John joined the MPA Board in 2015 and was elected Chairman in July 2016. John has a long career in senior management roles in the agricultural sector.
His background provides him a wide understanding of business management and advocacy at all levels of industry and Government. John is currently Chairman of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company, a globally recognised farmer owned Co-operative. He is currently Chairman of the Co-operative Alliance in northern New South Wales and represents the industry at both State and national levels.
John has a strong rural focus and has a particular interest in rural health issues. After being diagnosed with a potentially life threating invasive form of squamous cell carcinoma whilst living in western NSW, John appreciates the importance of support and information for patients having difficulty accessing specialised treatment.
John has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (UNE) and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Victoria commenced her leadership career in the not-for-profit world after working within the commercial sector in senior executive, business development, marketing and event management roles.
Victoria has been a CEO, Director and Senior Strategist in the charity sector for fourteen years.
With a deep passion for social justice and consumer advocacy, Victoria has a special interest in health and achieving the best possible outcomes for those affected by melanoma.
Victoria enjoys working closely with Boards’ on business strategy, governance and risk, successful delivery of major contracts and projects, fundraising and financial diversification.
Victoria holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Economics and Law, post graduate diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK) and Australian Institute of Company Directors, Company Directors Course.
Marie-Claire has a background in clinical social work and holds post-graduate degrees in social policy, research and management.
She has experience in a range of clinical, policy, research, academic and senior management roles within health and social care, having worked in government, higher education, commercial and non-profit sectors in a career spanning over thirty years. Marie-Claire’s most recent previous roles include: National Clinical Director for 1800RESPECT, the national telephone and online counselling service for people impacted by sexual assault and domestic and family violence and Director of Support Programs for Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
Marie-Claire is currently working as a consultant with health, human services and social care organisations in the areas of strategic planning, psychosocial program innovation and development, quality assurance and improvement. She also facilitates training and professional development in the areas of leadership and management in the health and social care sector. She is a previous National Vice-President of the Australian Association of Social Workers (2008 – 2011; 2016 – 2018). Marie-Claire is a 2012 Winston Churchill Fellow. Her research involved an overseas study of social work education and workforce planning in the United States, Canada, England and Denmark, exploring contemporary workforce needs and the readiness to practice of social work graduates.
Professor Mark Smithers AM is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and a Member of the Order of Australia 2018. He is a surgeon involved in the management of patients with all stages of melanoma for 30.
Surgeon involved in the management of patients with all stages of melanoma for 26 years.
Senior surgeon at the Melanoma Clinic at the Princess Alexandra Hospital
Epidemiology of melanoma in Queensland – Collaboration with the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Epidemiology Unit.
Assessment of the outcomes of patients with high risk primary and secondary melanoma.
Phase I-III trials in the surgical and medical management of patients with stage III and IV melanoma. These include locally based studies as well as collaboration in national and international trials.
Karen is a Senior Policy Adviser with the South Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry with a background in Workplace Relations and Advocacy. Karen’s initial diagnosis occurred in 2011 when she discovered a melanoma on her back which was excised. In Early 2013 she discovered a lump under her right arm and was referred to a surgeon for surgery followed by radiotherapy.
Within 6 months Karen’s disease had progressed to stage IV. A lack of treatment options other than chemotherapy lead Karen to research clinical trials and for the next two years Karen flew fortnightly to Melbourne to participate in the pembrolizumab arm of the phase III MK3475-006/Keynote-006 clinical trial. Within three months it was clear that Karen had responded well and gratitude led to her taking up the facilitator role for MPA in South Australia and presenting to third year medical students as part of University of Adelaide Cancer Voices Survivors as Teachers program.
Ruth joins the MPA Board in 2021 as a qualified Medical Scientist with strategic and patient-focused Medical, Scientific, Advisory and Program and Project Management expertise across biotechnology / pharmaceutical industry, academia, state government, and public and private clinical health sectors.
Following a 16 year clinical career as a Medical Scientist specialising in Haematology and Immunohaematology/Transfusion Medicine, Ruth embarked on biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry career as a Medical Affairs professional, with expertise across Oncology, Haematology, Rare Disease, Endocrinology, Immunology, Neuroscience and Dermatology therapeutic portfolios. Underpinning her professional career, Ruth’s academic credentials include a combined Master of Biotechnology / Executive MBA with Distinction from RMIT University, a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Queensland (UQ), and a Bachelor of Medical Science from Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
Ruth is an advocate for disease prevention, early diagnosis, timely and equitable access to therapeutic options for patients in need, and patient-centric care, and is passionate about the role of science in improving health care, clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients. She is excited to work with the MPA team in its purpose to support, connect and advocate for Australians affected by melanoma, and work towards its prevention.
Klaus is the CEO, Founder and General Partner of Dreamoro, a Venture Capital and Studio business supporting founders in health tech and online media startups and scale-ups. He is the former Managing Director and Co-Founder of ASX listed health tech company 1st Group Ltd and the company’s online healthcare appointments marketplace www.myhealth1st.com.au which he launched in 2012. He is a Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is the founder and team captain of the Vision Crusaders cycling team which has been recognised by Sir Richard Branson for the team’s fund-raising work in support of Cancer Research.
Klaus is a Melanoma and Leukemia survivor. Klaus was diagnosed in 2000 with a Clark Level III Melanoma but remained silent about his diagnosis and treatment for over a decade puzzled by the lack of empathy and understanding by workplace colleagues, friends and even family. Inspired by a friend, Klaus became a cyclist and formed a team called the Vision Crusaders to raise money for cancer research at the inaugural Ride to Conquer Cancer in 2011 which he opened with a speech to over 1500 cyclists and their supporters. The Vision Crusaders raised over $1.6m for cancer research over the next 5 years.
In 2013 Klaus was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia, APL, and has had 6 additional Melanoma’s and is now a public advocate of his experiences and journey. While “cured” of Leukemia, Klaus remains vigilant of possible new Melanoma’s and skin cancers.
Michele has a background in Intensive Care Nursing, Medical Devices, Diagnostics and Pharmaceuticals and holds a graduate diploma In Advanced Clinical Nursing and a Master of Business Administration.
She has experience in a range of senior management roles within the health care space, having worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over twenty years in commercial, strategic, policy and government roles in Australia, the USA and UK. Michele’s most recent previous roles include Director of Government Affairs, Market Access, Patient Advocacy and External Communications for Celgene and a Board Director of Living Positive Victoria (Not-for profit).
Michele is currently working as Senior Director of Commercialisation for Antengene, a start-up biotech organisation focusing on haematology and oncology. Focusing on first in class and best in class molecules to further improve patient outcomes.
Michele is passionate about advocating for patients and wants to focus on early detection and optimising treatment pathways. Michele’s father successfully had skin cancers removed. Michele’s mother in law and best friend, both had successfully resected and treated melanomas and unfortunately, she had a friend who recently died from melanoma due to a late diagnosis
Clayton Ford is a senior corporate affairs leader with extensive experience in government relations and public policy, communications and reputation management, and corporate responsibility across a range of countries and industries. He is currently Senior Manager Public Policy ANZ with Amazon Web Services (AWS), and most recently was Chief Communications Officer for .au Domain Administration (auDA) – the Government-endorsed administrator of Australia’s .au Internet domain.
Clayton has previously established and led corporate affairs teams for 7-Eleven and an ASX100 manufacturer, with prior experience across fast moving consumer goods (in Australian, European and global roles), pharmaceuticals and the Australian government.
Clayton is a Fellow of the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs and holds a Master of Business Management and Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) from Monash University.
Clayton was diagnosed with a Clark Level 3 invasive acral melanoma on the sole of his foot in 2022, which he was incredibly fortunate to have detected, diagnosed, and excised before it had spread further. Clayton credits his annual medical check-ups to raising his awareness that melanomas can appear anywhere, even in rarely sun-exposed areas. His personal experience has also increased his understanding of the difference – and potential severity – of melanoma compared to other skin cancers. Clayton has joined the MPA Board to help share his experience and raise awareness of the importance of prevention and early detection.
Kelly is a Partner and leader of the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector team at Gadens, a leading Australian law firm. Kelly is an experienced commercial and regulatory lawyer, senior executive and company director. Prior to joining Gadens, Kelly was Head of Legal, Government Affairs and Policy, in Australia and New Zealand, for one of the world largest biopharmaceutical companies. Kelly has significant experience advising the not-for profit sector and has served as a non-executive director on several company boards. Kelly is also a member of the Human Research Ethics Committees of the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Melbourne, where she was the recipient of the Raynes Dickson Award in Health and Medical Law. Kelly also holds a Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Laws from the University of Melbourne. Kelly has completed risk management qualifications from the Governance Institute of Australia.
Kelly is passionate about ensuring that patients have a voice in Australia’s healthcare system and working to improve health outcomes and access to treatment, particularly in preventative health.