WEA Hunter is governed by a Board of Directors who are volunteers from within the community.

The Board is chartered with matters pertaining to governance issues and risk management. There are 10 places on the board, including the Chairperson.

A Board of Directors is elected annually. Full Board meetings are held every second month with the executive meeting in alternate months. The Board’s primary functions are to make policy decisions and oversee the direction and operation of the company. The Board appoints an Executive Director who is responsible for the efficient and effective running of the organisation. The Executive Director of WEA Hunter is then responsible for translating the Strategic Plan into operational activities in regards to the RTO operations.

Board of Directors Profiles

Chairperson Martin Coates

Martin has served the WEA Hunter Board since 2005, a member of the Executive since 2010, and currently sits on the Human Resources sub-committee. During his 16 years with Telstra, he held various local, state and national roles. By 2009, Martin sought a new challenge and successfully applied for the role of Director City Engagement at Newcastle City Council. After five years in local government, Martin was appointed Regional Director for Defence Housing Australia. A MBA graduate of The University of Newcastle’s Graduate School of Business, Martin also holds a Diploma in Project Management and has attended many management, leadership and related courses. He is passionate about lifelong learning and the life-changing potential of education and training. Martin is proud to be a born and bred Novocastrian and is married with two adult children..

Deputy Chair Christopher Seysener

Chris joined the WEA Hunter Board in 2016 and currently sits on the Finance sub-committee. Chris brings significant experience across several areas, including service delivery, program governance, commercial and fiscal management and organisational change, having worked with companies such as AMP, Allianz, BHP Billiton and CSC Australia over the last sixteen years. As Chief Information Officer for the HVCCC, he is responsible for the IT, Business Analytics and PMO functions, which underpin the coordination of assets and resources throughout the Hunter Valley Coal Chain. Chris holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) and Bachelor of Computer Science degrees from The University of Newcastle. Committed to contributing to the Newcastle community, Chris believes everyone has the right to a good education and that lifelong leaning enables people to develop to their full potential, lead happy and fulfilling lives and better adapt to inevitable change.

Executive Member Merran Magill

Merran has been a member of the WEA Hunter Board since March 2015 and currently sits on the Governance and Risk sub-committee. She is a governance professional with legal, corporate governance, risk management, audit, contracts management, privacy, project management and meetings expertise. She is an accomplished solicitor with proven ability to negotiate complex corporate transactions and commercial contracts. Merran has a strong commitment to ethical behaviour and positive leadership.

Board Member Anna Starrett

Anna joined the WEA Hunter Board in 2005. She is a finance manager for a national group of companies in the industrial engineering products space. Anna worked in Chartered Accounting firms for her first twenty years before moving to commercial roles in the manufacturing industry. Anna has undertaken several large scale training consultancies in her career, working with clients such as the Master Builders Association and the Department of Sport and Recreation to develop and deliver training packages. She is a facilitator for the Institute of Chartered Accountants, facilitating training sessions for Hunter CA candidates. She is active in the community, holding various positions (President, Secretary, Treasurer) on local P&Cs and community organisations during the past ten years. She is currently the treasurer of Merewether High School P&C. Anna is a member of the AICD and CAANZ.

Board Member Megan Lugg

Megan joined the WEA Hunter Board in April 2015 and currently sits on the Governance and Risk Management sub-committee. She brings extensive experience in vocational, community and higher education including five years as President of the Hunter Community College Council. Megan resides in Newcastle where she holds a management role in the public sector specialising in risk management and evaluation. Megan has held positions at the Hunter Institute of TAFE and at The University of Newcastle, and executive positions on Hunter EdNet and the Hunter Lifelong Learning Network. She joined the Board to further contribute and continue her long association with education in the Hunter.

Board Member Kelsey Barrett

Kelsey joined WEA Hunter Board of Directors in 2018. She is the founder and managing director of Kumalie and an experienced sustainability consultant and communications specialist. She has worked with multinational companies, SMEs, non-profit organisations and government departments. Based in Newcastle, Ms Barrett works with clients in Australia, The Netherlands, the UK and Switzerland. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Newcastle, and has studied Sustainability Leadership through Harvard University. Over the years she has been a guest speaker at Universities in Australia, the Netherlands and at many local industry forums.

Board Member Rowena Sigelski

Rowena joined WEA Hunter Board of Directors in 2018. She is a chartered accountant with more than 25 years' experience in the industry. She studied at the University of Sydney, completing a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in accounting and commercial law in 1995. Currently she leads a team of specialists as the Group Premium Revenue Manager (Australia & New Zealand) at nib Health Funds. Previous roles included with chartered accounting firms in Sydney and Newcastle specialising in business reconstruction and turnaround, before moving into a commercial role with nib.

Board Member Todd Saddington

Todd joined WEA Hunter Board of Directors in 2018. After graduating from UNSW with Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Finance, Todd began working in the stockbroking industry. From there he worked at various investment banks and financial institutions in London and Sydney. After a move to St George Bank he undertook roles ranging from Strategy to Senior Finance Manager. Being a proud Novacastrian the pull to move home was too great and in 2011 Todd moved back to Newcastle and moved into the manufacturing industry working in various senior management finance roles. Todd is CPA qualified and have completed one of my career goals by coaching both of my sons junior soccer teams

WEA Hunter Senior Management – Profiles

Executive Director Rowan Cox

After experiencing what she describes as a “challenging” adolescence where education wasn’t stressed to her as a priority, Rowan has devoted much of her life to ensuring that doesn’t happen to other people who are disconnected from support mechanisms.

Her community services career started with youth work in an agency that combined education with services for disadvantaged young people. She quickly recognised the connection between education and social capital and has been working with WEA for 17 years.

Rowan has developed expertise in educational governance and compliance with employment highlights including establishing the need for and co-founding Alesco Learning Centre (at WEA Hunter) where she was appointment General Manager and then Executive Director of WEA Hunter.

Additionally, Rowan has significant skills in facilitating and training; curriculum and policy writing; leadership; and systems development.

Rowan is currently undertaking a Master of Business Administration. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Social Science) along with qualifications in counselling, youth work, community welfare and social science.

Senior Finance & Business Manager – Michael De Lyall

Starting his career as an accountant, Michael brings 30 years' broad experience and expertise in finance and business management. Before joining WEA Hunter, he was chief financial officer for Master Builders Association Newcastle where his many roles and responsibilities included company secretary and building manager.

Michael’s career achievements include transforming a fledgling Group Training Organisation (GTO) into a sustainable, multi awarded and well respected market leader, improving investments and cash flows of an industry association and securing multiple government grants.

His role at WEA Hunter involves managing financial matters with a strong focus on developing business and customer services. Specialising in areas including governance, compliance, IT and system controls, Michael ensures the organisation is working to the highest standards while continually looking for opportunities to improve services for all stakeholders.

With a passion to support people and achieve productive outcomes, he has served on numerous industry and community advisory boards during the past three decades.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Commerce, is a Fellow of CPA Australia (FCPA) and a Justice of the Peace (JP).

Senior Education Services Manager – Nicola Bartlett

A career in the military, education and compliance is behind the latest recruit to WEA Hunter’s senior management team.

Nicola Bartlett has been appointed as the Senior Education Services Manager of the Hunter based educational and training organisation.

Nikki established her love of the education sector when she studied at university and then became a lecturer in the United Kingdom. She then joined the Royal Air Force where she spent 18 years working across military theatres around the globe specialising in logistics.

After moving to Australia almost nine years ago, Nikki worked in compliance for the energy, community and training sectors at a number of local and national organisations where she was again able to connect with her professional passion for vocational educational and training.

Alesco Senior College Principal – Theresa Pantalone

Working as Head Teacher and now Principal at Alesco Senior College, Theresa has always been passionate about helping young people achieve their true potential.

In her early career, Theresa wanted to make a difference in young people’s lives after identifying a lack of support for youth services in her local area. She became actively involved in the youth sector, served on the Lake Macquarie Youth Advisory Committee and received the Junior Citizen of the Year award for setting up Youth Services in the West Lakes region.

Theresa gained a wealth of experience and insight into working with people during her 15 year career in the retail industry and management. Her experiences led her to believe that with better educational opportunities, young people could change their life journey to achieve more positive outcomes.

Theresa is currently studying a Master of Educational Leadership and Management, holds a Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Education and a Cert IV TAE (Training and Assessment).

Organisational Chart

WEA Hunter is a large and complex organisation. A copy of our current organisational chart can be found here.