Our Board & Executives
The Sylvanvale Board of Directors are responsible for providing strategic direction to the organisation. The Board monitors operational and financial performance as well as approving Sylvanvale’s budgets.
The Board is also responsible for overseeing Sylvanvale’s risk management, financial reporting, compliance framework, service delivery and operations. The Board of Directors is accountable to members and undertakes to serve the interests of the people we support, employees and the broader community honestly, fairly, diligently and in accordance with applicable laws.
Our team leads by example in adopting governance standards consistent with the contemporary corporate governance. Board directors meet monthly, and their skills, commitment and combined knowledge are a real asset in setting the strategic direction as well as establishing the benchmark in regard to standards, values and practice.
Sylvanvale operates as a company limited by guarantee. The Board of up to nine directors operates with a formal constitution which states its membership, operating procedures and the apportionment of responsibilities between the Board and management. The current Chairman, Jeff McCarthy, was appointed in 2014 and the Chief Executive Officer is Leanne Fretten.
Jeff McCarthy - Chairman
Jeff has significant experience in large private and government owned businesses and in the disability sector, having held Executive roles at Transport for NSW, RMS, WestlinkM7, Downer and Endeavour Energy.
Jeff manages his own Strategic Advisory business and is a member of the NSW Government’s Water Infrastructure Advisory Board. Jeff is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of Engineers Australia, and holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree and Masters of Commerce degree.
David Kelly - Deputy Chairman
David is a senior airline industry executive with over 30 years’ experience, many of those in management roles leading technical, commercial, and business change activities. David holds a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering degree and is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Robert Brown - Director
Robert brings valuable experience in operational governance from his role as Manager International Terminals for Qantas Freight. He is a qualified accountant, AICD member and has solid experience in demonstrating strong regulatory compliance with government agencies. Robert is the Chairperson of the Finding Yellow Disability Foundation and has managed his own freight consulting business since 2014.
John Slack - Director
John brings over forty years of experience in the insurance and funds management industry to Sylvanvale. John was the chief actuary for two life insurance companies and served on the Board of a leading life insurance company in New Zealand. He has also served on the Board of a local Lions club for over 20 years. John is currently a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Bethany Williams - Director
Bethany works in the public sector. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Politics), Bachelor of Law and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice. Bethany also holds Diplomas in Business, Business Administration, Management, Human Resource Management and Quality Auditing. Her strong interest in the community stems from family involvement in the sector and a deep sense of community spirit.
David Rafferty - Director
David Rafferty has 22 years in disability service provision. He has participated in National Disability Services committees and also serves on the board of the Centre for Disability Studies. An advocate for inclusion, empowerment and innovation, the result of which he believes should be a new beginning for people who require professional support in their lives. David is a graduate of the long course in Social Role Valorisation (SRV).
Leanne Fretten - Chief Executive Officer
Leanne commenced at Sylvanvale in 2004 as an Occupational Therapist and has since held various management roles in the organisation across a number of departments including Children’s Services, Client Services, and People & Culture. Leanne was appointed Sylvanvale’s Chief Executive Officer in 2016.
Cathy Quinn - Executive, Operations
Cathy Quinn commenced with Sylvanvale in 2014. She has a Bachelor of Communication, Diploma in Marketing Management and is a School for Social Entrepreneurs and Social Leadership Australia Alum. A marketing professional, she has worked in the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors in her 30 year career. Cathy’s not for profit experience includes working in community, child and family and disability organisations. She has founded two social enterprises and is passionate about the provision of customer lead, quality services.
Deirdre Young - Executive, Quality and Practice
Deirdre Young commenced working with Sylvanvale in 2015. She has a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Arts and has worked in the Public Service in both NSW and WA for more than 30 years. Her experience spans Local Health Districts - child protection, mental health, and medically acquired HIV, Attorney Generals Department - Office of the Public Guardian and Family and Community Services - out of home care, community building and disability.
Alison Bolton - Executive, People and Culture
Alison commenced working for Sylvanvale in December 2021. Alison has a Bachelor in Human Resources and an Honours degree in Industrial Sociology. Her career in the People and Culture space spans over 20 years in both the not for profit and the private sector.
Richard Zhu - Executive Finance & Commercial
Richard first joined Sylvanvale in 2019 and returned in 2023 after a year away. Richard is a qualified CPA accountant and holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting and Business Management from UTS. Over his 15-year career, he has held various senior management roles and amassed extensive expertise in financial management across corporate and non-profit sectors.
Scott Williams - Executive, Communications & Marketing
Scott commenced working at Sylvanvale in July 2023. He has attained a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact from the Centre for Social Impact and UNSW. A communications and marketing professional with over 20 years experience, his career has included leadership positions in media in Australia and the UK, as well as higher education, charity and disability services.
Madeleine Gates - Executive Specialist Disability Accommodation & Property
Madeleine commenced working at Sylvanvale in 2013. She is a graduate of the University Technology Sydney Business School (BBus) and has attained Certificate IV in Disability. Madeleine has held various roles within the sector, including senior leadership positions in operations management, customer relations, and direct support. Madeleine combines specialities from her studies and operations experience, to lead the planning, design, and delivery of innovative housing solutions to people we support.