Our People

National Office

  • Steven Persson: Chief Executive Officer
  • Sally Hines: Chief Operating Officer
  • Amy Hetherington: Editor
  • Damian Atkins: Chief Financial Officer
  • Emma O'Halloran:
    National Marketing and Partnerships Manager
  • Jeremy Urquhart: National Operations Manager

Our People

The Big Issue Board comprises a group of highly successful professionals and business leaders who volunteer their time to oversee the governance and strategic direction of The Big Issue.

Sonya Clancy

Chairman, The Big Issue

Sonya has a strong background in HR, having previously worked for Equity Trustees as Executive General Manager, Human Resources, Marketing and Communications and the ANZ Banking Group as General Manager Human Resources, holding the concurrent positions of General Manager Marketing and Group General Manager Culture.

Sonya has been Chairman of the Board for The Big Issue since 2004 and was also Chairman of the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup, hosted by The Big Issue.

Randal Mathieson

Head, Change Management, Stakeholder Liaison & Communications, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Randal has been with the ABC since 1993. He was appointed to the role of Head, Change Management, Stakeholder Liaison & Communications for the Melbourne Accommodation Project in 2015. For the previous 9 years Randal was State Director Victoria and has also held a number of senior roles in the Radio Division.

He has a Masters of Business (Marketing) at RMIT University and is a Board Director for Open Gardens Australia.

He is the current Co-Chair of the Sturt Street Arts Precinct Forum – a collective comprising the major cultural institutions in Southbank working towards the development of a vibrant Arts Precinct for Melbourne.

Randal has been on The Big Issue Board since 2003 and was also a Director of the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup, hosted by The Big Issue.

Wendy Fromhold

Director, WFConsulting

Wendy is the director of WFConsulting which focuses on supporting health and not-for-profit organisations to achieve their strategic and business goals.

Wendy has over 20 years of experience in not-for-profit organisations, with the majority of these organisations being focused on providing health and community support services for people and communities who are marginalised.

Wendy holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) and a Master of Business, and has spent the past 10 years in senior management positions in regional and national organisations.

Wendy has been on The Big Issue Board since 2004.

Image of Paul Kearney

Paul Kearney

Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Kearney Group / Oi Software

Paul is founder and CEO of the award-winning holistic financial services firm Kearney Group, which was established in 1986.

Paul is a University of Melbourne graduate and both a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Practicing Accountant.

Under his leadership, the Kearney Group’s commitment to excellence, client service and innovation in business has been widely recognised with two National Practice of the Year awards and several Victorian titles. Paul was also named Adviser of the Year and the Financial Planning Association’s Best Practice Awards runner-up in 2013.

Paul has been on The Big Issue Board since 2007.

Adam Brooks

Partner, Thomson Geer

Adam is a corporate advisory and mergers and acquisitions lawyer. He is a partner at Thomson Geer, and head of their corporate group.

Adam holds a Bachelor of Law (Hons) from Melbourne University, a Master of Law from Monash, and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment (from Finsia).

Adam has been on The Big Issue Board since 2009 and was also a Director of the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup, hosted by The Big Issue.

Steven Persson

Chief Executive Officer, The Big Issue

Steven, a social entrepreneur, has worked in the non-government organisation sector for more than 30 years and holds a qualification in education for the disabled. He has held the position of CEO for a number of medium to large not-for-profit organisations providing services such as housing, employment, personal care and case management across a wide range of social needs.

Steven also has vast experience in the profit sector, running his own business for several years.

Steven has been the CEO of The Big Issue since 2005 and was also the Executive Director of the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup, hosted by The Big Issue.

Advisory Groups

In addition to the Board, we have established a network of advisory members across Australia. These high profile individuals provide assistance and direction with our national and state based initiatives.

The Hon Mike Baird

Chief Customer Officer - Corporate and Institutional Banking, NAB

Simon Banks

Managing Director, Hawker Britton

Sean Barrett

Head, Origin Foundation

Chief Executive Officer, Beyond Boundaries Group

Ben Buckley

Gillian Calvert AO

Director, Life Without Barriers 

Terry Campbell AO

Senior Chairman, Goldman Sachs

Peter Charles

Sydney & Melbourne Sales Director, Seven Network

Sonya Clancy

Chairman, The Big Issue

Co-Founder, Unscriptd.com

Ben Crowe

Peter Danks

Managing Director, Events & Facilities Group

Dunstan de Souza

Managing Partner, Colin Biggers & Paisley

Richard Eccles

Deputy Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet

David Evans

Non-Executive Director, Village Roadshow Limited

Grant Fuzi

Co-CEO & Founder, Blue River Group

Annette Gallard

Former Chief Executive Officer, Department of Communities

Lisa George

Global Head, Macquarie Group Foundation

Michaela Healey

President, International Women's Forum Australia

Sally Herman

Non-Executive Director

Gavin Jackman

Corporate Affairs Senior Executive

Helen Kapalos

Chair, Victorian Multicultural Commission

Cheryl Kernot

Director of Social Business, Centre for Social Impact, UNSW

Andrew MacLeod

Visiting Professor, King's College

Geoff Lloyd

Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Perpetual

Simon McKeon AO

Chancellor, Monash University

Harold Mitchell AC

Founder, Mitchell & Partners

Scott Munn

Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne City FC

Les Murray AM

Sports Journalist, Broadcaster & Analyst, SBS

Kris Neill

Executive Director, Macquarie Group

Paul Oppenheim

Chief Executive Officer, Plenary Group

Mary Patetsos

Chair, South Australian Housing Trust

Andrea Pearman

General Manager Community Relations, Australia Post

Andrew Penn

Chief Executive Officer, Telstra

Nicholas Reece

Director Strategy, Chancellery, The University of Melbourne

Julie Rynski

General Manager SME Banking & Connect Now, Westpac

Ken Shipp

Director of Sport, SBS

Vivienne Skinner

Principal, Metropolis

Ian Smith

Partner, Bespoke Approach

Natasha Stott Despoja AM

Chair, Our Watch

Sheryl Weil

Executive Director, Banking & Financial Services, Macquarie Group

Shemara Wikramanayake

Head Macquarie Asset Management, Macquarie Group

Lisa Wilkinson AM

Journalist & Presenter, Channel Nine

Melanie Willis

Non-Executive Director, Southern Cross Austereo

Helen Willoughby

Group Manager Communication, DEEWR

Ian Wood

Vice President Community Relations & Sustainability, BHP Billiton

James Young

State Chief Executive SA & National Director Leasing, Colliers International Australia