For over a decade, Neil Pharaoh has led public policy, advocacy, and business issue campaigns on behalf of corporations, foundations, and nonprofit organisations. He created and chaired the Australian Labor Party’s core national rights organisation for social justice and equality issues. His chairmanship and campaigning led to over 200 significant legislative and regulatory changes in Australia.
Neil’s deep knowledge of government relations positions him as a leading authority on the intersection of civil society, business and government. Neil has developed and executed the strategic frameworks, corporate social responsibility and advocacy initiatives for a number of major international and Australian businesses including Samsung, Shell, Accenture, Westpac, and Bank of Melbourne.
In civil society, his business development and lobbying expertise resulted in over $100m of additional government investment into social service programs. Neil serves on the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) panel on Civics and Democracy, and is the Australian Co-Chair of the Nexus Global Philanthropy Movement. Neil holds a Juris Doctorate in Laws & a degree in Commerce from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.
Cat joined Perpetual’s Philanthropy team in January 2013 and is the current National Manager - Philanthropy, a senior role leading Perpetual’s commitment to Philanthropy and the not-for-profit sector.
With over a decade of philanthropic and grant-making experience in Australia and Europe, Cat has an extensive understanding of national and international funding approaches and mechanisms. Prior to joining Perpetual, Cat led townscape regeneration funding programs in the UK and more recently The Ian Potter Foundation’s granting team.
Cat has been a Board Member of Schools Connect Australia and is a former Chair of Philanthropy Australia’s Education Affinity Group. As an inaugural team member of the Leading Learning in Education and Philanthropy (LLEAP) research project, Cat possesses a high level of understanding relating to the trends and challenges in the philanthropic sector within Australia. Her sector knowledge and standing was affirmed in 2012 when she was named the Australian Institute of Grant Management’s inaugural Grant-maker of The Year.
David is a solicitor and presently a Senior Associate at Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
At Corrs David specialises in commercial litigation with a focus on complex corporate disputes, trusts, securities and banking, finance and insolvency-related matters. David is currently National Chair of the LGBTI@Corrs’ Network and is a member of the Diversity Committee of the New South Wales Law Society and the LGBTI Sub-Committee of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights. David is also the current National Chair of the Churchill College Association of Australia and New Zealand for alumni of Churchill College, University of Cambridge.
David is passionate about diversity and equality and a strong believer in the power of philanthropic giving. David holds degrees in Law and Modern History from the University of Queensland, a Masters of Law from the University of Melbourne and a Masters of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.
Georgia Mathews - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Georgia Founded The Channel is 2016 after several years working in the philanthropic sector. She currently works as Executive Director, and within the Venture Philanthropy Education Team at Social Ventures Australia (SVA).
Before joining SVA, Georgia was one-half of The Australian Women Donors Network, an organisation advocating for greater philanthropic investment in women and girls and educating funders in the importance of applying a gender lens to decision-making processes.
Georgia believes strongly in gender equality, education and philanthropy as key drivers for positive social change. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (History; Gender Studies) from the University of Melbourne and is currently completing her Master Degree in Social Investment and Philanthropy at Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Social Impact.
LUKE EXELL - TREASURER
Luke graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws and has subsequently practised exclusively in criminal law.
He has worked as a solicitor and solicitor advocate at Victoria’s Office of Public Prosecutions, appearing on behalf of Victoria Police investigators or the Director of Public Prosecutions in a wide range of criminal matters in all Victorian jurisdictions.
Luke later assumed responsibilities as a senior lawyer and Deputy Managing Lawyer of the Indictable Crime Team at Victoria Legal Aid, where he managed a large team of lawyers providing services to vulnerable Victorians charged with the most serious criminal offences. Luke was later appointed Associate Public Defender at Victoria Legal Aid and was briefed to appear in a wide range of criminal cases.
Luke is currently completing graduate studies in Applied Finance. Luke has long been involved in projects within the LGBTQIA+ sphere and has previously volunteered as a peer education facilitation at the Victorian AIDS Council.
The Channel recognises the importance of eliminating barriers to employment or participation faced by members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We also recognise the importance of our work being community-driven. The Channel will therefore ensure that our board and team always consist of a majority LGBTQIA+ community members.
The Channel will prioritise the involvement of people from diverse backgrounds in all the work that we do.