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Ensuring our sustainability into the future.

Our Board

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Chris Leck
Chair

BA (Hons), MA (Applied Psych) 
MAHRI, GAICD

Chris is a practical and results-oriented Human Resource and Organisational consultant with over 30 years’ experience in achieving significant business outcomes for clients through designing and implementing enhanced remuneration, organisational, governance, management, people strategies and systems.   His professional knowledge embraces the fields of reward and remuneration strategy, organisational consulting and governance reviews.  His client base extends across many industry sectors and organisation types including around 50 not for profit organisations.  As a skills-based Director, Chris is also on another board - the RSL’s Remuneration and Nominations Committee. Chris is a member of the Board’s Strategy and Risk Committee and the Board's Chief Executive Officer's Recruitment, Review and Remuneration Committee. Chris is ex-officio on the Finance and Audit Committee, People, Culture and Quality Care Committee and the Governance and Risk Committee.  Chris joined the Board of RLOA on the 5th of June 2020.

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Maria Fuchs
Vice Chair
GAICD  

Maria is a professional Engineer with over 20 years of experience, embracing project management, design and scoping, planning and resource management, investigation and analysis, and problem solving and negotiation. Maria has over 6 years of director experience with not-for-profits and completed the AICD Company Director course in 2018. Her professional experience covers B2C business, strategic thinking, risk management, impact investing and emotional intelligence. Her background in governance, and honorary leadership roles that make social and environmental impacts and investments at a board level, aligns with RLOA organisation’s purpose. Maria is a member of the Governance and Risk Committee. Maria joined the Board of RLOA on the 22nd of April 2022. 

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Cheryl Dixon
Director
GAICD  

Cheryl has deep experience of nearly 30 years in the banking and finance sector, leading the development and execution of business strategy, business outcomes and growth in people. More recently as Executive Manager of PEXA, Cheryl is transforming the way property is transacted online.  Cheryl is known for being a resilient, courageous, practical, and transformational leader.  Cheryl completed the AICD Company Directors course in 2016, and continues to serve as the first independent Director of the Queensland Rifle Association. Cheryl’s skills in governance, strategy, financial and stakeholder management enables her to make a major contribution as RLOA continues to grow and evolve. Cheryl is chair of the Finance and Audit Committee and a member of the Governance and Risk Committee. Cheryl joined the Board of RLOA on the 22nd of April 2022. 

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Leigh Clement
Director
BCom
GAICD  

Leigh is an independent consultant with over 30 years’ experience in leading organisational strategy, stakeholder and corporate affairs, governance and performance reporting.  She has worked at executive and senior management level across government, transport, research and development and agriculture sectors.  Leigh brings to RLOA extensive expertise in developing and executing sustainable growth strategies, building and maintaining strong stakeholder relations, and driving best practice risk management, corporate compliance and performance monitoring.  Leigh has a Bachelor of Commerce and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, with experience on government and not-for-profit boards. Leigh is chair of the Governance and Risk Committee and member of the Finance and Audit Committee. Leigh joined the Board of RLOA on the 8th of May 2023. 

Katrina Ryan
Katrina Ryan
Director
RN, BBus (HlthAdmin)
GAICD  

Katrina's extensive experience in healthcare spans over 30 years and includes 17 years in Executive and General Manager roles for private and not-for-profit hospitals across Queensland. With experience across National and state based projects including National Nursing Agency contracts, establishing the first Private Hospital in the Home service in QLD,  developing new services between hospitals and community care and rolling out Digital Education platforms in healthcare. Most recently, Katrina has worked with Medibank Private as Head of Ambulatory Care Centres establishing new Short Stay Surgery and Mental Health Hospitals across Australia.  Katrina has a passion for navigating the healthcare ecosystem and providing high quality clinical care. Katrina is excited to have re-joined the Board to contribute to the vision of RLOA. Katrina is chair of the People, Culture and Quality Care Committee and re-joined the Board of RLOA on the 16th of January 2024.  

Alex Roberts, Director
Alex Roberts
Director
MBA
MAICD, FIML  

Alex is an established executive leader with a diverse background in mining, banking/ finance, fintech, and cybersecurity. His leadership has been instrumental in navigating complex regulatory landscapes and ensuring sustained growth, operational efficiency, and strategic innovation in both global and domestic organisations. Beyond his corporate endeavours, he is a passionate advocate for community well-being and safety. As a dedicated volunteer, Alex contributes his time to active surf life saving patrols, and supporting life saving training and accreditation programs. This commitment reflects his belief in the importance of community engagement and the broader impact of responsible corporate citizenship. Alex is a member of the People, Culture and Quality Care Committee and the Governance and Risk Committee. Alex joined the Board of RLOA on 16th of January 2024. 

Mark Fenton
Mark Fenton
Special Advisor to the Board of Directors
BBus, MFA
FAICD, FCPA   

Mark has extensive experience with for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises creating and leading high-performance teams, particularly during times of significant growth and change. Mark is skilled Director and fellow of the Australian Institute of Company directors whose Board experience includes not-for-profit and entrepreneurial for-profit businesses. Mark is a fellow of CPA Australia and has more than 25 years commercial business and finance experience. He has worked in a wide range of industry sectors including disability, manufacturing, retail, professional services, retirement living and membership services. Mark joined Rural Lifestyle Options Australia as a Special Advisor to the Board of Directors on the 21st of September 2023. 

Our Ambassadors
Tribute and thank you to our retiring founders. 

The Board of Directors for Rural Lifestyle Options Australia would like to thank Carole Caswell and Ann Armstrong for their vision, commitment and drive over the past 30 years.

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Carole Caswell
Founder

For 30 years, Carole served as the esteemed Chair of the Board of Directors of Rural Lifestyle Options Australia, which she co-founded. With a distinguished career in the Human Services sector, Carole's experience encompasses working for prominent government departments such as Veterans Affairs, Immigration and Defence. Throughout her career, Carole made significant contributions as a psychiatric Social Worker at Greenslopes Repatriation Hospital and as a Supervisor for the University of Queensland Social Work Field Education Unit. As the former Queensland Regional Director of the Defence Community Organisation, Carole played a vital role in supporting the local community before her retirement in 2005. Her selfless dedication to volunteer work in the disability sector earned her the prestigious Australian of the Year Local Hero Regional Queensland award in 2007. In 2023, Carole was recognised as a Lifetime Ambassador of Rural Lifestyle Options Australia in addition to receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the organisation over the past 30 years.

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Ann Armstrong
Founder

For 30 years, Ann served on the Board of Directors of Rural Lifestyle Options Australia, which she co-founded. Before retiring as Vice Chair and with a wealth of experience in small business, Ann brought invaluable expertise to the organisation. As a parent of an adult who has an intellectual disability and mental illness, Ann is deeply committed to the cause of Rural Lifestyle Options Australia and serves as a proud ambassador for the organisation. In 2023, Ann was recognised as a Lifetime Ambassador of Rural Lifestyle Options Australia in addition to receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the organisation over the past 30 years.

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In recognition of 30 years of loyal service.

In 2023, Carole and Ann were appointed Lifetime Ambassadors for their hard work and loyal commitment to building Rural Lifestyle Options Australia into what it is today. Their efforts have left a long-lasting legacy and their impact will continue to inspire those within the organisation and more broadly within the NDIS sector for many years to come. 

Their 30 years of work was also recognised with a new Award Category with Carole Caswell and Ann Armstrong being the first ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ recipients at RLOA. We thank founders, Carole Caswell and Ann Armstrong, for their outstanding efforts, exceptional contribution and long-term commitment in creating and leading change at Rural Lifestyle Options Australia over the past 30 years and are grateful for their ongoing support. 

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