Members’ Biographies

Chair:

Deputy Chair:

Members:

Ex-officio

Vice Admiral Russ Crane AO, CSM, RANR

Vice Admiral Russ CraneVice Admiral Russ Crane’s 40 years of service culminated on 4 July 2008 with his appointment as Chief of Navy. During his time as the Chief of Navy he was awarded the United States of America Legion of Merit (Degree of Commander) and Singaporean Meritorious Service Medal for his commitment and achievements in international interoperability. For his distinguished service he was elevated to an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2010. More recently he was invested at the direction of the President of the Republic of France as a Commander in the Order of National Merit.

Since retiring in June 2011 Russ has become a member of the Defence South Australia Advisory Board working with the State to optimise its position in maintaining current Defence activity and preparing for new opportunities. He is also a sole trader in his own business, trading as Bowline Consultants, providing advice in areas such as strategic leadership and reform as well as Defence planning. Russ is a Trustee for the Navy Clearance Diving Trust and Patron of a number of organisations based around RAN Junior Recruits.

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Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG

Corporal Ben Roberts-SmithBen Roberts-Smith served with distinction in the Australian Army and Special Air Service Regiment. His service includes operational deployments to East Timor, Fiji, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Ben is a recipient of the highest award in the Australian military honours system, the Victoria Cross for Australia, awarded in 2011 for the most conspicuous gallantry in action in circumstances of extreme peril in Afghanistan.

Ben is Patron of the White Cloud Foundation and Wandering Warriors, and a member of the Queensland Veterans Advisory Council.

Since retiring from the Armed Forces, Ben has been a leading strategic advisor to Government and industry on a broad range of defence, security and personnel issues.

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Michael von Berg MC, OAM

Michael von BergMichael von Berg is the President of the South Australia Branch of The Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) Association which has a particular interest in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and military related mental health issues. He also is the national Chairman of The RAR Corporation and Council.

Michael served with the 5th Battalion of the RAR in Vietnam in 1966-67, establishing and commanding the first Reconnaissance Platoon, during which time he was awarded the Military Cross. He went on to serve in the Special Air Service Regiment, Commandos, RAR and Staff Postings resigning his commission in 1973.

Michael has held numerous non-executive directorships of public and private companies. He is an accredited project manager and consultant and has managed multimillion dollar projects in the wine, mining and horticultural industries. He is a member of the Veterans Advisory Council of SA and the Ex Service Organisation Round Table.

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Geoffrey Evans

Geoffrey EvansGeoffrey Evans served in the Australian Army, including deployments to East Timor and Afghanistan. He was wounded in action on 22 December 2010, when an improvised explosive device detonated in close proximity to him. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, a spinal injury and also suffers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Geoffrey has been open about his struggle with PTSD and how it has affected his personal life and family. He was involved in the inclusion of veteran’s issues in the National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention 2013, and is a passionate advocate for improving mental health support for contemporary veterans. Geoffrey serves as the Contemporary Veterans Advisor to RSL Life Care and as a Wounded Ambassador for Soldier On.

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Joy Jenkins

Joy JenkinsJoy Jenkins is the Partners of Veterans Association representative on the Council and has lifelong experience with Defence as both the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and wife to a serving Defence member who is a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. This experience gives Joy insight into the unique aspects of Service life for partners and their families. She has personal experience in supporting veterans with PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and anxiety as well as the range of issues supporting four children through the turbulence of nine relocations overseas and throughout Australia

Joy has qualifications in Business Management and Life Coaching. She is passionate about issues related to PTSD-afflicted serving and ex-serving members and is a strong advocate of the value of local small-group associations to support their families.

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Jocelyn Parsons

Jocelyn ParsonsJoss Parsons has served over twenty years in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as a Maritime Warfare Officer, as both a permanent member and a Reservist, including an operational deployment to the Middle East.

Since leaving the permanent forces, Joss has worked as a crisis and emergency response manager across a number of industries and was awarded the 2012 Telstra Young Business Woman’s Award for the ACT for her role in the protection of the marine environment. Joss received an Australia Day Medallion in 2017 for her work, as a reservist, within the Maritime Trade Operations branch of the RAN. She has most recently worked as the Managing Director of the Oceania entity of one of the world’s largest maritime emergency response and services company.

As a veteran herself, Joss has long been a supporter of ADF Veterans and is passionate about ensuring they receive the appropriate support from relevant agencies and that the transition from defence life to the civilian world is as smooth as possible.

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Dr Sheralyn Rose BHSc, BLitt (Hons), PhD

Dr Shrealyn RoseWith a lengthy career in primary health care, medical sociologist, Dr Sheralyn Rose, has held a variety of positions in consultation, policy formation and senior management. Experiences in Australia and UK have given her a comprehensive background in assessing population health needs, including mental health and suicide prevention programs. She is passionate about bringing professional knowledge into the everyday lives of people to empower individuals, communities and organisations as they strive to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

Married to the late Brigadier (rtd) Peter McGuinness CSC for 35 years Sheralyn's personal and professional lives collided with Peter's death by suicide 5 years after military discharge. The enormity of the consequences of his death inspired her to investigate the causes of military suicide and to research the effect of suicide on primary relationships. Collecting stories of lived experiences of loss through suicide, and combining these with her own, is the basis for her book, Suicide Tsunami. Living in the Aftermath.

Being invited to present a paper at the 2016 Annual Conference of the American Association of Suicidology, Chicago, USA led to her inclusion as a member on an international task force for clinicians experiencing suicide loss. Specific involvement with military suicide, including secondary and generational consequences, motivate her as a consultant, author and advocate for families impacted by suicide.

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Air Vice-Marshal Tracy Smart AM

Air Vice-Marshal Tracy SmartAir Vice-Marshal Tracy Smart AM is Commander Joint Health (CJHLTH)/Surgeon General ADF (SGADF).

Air Vice-Marshal Smart joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as a medical undergraduate in 1985 and continues to serve as a RAAF medical officer. She has had operational experience in Rwanda, Timor Leste, the Middle East and Lebanon. She was awarded a Chief of Air Force Commendation for her role in a fatal air accident investigation in Malaysia.

Air Vice-Marshal Smart assumed the role of Strategic Health Coordination in January 2013, with responsibility for policy development, research coordination, military medical advice, the Australian Army Malaria Institute, the Australian Defence Force Family Health Program, and the development and implementation of the Defence eHealth System.

Air Vice-Marshal Smart was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

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Ryan Kerry Stokes

Ryan StokesMr Ryan Stokes is Chief Executive Officer of Australian Capital Equity Pty Limited (ACE) and Chief Operating Officer of Seven Group Holdings Limited. He is also a Director of Seven West Media, WesTrac Pty Limited, Iron Ore Holdings Limited (IOH) and has extensive experience in China, having developed relationships with various mining and media companies over the past 13 years.

Ryan is Chairman of the National Library of Australia, a position he has held since July 2012 and is a Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Ryan is the former Chairman of Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation (Headspace), a Federal Government initiative established in 2006. He was also a former member of the International Olympic Committee’s Radio and Television Commission.

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Ms Kate Pope PSM

Kate PopeKate joined the Department of Immigration as a graduate in 1987 after completing a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) degree at the Australian National University. Over the next 10 years, Kate was posted to Indonesia, Vietnam and Poland as an Australian Immigration Officer and completed a Masters’ Degree in International Development Policy at Duke University in the United States.

Kate served almost 30 years with the Department of Immigration, working principally in refugee resettlement, children’s policy and detention, before moving to the Department of Health for a year and then to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in 2015. Until recently, Kate led the Transformation Division in DVA, focussing on veteran centric reform and organisational change. At the end of 2018, Kate moved to Veteran Services Design Division to work on policy reform and innovation.

Kate received the Public Service Medal in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

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Dr Jenny Firman

Dr Jenny FirmanDr Jenny Firman completed her medical degree at University of Melbourne and while a student joined the Royal Australian Navy. Over the next 22 years was posted to a range of positions in Navy and the ADF including sea time, involvement in underwater medicine, general practice and later development of strategic and operational health policy for the ADF. 

She left full time Service in 2002 and transitioned to the Reserve.   A that time she was appointed as the first Chief Medical Officer for the newly outsourced Defence Force Recruiting organisation where she remained until 2007 when she moved to the Department of Health where she worked as the Principal Medical Adviser in the Office of Health Protection.  In this role she was responsible for the provision of medical and scientific advice to assist in the work of the Department and the Australian Government in communicable disease control and health emergencies.  Additionally, throughout her career, she has continued to regularly work part time in general practice.

In 2008 she was appointed as Director General - Navy Health Reserve and performed that role until 2012. In February 2015 she was promoted to Rear Admiral and appointed as Surgeon General Australian Defence Force Reserve.

She was appointed as the Chief Health Officer, Principal Medical Adviser in DVA in February 2019.

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Major General Mark Kelly AO, DSC

Major General Mark KellyMajor General Mark Kelly is the Repatriation Commissioner in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Mark served in a number of senior command appointments during an Army career spanning over 35 years, including Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, Commander 3rd Brigade, Commander 1st Division, Land Commander Australia and Commander Joint Task Force 633 (CJTF 633).

His operational experience includes service with the Commonwealth Monitoring Force in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia (1979-80), Chief of Staff of the International Force in East Timor (1999-2000), with US CENTCOM in the Middle East, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Iraq (2003-2004) and as CJTF 633 commanding all ADF elements in the Middle East Area of Operations, Iraq and Afghanistan (2009-10).

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