne as well as Certificates in Business (Banking) and Human Resources.

Kate values family and friends and cherishes her roles as wife and mother to two adult sons.

Athol Hodgetts

Executive Director, O'Brien Icehouse (District Docklands, Melbourne)

Athol has had over 45 years’ experience in business management, sales and marketing and is well known for his involvement in the first major ground naming rights sponsorship in Australia (Optus Oval). He has negotiated major deals over many years with companies such as Coca Cola, Nike, Visy Board, Hyundai, Nubrik, Mayne Nickless and Wards Express to name just a few.

Athol owned and operated a Milk Bar and a License Grocery in his twenties with his wife, Lola, before commencing his career in football administration with The Coburg Football Club, The Essendon Football Club, The Victorian Football Association and The Carlton Football Club which spanned over twenty years.

He played Australian Rules Football at the highest level with North Melbourne and represented Tasmania and the Victorian Football Association at State Level. Athol was also inducted into the Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame in June 2018 for his services to the game.

Since leaving Carlton in 1999 he has managed his own Marketing Company, Co – Launched a Bi Tech Company and five years ago turned his sales and marketing experience and expertise to Real Estate Industry. Athol has a full real estate licence and works on special projects with Ian Stevenson Real Estate.

Athol has also been an advisor to the KIDS Foundation for the past 27 years.

He and Lola have two daughters and six grandchildren.

Ian Coutts

Board Advisor, Ian Coutts Communications Pty Ltd

Ian is an experienced Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Advisor with over 25 year’s experience specialising in media and stakeholder relations. Ian has extensive experience in sport, having worked at the National Basketball League before spending 20-years at the Carlton Football Club where he was a member of the Executive Management Team. More recently Ian worked in the not-for-profit sector and in 2016 established his own Communications and Public Relations consulting business.