Our Board Members

Chair

Di Hodge

Di Hodge

Di has been a member of Rise Above (ACT Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group) since 2016. She is now semi-retired and has more time to contribute to the important work done by this organisation. Di currently works part-time for Care Financial Counselling Service, a not-for-profit organisation, where she helps people in financial crisis and work towards the vision of financial fairness for all.

Di held several leadership roles in the Australian Public Service with the most challenging being as a Government Business Manager living and working in communities on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the far north-west of South Australia. As a survivor of breast cancer, Di is very aware of the financial strain experienced by cancer patients and is committed to working with and supporting Rise Above to raise funds to continue financially assist cancer patients.


President

Leesa Ffrench

I become fully involved with Rise Above 3 years ago. I wanted to help raise money and help make a difference. When my brother in law was diagnosed with cancer I seen how Rise Above helped. That’s when I decided to get involved.

I have helped with fundraising for the full Monty. I have been on the convoy committee for the last 3 years and helped out on the day as well as in 2020 my work place was a point of registration. 

This year I have been heavily involved in fundraising for the Think Pink Trivia Night. I want to get more involved with Rise Above to help raise as much money as possible to help as many people as possible. I will be giving 110% as I have done in the past.

My current job is accounts manager for Express Truck Service. Since being involved with Rise Above, Express Trucks have sponsored the Full Monty, donated the trailer for the Christmas raffle, donated prizes for Think Pink. I think Rise Above is an amazing charity that helps so many people going through Cancer. I was elected President in August this year and unfortunately due to COVID I have not been able to do what I would like to do and get more people involved in this charity.

I am proud to be a part of the Rise Above charity and cant wait to raise more money and help more people.

Together we can kick cancer.


Vice President

Matt Morrissey

Matt Morrissey is a proud dad, an avid foodie and an incredibly passionate and active member of the Queanbeyan community. 

He is the owner and Head Chef of Bean Central, a café in Queanbeyan, which he describes as a modern café built with community in mind. Along with his partner, Katie, they have worked hard to ensure that Bean Central is truly a place for everyone and are committed to providing real employment opportunities for vulnerable people as well as people with disabilities.

Before cooking became his passion, Matt had a long and successful career in the military and as a senior communicator. He joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1992 and had a long career as a musician within the Royal Australian Navy band. He has also held senior roles in communication with Canberra Girls’ Grammar School, Australian Customs Service, Australian Federal Police, ACT government and was the CEO of Softball ACT.

At age 40, Matt decided he needed a change – a big one – and became an apprentice chef. During this time he was the recipient of a CIT Culinary Skills Award, a Vocational Service Award and a finalist in the 2016 ACT Training Awards, Australian Apprentice of the Year Award. 

In 2019, Matt volunteered his catering skills to feed the 500-strong crowd at the launch of the Women of Queanbeyan calendar, helping to raise more than $50,000 for Rise Above.

Matt is a published author, with his Social Chef book series helping young children get into cooking through reading fun and engaging stories.


Secretary

Mrs Allannah McKay FANZCA

Allannah McKay is a qualified Anaesthetist with over 15 years’ experience in clinical medicine. She is the founder and director of Magpie Administration Pty Ltd, a company that manages a private surgical practice in Canberra.

Originally from New Zealand, Allannah and her family underwent their own cancer battle when her father died from prostate cancer in 2017. Allannah’s motivation to join Rise Above stemmed from realizing what a difference care and practical support can make to families during a most difficult time. Allannah has an interest in medical law and she is currently working towards a law degree at the Australian National University.


Treasurer

Ms Lisa Rosetta GAICD

Lisa is an experienced Manager, Executive and business professional who grew up in the snowy mountains area. Lisa is a certified company director through Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders.

Lisa has worked within various industries including medical, architectural, construction, engineering, IT and manufacturing environments. Lisa has gained significant experience working for various small to medium sized enterprises and corporate entities, that can be adapted and used within any organisation.


Director

Julian Olsen

Julian is a contract manager working in ICT Procurement in Federal Government, managing large contracts with multinational vendors. Julian cares about people and brings a strong focus on empathy and engagement.

Having been a volunteer member of Rise Above since 2016, Julian has been a part of our key fundraising programs, as well as the strategic project to further embed Rise Above as a critical part of the Capital region community.

Julian was appointed to the Board in 2021.


Director

Helena Cataldo


Director

Nick Rivers

My name is Nick Rivers, I am 39 years old and a widower with 2 great boys.

My reason for becoming a board member with Rise Above is because Rise Above changed our lives when they assisted my wife and I with their support and much needed funds.

My plan is to give back and raise awareness for this amazing not for profit organisation, bringing along a personal touch with what I’ve experienced and what we can do to help others too.


Director

Amanda Wescombe

Amanda Wescombe is a senior legal and commercial professional, specialising in telecommunications, technology and cybersecurity, and is a trusted adviser to government, defence, and the private sector.  Amanda has degrees in Commerce and Laws from Monash University, and has a Master of Laws from the University of Melbourne.  She contributes strategic advisory, risk management and governance expertise to the Board. 

In addition to the Rise Above Board, Amanda sits on the ACT Law Society Council, the Campbell Primary School Board, and volunteers at the ANU Law Students’ Society.  Amanda was appointed to the Board in 2021.


Director

Tharanie Vithanage

Tharanie is committed to ensuring that patients and families get accurate diagnosis, information and care and the peace of mind to be able to manage and survive cancer.

She is a lawyer by trade, and has previously been in the Australian Army, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Australian Border Force. She is currently a public servant at a Commonwealth Department and a Army Reserve officer. Her roles have given her experience in issues relating to governance, corporate/workforce, operational, planning, ministerial and media.  Tharanie has lived in the local area for 12 years  

is a qualified lawyer and a senior public servant in the Commonwealth. She has lived all over the world and posted around with the military but now has called the Eden-Monaro area home for about 12 years.  


Director

Roz Chivers