Our People

National Office

  • Steven Persson: Chief Executive Officer
  • Sally Hines: National Manager
  • Damian Atkins: Chief Financial Officer
  • Emma O'Halloran:
    Marketing and Communications Manager
  • Alan Attwood: Editor
  • 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
Former General Manager - Human Resources Australia – ANZ Banking Group

Sonya was appointed General Manager Human Resources for ANZ Banking Group in 2005 where she held responsibilities for up to 44,000 employees. Leading the Human Resources and Communications for the Australia Division, Sonya also held the concurrent positions of General Manager Marketing and Group General Manager Culture between 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 respectively.

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

State Director Victoria, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Randal has been with the ABC since 1993. He was appointed to the role of Director Victoria in 2006. During his time with the national broadcaster, he has held a number of senior roles in the Radio Division including Head of ABC Radio Marketing.

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

General Manager Corporate Services, National Stroke Foundation

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 has spent the past 10 years in senior management roles in regional and national organisations, with roles covering management of services, developing models of care, managing restructures and business and strategic management.

Wendy has been on The Big Issue Board since 2004.

Nicholas Reece

Public Policy Fellow, University of Melbourne

Nick is a Public Policy Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Nick has a background in public administration, law, finance and journalism having previously worked as Director of Strategy, Office of the Prime Minister, an adviser to two Victorian Premiers, a solicitor with national law firm Maurice Blackburn and as a journalist with the Australian Financial Review.

He has been on The Big Issue Board since 2007 and was also a Director of the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup, hosted by The Big Issue.

Paul Kearney

Principal, Kearney Group Financial Services

Paul is founder and CEO of the multi-award winning professional financial services firm Kearney Group.

In 1986, Kearney & Co began providing specialist accounting, taxation and strategic business advice. Twelve years later, Kearney Financial Planning was born. In 2011, the firm was named National Practice of the Year at the 25th annual Securitor Convention in Singapore.

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.

Graeme Wise (Patron)

Executive Chairman, The Body Shop

Graeme Wise is the Founder and Patron of The Big Issue magazine in Australia, Chairman of Monash Institute of Medical Research Advisory Board, and past Director of Indigenous Enterprise Partnerships, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Prahran Mission and Philanthropy Australia. Graeme is also the Chairman of The Adidem Group, which comprises The Body Shop, a long-standing supporter of The Big Issue.

Graeme's business philosophies revolve around the humanising of business, which extends to ensuring that each business has a responsibility to put back into the society in which it operates.

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

Premier - NSW Government

Simon Banks

Chief Executive Officer - ACT office - Hawker Britton

Sean Barrett

Head of Foundation - Origin Foundation

Michael Brown

Chief Executive Officer, LOC 2015 Asian Cup - Football Federation Australia

Gillian Calvert AO

Government Relations Consultant

Terry Campbell AO

Senior Chairman - Goldman Sachs

Sue Cato

Chief Executive Officer - Cato Counsel

Peter Charles

Group Sales Manager - Seven Network

Sonya Clancy

Chairman - The Big Issue

Ben Crowe

Director - Gemba Group

Peter Danks

Managing Director - Events & Facilities Group

Dunstan de Souza

Partner - Collins Biggers Paisley

Richard Eccles

Deputy Secretary, Arts & Sports Group - Dept Prime Minister & Cabinet

Liz Ellis AM


David Evans

Director - Village Roadshow Australia

Paul Faulkner

Managing Director - Nike Pacific

Grant Fuzi

Managing Partner - Allen & Overy

Annette Gallard

Former Chief Executive Officer - Department of Communities

Lisa George

Head - Macquarie Group Foundation

Lee Hatton

General Manager, Regulatory Affairs - National Australia Bank

Michaela Healey

Group Executive, Group Governance - National Australia Bank

Shane Healy

General Manager - Radio 3AW Melbourne

Sally Herman

Former GM Corporate Affairs – Westpac

Narelle Hooper

Editor - BOSS Magazine

Gavin Jackman

Global Head of Corporate Affairs & Social Responsibility - Orica Limited

Helen Kapalos

Board Member - Federation Square

Theadora Karidis

Assistant General Manager - Karidis Corporation

Cheryl Kernot

Director of Social Business – Centre for Social Impact, UNSW

Jane Kittel

Managing Director – BankSA

Andrew MacLeod

General Manager Communities - Rio Tinto

Geoff Lloyd

Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer – Perpetual

Simon McKeon AO

Executive Chairman, Melbourne Office - Macquarie Group

Harold Mitchell AC

Executive Chairman - Mitchell Communications

Julie Mitchell

Former Corporate Affairs Manager – Santos

Matt Morcom

Manager, Event Strategy & Community - NSW Dept Premier & Cabinet

Scott Munn

Chief Executive Officer - Melbourne Heart

Les Murray AM

Broadcaster – SBS

Kris Neill

Executive Director, Corporate Communications - Macquarie Group Limited

Kate Olgers

General Counsel, Transactions - National Australia Bank

Paul Oppenheim

Managing Director - Plenary Groups

Mary Patetsos

Acting Chief Executive Officer - SA Migrant Resource Centre

Andrea Pearman

GM, Community & Sponsorships - Australia Post

Danny Pearson

Director - Hawker Britton

Andrew Penn

Chief Financial Officer - Telstra

Judy Potter

Chair - Adelaide Fringe Board

Nicholas Reece

Public Policy Fellow - University of Melbourne

Ken Ryan

VIC/SA Regional General Manager - Qantas Airways

Julie Rynski

State GM, Retail & Regional Banking - Westpac

Carol Schwartz AM

Schwartz Group

Ken Shipp

Head of Sport – SBS

Mark Simpson

Deputy Advertising Sales Director - Herald & Weekly Times

Vivienne Skinner

Advisor - Office of Anthony Albanese

Ian Smith

Partner - Bespoke Approach

Natasha Stott Despoja

Research Fellow - University of Adelaide

Alistair Urquhart

Director - Affairs of State

Sheryl Weil

Head of Banking and Financial Services - Macquarie Group Limited

Julie White

Chief Executive Officer -  Chief Executive Women

Shemara Wikramanayake

Head of Macquarie Funds Group - Macquarie Group Limited

Lisa Wilkinson

Presenter - Channel Nine

Melanie Willis

Chief Executive Officer, NRMA Investments - NRMA Group

Helen Willoughby

Group Manager, Communication – DEEWR

Ian Wood

Vice President Sustainable Development - BHP Billiton

James Young

SA State Chief Executive - Colliers International