Our People

National Office

  • Steven Persson: Chief Executive Officer
  • Sally Hines: Chief Operating Officer
  • Jon Whitehead: Chief Financial Officer
  • Emma O'Halloran: Chief Communications Officer
  • Steph Say: National Communications and Partnerships Manager
  • Jeremy Urquhart: National Operations Manager
  • Amy Hetherington: Editor

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)

Chief People Officer, Bank Australia

Sonya has a strong background in people management and is currently Chief People Officer at Bank Australia. Sonya was previously Executive General Manager, Human Resources, Marketing and Communications at Equity Trustees and prior to that General Manager Human Resources at ANZ, 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.

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 Münchenberg

Managing Partner, Blackhall & Pearl

Steven is a former Chief Executive of the Australian Bankers’ Association and Deputy Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia. He has also run government relations for a major bank through the global financial crisis, led a small not-for-profit in the resources sector and worked for a decade in policy roles in the Federal Government.

He has a Bachelor of Law (Hons) from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from the University of Adelaide.

He is currently Managing Partner at Blackhall & Pearl, a specialist advisory group that works with Boards, the C-Suite and senior management to enable them to achieve their strategic objectives. Steven also holds an advisory role with global management consultancy Futureye.

Steven joined The Big Issue Board in March 2018.


Carolyn Viney

Chief Development Officer, Vicinity Centres

Carolyn joined Vicinity Centres in October 2016 and has more than 20 years’ experience in construction, property development and real estate investment.

Prior to her current appointment, Carolyn was with Grocon where she held a number of senior roles over a 13 year period including CEO, Deputy CEO, Head of Development and In-house Counsel. Before this, Carolyn was a Senior Associate at MinterEllison.

Carolyn is a Division Councillor of the Property Council of Australia’s Victoria Division, an Advisory Board Member to the Victorian Government’s Office of Projects Victoria and also Women’s Property Initiatives as well as a Director of the Walter+Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.


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 - Consumer Banking, NAB

Simon Banks

Managing Director, Hawker Britton

Sean Barrett

Head, Origin Foundation

Executive Director, BKD Executive Leaders

Ben Buckley

Gillian Calvert AO

Deputy Chair, Life Without Barriers 

Terry Campbell AO

Senior Chairman, Goldman Sachs

Peter Charles

Southern Markets Sales Director, Seven Network

Sonya Clancy

Chief People Officer, Bank Australia

Co-Founder, Unscriptd.com

Ben Crowe

Peter Danks

Managing Director, Events & Facilities Group

Dunstan de Souza

Senior Partner, Colin Biggers & Paisley

Richard Eccles

Deputy Secretary, Department of Communication & the Arts

David Evans

Former Non-Executive Director, Village Roadshow

Grant Fuzi

Co-Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Blue River Group

Annette Gallard

Former Chief Executive Officer, Department of Communities

Lisa George

Global Head, Macquarie Group Foundation

Sally Herman

Non-Executive Director

Gavin Jackman

Corporate Affairs Senior Executive

Helen Kapalos


Cheryl Kernot

Director of Social Business, Centre for Social Impact, UNSW

ANZ Partnerships & Staff Engagement Director, Macquarie Group Foundation
Global Head of Human Resources, Macquarie Group

Anna Le Masurier

Tracey MacDonald

Andrew MacLeod

Chairman, Griffin Law

Geoff Lloyd

Chief Executive Officer, MLC

Simon McKeon AO

Chancellor, Monash University

Harold Mitchell AC

Founder, Mitchell & Partners

Scott Munn

Chief Executive, City Football Group China

Kris Neill

Managing Director, Kris Neill Consulting

Paul Oppenheim

Chief Executive Officer, Plenary Group

Mary Patetsos

Chair, Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia

Andrea Pearman

General Manager Community & Pih, Australia Post

Andrew Penn

Chief Executive Officer, Telstra

Nicholas Reece

Director Strategy, Policy & Projects, The University of Melbourne

Julie Rynski

Chief People Officer, NAB

Ken Shipp

Director of Sport & Events, SBS

Vivienne Skinner

Principal, Metropolis

Ian Smith AM

Joint Managing Director, Bespoke Approach

Natasha Stott Despoja AO

Chair, Our Watch

Sheryl Weil

Former Executive Director, Banking & Financial Services, Macquarie Group

Chief Executive Officer, Macquarie Group

Shemara Wikramanayake

Lisa Wilkinson AM

Journalist & Presenter

Melanie Willis

 Non-Executive Director, Challenger Limited

Helen Willoughby

Former Group Manager Communication, DEEWR

Ian Wood

Vice President Community Relations & Sustainability, BHP

State Chief Executive SA & National Director Leasing, Colliers International

James Young