Board of Directors
Iris Foundation is administered by a volunteer Board of Directors:
- Andrew Tuck – Chair
- Carolyn Richardson – Treasurer
- Tarnia Gurney – Secretary
- Dawn Hooper – Co-Founder
- Jean Russell – Director
- Leesa O’Keefe – Director
- Liz Mackdacy – Director
- Ron Thomsen – Director
Andrew Tuck – Chair
Andrew Tuck is a dedicated and creative leader with 35 years’ experience transforming non-profit organisations into profitable community businesses. He has demonstrated high-level leadership in the implementation of strategic direction and business plans, effective governance, innovation and quality, decision making, people management, and marketing and public relations.
Andrew is currently the Executive Officer of Northern Settlement Services, and has served on charity and community services boards for over 10 years. Andrew lives in East Gosford and is committed to improving and promoting mental health and wellbeing, and the prevention of suicide on the Central Coast.
Dawn Hooper – Co-Founder
As the eldest of four children, Dawn learned at a young age the benefits of being in a team and the rewards of working together to achieve a common goal. In 1962, Dawn was employed as a telephonist/typist at Munmorah Power Station with the Electricity Commission of NSW, staying 10 years. During this time, Dawn became involved in a number of state, regional and community organisations. Dawn married Peter Hooper in 1972 and they have two children and and three grandchildren.
In 1979, Dawn joined a group of local women to form’Marian’s Place’, which later became Wyong Neighbourhood Centre. Initially, it was a volunteer-run drop-in centre and craft group. Between 1979 and 1995, Dawn also took up part-time employment with Aubrey Brown Partners, a law firm. From 1999, Dawn was employed by WorkWise Inc, a Central Coast training and employment service which later merged with BreakThru. In 2015, Dawn chose to retire.
Dawn befriended Bev Baldwin through a shared commitment to community service, and co-founded Iris Foundation with her in 2006.
Carolyn Richardson – Treaurer
Carolyn has a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting. She moved to the Central Coast from Queensland in 2011. Since the move, Carolyn started an accounting business servicing individuals, small business and investors. She loves her business and the opportunities it presents, and feels rewarded by her clients.
Since the loss of her brother at a young age, Carolyn has always wanted to apply her professional skills in the area of suicide prevention. She has been proud to be part of the Iris Foundation board since 2017.
On a more personal and fun note, Carolyn loves to spread her wings and camp whenever she finds the time.
Jean Russell – Director
Jean Russell has over 30 years marketing and management experience. She holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing and Business Management) degree from Charles Sturt University as well as a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment from the Central Coast Community College.
Jean has held marketing and leadership positions in a variety of multinational and Australian companies including:
- Village Roadshow, where she commenced as National Marketing Manager, with the Disney Studios using her work in other countries around the world;
- Harper Collins Publishers, where she headed up the Golden Press division; and
- The Palmdale Group, where she held the position of Group Marketing and Customer Service Manager.
Jean is a brand champion who has developed marketing and sales areas to an unprecedented level. She has also been instrumental in change management, improvements in customer experience and the development of strong and focused teams.
Jean now undertakes a great deal of voluntary work for not-for-profits and is committed to utilising her knowledge, experience and qualifications to help community-focused organisations reach their goals. She also runs a marketing, editing and training consultancy.
Jean joined the Iris Foundation board in July 2017.
Tarnia Gurney – Secretary
Tarnia Gurney works as a financial planner, serving the Central Coast community for the past 14 years. Her business has grown to service clientele all over Australia and now Asia.
Tarnia identified a gap in the community, with families suffering due to financial illiteracy, so she offers affordable solutions to her clients. Tarnia assists families with their financial affairs, including budgeting, debt management, superannuation and protection via insurance. Tarnia has previously worked as a practice manager for other financial planners, and has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Prior to this, she worked in customer service and as a nurse.
Tarnia is a commited advocate for mental health and suicide prevention and has supported Iris Foundation since 2008. As a survivor, she understands the importance of community awareness and support for others in the same situation and hopes she can be an inspiration to others to live their lives.
Tarnia joined the board of Iris Foundation in 2017 and loves to be able to support and give back to her community.
Leesa O’Keefe – Director
Leesa has over 14 years of experience in the not-for-profit industry. She grew up in Tasmania and moved to the Central Coast in 2017 to take up a position as Compliance and HR Manager with Meals on Wheels. Leesa holds a Diploma in Human Recourses Management, Diploma of Business and Diploma of Quality Auditing, she has experience in Not-For-Profit Management and Compliance Management, and is knowledgeable in the accreditation and external auditing processes. Leesa is a strong administrative professional who puts a high regard on Mental Health in the workplace.
Leesa loves to travel and is always researching new destinations. She is always eager to spend time with her three adult children whenever she can which is often not an easy feat with them living in Canada and Tasmania. She is proud to be a part of the Iris Foundation Board since 2022.
Liz Mackdacy – Director
Liz has been based on the Central Coast of NSW Australia for more nearly 20 years. She has always volunteered in community organisations throughout her career such as on school council and P&C, on the board of her local community housing provider and on professional committees. She currently volunteers as a Board member for a few organisations including the Iris Foundation. As she has a background and qualifications in Psychology she has a strong interest in community and personal well-being. She hopes that her contribution to the Board of Iris Foundation will assist in building community well being by encouraging access to the resources of the organization.
In her professional life she created 2 psychology practices over more than 20 years and worked Australia wide through these companies. She also worked as a senior executive, manager and professional in the Commonwealth, NSW and Queensland governments. She has worked in the social housing sector, managing property portfolios, multi million dollar budgets and revenue and providing services to assist people to age in place.
She has degrees in management (MBA), psychology (Masters degree), education (Diploma in Secondary Education) and rehabilitation counselling (Graduate Diploma).
Ron Thomsen – Director
Ron had a career as a corporate and investment banker, for over 30 years, with Westpac and BNP Paribas combined. He held executive general management positions and built up an enviable track record as a senior corporate banker and administrator of banking divisions.
He has a wide ranging experience in large project/structured financings, in the provision of corporate advice and with mergers and acquisitions.
Ron, subsequently, has dedicated some 22 years to volunteer roles with many charitable NFP organisations, mainly on the NSW Central Coast, in Executive Member positions, either as Treasurer or Board Chair.
Ron provides a wealth of experience in areas of Governance, Strategic Planning and Financial Management.
Ron continues to assist other Charities as Principal pro bono Advisor of One Direct Advisory, which operates as a philanthropic advisory firm for the benefit of NFP organisations.
Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
Iris Foundation acknowledges the invaluable contribution of our founding chairman, Barry Abrahams, who passed away in September 2018. Barry provided committed leadership to the Foundation for six years, and the board and staff of Iris Foundation thank him for his service.