Meet the Faculty and Guest Speakers
Jon Paparsenos is the vice president, university advancement at Seton Hall University. He provides leadership and oversight over the University’s fundraising and alumni efforts and serves as the institution's chief fundraising officer. He brings more than 17 years of experience in the planning and execution of fundraising campaigns and building high performing Advancement teams.
Prior to Seton Hall, Paparsenos served as the vice president for philanthropy and CEO UNSW Foundation at UNSW Sydney in Australia, with Caltech (the California Institute of Technology), with Marquette University in Wisconsin and with Community Counselling Co., LLC in New York.
Paparsenos is an active volunteer for CASE serving as chair and a member of faculty for the CASE APIEF Institute in Melbourne, Australia.
Paparsenos came to philanthropy following an eight-year service with the US Marine Corps. He holds a BA from Seton Hall University. He is a fluent Greek speaker and emigrated from Greece at the age of 18 to the United States of America.
Jimmy Buck is the chief advancement officer at Deakin University, leading a growing team of advancement practitioners at one of Australia’s youngest and most progressive universities. A lifelong fundraiser, he started his career in advancement as a university student, co-chairing Boston University’s class gift campaign, which raised $100,000 from graduating students.
During his nine years at the University of Sydney, Buck worked across all areas of advancement, leading advancement services, alumni relations, and development teams in both higher education and medical philanthropy. He also played a leadership role in generating philanthropic income towards the $1 billion INSPIRED campaign, the largest philanthropic campaign in Australian higher education.
He is a CASE volunteer and speaker.
Deborah Carr joined the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in December 2019, moving from Western Sydney University where she held senior Advancement roles since 2013, including executive director, advancement from 2015 to 2019.
Carr is an accomplished philanthropy and communications executive, with over 25 years of professional experience and a versatile skill set. She brings insight from sectors including higher education, mental health, homelessness, domestic violence, disability, finance, building and construction, private enterprise, and now – medical research.
Carr loves fundraising and philanthropy - connecting passionate and committed supporters with institutional priorities. She enjoys identifying new opportunities and developing a ‘culture of philanthropy’ - which permeates and engages everybody in the fundraising programme – paramount to building strong, long-lasting, institution-wide relationships and ultimately, strong philanthropic support.
Jennifer Karlson joined UQ in 2017 to lead the University’s first comprehensive philanthropic campaign: Not if When—the Campaign to Create Change. The $500 million campaign was launched to inspire UQ’s 300,000+ global alumni community to create change by accelerating opportunity through philanthropy. One in three UQ alumni engaged with the University throughout the campaign, which closed at the end of 2020 with over $607 million in donations.
Karlson is the advisor to the Vice-Chancellor on strategy, external engagement and change management related to institutional advancement and sits on the UQ Endowment Fund Board. Her career history spans the US, West Africa and Asia Pacific, including roles with the American Red Cross and the YMCA. Prior to UQ, she served as the assistant dean, advancement for the College of Letters & Science and senior director of development & strategy manager at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – America’s top producer of Fortune 500 CEO’s.
Committed to growing a culture of philanthropy in Australia, in April 2019 Karlson chaired the CASE Asia-Pacific Advancement Conference in Australia – the first in country for the world’s leading conference for professionals in advancement.
In 2020, Karlson led an ambitious fundraising campaign to accelerate the development and manufacturing of a promising UQ vaccine candidate for COVID-19. The effort attracted $10 million in support from over 2600 donors in under four months and was recognised with a Universities Australia Award for Best Fundraising or Engagement Campaign. In 2020, she also received a UQ Excellence Award for Leadership for her contributions to philanthropy and the University.
Lorna Somers is recognised internationally as a teacher/facilitator in the field of Higher Education and Institutional Advancement speaking at educational and arts organisations throughout the world. As an accomplished practitioner, she is in her 34th year at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada. From the introduction of foundational programmes like Annual and Planned Giving, and the establishment of Major and Principal Giving as well as Recognition and Stewardship, Somers also leads strategic planning, case and vision development. Campaign Director for two university-wide comprehensive campaigns and a third now in the planning stages, she has also led targeted campaigns for the Museum of Art, Health Sciences, Endowment, Chairs and Scholarships and University Centre. Somers works closely with academic leadership and is leading McMaster's new Brighter World Research Initiative.
Somers is co-author of the definitive Canadian fundraising text, Planned Giving for Canadians and the recipient of numerous international awards for excellence in teaching and leadership. She is an Aquarius with 16 cats.
Marcus Ward is chief philanthropy officer at Monash University where he leads the fundraising team with a remit to embed a culture of philanthropy in support of Monash’s mission and vision, through both securing transformational philanthropic investments and significant levels of alumni donor participation.
In 2018, Ward led the launch of the University's largest-ever fundraising campaign, “Change it. For good.”, with goals of raising $500 million from 50,000 donors and doubling the number of bequests made to Monash.
Before joining Monash, Ward was head of major gifts at Queen’s University Belfast, where he worked on two comprehensive fundraising campaigns that culminated in the team recognised as the Times Higher Education Fundraising Team of the Year 2012. Prior to that, Marcus Ward led the Corporate and Trust Fundraising Team at The Prince's Trust in London, securing its largest ever philanthropic relationship, still in place almost 20 years later.
Helen Astbury loves people. She loves talking to them. And she particularly loves learning what motivates them to do what they do. So naturally, she ended up in fundraising!
A passionate fundraising and stakeholder engagement specialist, Astbury has successfully worked with leading state, national and international organisations to deliver outstanding development outcomes across several industries - including medical research, higher education and the arts.
With over 18 years of experience, Astbury is currently the senior manager, philanthropy and supporter experience for Cancer Council Queensland - responsible for all individual and corporate giving across the state including Gifts in Wills, Major Gifts, Trusts & Foundations, Corporate Partnerships, Regular Giving, Direct Mail, General and In Memory donations, acquisition and all aspects of supporter experience.
With a supporter first mentality, Astbury loves taking donors on a journey of giving that is fulfilling and enriching for all involved. Known during her time at QUT as the Septuagenarian Whisperer, talking with donors and finding out exactly what they want is her very mild superpower.
Byron Barnes, CFRE
Byron Barnes, CFRE, is the chief advancement officer for the University of Notre Dame Australia, responsible for leading Philanthropic and Alumni Relations programmes located in Sydney, Fremantle and Broome.
After a 10-year career as a musician in the US Navy Music Programme, Barnes migrated to Perth, Australia in 1999, and initially worked with Mission Australia in their employment services division.
Barnes’s first role as a major gifts / bequest relationship manager – was with Mission Australia in 2004. Since then, he has served with The Smith Family, Cancer Council NSW and as a capital campaign manager with The Shore School. Barnes led the central philanthropy team at UTS, and is an alumnus from APIEF 2016.
Natasha Bowness BEc, CA, GAICD
Natasha Bowness is Chair of Wilbow Group, a private family investment group operating in Australia and the United States of America, whose activities include property development and financing, listed and unlisted investments and private equity.
Bowness has a long association with philanthropy through chairing of the Bowness Family Foundation, as a member of the Zoos Victoria Foundation Advisory Board, president of The Australian Ballet’s Annual Giving Program and as member of the Monash University Campaign Council. She has a strong interest in arts and culture, has been involved in supporting Australian Ballet philanthropic initiatives for many years and serves as chair of the Monash Gallery of Arts Committee of Management. She has a strong commitment to social justice through BFFs support of education and disability programmes and is a member of the University of Queensland Young Achievers Program Advisory Committee.
Since 2015, Sue Cunningham has provided executive leadership for one of the largest education-related associations in the world serving over 3,200 members in 80 countries. Prior to CASE, she served as vice-principal for advancement at The University of Melbourne and director of development at University of Oxford. She held advancement roles at Christ Church, Oxford and University of St Andrews. As a CASE volunteer, she received the CASE Europe Distinguished Service Award and a CASE Crystal Apple for Teaching Excellence.
Cunningham is a Trustee at University of San Diego, a member of Signature Theatre (Arlington, Virginia, United States of America) Board of Directors, a member of Washington Higher Education Secretariat Steering Committee, and is a member of the International Women’s Foundation.
She is an Honorary Fellow of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
John Dyson is a director and one of the founders of Starfish Ventures, a Melbourne-based venture capital management firm. Dyson has played a crucial role in the establishment of Starfish Ventures, and has overseen and managed investments across a range of technologies and industries. He is currently a director of Aktana Inc, Atmail Pty Ltd, Audinate Group Ltd, DesignCrowd Pty Ltd, Echoview Pty Ltd, and Hearables 3D Pty Ltd. Dyson is also a director at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and chair of Zoos Victoria Foundation Advisory Board. He is also a trustee of the Dyson Bequest, a $20 million charitable foundation established by his uncle and aunt, Bruce and Janie Dyson.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Monash University, a graduate diploma in finance and investment from the Securities Institute of Australia, and master’s degree in business administration from RMIT University. Dyson also attended the Stanford University Executive Programme and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Lesley Gillespie OAM
Lesley Gillespie OAM is director and co-founder of Bakers Delight, the largest national chain of bakeries in Australia.
Gillespie took a full-time job teaching at Footscray High School after completing her bachelor's degree in science (honours) and diploma of education at Monash in 1977. Whilst studying at the University, she gained extensive bakery experience working in the Old Style Bread Centre chain. In 1980, she launched Bakers Delight with her husband, Roger Gillespie and another partner, Gary Stephenson.
In 1983, the Gillespies bought Stephenson and began to develop Bakers Delight, which today boasts more than 700 bakeries operating throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America. In 2004, the company teamed up with the Breast Cancer Network of Australia and became a finalist in the Prime Minister’s Award for Community Partnerships. The Gillespies shared 2002’s Boroondara Citizen of the Year award. The couple has also been inducted into Swinburne University’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. This year, the Gillespies were jointly awarded honorary doctorates of Monash University in recognition of their exceptional leadership and dedication to causes of importance to all communities.
Gillespie was awarded the Order of Australia in 2006 in recognition of her work in business and philanthropy. She received a Fellowship from Monash in 2013 and in 2015 was appointed chair of Swinburne’s Business School Advisory Board.
The Gillespies have recently stepped back from the active running of Bakers Delight, sitting only on its board. Their son, Aaron, oversees the company’s North American operations while their daughter, Elise, and son-in-law, David Christie, oversee operations in Australia and New Zealand.
Roger Gillespie OAM
Roger Gillespie OAM is co-founder and executive chairman of Baker’s Delight, the largest national chain of bakeries in Australia with over 700 bakeries operating throughout Australia, New Zealand and Canada. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for both Swinburne University of Technology’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship and the Franchising Council of Australia. Gillespie has been named ‘Citizen of the Year’ for the City of Boroondara and was granted an Order of Australia for his tireless work within the community.
Gillespie served as president of the Australian Retailers Association for 10 years till February 2018. He is a board member of the Bionics Institute, and is also a board member of several other private companies. This year, he and his wife, Lesley Gillespie were awarded honorary doctorates of Monash University in recognition of their exceptional leadership and dedication to causes of importance to all communities.
Roxy Kavanagh is the head of fundraising with The Song Room, a founding committee member of the Australian Philanthropy Network, and a state committee member with the Fundraising Institute of Australia (Victoria). Formerly director of development with the Australian Youth Orchestra, she has held roles with RSPCA (Victoria), The Australian Ballet, Orchestra Victoria, Opera Australia, and Griffith University.
She has led endowment and major gifts programmes that amplify the connection between beneficiaries who will go onto shape the world in which we live, and the people who make it possible. Kavanagh's commitment to philanthropy is powered by her combined past experience as a professional musician, educator, and recipient of the life-changing impact of enriching arts and educational opportunities.
Participating in APIEF in 2020 was the highlight of her year and was made possible through the generosity of Creative Partnerships Australia.
Natasha Tan began tertiary advancement work straight out of university. She spent her first year under the CASE Graduate Traineeship at the University of Melbourne, learning about the different functions of a fundraising team before specifically focusing on fundraising in her Leadership Regular Giving role. Building on her interest in engaging alumni and cultivating a giving culture, she joined the Alumni Giving team at Singapore Management University where she dived into student philanthropy, creating meaningful touch points with alumni through community building campaigns and learnt the ropes of operationalising a mass campaign. She is excited to be taking on a new role in Major Gifts at the Nanyang Technological University where she’ll refine her focus on strategic and school-based fundraising. Her favourite part of her job is meeting challenging prospects and eventually helping them find their affinity with and purpose through the institution.